Great teachers are never forgotten and one of those special teachers was Mr., J. L. Laurie who was my first home room teacher at C.H.H.S… If I close my eyes, I can still hear his British tones reading the Bible each morning. John Laurie gave a gift of the love of the English language to me and to countless other students who passed through his classes. One morning, in the midst of an English class, there was a knock on the door. This was very unusual. Mr. Laurie walked over to the door and opened it and there stood a Native American woman dressed in buckskin and beads and she appeared to be upset. Our teacher quickly stepped out into the hallway and left the class on its own. When the bell rung, there was no sign of either of them. One student said “He does a lot for the Indians”. That seemed to be the end of the matter and we never heard any more
Somehow or other I along with my good friend Beth Robertson had the honour and privilege to pick out a Christmas gift to Mr. Laurie from the class. I guess we had taken up a collection. Beth and I went shopping and we bought a hand painted necktie. It had a tee-pee and a small fire on it. We thought it was quite elegant. I think we got it at the Bay on the main floor.
Mr. Laurie smiling accepted our gift and he wore the tie to school on more than one occasion along with his white shirt and very proper jacket.
It was a year or two later when Beth, who was smarter than I and whose Dad taught at Central, and as teachers do talk to one another, might have had some personal knowledge, remarked that we had given him that “awful tie” and he wore it so the students would not have been disappointed.
John Laurie continued to make Shakespeare and all of the English classes fun and easy to learn.