Turning Back the Pages: Students got a lot of exercise without buses to and from Moberly School

By Colleen Palumbo

The following article is part two of the remembrances of Emily Collins. It covers her time spent in the Moberly area.

Sylvia Hautala and I were chums while in Moberly, and during the time she lived in Vancouver until she married Al Jackson and moved back to Golden, and from there she and her husband moved to Vancouver Island. One day during Moberly School days, Sylvia and I were playing on a merry-go-round which had been built for the school children.

One would push while the other hung on and caught a ride. We took turns so it was my turn to push while it was Sylvia’s turn to ride. I was giving her a good ride when she lost her hold and fell against a sharp knot on a stump causing a very bad wound.

Mr. Coupland, our teacher at the time, was very quick and, thank goodness, had taken a course in first-aid, did an excellent job of preventing loss of a great deal of blood and saw she had proper care until she was attended by a physician. She tells me the scar looks just like a vaccination mark.

Mrs. Hautala sometimes came to visit us after school was out, at which time she and Sylvia and Willie would walk with us to our place. After that, they would return home by way of Moberly School and over the Lambert Trail down to the Moberly Station where they lived at the time. It was a long walk.

We used to get our milk and eggs from Mrs. Gus Johnson, who lived about a half a mile away, until our own chickens and cow could be afforded. Mrs. Johnson also tended to my mother as midwife. The doctor was miles away in Golden and money and time was a factor in getting to the doctor at births.

We used to cross the bridge that Mr. Torrance built, and that was quite an accomplishment.

People still talk about that bridge. My dad bought a calf, a heifer, from Mr. Torrance and it was brought across that foot bridge. The heifer calf was a very stubborn animal and decided it definitely was not going across that bridge. Mr. Torrance, my dad, and my brother, Max, had to literally pull and push the beast across the bridge, and believe me, it was a very precarious thing to do. If had the men slipped and fell, it would have been “bye bye,” for the river was many feet down and one could feel the bridge swing a bit whenever anyone crossed it.

Once over the bridge, the animal cut loose and with tail in the air, it galloped up the precarious narrow trail to the top of the cliffside and kept on going for quite a way before stopping. We used to cross the bridge quite often to go to church at Torrance’s.

Audrey Torrance used to have to cross that bridge to go to Moberly School and walked the miles all by herself, regardless of skulking cougars who walked along beside her in the bushes and sometimes there was the chance of meeting a bear along the way to or from school. I still think she was and is one of the bravest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

The Christmas concerts and other parties and dances in Moberly School all bring back nostalgic memories. I’m saddened to know Moberly School is no longer there and that it is no longer even school property but is now someone’s place of abode, and the logs that were part of the school are now part of a house or barn. I guess that is what is called progress.

Now, there are school buses to take children to school, so no more very cold trudges to school as our generation had to do to get our ABC’s.

It was a healthy life, for we all got our exercise in various ways including chores after school, which kept us out of mischief and we didn’t have to join some exercise group to stay healthy or to keep fit. That came automatically with life in our day during the first half of this century.

Most of the families were too poor but we had a lot of fun and made up our own games. We didn’t have toys that were bought, we invented our own and we were never at a loss for anything to do.

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