Cameron, Pearl

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                             PEARL CAMERON
                   Former teacher remembers first school in Black River
                          By Cathy Carnahan


Most District 16 teachers and students returned to their classrooms on Tuesday. The sound of school bells ringing brings back many fond memories for 86-year-old Pearl Cameron at the Miramichi Senior Citizens Home in Chatham.

Recent events often escape her, but details of her teaching days haven't been forgotten. She graduated from Normal School in Fredericton in 1925. At the age of 18 the fulfilment of her dream as a teacher began. "I did like teaching. I enjoyed it," Cameron said in an interview.

"My first school was in Black River right up near the Richibucto Road. It was a small country school with all the grades in one room. "I didn't have a very large class at first, but they brought in students from another school and made it larger." I liked it all. I loved the children," she said smiling.

Cameron (nee Young) was from a family of six. "I went to Grade 1 in Chatham. Then we moved to Loggieville," she noted.

The trip from Loggieville to Black River was a long one in the early days. When teaching there she boarded at Harry Ullock's who shared the family homestead with his two sisters "Lottie and Mrs. Bowser" who also ran the Bowser House in Chatham, recalled Cameron. "My father used to come in every Friday evening and take me home for the weekend. I was always hoping it'd be a fine night in the winter so I could get home," she said with a grin and a twinkle in her eye. "There were no cars in the winter then. It'd be horse and sleigh, and that was quite a ways."

When Cameron moved to her second school in Napan, the drive was shorter. But the means of transportation remained the same. "My father was always very fond of horses. He was the head of the big barn there at A & R Loggie's in Loggieville," said Cameron. "They had as many as 20 horses some winters because they didn't plow the roads in those times. They didn't have such things as plows. Of course, the horses didn't have to go very far," she said. "I had a horse, too, one time. I used to go in saddle," she added. Another smile spread across her lips, and even her eyes seemed to smile. The bingo game in the auditorium, which she had been in a hurry to get to, was forgotten.

"I think I got $100 that first year I taught, and room and board had to be paid out of that. They used slates more than books then. There were two sides to the slates," said Cameron. "On Fridays mostly, they had some recitations. Friday was special always.”

"We also used to have concerts or suppers to help pay for the teacher," she said. The elderly woman recalls one occasion when she did a recital. As she sat in her room reminiscing, many of the words came flooding back. "I never will marry, as oft' I have said, any man whose hair is one bit red. No matter how rich or how handsome he may be, "If he's got that one fault, he'll never many me." Cameron laughed. "There is more to it, but that's all I remember," she said beaming.

While in Black River, Cameron met her late husband, Addison. They had two sons. One was a well known local sportsman who recently died of diabetes. "I only had two boys, but they both have awfully good wives. They're awfully good to me," said Cameron. "One son had two girls, and the other had two boys," she said nodding to some nearby photographs. The grandmother is obviously proud of her family.

She is also proud to have been teacher. "I truly loved the children she said.


Source: Miramichi Leader – September 08, 1993

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