Diary of a Student: 100 Years Ago
edited by Brian M. Brown.
Most of Violet's growing up years were spent in a single parent family. When she was 6 years old, her mother died while giving birth. The baby died three years later; and soon after that, their housekeeper died.
While Violet grew up, she had to adjust to not having a mother, to living with a number of different housekeepers, and to moving to a different town every three years. When she got older, she attended College and then began teaching school.
Alberton, Thursday June 7. 1900 I came home form P. W. [Prince of Whales] College Monday. . . . Mr. Keilly asked me among other things what I am going to do with myself now. That is more than I know . . . .
I wonder if I shall ever write the last page of this book? If so, I wonder where I will be then? God only knows.
Tuesday, July 3, 1900. Last evening there was a party at Mr. Wilkinson's, and we had a fine time. We played charades with 6 on each side. Our side went out first and we took restoration. They had to give it up. They took misunderstood. We almost had to give up. They teased us about having so many school teachers on our side. At last I thought of it. When we got home Mabel told me she had it in half the time, but would not speak out. Just like her.
Carroll's Crossing, Oct. 17, 1900. After many ups and downs, I am at last in charge of a school of my own. Last Friday I found out that Miss. Mersereau wanted a substitute and I agreed to take the place. I left yesterday morning . . . .
Friday, Oct. 19, 1900. My first day’s teaching is over. I had not very many adventures. I let the fire out in the morning, and forgot to put the windows up during physical exercises and recess. Will have any amount of room for improvement if I teach for the next hundred years. Had 14 scholars present. 25 enrolled.
We came to Manchester this morning, and took the 11 A.M. Midland Railway excursion to London . . . . We crossed the Tower Bridge, walked some distance and returned by London Bridge. Then we walked along the Victoria Embankment to Westminster Abbey, where we were in time for service. The singing was grand . . . .
This photo was taken 13 years later
Thursday, Oct. 10, 1901. I came in to Normal last Monday, and am boarding with Mrs. Judson Burden . . . .
Monday, Oct. 18, 1901.After the evening service several of us girls went under the care of Mr. Todd, to the Darky service. I will never forget it. I expected to see a company of Christians gathered for a prayer or class meeting led by one of themselves, but I found that most of them were not Christians, and that it is a kind of Mission conducted by a white man. Some Darkies caused a disturbance and the leader broke off in his address and gave them the terrors of the judgment. The singing was splendid and the room was nice and clean.
There was one old Darkie whose face was wrinkled with age. I thought he was beautiful.
Oct. 19, 1901. Beatrice, Belle, Gertie, and Anna have gone to their socials tonight. Such a time as we had getting them ready. One is decked out with my watch and chain and bracelet, another with my gold broach, another with my cat pin and side combs.
Thursday Nov. 15, 1901. The smallpox is in St. John, is causing great anxiety here. Mr. Mullin advised us all to be vaccinated. I am waiting to see how things will turn. There is Diphtheria in Town too.
Nov. 18, 1901. We went to the Salvation Army after church. I heard that two of our Normal boys were drunk on Saturday night, but hope it is not true . . . .
Thursday, Nov. 28, 1901. Edna James and I were vaccinated last evening. I kept clear of it as long as I could, but when I heard that we could not go home at Christmas without being vaccinated I thought I would have it over. It did not hurt at all.
I was out driving this afternoon with Guy Burten [It was not a car they were driving.] I forgot about my arm, and hope I have not taken cold. There is lovely sleighing, and it is a beautiful day.
The boys asked Mr. Mullin to sit down, and as soon as he did they picked him up, chair and all, and carried him around. Someone carried the cane in front of him, and they shouted the school cry. "He’s a jolly good fellow." When he was going home they formed two rows and he marched through them. We are all very sorry to see him go.
The school was trimmed with boughs, and a Christmas tree. The children brought cards and pretty things to trim it with. One boy brought a dead rat which he was determined to tie on it.
July 16, 1903. I am clear of that old school at last, and am very glad . . . . The Wednesday before that was our first Debate. Subject: "Resolved that old bachelors are more use in the world than old maids." . . . . I spoke (very briefly) on negative . . . .
May 15, 1905. In the evening we had our farewell meeting of the Debating Society. Subject: "Resolved that the cow is more beneficial to mankind than the horse." The affirmative won. I was on the winning side. The debate was very animated and interesting. Leaders, Clara Orr and Iris Fish. Then came the prophecies. They sent me to India as a Missionary but, oh horrors, they married me to a Hindoo . . . .
May 21, 1905. This afternoon we had the Seniors Farewell in Y.W.C.A. There was only Tillie and I to say "Farewell." Tillie spoke splendidly. In speaking of the changefulness of life etc. I spoke on the words "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever, then of the opportunities of the College girl, "Behold, I set before you an open door."
To Part 2: Saskatchewan teaching, marriage, and overall summary (21 kb).