March 3 and I gave up on Amazon, cancelled my stationery bike order and ordered one from Walmart who promised delivery on March 12. Two days later I received an email from them telling me the order was delayed but did not give me a new date. They wrote the next day and said it was cancelled, no explanation. More stair climbing
March 4, 1971 do you remember it? This is the 50th anniversary of Montreal’s huge snow storm with 40 plus cm of snow driven by ferocious, swirling, high winds. Al Thompson (Class of 1960) and I, both employed by CP Rail, left work around noon and took the Metro to Longueuil but no busses were running. The only way home was by snow mobile but owners were asking $30 for a ride which we were not going to pay. We took the Metro back to Montreal and to kill time watched a movie at Bonaventure Cinema. We then wandered over to CN’s Central Station to grab the 5:30 commuter train to St. Lambert. Good idea however it wasn’t moving anytime soon as snow had clogged all the yard switches.
I know this will shock you but, we got off the train and went to a little convenience store on the CN station concourse and bought a case of 12 Molson. We drank a few and passed out the rest to friends on the train. It was finally able to leave at about 8:30 PM after the switches had been cleared of snow, pulling in to St. Lambert about 8:50. We walked home. I had about a 1/2 mile trek to Ville Lemoyne and Al 3 1/2 miles to Provencher Avenue in Brossard. Most of the walk was down Victoria Avenue which thankfully had a strip plowed down the middle and was completely void of any moving vehicles. It was an eerie, almost surreal sight, completely white, with snow drifted over car roof tops burying them, you could literally walk over them. The next two days were spent digging out – ah the good old days.
Speaking of Al, he wrote and informed me he just had his second knee replacement and was doing well, rehabbing at home in Mini Lakes, a new modular home community near Aberfoyle and Guelph. I have lost count of the number of times he has moved since his retirement but he must be approaching some kind of record.
On March 11, I had an appointment with my new GP. My old Doctor was 75 years old and she decided to pull pin once and for all last fall. She had been threatening to do it for two years. You can go on a government waiting list and they will try to find someone for you but it might take a year or more. The situation in Ontario is similar, I’ve had my brother on a wait list for 15 months. Anyway, I joined a semi private Co-op in Laprairie and was able to find someone in two months. She appears to be about 30 years old but it was hard to tell because we were both wearing masks during the appointment. It was quite a relief to be able to get someone who will outlive me and probably won’t be retiring soon.
That night we had our first indication of spring but not the one I expected or hoped for. I awoke about 1:00 AM to a terrible stench, it smelled like a skunk had gotten into the house. It must have been disturbed by one of the tom cats that roam the neighborhood or perhaps the neighbor’s dog and sprayed very close to the bedroom window. This happens every once and a while in the summer when I sleep with the window open but never in March.
March 12, received my first Pfizer vaccine dose - much earlier than expected. I was accused by some of jumping the queue because my wife and I went to the Montreal General Hospital for our shot when the South Shore/Montérégie district was only taking people over 80, lagging far behind other areas in Quebec. My second dose is scheduled for July 2, 120 days out. Yes you read right, Quebec is delaying second doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines 120 days so that more people can get an earlier, first shot, even though the pharmaceutical companies recommend 3 & 4 weeks respectively. They have not been transparent about what level of risk this involves but, we really don’t have a choice, it is a “trust me” situation. So, it will be mid-July before I have the full beneficial effect of the vaccine and will have to continue mask wearing and distancing.
Sad news on the night of March 12. I received a call from Dave Saunders (Class of 1963) letting me know that our longtime good friend and curling buddy, Neil Alexander, had passed away during the night. Neil had recently undergone major heart surgery and had suffered a stroke while in the hospital. He had been recovering at home and making progress but not yet back to anywhere near normal when he passed away.
March 20 and the weather has improved, up to 7 C or 45 F. I saw a Robbin in the back yard, my first real sign of spring. About half the yard is free of snow and temperatures are expected to get up to plus 14 C in a few days with only sunshine in the forecast. I’m not saying we are out of the woods yet but this is really encouraging.
