The scenic town of Perth glowed in the warmth of the bright spring sun as we made our way along historic Gore Street last Thursday. The Retired Women Teachers of Ontario had kindly invited me to speak at their monthly meeting, and they chose the popular Maximilian Restaurant as their venue.
Maximilian, open since 1975 has enjoyed tremendous popularity in Perth, as well as the surrounding area, and many come from neighbouring towns and cities to sample their delicious cuisine; particularly their famous melt-in-your-mouth schnitzel dishes!
I received a warm welcome from the RWTO, and once everyone had arrived and settled into their seats, I read two short stories to the group –each with a theme about education. The first story from my book “Lanark County Kid”, is about the transition from the one room school houses to a centralized school, built in 1968 – Glen Tay Public School. The story describes the debates that went on and on for months, regarding the financial strain on the townships and should they proceed with building a new school. The discussions that followed highlighted the pros and cons by both parents and teachers concerning which of the two styles of education provided the best overall experience for the students. The story describes the new school, larger student population, and the advantages and benefits of the new facilities and modern methods of teaching.
The second story that I presented focused on a popular local teacher in the 1960s and 1970s – Mrs. Dencie (Tryon) Conboy. One of the unique features of Mrs. Conboy’s classes was her fondness for blending studies with physical activities, usually in the form of softball games, designed to help burn off pent-up energy when students became restless in her classroom. Her teaching style was ahead of its time, and many of her students went on to become successful, contributing members of their communities. The story was a tribute to her methods of ‘thinking outside the box’ in her popular and perhaps slightly unorthodox and much-loved teaching style.
After lunch there was an opportunity to meet with many of the teachers, and to discuss the changes in education through the years, and some interesting new developments on the horizon.
The lunch at Maximilian was delicious as always, and it was a delight to meet with so many of the members of the RWTO. There were lots of fascinating discussions as well as questions about the five books on Lanark County that I brought to the presentation. I would imagine that teachers and books go together like honey and bees, so it was my pleasure to introduce the members to my collection of published books.
The sun was still bright and warm as we departed from our delicious lunch with the RWTO members. There are few things as peaceful and lovely as a drive through the town of Perth on a mild spring day.
Many thanks to the RWTO members for their warm hospitality, and for making our visit with them such a delight!
For more information about Maximilian Restaurant in Perth Ontario:
For information about the Retired Women Teachers of Ontario: