Well it didn't turn out quite the way people expected. The rain on Halloween was relatively light until almost 8:00 PM and the strong winds didn't start in earnest until after mid-night. By mid-day Friday approximately one million Hydro Quebec customers had no electricity. Wind gust of over 100 KPH (60 MPH) had knocked down trees and power lines and there were so many breaks it took days to make repairs. By 5:00 PM Friday the wind had abated and kids went out for their rescheduled trick or treating. Unfortunately, more than half the homes were dark and not giving out treats. What a fiasco; next time leave things alone, let the parents decide if the weather it too bad to go out. So few kids showed up at our door this year that I have about 15 lbs.of mini chocolate bars left over. It will take me until Christmas to finish them off although I must say, by the end of November I was half way through.
We were in an area that was spared and did not lose power for one minute. The curling club was not so lucky, they lost power in the fourth end of the inter-club game against Bel-Aire and the match had to be cancelled. The emergency lighting on the ice was poor and players used their smart phone flashlights to get back into the club house. Off course no electricity meant the food couldn't be cooked and the bar cash register was inoperable, therefore no drinks. I was sent some good photos of the damage around town and have used a selection of them to make up the December gallery.
Last month the software package used for creating the Newsletter was upgraded, however, it has proven to be very unstable and frustrating - it is a chore to get anything done without two or three attempts. I'm sure the problems will be resolved soon and in the meantime I'll just bear with it. So far I have managed to meet the deadlines, but don't be surprised if the publication is a day or two late in some future month.
I don't know about you but we gave up Christmas shopping, except for the grand kids, several years ago. It was a big relief for me because like all true procrastinator I used to wait until the last two or three days to hit the stores. Many of you still probably shop so as of now you have 24 days left to get it all done.
On that note, have a very Merry Christmas, or should I have said a generic, secular Happy Holidays and great New Year.
Keep your jokes, articles and photos coming - I can use them all.
Welcome New and Renewing Alumni Association Members
New Life Member
Class of 1973 From Guelph, ON
Class of 1967 From Spruce Grove, AB
Please renew now.
Veronique Le Kim
Robert Wrigley - Class of 1961 Excerpts from his upcoming book
Chasing Nature: An Ecologist's Lifetime of Adventures and Observations
MY FAVOURITE ANIMAL
One question I was asked repeatedly while giving Curator talks or leading tours at the Assiniboine Park Zoo was, “What is your favourite animal?” Without a doubt, my choice was the Snow Leopard, and in particular, our magnificent male, Dmitri. He was an exceptional animal both physically and in his aristocratic mannerisms. Built for power, leaping and speed, he moved with the grace of a fast-flowing stream, never suffering an awkward step or momentary loss of balance. His regal persona stopped visitors in their tracks, and the intensity of his glare was arresting, capable of sending chills down a visitor’s neck. Dmitri was a fine-tuned predator, truly a product of millions of years of evolution in a world of deep snow, howling winds, and rocky mountainsides so steep that one slip meant almost-certain death.
Dmitri was the epitome of beauty, grace and power. (Robert Taylor)
I once watched a television show narrated by the famous naturalist-broadcaster David Attenborough in which a female Snow Leopard was filmed in a death-defying pursuit of a Markhor (a type of goat) down a near-vertical mountain slope in Pakistan. It was one of the most-dramatic, predator-prey chases I have ever seen. The leopard managed to maintain its feet after semi-controlled falling for many metres in each bound, landing on broken rock and absorbing the great force of gravity with its muscular limbs acting as shock absorbers. Its reckless speed demonstrated a precision of eye-brain-body coordination which was hard to believe in real time, and any miscalculation in a procession of rapid decisions would have resulted in a fatal fall for hundreds of metres. At the end of this scene, the Markhor escaped by tumbling into a raging river. In the next attack sequence with another Markhor, the leopard was successful, and with super-feline strength, dragged its heavy prey back up the slope for a kilometer to reach its den, where a cub was waiting for food. How the photographer was able to capture such actions of one of the world’s most-secretive big cats simply amazed me.
Since Dmitri’s enclosure was close to my office, I could not resist visiting him almost daily, and soon we developed a special bond. This was likely encouraged by an occasional spray of a favourite perfume (Bvlgari for Men). The scent caused Dmitri to curl up his nose and lips, begin to salivate profusely, and then repeatedly rub his face and shoulder against the fence wire beside me, while uttering little whining ‘puff’ calls, before finally rolling over onto his back, as if he wanted me to scratch him. I used the antenna of my radio to tickle him (through the fence), and it was obvious he did not want me to stop. If I backed away to leave, he leapt to his feet, and placing his front paws high onto the chain-link fence, he executed the powerful movements of sharpening his impressive claws. In fact, he put such pressure on his claws that sometimes pieces of claw snapped off and flew through the air -- something I did not want to encourage. The fragrance turned him into a big kitten, every time!
Robert and Dmitri enjoying each other’s company. (Darlene Stack)
Dmitri and I shared a special game, which I liked to spring on the crowd of admiring visitors standing along the enclosure barrier fence. As I approached his exhibit, Dmitri suddenly spotted me, although I was sometimes up to 50 metres away. Transforming instantly from a bored, recumbent slouch to an energized athlete, he crouched and crept over to hide behind a large boulder, sometimes leaving his exceptionally long tail exposed and twitching. Then slowly, the top of his head (with ears flattened) and his big eyes appeared just above the boulder, watching intently my every move. I walked towards him, making no eye contact and giving no indication I was aware he was there. He saw right past the visitors, ignoring them completely. He was hunting me! As I drew near, I turned sharply and began to walk away, which was his signal to ambush. With astonishing speed, Dmitri covered the 12-metre length of the exhibit in two bounds and leapt almost 3 metres to the top wall of the fence enclosure, causing the gravel stuck between his toes to hit me in the back of my head. The visitors gasped and jumped back in shock, as the attack happened so fast and without the least warning. As Dmitri sneaked back behind the boulder for round two, I calmed the visitors by explaining that this was just a game we liked to play, but it also presented a dramatic demonstration of his extraordinary predatory prowess. When I finally had to return to my office, Dmitri bounded back and forth frantically at the fence, like an excited pet dog, urging me to stay and play longer.
Robert and Dmitri playing their ambush game. (Rob Gillespie)
Dmitri was a superlative representative of his race in another way. He and his mate, Lhassa, were the epitome of compatibility, a rather unusual trait for Snow Leopards, as they prefer to live alone (both in the wild and in captivity), except for a brief period during the breeding season. While most zoos have limited success breeding this species, our pair raised an amazing 16 surviving offspring -- a tremendous contribution to the captive population of the world. When we submitted our annual report on the status of our collection of Snow Leopards for the Species Survival Program (operated by the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums for endangered species), the coordinator informed me that we must have erred, because we reported that Dmitri had bred his mate successfully at age 19 -- several years beyond the known limit for the species. But no, there was no mistake. Dmitri and Lhasa were really this extraordinary. He lived for three more years -- a respectful age for any big cat. Dmitri’s name is based on the ancient Greek, Demetrios, which means ‘devoted to Demeter’ -- the Goddess of Fertility and the Cycle of Life, and so considering his compatibility and devotion to Lhasa, the name fitted him perfectly.
I missed my zoo friend so much that I commissioned an artist to paint Dmitri’s portrait from photographs, which now hangs in my family room. I will always remember kneeling down in front of him, with only a half a meter separating us through the enclosure wire, as we searched each other’s eyes and facial features. What was he thinking behind those huge expressive, yellow-green eyes? It was as if I could peer into the distant past of his race in Asia, tragically now on the verge of extinction. Here was one of Nature’s premier killing machines, appearing to gain immense pleasure from my presence. It was a humbling and emotional moment which I will treasure forever. My beautiful Dmitri; my favourite animal.
Painting of Dmitri (Andrew Fallak)
Rod Remembers Mabel Bennett
Rod Brown - Class of 1966
The scene – 4 old guys, balding (moving daily toward ‘bald’), paunchy and, more often than not, grumpy. Oh, we love our grandchildren, Clint Eastwood and the NHL when it was only 6 teams. Don Cherry makes sense if only he wouldn’t dress like a clown and all politicians are self serving.
Yep, we’re a fine bunch sitting in MacDonald’s for the 4th time this week.Those kids over there are probably wondering how any of us have lived so long and, more importantly, why. Their eyes say, “We’ll have to work forever to support those seniors when they’re in assisted living. Bummer!” Our eyes say, “Yeah!”
Once that silent confrontation is over and we’ve confirmed that no one has a new ailment since yesterday, the question of the day is put on the table. Who was the best teacher you ever had? And before you think the obvious, I’ll admit that we do spend a lot of time looking backward rather than imagining a new, brighter future. So, to the question. Who comes to mind?
