Heritage: My Ambition to Teach Was Fulfilled

by Annie Coleman (Kerr) Sexton, published in Stanton Stats February 17, 1995

My ambition was to teach school and Mother’s thrift in saving pennies enabled me to attend high school in Deloraine to get Grade 11 (highest grade taught there then), and then three months of Normal School in Winnipeg. How I loved Winnipeg. I’m eternally grateful to Mother for that schooling; it enriched my life.

It didn’t seem to hurt my friendships at school because my clothes were few and plain. What I missed was not being able to skate [because there was] no money for that and not being able to dance. That wasn’t from a lack of money, but because Father didn’t believe in dancing. However, later in life he did.

When I was on my own and earning money, I learned to skate and dance but at my age was never proficient in either one. I was also able to pay back the money to Mother and get her a few things she wanted.

My first school was Mountainside near Turtle Mountain. After two years there, I taught at Whitewater school two years. Then I taught at Percival, Saskatchewan two years where all but one of my pupils was Swedish. There were difficulties at first but I learned to understand their ways and we got along fine.

Now with all the new teaching methods I wonder what I taught them — at least they got plenty of the three “R’s”. My Inspectors always gave me a good report, but, today they would be out of date too.

[In the] Winter of 1916 I spent three months taking Home Economics in College at Winnipeg. I had a wonderful time. Sue was in Winnipeg. [Then] Mother refused to stay alone when Father was coming and going on his hunts and said I had to stay with her. Much as I didn’t want to stay, I never thought of opposing her. [There] followed a year of unhappiness; Mother allowed no one to take over household duties and I had nothing to do.

Finally in October 1917, I married Justus Sexton, the man next door. We lived on a farm three miles from my old home. I had never wanted to live on a farm and it took a few years for me to be reconciled to it. Today when I drive through the country and understand about the crops and fields I’m glad of those farming years.