March 22 and some disturbing news from St. Lambert Elementary. A student tested positive for the UK Covid 19 variant. All students in the class and students travelling on the same school bus were sent home for a two week quarantine. Teachers, who the government assumes are low risk, have to stay in school and teach.
My daughter teaches at Heritage in St. Hubert and that high school has five full classes of students and bus mates sent home because of positive variant tests. At least they can be taught remotely. All Quebec students will be begin full time, in school learning on March 29, much to the chagrin of teaches who have not yet been vaccinated and are not on Quebec’s priority list.
March 25 saw record temperatures of 21 C with violent thunder storms at about 3:30 AM, so violent many thought there had been an earthquake. By evening all snow on my property had melted. More heavy rain has been predicted for the next couple of days
And yes I did buy another beer kit, American Pale Ale, which should be ready by mid-April. I was hoping to get a Pilsner again but supplies are scarce, kind of like vaccines in Canada. This will be Pandemic batch 5, I’ll let you know how it turns out.
Thanks to Winston Evans, Bob Wrigley and Fred Hore for their contributions. If it wasn’t for them and my joke providers, mainly Jim Baxter and Rob Ellicott, I don’t know what we would do. So folks, once again please send any material you can get your hands on, or create - stories, pictures, art work whatever might be of interest to our readers.
Until next month try to stay safe and if you haven’t already, get your shot. We should be out of this mess by the end of summer.
Welcome New and Renewing Alumni Association Members
Class of 1965
From Longueuil, QC
Class of 1985 ( Left CCHS in 1983)
Rene van der Aa
Class of 1963
From St. Lambert, QC
Suzanne Hubbard (Dean)
Class of 1970
From Ottawa, ON
Please renew now.
Class of 1960
Hope you are well, and your next batch of brew meets your expectations. I always enjoy your editorials. Good writing and interesting stuff.
A bit if history about Charles Kobelt:
Charles Kobelt's family lived up the street from us on Maple between Green and Lesperance. They all went to St Lambert High School at 81 Green Street. Charles was born the same year and was in the same class as my cousin (the late) Ann Green Scott (who married the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada (Elwin Scott), who signed the back of the printed banknotes of the day and was a key figure in Canadian financial circles until his untimely death at an early age).
I told a grad of St L H S, Joe Dorning, about this obit, and he said Chuck was known as a brilliant student. At that time, the Dornings and the Kobelts were neighbours on Maple, and they lived next to Dave "Blimp" McCallum, who played Pro-Ball a few years later, in the CFL, with Saskatchewan. Of course, they were all several years older than I, but I still remember the family, and I recall people calling him Charlie. I also remember his brother Harry. A few doors from their home, Mr. & Mrs. Cherrie had a nephew staying with them throughout the war. The lad had been sent out from Britain to escape the bombardment. His name was Bill Milner, and he returned to England at the end of the war. We lived a few doors down the street from the Kobelts, not too far from Fred Harris, and close to Green Street.
Some trivia: Behind the row of dwellings on the east side of Maple Avenue (close to Lesperance) was "Farmer Johnson's Rink", which he created voluntarily each Winter. It stretched from Lesperance almost halfway down the block to behind Mr. Cherrie’s house. It was regulation size with boards and proper nets. That rink, and another large open area behind where CCHS is located at 675 Green Street near Tiffin, and a rink on St Denis behind St Michael's Academy, Logan Park, and an area down at the Dulwich swamp, and on the trail leading to Alexandra Ave. were places youngsters went to skate and play hockey "back in the day". We're talking late 30s and early 40s.
The rink behind the houses on Maple pre-dates the Lesperance rink which you and I skated on, and the Sports Centre known as “The Pit”, all of which came before today's enclosed hockey arena and other facilities.
I was too young to skate on Farmer Johnson's Rink, but my brother, Derek, recalls it. Joe Dorning and Don Green said the hockey teams used to change in Farmer Johnson's basement. Everyone playing helped to clean the ice, and after a heavy snow, even the neighbours chipped in and shovelled snow.
