Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, so sorry about the screw up last month with the newsletter. I was sure I had inserted the proper link when I scheduled the email but, alas, it was pointing at the June edition. I will tread a little more carefully from now on.
Well we hit the month of July in style, the weather so far has been hot and humid with very little rain, proving once again that you cannot trust Environment Canada’s long range forecasts – they had been predicting a cool, wet summer. Hope they continue to be wrong.
My wife and I traveled to Port Elgin, Ontario (Lake Huron) again this year but it may be our last trip for a while. The nieces and nephews are getting older and our brother in law now suffers from advanced dementia, something that rapidly worsened over the last year, to the point where he had to be institutionalized this June. We visited him at the facility in Kitchener, where he was placed and I came away with very mixed emotions. He has excellent care and you couldn’t ask for better accommodations, but he is almost unable to relate to anyone except his immediate family. I think he recognized my wife and I but could not initiate a conversation. He would respond when prompted but that was about it.
On the way we stopped off in Brighton, Ontario to visit my brother George (Class of 1966). He also suffers from severe dementia, as well as epilepsy and recently had a bad stroke. His conditions continues to get worse and he is now confined to a wheel chair. I afraid that soon he won’t even recognize me when I visit.
Alzheimer’s has to be one of the most insidious, depressing diseases imaginable. There is no cure and all you can do is watch the downward spiral of those afflicted.
The grand kids did enjoy the beaches but, as Warren MacKenzie pointed out when he heard I was headed in that direction, water levels in all the great lakes are at an all-time high. Many of the beaches have been reduced to a narrow strip of sand and in some cases water has invaded what use to be parking lots.
Guess what, the new Champlain Bridge finally opened. It was done in two stages, the north bound side opened on June 24 and south bound side July 1. I have driven over it a few times and it is impressive, much larger and higher than the old structure and a very smooth ride. Now, the arguments will start over the late completion penalties that were built into the contract – the construction company is claiming extenuating circumstances and is trying to avoid or drastically reduce the $150 million that is at stake.
The first accident happened on the south bound side on July 2 – it didn’t take long. And just so you out of town folks know, the new bridge doesn’t and wasn’t designed to improve the traffic congestion problem, especially during rush hour. There are still only three dedicated lanes and the same old choke points once you get off the bridge. I don’t think we will see any real improvement until the light rail system is up and running several years from now.
Demolition of the old bridge will start sometime next year. Cynics like me think they are keeping it intact just in case something goes wrong with the new bridge this coming winter.
Thanks to Dave Van Setters for the great article and photos of the recent reunion held by the class of 1976. They did it up in style and set a fine example for us all. And, of course, thanks to Robert Wriggley for the second installment of his new book.
Content was slim this month and will continue to be so unless you contribute. Pictures and/or articles are desperately needed.
Welcome New and Renewing Alumni Association Members
New Life Member
Dave Blizard, Class of 1973
From Brossard, QC
Philippa Settels, Class of 1988
From Greenfield Park, QC
Jane Webb (Porritt), Class of 1963
From Clapham, UK
Kathy Hope, Class of 1973
From Mississauga, ON
Please renew now.
Memberships expiring in August
John Wayman 1974
Shirley Smith 1970
Gail Lee 1970
Eric Ponting 1974
Memberships expiring in September
Robert Wrigley - Class of 1961 Excerpts from his upcoming book - second installment.
Chasing Nature: An Ecologist's Lifetime of Adventures and Observations
It seems I was fascinated by the natural world as soon as I could walk. My parents took my sister Jean, brother John, and me to the Buenos Aires Zoo on many occasions, where my favourite creatures were Julio the Camel, a robust Hippopotamus which often opened its astonishingly huge mouth to reveal its curved teeth, and a very tall stork which paced around with a stiff-legged gait like it owned the place. We were allowed to climb onto the back of an enormous tortoise -- a thrill, but something that would be deemed inappropriate by today’s zoo standards.
Dad, can you please take me to the zoo today? (Robert, 1947)
There were plenty of creatures to discover at home as well. Playing in the backyard one day, the air filled suddenly with large locusts, and they began striking us in the face, arms and legs as we ran in panic back to the house. We could not go out for a couple of days, and when we finally emerged, the vegetation had largely been stripped clean of leaves. Butterflies and bees visited the beds of flowers tended by our gardener, and even the metal frogs spouting water into our pool captured my imagination.
Heavy rains were frequent, which brought out great numbers of big snails, frogs and toads. I took a liking to one particular toad, about 12 cm long, since it seemed friendly and didn’t hop away when I patted it. I tied a string around its shoulders so I could take it for a walk, and when it failed to cooperate, I knelt down for a face to face talk. Unfortunately for me, the amphibian tired of the attention and squirted a white toxic secretion from its skin glands, some of which landed in my eyes. My mother came running on hearing my painful cries, and had to rush me to the hospital to have my eyes washed out. A good lesson -- not all animals are friendly or make good pets.
Our family visited a number of cities and famous beaches in South America, and I can still remember playing with a little penguin in a wading pool at a hotel in Lima, Peru. In the evening I noticed that some paths were covered in silvery-slime trails, and I soon discovered that they were made by large colourful snails. Being a child, of course I had to collect some ‘caracoles’ (snails in Spanish) and before I knew it, I had a whole can filled. Without my parents’ knowledge, I stashed my snail can in the hotel bathroom for safe keeping, and went to bed. The can’s lid must have popped off in the night, because in the morning, about 20 big snails littered the floor, walls and ceiling, leaving their trails of slime to mark their escape routes. Somehow my parents concluded that I must have been the culprit, but thankfully they were remarkably understanding about my enthusiasm for animals. This would not be the last time I experienced escapees in my collection of pets.
Mom, can you please help me catch my pets? (Cartoon by Rob Gillespie)
The Class of 76 reunites in May to for a 60th birthday celebration
By David Van Seters, Class of 76
Early in 2019, Kathy Ferguson (Class of 76) realized that most of us who graduated from Chambly County High School in 1976 (including her) would turn 60 years old this year. So she sent out a message on Facebook and proposed the idea of a 60th birthday celebration for the Class of ’76 in Montreal. The response was enthusiastic and because a number of classmates now live far away from Montreal, it was suggested that we organize a full weekend of activities, not just one single event.
An organizing committee was struck and the weekend of May 17-19, 2019 was chosen for the festivities. Considerable efforts were made to reach as many classmates as possible. Of 139 CCHS classmates that either graduated in 1976 or were part of our class for some of our high school years, we were able to locate 70 of them. Nine classmates have sadly passed away so we were able to reach just over half of those who could potentially attend.
The first event was held on Friday night on May 17th in the back party room at Kapetan’s restaurant on Victoria Avenue. This was one of our favourite restaurants back in high school and it is amazing that is still going strong. The party room was perfect because we were able to decorate the walls with 70’s memorabilia and play our own music. One of our classmates, Bill MacEwen, who used to manage a Sam the Record Man music store in Montreal, made sure that we had the most definitive set list from our high school years (and only those years!). Almost 40 classmates attended, many of whom we hadn’t seen for over 40 years and frankly barely recognized. I created a slide show with pictures contributed by our classmates that included memorable high school photos as well as a current photo of everyone and their kids and/or partners. This ran on a continuous loop through the evening.
Saturday night was the main birthday celebration party and another classmate, John Carr, graciously hosted us (and fed us!) at his beautiful home in Westmount. Over 45 people attended and it was a blast. Keith Thomas, who still lives in Saint Lambert, took pictures of 30 houses where our classmates lived during high school and we had to guess which classmates lived in each house. Brock Cummings, re-delivered his valedictorian speech from 1976 and a number of us, including Brock, got a little bit choked up hearing it again. In fact, we were amazed that his remarks were as relevant today as they were back then. Then Karen Bennett brought out the birthday cake while Kathy Ferguson poured the champagne. After Paul Stuart gave a toast to turning 60, Tom Ventser was given the honour of cutting the cake because he had travelled the farthest (all the way from France!) to attend the reunion. Rumour has it that the last person didn’t leave the party until about 4 AM.
