Education: Bush Teachers

The oddest gandy-dancer on the railroads in Manitoba during the summer of 1926 was a 6-ft. 4-in. American medical student named Ben Spock, who owned a resplendent red handlebar mustache and an oilcloth blackboard. After a ten-hour day of shoveling gravel and sand to keep the railroad track from sinking into the muskeg, Spock would wipe the sweat from his mustache, wolf a huge supper, and unroll his blackboard. His afterhours task: teaching basic English to 40 sunburned Galician laborers. "I didn't get very far," recalls Dr. Spock, who has since lost the mustache, become a pediatrician and won wide fame...

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