The Johnsons had four boys of their own who also skated. One became a university academic. Two of them were in the RCAF during the war, and one of those lads (Britt Johnson) lost his life flying food and provisions in Europe during the Berlin Blockade. Another one, Dave, died in Malaysia while working for Shell Oil. Two brothers who were grads of St LHS, Tommy, and George Hale Jr., who played for McGill in the University League, before becoming respectively a Cardiac Specialist with the Montreal General Hospital and a Dentist practicing in St Lambert, started out playing ice hockey on Farmer Johnson’s Rink.
The more "recent" (1950s era) sports ventures (Baseball, Ice Hockey, Track & Field) were initiated by the St Lambert CSA (Community Sports Association) launched by a few community-minded citizens (including our own St L HS & CCHS teacher, Ian Hume, and a graduate of St L HS, Dougie Parsons), and it was advanced by several WWII veterans on their return from the war. Jim Gilbert, in charge of Parks and Playgrounds on the St L City Council, was instrumental in advancing this cause. They'd seen such horrors in Burma and Hong Kong, Europe, and North Africa, they were committed to doing positive things for kids in St Lambert. I am sure you've heard many stories yourself, from some of those Canadian veterans.
On another note: With the curfew, and the enforcement of red Zone regional restrictions, Quebec has surpassed many places in Canada in dealing with the deadly COVID scourge, and caseloads have begun to drop. There's no road map for any government on how to handle the problem, so we've all done a lot of flying blind. The regulations restrict everyone, but our efforts to defeat the disease are beginning to show results. Now, let's hope the Vaccines help us stave off another wave. It's just too bad we got hit so severely in Quebec a year ago, when no one knew what to do. That made our mortality rate skyrocket before most other places got hit.
Be well and stay safe Harvey and get your COVID-19 Vaccination jab ASAP.
Would you like to what St. Lambert looks like today?
If you would like to have a current (up-to-date) picture, to help clear your mind or jog your memory, just ask. What you ask for is what we’ll make sure you see, with explanations of some of the changes that are sure to have taken place.
Frederic Hore - Class of 1970 / Antarctica Expedition Jan 2016
Old and New
Photo ©2020 Frederic Hore. All Rights Reserved.
(Click image to view larger)
After some 42 months of intense construction, the northbound lanes of the magnificent new Samuel de Champlain bridge spanning the St Lawrence River, opened on June 24, 2019 at 5am. It was hard to believe, but there was a traffic jam at 4:40am, as drivers and motorcyclists eagerly waited to cross! The southbound lanes to the South Shore and Brossard opened a week later on July 1st, for Canada Day.
The 3.4km long, eight-lane bridge features four lanes in each direction, with a designated express bus lane, and a pedestrian walkway on the east side, providing superb views of the city skyline. The new REM light rail rapid transit line currently under construction, will run in a separate center route. It is projected to open in 2022.
The signature, 551ft tall twin concrete towers, anchor the cable stays used to support the central span over the St Lawrence Seaway. The longest span between piers, which crosses the marine channel, is 215.5 meters long / 707.02 feet
The old bridge is presently being demolished, with most of the materials being captured and recycled. It will take three years to complete the demolition process. The Sameul de Champlain Bridge is the busiest in Canada, with the highest annual volume of vehicles.
Honouring our Health Care Workers
Photo ©2020 Frederic Hore. All Rights Reserved.
(Click image to view larger)
The Nouveau Samuel de Champlain bridge superstructure is lit up in colours of a rainbow, in solidarity, support, peace and love for Montreal’s health care and front line workers battling the coronavirus, in this photo taken on April 19, 2020.
It was quite calm when I started photographing the bridge at 7:30pm. Then the winds picked up and the rain came - I had a hard time keeping my lenses dry! When I looked at some of the images, especially views of the bridge taken from higher ground, they took on a soft, almost a mystical look. It seemed appropriate.
The distinctive, minimalist, curving bridge was designed for aesthetic appeal by the Danish firm Dissing+Weitling, in collaboration with Arup Canada and Provencher Roy. With more than 7,800 LED lamps, the lighting can be programmed in infinite patterns and colours.
The glowing apartment towers viewed to the right of the bridge, are located on Nun's Island/Isle des Soeurs in Verdun.
This image aired on CTV Montreal on April 20, 2020.