On Sunday Morning about a dozen of us enjoyed a delicious brunch at Hotel Saint Paul and then went for a walking tour through the streets of Montreal. It was a very graceful conclusion to a wonderful weekend re-connecting with old high school friends. I would highly recommend other CCHS graduating classes to do the same. It was a truly memorable weekend and a number of long lost friendships were re-kindled that will no doubt carry on into our seventh decade of life.
Kapetan’s restaurant on the Friday night
1970s memorabilia at Kapetan’s
Brock Cummings re-delivering his valedictorian speech
Karen Bennett with the 60th birhday cake for the class of 76
Tom Ventser cutting the cake
Sunday brunch at the St. Paul Hotel
Some things you probably didn't learn in High School
Why do men's clothes have buttons on the right while women's clothes have buttons on the left?
When buttons were invented, they were very expensive and worn primarily by the rich. Since most people are right-handed, it is easier to push buttons on the right through holes on the left. Because wealthy women were dressed by maids, dressmakers put the buttons on the maid's right! And that's where women's buttons have remained since.
2 ... WHY?
Why do ships and aircraft use 'mayday' as their call for help?
This comes from the French word m'aidez - meaning 'help me' - and is pronounced, approximately, 'mayday.'
3 ... WHY?
Why are zero scores in tennis called 'love'?
In France, where tennis became popular, the round zero on the scoreboard looked like an egg and was called 'l'oeuf,' which is French for 'the egg.' When tennis was introduced in the US, Americans (naturally), mispronounced it 'love.'
4 ... WHY?
Why do X's at the end of a letter signify kisses?
In the Middle Ages, when many people were unable to read or write, documents were often signed using an X. Kissing the X represented an oath to fulfill obligations specified in the document. The X and the kiss eventually became synonymous.
5 ... WHY?
Why is shifting responsibility to someone else called passing the buck'?
In card games, it was once customary to pass an item, called a buck, from player to player to indicate whose turn it was to deal. If a player did not wish to assume the responsibility of dealing, he would 'pass the buck' to the next player.
6 ... WHY?
Why do people clink their glasses before drinking a toast?
In earlier times it used to be common for someone to try to kill an enemy by offering him a poisoned drink. To prove to a guest that a drink was safe, it became customary for a guest to pour a small amount of his drink into the glass of the host. Both men would drink it simultaneously. When a guest trusted his host, he would only touch or clink the host's glass with his own.
strong>7 ... WHY?
Why are people in the public eye said to be 'in the limelight'?
Invented in 1825, limelight was used in lighthouses and theaters by burning a cylinder of lime which produced a brilliant light. In the theater, a performer 'in the limelight' was the Center of attention.
8 ... WHY?
Why is someone who is feeling great 'on cloud nine'?
Types of clouds are numbered according to the altitudes they attain, with nine being the highest cloud. If someone is said to be on cloud nine, that person is floating well above worldly cares.
9 ... WHY?
In golf, where did the term 'Caddie' come from?
When Mary Queen of Scots went to France as a young girl, Louis, King of France, learned that she loved the Scots game 'golf.' He had the first course outside of Scotland built for her enjoyment. To make sure she was properly chaperoned (and guarded) while she played, Louis hired cadets from a military school to accompany her.
Mary liked this a lot and when she returned to Scotland (not a very good idea in the long run), she took the practice with her. In French, the word cadet is pronounced 'ca-day' and the Scots changed it into caddie.
10 ... WHY?
Why are many coin collection jar banks shaped like pigs?
