The fire bells at Cowansville HIgh School were so loud they could be heard as far as Harry’s Pool Room on South Street, which was just a skip and a jump over the Yamaska River. That must have been such a bonus for all those playing pool during the lunch hour!
Of course that first bell in the morning was five minutes before 9 and you had to run like heck to get to the new section in the basement playrooms. Mr. Douglas (who seemed like he was 7 ft 2 in those days) slowly did his inspection between the rows like a drill sergeant. I swear if you took a breath Mr. Douglas might flash that evil eye, or finger point a detention.
The absolute worst was Miss Parsons, who would not think twice in sending you to the office. If I remember correctly there were always at least a half a dozen bodies sitting by the office as we marched up to our classrooms waiting to see the Principal.
This is Hamilton Hunter, posing in a nifty sweater for his school photo. Hamilton (1919 – 1934) was born in Carleton Place and later moved to Smiths Falls when his father was transferred due to the CPR shops being relocated.
No one was ever silent during those drills, even though our teachers tried their best! They expected us to walk out single file. Get real people! Everyone would walk/run like their tail was on fire. Arms must be folded, and one person was chosen to give up their life. They had to check the classrooms and make sure everyone was out of the building. If it had been a real fire, whoever had been hauled out of line and made to stand facing the wall for talking probably would have ended up being fried-chicken.
The most common reaction to when that emergency bell rang wasn’t fear it was more like an eruption of cheers throughout the building. It didn’t really matter if it was a fire or a drill, or some student delinquent pulling the alarm — the result was the same. It was a reprieve from whatever you were doing, being asked questions you didn’t know the answer to — or better yet, a test.
Grade 1 1952/53 — Class photo
Teacher Miss Craig
Pupils – Not in order