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When Duncan Elementary School lost its marbles

Royal Canadian Navy man Patrick and Newfoundland bride Mary Milino pose during the early days of their romance. Now 91 and 88 respectively, with eight kids, 17 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, the couple celebrated their 70th Wedding Anniversary on March 5 at the Oceanfront Suites in Cowichan Bay. They have lived in Duncan since 1956..  - courtesy Milino family
Royal Canadian Navy man Patrick and Newfoundland bride Mary Milino pose during the early days of their romance. Now 91 and 88 respectively, with eight kids, 17 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, the couple celebrated their 70th Wedding Anniversary on March 5 at the Oceanfront Suites in Cowichan Bay. They have lived in Duncan since 1956..
— image credit: courtesy Milino family

A great deal of the fun preparing for Ecole Duncan Elementary School’s 100th birthday tomorrow has been scooping up half-forgotten memories of school days in the two-storey heritage building.

Who knew, for instance, that there were trophies for the winners of their annual marbles tournaments? And that sometimes the results hit the pages of Vancouver’s Province newspaper?

In 1953, the boys were outclassed by the girls who took two of the three cups. Pamela Logan defeated Bobby Sidgwick and Jimmy Holden in the final game for six to seven-year-olds, while Norma Kerrone outplayed Kenny Foote and Gordon Jung to win in the ten years and over division. Fortunately for the boys, Jimmy Spinks was winner in the eight and nine-year-old group, defeating Christopher Gadsden and Kenny Ross.

Five holes were used, each three feet from the others. Three people played in a group with the first one to win two games being declared the winner.

Visitors to the 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. celebration at the school tomorrow can enjoy historical exhibits set up in three classrooms; be welcomed by former students Duncan Mayor Phil Kent and school district superintendent Joe Rhodes; and be on hand when a time capsule, sealed at the 75th anniversary, is opened.

1953: marbles

Sonja Young, former Duncan El student: “I totally remember playing marbles! We took the tournament very seriously and practiced for hours.” Brian Stott, former student: “I remember getting out of class to play in the marble tournaments!”

1953: pictures

Edna Castley (Green), Duncan El teacher 1924 – 28: “It was quite a big event getting our (school) picture taken. A man would come all the way from Victoria to do the job.”

1953: mountains

Bert Kyle, former Duncan El student: “I remember the time Jack Shadbolt, our home room teacher, took all the boys in our class up to the top of Mt. Prevost. It was quite an experience for a 12-year-old in those days.”

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