Long ago, dishes and cookware in Europe were made of dense orange clay called 'pygg'. When people saved coins in jars made of this clay, the jars became known as 'pygg banks.' When an English potter misunderstood the word, he made a container that resembled a pig. And it caught on
Last but not Least
BIG CHEEKS Bet you don't know "Big cheeks"
Big cheeks. A grandson of slaves, a boy was born in a poor neighborhood of New Orleans known as the "Back of Town." His father abandoned the family when the child was an infant. His mother became a prostitute and the boy and his sister had to live with their grandmother.
Early in life he proved to be gifted for music and with three other kids he sang in the streets of New Orleans His first gains were coins that were thrown to them.
A Jewish family, Karnofsky, who had emigrated from Lithuania to the USA, had pity for the 7-year-old boy and brought him into their home. Initially giving 'work' in the house, to feed this hungry child. There he remained and slept in this Jewish family's home where, for the first time in his life, he was treated with kindness and tenderness.
When he went to bed, Mrs. Karnovsky sang him a Russian lullaby that he would sing with her. Later, he learned to sing and play several Russian and Jewish songs.
Over time, this boy became the adopted son of this family. The Karnofskys gave him money to buy his first musical instrument; as was the custom in the Jewish families.
They sincerely admired his musical talent. Later, when he became a professional musician and composer, he used these Jewish melodies in compositions, such as St James Infirmary and Go Down Moses.
Class Contacts Needed
If you are interested in representing your class year as Class Contact. Please contact Harvey Carter
June Howie (Bullock) - Teacher
I was originally going to send you an email that my mom, June Howie Bullock, a former teacher at CCHS, had celebrated her 100th birthday on June 17. My sister Shelagh Howie Innes ( '61) and her husband, Dr. Jim Innes ('59) of Calgary, and their three children, and families, from Calgary and Edmonton joined me, Meredith Howie MacKellar ('64) and husband Ian MacKellar ('65), our two children ( of Toronto and Courtice, ON ) and grandchildren to celebrate at Extendicare Oshawa. Our brother, Colin Howie, of Beaumont, Texas, was unable to attend. Jim's nephew, David Lee, son of Marjory Innes Lee ('54) and CCHS teacher Ken Lee, and his wife, of Toronto, also visited that week.
The next day, Shelagh, Jim, Ian and I hosted Shelagh's long time friend and bridesmaid, Barbara Bennett Smith Wrong, ('60) from Almonte, ON. Oh my, how we laughed for hours reminiscing about St. Lambert days.
Sadly, 10 days later, my mom peacefully passed. She had a wonderful 84 years, and was lovingly cared for at Extendicare for 13 1/2 years.
I found this old picture from 1980 which shows another side of June Howie that many of you probably didn't know. Our team won the initial St. Lambert Curling Club Anniversary Bonspiel. June, in the white sweater, was playing lead and Sue Haigh Class of 1966 was third. Rod Ross (no connection to CCHS) was our second.
Short Term WalMart Greeter
Old Vikings' Lament
Cletus is passing by Billy Bob 's hay barn one day when,
through a gap in the door, he sees Billy Bob doing a slow
and sensual striptease in front of an old John Deere tractor.
Buttocks clenched, he performs a pirouette, and gently slides
off first the right strap of his overalls, followed by the left.
He then hunches his shoulders forward and in a classic
striptease move, lets his overalls fall down to his hips,
revealing a torn and frayed plaid shirt.
Then, grabbing both sides of his shirt, he rips it apart to
reveal his stained T-shirt underneath. With a final flourish,
he tears the T-shirt from his body, and hurls his baseball
cap onto a pile of hay.
Having seen enough, Cletus rushes in and says,
"What the world're ya doing, Billy Bob ?"
"Good grief, Cletus, ya scared the bejeebers out of me,"
says an obviously embarrassed Billy Bob.
"But me 'n the wife been havin trouble lately in the
bedroom d'partment, and the therapist suggested I
do something sexy to a tractor."