Bob Wrigley Class of '61
Editor's Note: Bob sends me a lot of material including some really funny jokes. The way I figure it, in 10 years, if we live that long, you will have read the complete book “Chasing Nature” in the Newsletter. But why wait, buy a copy now and start reading.
Copies may be obtained by contacting:
Dr. Robert Wrigley
505 Boreham Blvd,
Cost of Chasing Nature
$55; shipping $17; total $72
How to Catch a Flying Squirrel
Excerpt from Robert Wrigley's new book entitled; "Chasing Nature: An Ecologist's Lifetime of Adventures and Observations."
While I was attending the University of Illinois, a fellow student asked me if I would assist him in capturing live specimens of the Southern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys volans) for his thesis experiment. Always pleased to have an excuse to head out into the field, I gladly agreed to his request, and then enquired what he expected of me. My experience in capturing the larger Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) in southern Quebec was with rat traps nailed to fallen trees, where scratch marks on the bark had revealed their presence. My friend just answered to be patient and he would show me his technique, using a baseball bat and a fishing net. I was intrigued.
The following Saturday, we travelled to a mature oak-hickory woodland near Urbana, and began searching for trees with a hole situated high up in the trunk. We soon found one, and my friend proceeded to whack the tree with his bat, using considerable force. To my astonishment, a flying squirrel shot out the hole and made its escape with a beautiful glide to the base of an adjacent tree trunk, about 15 m away. The squirrel then scampered up into the tree canopy where we lost sight of it. He marked both trees with red tape, and then we continued searching for other squirrel holes. By late afternoon we had located and marked six sites in the same manner.
Returning the next day, my friend handed me the bat and instructed me to strike the tree when he gave me a signal, and then he hid behind the landing tree, with his fish net in hand. Hearing his whistle, I did my best rendition of a Mickey Mantle swing of the bat, and right on cue, the same squirrel departed on its long glide to its traditional landing spot. I called out that our quarry was in the air, and my friend jumped out at the last second and snared the squirrel in mid-air, as easily as if he were catching a butterfly. So simple a method, but it worked perfectly. No wonder I find field work so exciting and enjoyable.
I kept one flying squirrel in the mammalogy lab at the University to observe its behaviour, and it soon became quite tame, unlike a captive Red Squirrel which remained so wild that I finally released it. The flying squirrel liked to perch on my shoulder, and when someone approached, it bobbed its head sideways quickly, back and forth, judging the distance with its large black eyes. Then, as if it had springs in its legs, it leapt in a graceful arc to land on the chest of the other person, touching down as lightly as a feather, whereupon it ran up to the person’s shoulder, ready for its next jump. One other thing struck me about my little pet. As soon as it sat in my palm, I could feel a rapid buildup of warmth (actually coming from my hand), so excellent was its dense insulating fur coat. I marvelled at its flattened, feather-like tail, which it used to maintain lift when gliding, dodge between branches, and to stall into a vertical position on landing. When several years later it finally died of old age, I prepared its skin and skeleton, and deposited them in the research collection of the Manitoba Museum. It will reside there in a tray for centuries, silent testament to the wonderful adaptations of this beautiful species.
From then on, I had a ‘soft spot’ for flying squirrels. I enjoyed watching the larger Northern Flying Squirrel gliding among the trees and landing on the roof of the Manitoba Naturalists' cabin at Victoria Beach in Manitoba. A flashlight beam did not seem to bother them in the least, and so my wife Gail, two young sons Mark and Rob, and I found it fascinating to observe their antics on many a dark evening. Since flying squirrels are nocturnal, people are completely unaware that they occur regularly in parks and wooded areas near their homes. While populations of the Southern Flying Squirrel are secure in the United States, those in the Carolinian Forest region of southern Ontario (its main range in Canada) has now been rated as “Special Concern,’ due to over 80% loss of its habitat from agriculture and development.