When it was my turn, I tried to be spontaneous … there were so many at CCHS. Miss Montgomery who disliked me from day one or Mrs. Home and her love of books or Mr. Weeks whose pearls of scientific wisdom were wasted. I could go for the easy laugh - Mr. Jones, the gym teacher who wanted everyone to climb ropes. I couldn’t lift my own weight and he wanted me to monkey up a piece of twine. Or Mr. Smith or Mr. Kennedy, both of whom scared me for different reasons. But, without thinking too deeply, I said, “Mabel Bennett. ”First I must explain that I didn’t know her first name until about 1995 … she was, and always will be Mrs. Bennett who, I think, taught math and, for the purposes of this story, half time guidance. I can’t imagine how serious a problem one would have to have to make one go to see her.
But my encounter with her begins in my 2nd of 2 final years. It was time for IQ testing and, although I suspect there was more sophisticated label, IQ it was and no one was exempt. One day she marched into our class and told us, “This is serious.” She came down the aisle to my desk, looked me in the eye and growled, “And you, Mr. Brown, will do your best, There’s no credit for finishing quickly.” Even as I read these words, the tone is missing. There was death in those words and being ‘finished’ assumed new and unpleasant connotations.
It’s time for an interjection – I loved to read. I couldn’t add or turn on a Bunsen burner or dissect a frog but reading was fun and although my spoken vocabulary was inclined to be 4 letters, one syllable and often bracketed with “Yeah” and You know”, my word recognition skills were quite good. Given that most IQ tests are vocabulary based, I found such tests relatively easy (compared to math & science) and everyone knew that when in doubt, bubble in the B circle. Unfortunately, I committed a critical error that Jim Charlton or Duart Edgar would never have made… when finished I closed the booklet, put down my pencil and leaned back. Down the aisle came Mrs. Bennett with all sails unfurled, cannons primed and I knew in an instant that a broadside was coming.
“I told you, did I not, to try your best. I told you, did I not, that this was serious.” “Yes, and I did try,” I stammered. ‘No Mr.. Brown, you did not!” And with a glance skyward, she made that ‘I’ve done my best’ face, retreated to the front and I ceased to exist. Six weeks later, the PA snarled, “Mr. Brown, please report to Mrs. Bennett in the Guidance Office immediately.” My classmates snickered and quietly speculated what terrible crime I had committed. Nothing good, we all knew, ever came from such a summons. So, down I went going over every possible infraction I might have committed and planning my excuse should another suspension be threatened. Had I used ‘the dog ate my homework’ rational already – we didn’t have a dog so perhaps I should think of another more reasonable excuse.
I knocked on the Guidance door. “Come in.” So I did. “Sit down.” So I did. So far nothing but the tone was flat and somewhat akin to, “Do you any last words?” “Thank you.” Shut up Brown. Don’t be flippant. The repentant look is all that’s required. At this point Mrs. Bennett got out of her chair, picked up a single sheet of paper, held it before me and asked, slowly making a sound much like a fuse burning, “Explain this.” I panicked. “I don’t know what it is.” “This is the result of your IQ test. The one you finished early. Do you remember?” “Yes, but I did try. I did treat it seriously.”.
“Rod, you scored very well. In fact, you scored so well that I fail to understand why you’re doing so poorly in your classes. You have some ability according to this test and, from my point of view, you’re wasting it.” Hang on. I’m in trouble because I didn’t do poorly. Now that was an entirely new sensation. Nobody had ever suggested that I had potential, in sports maybe, but in school! And then, Mrs. Bennett started to tell me about university options. I didn’t go to university after CCHS. I worked for 3 years before deciding to give it a try and when I did, Mrs. Bennett’s words echoed in my head.
Decades later I wrote to Mable Bennett to thank her … she never replied so I’m unsure she received my letter or even remembered one student among the 1000s she counseled. I do know that she changed the course of life, perhaps for the better, and for that I will be forever grateful.
Anyone want another Mac coffee?
December Photo Gallery
Storm damage from October 31 and November 1
Large pine tree toppled and almost took out the starter's cabin at golf club.
Bricks torn off apartment building facade at corner of Victoria and Webster
Would you like to see your old house?
Do you recognize this? It is the former "Rylander" house (Dick, Peter and Don) on Mercille Avenue on the corner of Desaulnier Blvd. across from the United Church. If you have moved away and would like to see what your old house now looks like, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will feature it in a future edition of the newsletter.
I lived just up the block and by my count, Mercille Avenue, between Logan and Desaulniers, had twenty-four (24) St. Lambert High and CCHS Alumni living there during the 50's and 60's. And no, I did not count Dick Rylander, the oldest son, who did not go to St. Lambert High. He keeps telling me he was sent away to reform school because of his bad behavior.
