Stan Speaks: Circa 1945-46~~during the early Summer; after School was out ~ about 16:30; Phyl was not at home?? Howie and I were, as of course was Mom. Mom was always home when the “kids” were home.
For those who may not know, the public school I and my siblings attended was Pereman’s School, situated about 500 yards east of our home. Pereman’s was a One Room School; seated from 12 to 18 pupils depending on the need. In the centre rear of the School was a wood stove; the school had a pantry at the back from which one could gain access to the attic and to the School Bell. At the front of the School was a large old-style piano and I believe that we now had a new radio and record player.
About 16:30, Mom said to me: “Stan; run up to the School and see if your sister is in the School.” I took off in good time, probably ran most of the way, and as I was making the last few jumps up the several concrete steps to the School front door I decided that I should knock because if Phyl were in there, so too must be the teacher. I knocked and waited; nothing happened so impatiently I knocked again; this time after knocking, I put my ear to the door; I could hear the piano, I could hear: ping, ping, ping and nothing else. I found this strange and partly or perhaps mainly because of my age, I began to wonder, no more than wonder; fear entered my head; what was this unusual noise from within the School??
At about that time the noise stopped or at least there was a pause. At that time, I knocked again and about that time I began thinking “where is Phyl”?? I immediately reapplied my ear to the door ~ two or three more pings and then silence. I listened intently. The sounds about to enter my ear added to the anxiety, to the fear which had begun to build. I had to remain, I could not run, my sister was in that school, and something was not right!!
The new sound was the sound of someone walking, walking or struggling, or something, very very slowly making its way toward the door, the door behind which I was standing!! If fearful was the word to describe my condition before the door opened, absolute horror was the word to describe my condition as I caught a glimpse of the “monster” that opened it!! An older person, huge to my 10- or 11-year eyes, one handheld over his/her head, and within that hand ~ something, to this day, I am not sure what it was. It took me perhaps 5 microseconds to decide what to do ~ sorry Phyl; I turned, I must have turned; I did not walk down the 4 or 5 concrete steps, I flew over them. I was out the School Gate before I even started to breathe ~ I couldn’t have breathed had I wanted to. I was screaming so loudly that I am sure Mom and How must have thought I was shot. At home even greater panic struck ~ No Phyl!!! A “monster” in the School!!! Howie grabbed the 22 rifle and just to show he could use it, he fired off a couple of shots, in what direction, I do not know.
Mom had the good sense to phone her Mother, and surprise, surprise, Phyl was at Grammas. The police were called; the police came; the story was told, and the police descended upon the school. It turned out that this was the day to tune the piano, and the piano tuner was blind, yes blind. Thus, the slow, staggering walk from the front of the school to the door, thus the raised hand at the door to meet me, turns out that he was also frightened! No car at the school, correct; blind persons do not drive cars; someone had dropped him off. Thank goodness this true story ended in this fashion. The only thing hurt was our pride. I told this story to Ashley, Alanna, and Alyssa when they were still quite young! “Alyssa had been listening carefully when partway through the story she carefully drifted to her Mother’s arms ~ out of harm’s way, of course.
True Story, I remember it vividly. Stan 2020 04 18