"I loved chocolate and couldnt afford it, so I would look at it," she
says. It was the Depression.
J. F. Carmichael, principal of Victoria Public School and Callwoods teacher in
Grades 7 and 8, stopped and asked her how her summer was going.
Callwood replied, like one was supposed to, "Just fine."
But that wasnt really true. "I was a complete misfit. My clothes
werent right. I was out of sync with everybody and felt very strange. Thats
when I did a lot of reading. It contributed to my career choices."
The founder of Casey House hospice still remembers her teachers kindness.
"He thought it over," she says, "and he said to me, You have the
highest IQ we have ever tested."
Callwood wasnt flattered at all. She was relieved. For the girl who had skipped
three grades and was out of sync with her classmates, his statement explained why she
didnt fit in. "For the first time, it wasnt my fault that I didnt
get along with people in the class. There was this goofy reason. To get something positive
about myself at that time in my life was hugely important.
"He did it so deliberately," she remembers, "that I have always felt he
knew exactly my misery and figured this might help. And it did."
Callwood remembers Carmichael, who taught her for two years, as a tiny man with
snow-white hair. "He was particular about grammar. He got me interested in the
mechanics of grammar and contributed hugely to my ability to put together a sentence.
Whenever I do it, its because of him that I am able to."
Callwood moved to the English Protestant school in Kitchener from a French Roman
Catholic school in Belle River when she was 10 and in Grade 7.
Carmichael was respected by everyone. A school in Kitchener bears his name. Callwood
still has his picture on her wall.
Brantford Collegiate history teacher Freda Summaby also made a lasting impression on
the author of Portrait of Canada and more than a dozen other books, including Emma:
Canadas Unlikely Spy, Twelve Weeks in Spring, and Jim: A Life with AIDS.
"She loved history and taught it as a good story," says Callwood. "I
think it was British Empire, but whatever she was teaching, the people who were moving
through those events were people you understood. You felt their triumphs and losses."
Summaby must have been a romantic and had a life of the imagination, remarks Callwood,
even though she didnt look it. According to Callwood, Summaby looked "very dry,
very spare. But she was full of passion for history and communicated it to me.
"I guess I was teachers pet that year," she says. "I have loved
history every since. She made me a great gift."
Callwood corresponded with Summaby until her death. "Luckily," says Callwood,
"I told her how grateful I was that she was such a wonderful teacher and how much I