Connaught School

We moved to this house on 14th avenue SW in Calgary.

It was a five block walk to Connaught School, where I began grade five. They wanted to put the Evil Sister and me ahead a grade, because of the Major Work programs in Winnipeg, but our mother said “No”. She had skipped grades when she was in school and decided it was too difficult for kids to be schooled with kids way older than themselves.

My first friend at Connaught was Dougie Schultz. He had broken his arm and when the cast was removed he had one skinny arm and one regular one. He looked a bit deformed but was still nice. My next friend was Blair Stapleton. He lived one block away in a basement suite in a red brick apartment building across from Sacred Heart School. It’s still there today: the school and apartment building. So is the house we moved in to.

My mother’s friend Gail Dumas and her four kids moved in with us, for a while. Here is my mother with the four Dumas children. Gail is probably taking the picture.

The Dumas Children

I’m not sure why they moved in. One time, when I was sent to the store, Gail asked me to pick her up a box of Tampax. I, of course, had no idea what that was, so I told the grocer that I needed a box of tacks.

Gail’s bedroom was in the dining room. It had French doors. One morning I pulled them open and Gail Dumas was in her bed with a man, who was not her husband. I think he was an old army buddy of my fathers. Shortly after, Gail Dumas moved into her own rented house. She babysat the Angel Monster there. He liked to sit on her kitchen floor and rub her nylon stockinged legs.

Blair Stapleton and his dad built radio controlled model airplanes. I got to watch them build, but never got to see them fly. Blair was interested in space, just like me. For one of our grade five science projects we built an astronaut manned space ship, under a work table in our classroom. It was mostly just drawings on rolled brown butcher paper, of control panels and gadgets that we thought might be useful in flying in outer space.

It was at this school where a girl named Cynthia tricked me into kissing her, and this school where I saw a grade four girl get hit by a car while she crossed 12th avenue. She was okay and refused to wait until an ambulance came. She just ran home instead. And it was in my grade five classroom, at Connaught School, with Miss Bilton as my teacher, that we learned the news about the assassination of the US President, John F. Kennedy. Miss Bilton cried, even though he wasn’t our President.

By then we had moved from 14th avenue to the Moxam Apartments on 13th avenue.

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