Tuesday, July 13, 2010

View From The Bridge 7-14-10

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

It was not quite a whole day but we did spend six hours with Charlotte Caldwell on Tuesday, the 6th. We started out at 10:00 a.m. and returned to Fort Benton at 4:00 p.m. We had a very interesting day and much of the interest for us was watching a professional photographer at work.

We started out on the Northeast Mail Route and the first schoolhouse we reached was the Elim School. It is in very good condition and is presently being used as a meeting room. Tuesday was that weird weather day when it rained buckets in one area and the next area had no rain at all. So far, so good, no rain.

We crossed Chalk Bluffs and it was beautiful with the sun shining and making the rocks look even whiter. We went to the location of the West Wayside School that is no longer there. Does anyone know what happened to it?

At this point, I will regress and tell you that Charlotte appreciates all of you who called me to tell about your one room schoolhouse. I gave her quite a long list and she will follow up on all of those that are still standing. She is also very interested in those schoolhouses that have been moved to another location. She is depending on your knowledge and memories to locate those schools. She is also interested in teacherages. For instance, the Lower Shonkin School was moved to the Shonkin Store owned by Ron Grossman and the teacherage was moved to the Bishop property. The flagpole was moved to the Highfill Ranch. These are interesting little tid-bits and Charlotte would appreciate more.

Charlotte does not want to take pictures of empty spaces where school may have been. She thinks that this book will take two to three years to complete as she is taking photos of the schoolhouses all over the State of Montana. She will be returning to Fort Benton in October. In the meanwhile, please continue to call me with your information at 622-3217 (after 2:00 p.m.) and on my cell phone (if you have Verizon) at 899-1380 (after 9:00 a.m.) If it is long distance, you can call me after 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time.

The journey continued as we headed toward Loma (for lunch,) and came to the cattle mutilation area that Wally experienced a story years ago. Charlotte was fascinated by the story and we then continued on to Loma. It began to rain buckets and as we approached Ken Ritland’s, he drove out of his driveway in his truck and we stopped to chat. His advice was not to go any further on that road because it was flooded out. We took his advice and turned around to the Loma Bridge Road. It stopped raining and began again (buckets,) after we sat down at Ma’s for lunch.

Because of the muddy roads, we decided not to take the shortcut from Loma to the Chester Highway. We returned to the Fort Benton area, took the Chester Highway, and made a right on the Pleasant Valley Road. We quickly found the Pleasant Valley Schoolhouse that has been converted into a home. It is painted blue and Charlotte asked if all the schoolhouses were always painted white and they were.

We then preceded a couple of miles and we could see the Vimy Ridge School three miles away on the horizon. Since we left Loma, there had been no rain and the roads were dry. We proceeded two miles on the dry road and suddenly, although there was still no rain, we came to a “gumbo road.” I drove about a half mile in that gumbo until we came to a hill. At the bottom of the hill, there was a lake. I made an executive decision not to go any further and had to drive back through the gumbo with Wally (back seat driver) telling me to drive faster. Mud was flying every which way but I made it to the dry road. What a relief and Charlotte will have to wait until October to get her photos of Vimy Ridge. (Note: I did wash the car immediately upon our return to Fort Benton so the gumbo would not dry. If it hardened, I would have to live with it forever.)

At 4:30 that afternoon, Charlotte met with the Arnst’s and said she had a very good and informative time with them.

She met the next morning with Betty Bowman from Highwood who had taught in six one-room schoolhouses and they had a great visit. Later that day, she met with Hank Armstrong about the Geraldine area schoolhouses. She said that she felt that her visit to Fort Benton was very successful and that the cooperation she received was unparalleled. We can hardly wait for your return Charlotte, as you brought some excitement into our lives.

Three visitors from Regina were in Fort Benton on Sunday. The President and CEO of the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police,) Heritage Center, Robin Etherington, with two friends of the Centre, John and Judy Worthington, were on a “fort hunt” one week jaunt They planned on visiting Wood Mountain Post, Fort Assiniboine, Fort Benton, Writing On Stone, Fort Whoop Up, Head Smashed-In, and Fort McLeod.

The RCMP Heritage Center in Regina is three years old and has displays that would fascinate any history buff. The exhibits are the Founding of the Northwest Mounted Police in 1873, (name was changed in later years to RCMP,) Recruiting for RCMP, The March west in 1874, and Jerry Potts link with Fort Benton, Sitting Bull in 1877, a special exhibit of the 125th anniversary of the Depot, The Boar, WW I and II, Bosnia, Haiti, and Afghanistan Wars, Forensics, Transportation over time, and Programming to cover all exhibits.

The summer hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and winter hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. If you were in that area, the Heritage Center would be a must to visit.

A few years ago a caravan of three school busses left Fort Benton and the destination was Fort Walsh in the Cypress Hills. The busses made stops in Loma, Big Sandy, and Havre to pick up other passengers. Fort Walsh is a completely restored fort with attendants dressed in period costumes. Memory tells me that we were there most of the day.

The highlight of the trip was “The Musical Ride.” What a thrill to watch approximately thirty RCMP looking as though they had been cloned, (they were identically dressed including the shiniest boots ever seen.) Their horses were also identical and their performance is called “The Musical Ride” because the maneuvers the horses were put through look as though they are dancing. It was the most awesome show that all of us had ever seen. Wally suggested that this was the kind of show that should be presented at the Super Bowl. Quite sure that all Senior Citizens would agree as we do not understand a word they are singing and the bang, bang, bang, during the half time show. “That’s entertainment?”  “The Musical Ride” will be performing at Regina on September 4th. If you want a get-a-way for Labor Day, Regina would be the place to visit. Trust me when I say that “The Musical Ride” is the show of a lifetime.

Cathy Burtch tells me that she only has about 15 t-shirts left in sizes 2, 3, and 4 XL. If you are interested and missed out during the festivities, call her at 406-490-1180. I am sure that they are the neatest shirts we have ever had as 500 shirts were sold very quickly.

Show me a person who is asked to give more…and more…and more, and I’ll show you a volunteer. Author Unknown.

This is the last of the Volunteer quotations. There is no way to check but if one person volunteered, it was worth putting it in the View.

Don’t forget Saturday the 17th from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. to be at the Old Fort Park. I said that I would see you there but Murphy’s Law prevails again. A person can sit around for weeks with nothing going on in their lives and then wham; you have two or three events on one day. My grandson, Bryan Graupmann, (who lives in Great Falls) is playing the Shrine Football Game in Butte on Saturday evening. I will also see Kelsey Lippert from our own Longhorns in the game. I love football but do not like it when a player is injured in this contact sport. Kelsey knows all about that as he has had the experience. Go Longhorns and Rustlers.

I will see you at the Farmer’s Market on Thursday evening. It started out slow last week but it is sure to pick up. It perks my appetite just to think about those fresh veggies.

I am still looking for pictures of Servicemen and women’s pictures. Please take the time to get them to me. GOD BLESS AMERICA AND ALL OUR ARMED FORCES OVER THERE.