One other incident about the Northern Flying Squirrel I found intriguing. A trapper from northern Manitoba gave me a dead specimen that he had caught in his trapline, and when I skinned it to prepare a museum specimen, I found a large (25 mm) and very sharp winter bud of a Balsam Popular lying between the soft skin and chest muscles. The squirrel must have impaled itself while landing on a branch, and the needle-sharp bud imbedded itself inside its body. Remarkably, the injury had healed perfectly, with no sign of infection or irritation. Even the bud appeared remarkably fresh. It then occurred to me that poplars produce a sticky balsam resin (sometimes referred to as ‘Balm-of-Gilead’), which is known for its antiseptic properties; perhaps the reason that the resin-coated bud did not result in an infection and subsequent death of the squirrel. An ointment made from Balsam Poplar winter buds has been used for centuries to treat skin conditions and chest congestion, and to reduce pain.
Brita Housez (Stolz)
Class of '63
Sweet Potato Mania
We still have several copies of Brita’s book but you had better buy soon.
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Charles Alexander Kobelt
Class of 1941
1925 - 2021
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing Charles (Chuck / Charlie) Kobelt on January 29, 2021, attended by his family at the Grace Village. He joins his cherished wife, Alice, who passed away 11 years ago and has been waiting for him to continue their journey together. Charles was predeceased by his parents, Charles and Florence, his sister Dolly, and his brothers Harry and James. Cherished father of Keith (Claudette), Donald (Ann), Mary (Mitchell), Jo-Anne (Louis) and Charles (Kelley); beloved grandfather of Christopher, Heather, Alexander, Lillian and Frankie; great-grandchildren Ophelia, Finnegan and James. He leaves to mourn Maureen Bean whom he married in his later years.
The Kobelt family would like to thank all the staff at the Grace Village for their dedicated and loving care. To honour the excellent care and compassion provided to our dad, a donation to the Grace Village Foundation would be greatly appreciated in lieu of flowers: gracevillage.ca/donations.
Due to the circumstances surrounding the pandemic, a celebration of his life will be held at a later date.
Class of 1948
Margaret MacKay Mooney died peacefully on Thursday, February 18, 2021, at the Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KGH) after a short illness, just shy of her 90th birthday. She was predeceased by her husband of 58 years, Edgar Mooney, as well as her sister Laura MacKay Patriciu. She is survived by her brother James MacKay, her children David Mooney and Sheila Mooney, David’s wife Emily (née Way), and David and Emily’s daughter Clara.
Class of 1955
Laura Mackay Patriciu
Laura Mackay Patriciu, aged 81, died September 30, 2019 in Toronto.
Nine Important Facts to Remember as We Grow Older
#9 Death is the number 1 killer in the world.
#8 Life is sexually transmitted.
#7 Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.
#6 Men have two motivations: hunger and hanky-panky, and they can't tell them apart. If you see a gleam in his eyes, make him a sandwich.
#5 Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day. Teach a person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks, months, maybe years.
#4 Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in the hospital, dying of nothing.
#3 All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.
#2 In the 60's, people took LSD to make the world weird. Now the world is weird, and people take Prozac to make it normal.
#1 Life is like a jar of jalapeño peppers. What you do today may be a burning issue tomorrow.
Please share this wisdom with others; I need to go to the bathroom.
How many of you wish you were in Brenda’s shoes?
This happened yesterday and is important information for our age group.
A friend had his 2nd dose of the vaccine at the vaccination center after which he began to have blurred vision on the way home.
When he got home, he called the vaccination center for advice and to ask if he should go see a doctor or be hospitalized.
He was asked to go back to the vaccination center immediately as he had left his glasses behind.
Theatre Seats for Seniors
An old man lay awkwardly sprawled across three entire seats in the movie theater
When the usher came by and noticed this, he whispered to the old man,
"Sorry sir, but you're only allowed one seat."
The old man didn't budge.
The usher became more impatient.
"Sir, if you don't get up from there I'm going to have to call the manager."
Once again, the old man just muttered and did nothing.
The usher marched briskly back up the aisle, and in a moment returned with the manager.
Together the two of them tried repeatedly to move the old disheveled man, but with no success.
Finally they summoned the police.
The officer surveyed the situation briefly, then asked, "All right, buddy, what's your name?"
"Fred," the old man moaned.
"Where you from, Fred?" asked the police officer.
With a terrible strain in his voice, and without moving, Fred replied;
Some St Patrick’s Day Leftovers