I was born in 1936. My generation is unique in that we grew up near the end of the Great Depression. It affected our whole family. I was also a child during World War II and I can remember singing Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past with the line “Our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home” every week in school. This hymn seemed so appropriate during that time.
We had Red Cross Fridays, and the Grade 7 and 8 classes would put on shows to help raise money for the charity. At my school, Prince of Wales, we were also encouraged to collect milkweed pods from the swampy area at Bunker’s Creek, downtown near Bradford Street and Lakeshore Drive. The silk was used to make parachutes at that time. All Canadian children were encouraged to do this in support of the war effort. I remember that they always showed a news reel about the war before every movie during that time.
It’s a real shame that Prince of Wales School is being torn down. Four generations of my family attended that school.
The recovery from the war and the prosperity of the 50s meant it was easy to find jobs when you came out of school. You could work at a number of places like General Electric. Having lived through the war, it’s very sobering now to think about the times we are in.
I remember our whole neighbourhood hearing when a local man, Joe McVeigh, died on one of the last days of the war. He was actually in Ceylon on his way home, and died of a disease – small pox I believe. He wasn’t killed in action but this seemed to make it even sadder. I also remember our whole school going completely quiet when we heard that King George passed away.
That probably won’t happen today when Queen Elizabeth eventually passes away. I’ll never forget her wedding dress! I made a scrapbook of her wedding when I was in Grade 8.
– June, mother, grandmother, soon-to-be-great-grandmother, student of history, singer, active volunteer in numerous organizations including the Leprosy Mission, KAIROS, Essa Road Presbyterian Church and the Barrie Canoe Club, passionate about eliminating human trafficking, loves to explore Canada and other northern countries