“SOO-SU-PRESS — circa 1944

Elida Peers writes about the history of the Sooke region.

Long before the Internet and emails, Sooke’s students were in newspaper mode.

In 1944, when the excerpts below from the school’s newspaper, Soo-Su-Press were composed, Sooke Superior School, the only school in town, had four classrooms.

Posed with the harbour as background, the senior class included many of the editorial crew of the monthly paper with their teacher and principal, Wilfred Orchard.  Back, l to r: Bill Rumsby (think Seniors Housing – Ayre Manor); Pat Forrest (think commercial fishing); Allan Milligan (hotel manager’s son); Laurie Wilson (became Victoria teacher); Pete Hansen (Sooke logging family); Ardy Wickheim (think world champion log burling). Centre: Hank Hanson (rose to head Western Forest Products Ltd);  Marie Jensen (pioneer descendant); Edna Pontious (president of the All-Round School Club); Hedie Kaulitz (of Shirley, editor of paper); Gwen Jenner (her mom became high school home ec teacher); Allan King (better known as Air-Raid – refugee from Britain);  Front: Audrey Sullivan (today’s Audrey Wilson, Harbourside Lions); Elaine Sheilds (think Sheilds Road); Daphne Lavender (policeman’s dtr); Thelma Brailsford (Brailsford Place is named for her brother, lost overseas); Joan Rumsby (raised large family in U.S.); Norah Wadams (Wadams farm on Church Rd.); Merle Forrest (these historic editions were given us by Merle in Nanaimo).

“Social Slander” was the column penned by Daphne Lavender, quoted here: “The girls’ styles haven’t changed very much … it is noted however that shorter skirts are the latest fashion for big and little girls… owing to the materials shortage, I believe.” Daphne closed with humour:  ‘As the shoe-lace said to the finger, ‘Why knot?’”

“Sports” was Pat Forrest’s domain, excerpted here:  “The boys have been playing football in the field lately … but it sure is a nice quiet game … they only have a couple corpses a day …”

In the June 1944 edition, assistant editor Audrey Sullivan wrote: “The War Savings have been very good of late …. You are getting along wonderfully, so keep up the good work during the holidays. Now that the invasion has started we will have to buy more than ever to help in our way to ‘Back the Attack’ …  So long, pals and I hope you have lots of fun on your summer vacation.”

Elida Peers,

Historian

Sooke Region Museum