Autumn Dreams takes place in the late 1940s. Maggie, the heroine, is a schoolteacher in a one room country school. This is the kind of school I attended and the type of school in which two of my aunts taught. Memories sent me thumbing through some old photo albums where I found pictures of my school class when I was in grade four, snaps of a teacherage that was Aunt Ethel's home while she taught, pictures of my old school and of the team of horses that took us there on winter days.
The above picture was taken when my Aunt Ethel attended the cairn dedication of her old school, Sunny Slope. She was ninety at the time and as such, the oldest living alumnus. The write up in the local paper initiated a series of errors which I chronicled in a story for Chicken Soup For The Soul. I have it here on my writer's page.
We missed a lot in those old school days-organized sports, a variety of extra-curricular activities, the world wide web of information, science fairs and more.
On the other hand there were a lot of things we had then. We had a sense of community, neighbours that helped in a crisis, teachers that knew three generations of your family, and a feeling of safety and belonging.
One room country schools are a thing of the past, except for the odd memorial cairn and fewer and fewer of us remember the experience. Maybe that's why I feel so happy writing about the past. It's like opening a room in an old house that's been closed for years. You find it filled with old memories, bursting with stories and secured with love.