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Memories of the Old Valley Schoolhouse War Bride Poem by Hope Bridgewater

The Museum reviews and accepts donated personal or family memories and histories into its collection. As a learning institution, the accounts help us understand how individuals recollect, interpret, or construct meaning from lived experiences. The stories are not modified by Museum staff. The point of view expressed is that of the author and not that of the Museum.

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Memories of the Old Valley SchoolhouseBy Hope Bridgewater
Let’s call up the memories of the Old Valley Schoolhouse
And with its marvelous history espouse;
Yes, let’s call up the memories, the call of the past
The names of past students, a magnificent cast.
Barclay and Purdy and Beebe and Hunt
The nicest of people you’ll ever confront;
Letcher, McLellan, MacDonald and Swan
In music and history, they’ve always shone.
Weatherbee, Teed, and McNutt and MacPhee
They’re very well known for their pedigree;
Hunter and Smith and Langille and Brown
For brains and inventions they have renown.
One name we will honour on this special day
Ernest Cumming who died in his chosen way
Fighting the Nazis and their war of hate.
Ernest Cumming, we are calling you great.
Ernest Cumming, only son of Howard and Frances
He served in the Air Force, taking his chances;
A lone Spitfire pilot, he carried our missions
Of photo-reconnaissance in dangerous conditions.
He married in England and once said to his bride:
“A personal wish I’d like to confide
If I should die on a reconnaissance flight
Tell my parents I was out there doing what’s right”.
He went missing in action: no Mayday was heard
And he vanished alone, without saying a word;
And after the war, his wife, Anne, came to this Valley
To see Howard and Frances and help them to rally.
You can see on a hill a century old church
A cenotaph standing, with names you can search;
And a name written there on the black granite stone
Ernest Cumming, brave Spitfire pilot, is shown.
Names of descendants are here in this room
Barclay, Hunt, Letcher continue to bloom;
Waugh, Hyslop, Ramussen, Halliday, Wood
All work together to keep things looking good.
The Old Valley Schoolhouse is still standing proud
Witness today this wonderful crowd;
And memories of those who attended this hall
Live on in the spring, summer, winter and fall.