September 12, 1939 – first letter home from London Normal School

1939 London Normal School photo Helene Duck of Morpeth
My great aunt, Helene Duck, age 23, as she appeared in the London Normal School yearbook

Postmarked London Ont., Sep 13 11 PM 1939

Mrs. Clarence Duck, Morpeth, Ontario.

23 McKenzie Ave.,

Sept. 12, 1939

Dear Folks, –

Well, here I sit and I don’t know a bit more about Normal than I did before – at least not about the course itself.

The people here get up about 6:45 in the morning – Mr. Howard goes to work at 7:30. He is a carpenter – I have been getting up after 7. Yesterday forenoon I went for a walk around here. Bought some stamps and found a Bank of Montreal just 2 blocks from Normal down Wortley Road and got my business all done fine. Then I came home and we had lunch. You’ll laugh when you hear what I’ve been eating. We had macaroni and cheese and what Mrs. Howard calls bran gems – they are like bran muffins but they are sweeter and have more taste than any I ate before. I can’t remember what we had for dessert. It’s easier to write with a pencil so I changed. Yesterday afternoon I went downtown. I’ve learned how to do that. I walk down to Ridout and take the bus there and go right downtown to corner of Richmond & Dundas (near Smallman & Ingram’s). Coming back I take a Normal South bus. It’s easy when you know how. I bought a pair of rubbers (they don’t fit right but they are the best I could get) and some other things. I didn’t like the shows very well but I went to Loew’s and saw the Wizard of Oz. The costumes etc. Are beautiful but it is only a fairy tale and there really isn’t much to it. For supper last night (I should call it dinner) we had roast beef, potatoes, pickles, cauliflower and peaches topped with bananas and little cakes and coffee. Not bad, eh? I was too full when I finished. I didn’t sleep very well the first night. There are a lot of trains near here but I slept last night. People near here have chickens and I heard a rooster crow at 4 o’clock the first morning.

When I woke up this morning it was pouring rain. It was a good thing I bought the rubbers. By the time I got to school it had stopped pretty well. We had grapefruit for breakfast to-day. We all stood on the school steps until 9 like a bunch of sheep in the cold and damp – it’s chilly down here. Then they sent us to the front door. They are painting and redecorating all the Normal except 2 or 3 classrooms and everything is in a fine mess. We went to the Assembly room and sang 2 or 3 songs and then the Principal talked. He told us that each teacher would tell us what books we need for each subject and since we haven’t had any classes yet I haven’t bought anything yet. Lectures begin to-morrow. Then all the girls in my group from C-H went to a classroom. We had to fill out registration forms and hand them in with our acceptance and our $2.00 for medical examination fee. I am to be examined to-morrow morning at 8:45. I didn’t see either Mary or Doris until we got to this classroom. Mary was in it. Then I went & got my locker key – .50¢ deposit fee for that and then we were free to come home.

I didn’t know whether to go to the fair this afternoon or not but finally decided to go. Got there about 2:30. Oh, yes, I forgot to tell you. The Normal bunch are not such hot lookers. There are four Catholic sisters there and one of them is in D. I hope I don’t have to run around with her. The girl who sat behind me to-day was Helen Crickshank from Sarnia. She is Scotch & says that they have no other relatives in this country. I was with 3 girls from Aylmer too who sat near me. I think that 2 of them are lively enough. David Hall & another fat guy from Ridgetown were there. I see by the paper to-night that there are 7 girls to 1 boy.

Now to go on with the Fair. I have been downstairs for a while. They have an electric heater & I got my feet nice and warm and am going to bed soon even if it is only 9:30. I walked around the Fair grounds from 2:30 until after 6 and then I didn’t see it all. The flowers were very nice – some are only ordinary but I think they have a nice show. There are lots of fruit and vegetables too. Ike, you should have been there. I heard the Beer Barrel Polka played about 20 times. I think a lot of it was records. There wasn’t a very big crowd there to-day.

I got your letter to-day. I’m glad to hear that Aunt Emmy is working hard. She’ll thaw out to-day. It has been very cold here until today. Ike, you hadn’t better have any more hysterics for a day or two. Well I had the medical examination this morning. It took an hour. It was a new doctor Dr. Lindsay and so he was pretty slow at it. He didn’t say anything about it. He knows Dr. Gillis. We had 3 classes after that but they aren’t doing an awful lot yet & I haven’t got to get many books yet. The mathematics teacher is a scream. We are to get a shot in the arm for a tubercular test right after dinner to-day. I don’t know what about coming home. I have to have all the public school readers but I don’t know whether I can get them second hand or not. I can get a Greyhound here at 5:26 in the afternoon so if you aren’t coming to the fair. I can come home on that. If you want to phone me you should do it at noon by 10 o’clock Friday. Everybody that can seems to be planning to go home. Don’t work too hard Ike. Helene.

1939 envelopepage 1pg 2 1939 letterpage 3pg 4

One thought on “September 12, 1939 – first letter home from London Normal School

  1. Pingback: London Normal School | The Farmhouse Chronicles

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