top of page


Although the characters and locations are historically accurate, some changes were made for the flow of the story:

The precise chronology of Marjory’s early teaching placements and sessions at Normal School has been slightly adjusted. Community history books occasionally conflict with the address on a letter or the details of a census, so it is difficult to determine exactly where she taught or studied and for how long. As best I can tell, Marjory’s early education and career path is as follows:

1909 - Completed Third Class Teaching Certificate.

November 1909 to July 1911 - Taught at Pinkerton School, Treherne, Manitoba.

Fall 1911 to December 1911 - Taught at Marland School, Oak River, Manitoba.

January 1912 to Fall 1912 - Unknown.

Fall 1912 to December 1912 - Return to teach at Pinkerton School.

January 1913 to July 1913 - Attended Normal School at Brandon Collegiate. Achieved Second Class Teaching Certificate.

July 1913 to December 1914 - Taught at Norquay, Saskatchewan.

January 1915 to July 1915 - Attended Normal School. Achieved First Class Teaching Certificate.

Fall 1916 to December 1917 - Possible return to Pinkerton, or at least Treherne.

January 1917 to July 1917 - Attended a course in Winnipeg for the teaching of Physical Education.

October 1917 - Attended a four-week course at the Manitoba Agricultural College.

Duration of 1917 - Unknown.

1918 - Taught at Miniota, Manitoba.

1919 to June 1920 - Unknown, perhaps at home, working on the farm.

July 1920 - Summer School in Physics and Chemistry

Fall 1920 to Summer 1921 - Taught at Isabella, Manitoba.

Fall 1921 - Possible start of teaching tenure at La Riviere, certainly by 1923 and until 1925.

Fall 1925 to Summer 1927 - Attended the University of Manitoba. Graduated with a Bachelor of Arts.

Fall 1927 - Returned to La Riviere, Manitoba as principal.


Mary and Allan McPhaden’s baby, Roy, passed away at five months in 1914, not 1917.

The school bell incident occurred not in the late-1920s but in the 1940s in Pilot Mound. Although Marjory’s actions are shocking to modern sensibilities (and quite possibly the sensibilities of the time), the Education Act of 1891 permitted teachers to act in place of parents in meting out discipline. The story was placed in the 1920s to focus on the year before Marjory’s marriage to Raleigh. Ivor Benson was, however, taught by Marjory in La Riviere, and he was lost over Norway during World War II.

Norah was used as Marjory’s travel companion in the car accident in 1959 to minimize the number of characters in the story. However, Lottie Smith, Raleigh’s sister, travelled with Marjory to Edmonton. Lottie and Marjory were close friends though Lottie was dismayed over Raleigh’s alcoholism and stayed with George and Barbara whenever visiting.

Also, Betty did not find Marjory after her stroke. Raleigh found her and called the hospital. She died shortly after.  

Another fictional story is Marjory’s interaction with the McLachlans at Pinkerton. Mary and Gordon McLachlan are listed on Marjory’s attendance record at the Pinkerton School, though the Treherne community history book does not refer to them. Marjory did replace the schoolteacher in the middle of the term, but the reason for this is unknown. Certainly, ill health or some other circumstance could have contributed to the departure, but rules regarding teacher conduct were stringent at that time. Ironically, according to one source, male teachers could spend an evening a week courting, but “Women teachers who marry or engage in other unseemly conduct will be dismissed.”[1] Women teachers, prior to the mid-19th century, were generally unmarried.[2] This rule could have contributed to the departure of the Pinkerton teacher in the middle of the term, but also sheds light on Marjory’s employment in the 1930s, after she was married.

The 1931 Census found only four percent of women teachers in Manitoba were married.[3] Yet, during the economically depressed 1930s, all married women on staff in the Winnipeg school division had to provide concrete evidence to their School Boards as to why they should keep their jobs.[4] During the depression years, “Only a few married women could show just cause for seeking employment by successfully proving their family conditions failed to meet normal expectations and they should remain employed as teachers.”[5]

Did Marjory have to argue for her employment or did the La Riviere school board understand she needed the work? No evidence remains, but perhaps Marjory was a dedicated professional whom the La Riviere School Board couldn’t bear to dismiss, even after her secret marriage (the sensational marriage announcement really was published in the Western Canadian newspaper, April 27, 1930), the birth of her children, and the fierce competition for teaching jobs during the Great Depression. The reason for her unlikely employment isn’t known.

Aside from these deviations, every effort was made to portray the facts unearthed in research accurately.


[1] J.W. Chafe, Chalk, Sweat and Cheers a history of The Manitoba Teachers’ Society commemorating its fiftieth anniversary 1919-1969 (Winnipeg: The Hunter Rose Company, 1969), 11.

[2] Ashby, Suzanne. “The History of Women Educators in Manitoba Between the Years 1880 and 1940.” Athabasca University, History 363, 2009, pp. 9–12.

[3] Kinnear, Mary. In Subordination: Professional Women 1870 - 1970, p. 139.

[4] “Should Married women be permitted to hold Job? Yes!”, Winnipeg Tribune, Jan 24, 1947.

[5] Mary Kinnear, In Subordination: Professional Women 1870 - 1970, 124.

bottom of page