Florence (left) and Pauline (right) spend time together in the beautiful garden atrium.
The dining room of Royal Atrium Inn Assisted Living is not just a place for meals; it is where bonds are formed and memories are shared.
Florence Martinie, a Royal Atrium Inn resident, was conversing with two friends in the dining room when she mentioned her childhood education at Ovens School. Pauline Meeuwsen, a fellow resident, immediately chimed in after overhearing the conversation from a nearby table. She told Florence that she also attended Ovens School. In what Pauline describes as a “pleasant surprise,” both women recognized each other as former classmates. Not only did Pauline and Florence attend the same school, but they were also the only two students in their graduating class. The women couldn’t believe they had found each other after over eighty years had passed since their classroom days.
Ovens School was founded around 1885 in Olive Township. The one-room schoolhouse provided an education for students through eighth grade. Florence attended Ovens School for all of her grade school years, while Pauline was a student there only two years. Florence was previously the only student in her grade but Pauline’s arrival in the seventh grade created an instant friendship. “I finally had someone in class besides me,” Florence says.
Despite describing themselves as “plain farmgirls,” Pauline and Florence created lighthearted memories together inside and outside of the classroom. The two girls would sit together during lessons, visit each other’s houses, and play games together. Their bond was a significant part of their time at Ovens School.
Pauline has been a part of the Royal Atrium Inn community since March of 2020, while Florence arrived in November of 2021. Their recent reunion was a blessing to both of their lives. They continue to talk about their treasured moments of the past, from academic lessons to memories of laughter and amusement. Above all, Florence and Pauline are thankful for their experiences at Oven School, despite how much schools have changed.
“I’m grateful for what we had,” Florence says. Royal Atrium Inn has been the perfect place for this special, long-lasting friendship to continue beyond the classroom eighty years later.
Circa 1935: Florence is in the far-right corner standing beside her classmates during the third grade.