article following is provided by that wonderful publication, the “Puslinch
Pioneer”, which for over thirty years has been dedicated to coverage of
More Bygone Days at
(from the Puslinch Pioneer, v. 9, issue 1, July/August 1984.)
The late Mrs. James Phelan, née Mary Elizabeth
Up to that time the
female teachers had boarded in nearby homes in the Section. Having lived all
her life in
At her arrival on the first day of school all the “big” boys crowded around the cart, offering to take Rock to his new stable. She discovered soon that the “mischievous” ones were often late in returning to school. So pretending to accept their excuses, she talked it over with them and they decided that one boy should perform that chore. A studious boy was appointed, as they were informed by the teacher that he knew how to handle horses on his father’s farm. Being in a family with four brothers, she was well forewarned and forearmed, but perhaps some of the boys’ shenanigans went unnoticed.
A morning laugh was enjoyed by the pupils when a young man of the Section passed the school on his way to work for the late Mrs. Maddock. He said he was going to work for Mrs. “Maggots”.
The late J. J. Craig, B.A., inspected the school and remained for the better part of the day listening to the lessons being taught. On one occasion, while talking at the cloakroom door to the teacher, one of the boys urged the quietest girl in the school to set the clock ahead by fifteen minutes so they could get out early, but she was caught and gently chastised.
When the snow became too deep, Rock was left in
Romance was not unknown in those days. One snowy Friday night, one of the neighbours
invited Miss McGunnigle to a movie in
As a useful parting gift, the School Section presented Miss McGunnigle with a five-piece Silver Tea Service, which is still held in high esteem in the family household.
Miss McGunnigle grew to like the country life and the people who resided there. She later married the late James Phelan, in that Section, and remained there until her demise in 1969.
These vignettes were written by Alice Phelan, a retired teacher, Puslinch resident, and the very daughter of Mary Elizabeth McGunnigle Phelan.