By Jonathan Riley
TC • MEDIA
Here’s a fun game. Let’s call it “Who’s that?”
To play you open an old photo album, find an old class photo and see if you can name everyone.
Better yet, get together with a few old classmates and swap memories as you play.
The game is all the rage in Deep Brook, Clementsvale and Clementsport these days.
There they have taken the game one step farther and are actually inviting everyone in the photos to a reunion July 28 – not a class reunion, but a school reunion of every living alumnus and former teacher of the Deep Brook two-room schoolhouse.
“It’s just amazing how the whole community has gotten together,” says Gini Proulx, one of the main instigators. “It’s been a real rejuvenation of community spirit here. Everybody’s talking and remembering together – that’s been the biggest outcome of the whole project.”
It all started in June 2008. Proulx was collecting for the Relay for Life when she ran into a schoolmate, home visiting for the weekend.
“We used to walk about two miles to school,” remembers Proulx with a smile. “And we used to pick up everybody along the way and I just got to thinking, ‘wouldn’t it be neat to get together with all the kids we used to walk to school with?’ ”
Proulx convinced her schoolmate to stay an extra day and as she continued collecting donations she ran into more schoolmates. During the weekend they managed to round up 20 alumni who met that Monday at Proulx’s home.
They all brought their class photos and played Who’s that?
“We just had a whale of a time,” says Proulx. “And we all said we’ve got to do this again.”
The idea fell to the back burner until last fall when Proulx decided to spring into action.
She included an insert with the Clements Historical Society’s 2012 calendar, which also featured old class photos.
The insert generated just enough interest that soon a committee was formed to play Who’s that? pretty much fulltime.
Valerie Young Mount, Gladys Fraser, Robert Moore, Joyce Anderson, Maurice Potter, Maxine Connell, Norma Grant and Proulx have amassed a database of 280 names and addresses. About 25 per cent, or close to 60 of those people, are deceased.
They’ve found people in Florida and all across Canada – even one man living off the grid on Vancouver Island.
The committee tracked him down CSI-style until Proulx got him on the phone one day.
“How did you ever find me?” he asked.
One of the biggest helps along the way has been the photos taken by E.M. Harris. The wife of a bank manager and mother of two toured the province from the 1930 until 1955 taking photos at rural schools around the province. She charged the students 10 or 15 cents a photo.
“We didn’t appreciate Harris until we got to 1954,” says Proulx.
For the years after Harris retired, the reunion committee has relied on pure memory and lists scrawled across sheets of paper and lots of post-its.
Still they are expecting to invite about 200 people, including spouses and significant others, to the one-day get-together at the Clementsport legion this summer.
Proulx says they don’t want to over plan the reunion. They will have copies of all the Harris photos on display with most of the faces identified and they want to leave lots of time for people to just chat and remember. They will also take orders that day for anyone wanting their own copies of the photos.
They are planning a barbecue supper and a jam session for later that evening.
Besides names they are gathering schoolhouse memorabilia for decorations. They have managed to track down the original sign for the Deep Brook School. They hope to use that sign to take some new photos.
If you want to play a little Who’s that?, test your mind at the blank names on the photos here and more on www.digbycourier.ca .
To share any information with, or to get some from, the committee, contact Proulx at: Gini.Proulx@gmail.com .
Where are they?
The Deep Brook School Reunion committee is still looking for addresses or whereabouts of the following teachers and alumni:
Mrs. V.H. DeMing (principal when Miss Shackleton taught in the primary department)
Ross - John, Donald, Sue and Marylou
MacNeil - Georgina, Verna and Roberta
Steele - Gloria, Willetta, Celina, June, Elton, Estelle, Dallis Anne and Hector ‘Joe’
Schofield - Ronnie and Marie
Riddle - Kenneth and Everett
Wagner - Roger, Sheila and Wayne
Titus - Gary and Roy
MacNamara or McNamara - Frank, Gregory and Nancy
Lunn -Priscilla and Zelba