The Durham ETFO Office is in Whitby, which is quite a lengthy drive to make for a 90 minute meeting, so, knowing that my good friend Susan Field lives in east Scarborough, I invited myself there for dinner and a sleepover and turned the whole thing into an event! The meeting wasn't til 5, but I left home around noon to miss traffic and to also give me some time to do a little shopping. Also, because I started my teaching career in Durham, I decided to take this opportunity to visit my very first school, Bayview Heights PS in Pickering. I hadn't been there in over 30 years ..... and it was nothing like I remembered. There was a new single storey addition at the front, with expanded office and lobby areas, so it really looked completely different. There were also portables which meant that the yard area had to be redesignated. All in all, I hardly recognized it, but it was still pretty cool to visit and think back to those first days of teaching. I taught there for 2 years, from 1979-1981, and taught Kindergarten in the morning, Gr. 6 in the afternoon, and choirs at the J and I levels during lunches and breaks. It was a pretty typical new teacher gig - quite overwhelming at the time, but it provided me with an array of varied experiences and a wealth of wonderful memories.
Here we are, reunited .....
Just a quick story about the picture below. After visiting my old school, I drove to the Pickering Town Centre. The mall has been there for years, however, it's been hugely renovated and is now very large and pretty fancy compared to what it was 35 years ago. However, this green machine is still in the exact same place! I remember it vividly from an experience in my first fall of teaching. I came down with laryngitis and had to leave school in the middle of the day. I needed medication, had no money and had to stop and get some. Here. At this machine. Which ate my card. So I had to use the phone to call and troubleshoot, but I had no voice! Haha - they couldn't hear me and hung up! I had to call back and make sounds to be heard - it all worked out I guess, but it left a vivid memory! And the dumb machine was the first thing I saw when I walked in the mall, bringing it all back!
I have my friend Susan Field to thank for getting me that Pickering teaching job in the first place. She and I met at teachers' college (OTEC in Toronto - its LAST year before extinction!) and became fast friends. We were both in the music elective, so that was our first connection, but as we got to know each other, we found many more. It was a great year of teaching and partying! During the summer after graduation, I went to work for the CJRT Orchestra in Toronto and didn't give too much thought to where I might end up teaching in the fall. Susan, on the other hand, took the matter in her own hands, and drove her resume around to many many schools in Durham Region. She got a job of course, and when she was offered an interview for a second position, she called me up, told me about it and advised me to get my butt to Bayview Heights that day. I did what I was told, and got the job! She was teaching just down the street at Sir John A. MacDonald PS, but actually ended up at BH herself as the junior music person, when I moved back to Kitchener.
Although Susan and I have had some long gaps in time over the years between visits and contact, it's always very easy to get right back into it again when we are together. This visit was no different. We spent a wonderful evening of animated conversation, passionate reminiscing, fortified with pizza and maybe a little wine. Although Susan had warned me she might crash early, we all lasted way into the wee hours. So sorry, Susan and Gord, for keeping you up so late! I know that my retirement hours and flexibility are enviable! What a fun night though, right??
Here is their beautiful home in Scarborough (with my car in the driveway!). They have a great property and I look forward to returning when we can enjoy the gorgeous pool in the backyard!