Her last one in 1959 was in a structure so up-to-date it served hot lunches to 300 pupils, and at each pupil-entrance was a mud room with individual compartments for outdoor footwear. This was at Dawson Creek – the first was in a new district outside of Prince George.
Mrs. Gething had to find that first schoolhouse herself, and she had no books, desks, or supplies of any kind.
“Brown paper did very nicely for windows as long as I was there, Easter to June,” she explains nonchalantly. “I moved in before supplies came from a town thirty miles away. My first meal, obtained locally, was boiled eggs and potatoes, no trimmings whatever. I enjoyed it thoroughly.”
She became handy with a .22 to discourage pack rats on midnight visits. “I also shot rabbits, the only meat I had during my term there.” She borrowed a cot, bedding, dished and other necessities.
Before moving in, Mrs. Gething (then Miss Jean McLarty) had boarded with a family of six children in a one-room log cabin. The boys were lifted to the attic at night, parents and baby retired behind a curtain in one corner, and Jean slept with the girls behind a curtain in another corner.
“On the whole my teaching experiences in the Peace River District have been pleasant,” she recalls. But sometimes she walked a long way in 30 to 40 below weather, and then built a fire herself to warm the school.
Early in her teaching career she married and had one daughter. “At the time [the baby] was due, I was living in Hudson Hope and had to travel in an open mail sleigh 125 miles to the hospital in Pouce Coupe.”
Mrs. Gething, whose husband died young, has taught all grades up to eleven, but for the past twenty years primary grades have engaged her attention, mostly grade one.
This year her own grandson was in her class in Dawson Creek. [July 25, 1959]