Ian Cobb's Story
Do you remember Ian from his days in St. Lambert. I do and I must say I didn't realize the challenges he faced in his daily life. Why don't you buy a copy and give it read - it will make a great Christmas gift for those interested in St. Lambert history and in particular Ian's story. HC
Ian writes: Many people are asking how to get a copy of the book. E-transfer $45 to my e-mail address for your copy of my book. This includes shipping, tax and handling. Please include your full mailing address. Great Christmas present for all, I guarantee.! email@example.com OR at my home for less.
Test Your Memory
Dave Erskine Class of 1963
The Exam Nightmare On Green Street - #3
Decided to give you a Christmas break from Dave's tortures, we have enough stress in our lives.
Season's Greeting from the Alumni Association's Board of Directors
We wish all of our readers a joyous holiday and health and happiness for the new year.
Reunion News Alumni Association 2020 Reunion
Things are progressing smoothly for the reunion committee. Caterers have been lined up, the facility has been secured and Bernie Praw has already signed up a number of talented acts for the variety show - you don't want to miss it. While almost full, he still could use a few more acts so, if you would like to participate, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Bernie doesn't pay very much but, the fringe benefits are great.
PayPal buttons have been set up on the website allowing you to purchase tickets for either individual events or the full Reunion Passport. Click here or on the graphic above to get your tickets. Don't wait, we need a large advance sale to show commitment and get other alumni on board.
And yes, we are still looking for volunteers to help out. If you can spare a few hours, especially in the the two weeks leading up reunion weekend please me know at email@example.com.
Alumni Association 2020 Reunion
Friday, May 15 & Saturday, May 16
(Sunday the 17th is get away day with no official events planned)
- Friday morning golf at St. Lambert Golf Club
2. Registration at the High School Friday, 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM
3. Meet, Greet & Eat, 7:00 PM to 1:00 AM with Bar Service, Finger Food with reminiscing, reconnecting and sharing your stories.
4. Saturday morning walking tour – see the old St. Lambert you remembered and some of the very new sights.
5. Saturday 1:00 PM - Variety Show with Bar Service and free snacks.
6. Saturday 6:00 PM - Dinner at the High School
7. Saturday 9:00 PM - Dance
8. No ecumenical service at the School but local churches will be happy to see you.
9. Breakfast/Brunch at Kapetan’s – you are on your own - say your good byes.
Passport Tickets go on sale December 1st, 2019 with a la carte purchases available on January 1, 2020.
Advanced Member Passport - $100 - Offer expires Dec. 31
Advanced Member Passport with golf - $140 - Offer expires Dec. 31
Member Passport - $105 - Price after Dec. 31
Member Passport with golf - $145 - Price after Dec. 31
Passport - $110 on sale Dec. 1
Passport with golf - $150 on sale Dec. 1
Events – a la carte
Meet, Greet & Eat - includes registration - $35 on sale Dec. 1
Variety show with snacks - $20 on sale Dec. 1
Saturday Dinner - $45 on sale Dec. 1
Saturday Dance - $15 on sale Dec. 1
Friday morning golf - $40 on sale Dec. 1
Some things you should know:
Space for golf is very limited and reservations will be on a first come first served basis
We are aiming for attendance of 500 however, to make the Reunion work, we need at least 350 people to show up. If we don’t hit this critical mass by April 1st and it seems unlikely we will reach that number, we reserve the right to cancel the event. If that happens your money will be refunded.
We try to ensure that the reunion is a money making event. The small profit we generate is used to fund our school bursary program, special projects at the school, maintenance of the web site and production of the newsletter. If you can’t come to the reunion you can always make a donation to the Association – any amount would be greatly appreciated.
The Saturday afternoon Variety Show will be looking for and signing up acts. If you would like to participate and have any talent, be it musical, standup comedy, dance, juggle or whatever you can contact Bernie Praw at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will also be looking for volunteers to help during the two weeks immediately prior to and during the Reunion weekend. If you can lend a hand contact Harvey Carter at:
Phone: (450) 923-8045 or email: email@example.com
The web site will be updated so that on December 1, Online payment will be available to process your purchases. You may pay by PayPal or Credit Card. Of course, if you prefer, a regular cheque can be used. Mailing instructions will be on the web site.
Remember to spread the word and encourage your friends and classmates to join the party.
Class Contacts Needed
If you are interested in representing your class year as Class Contact. Please contact Harvey Carter.
We need to get in touch with as many people as possible to make the 2020 Reunion a success.
Please step up and contribute if at all possible.
MACDONALD, Elizabeth "Anne" Class of 1986
Anne had just started the next chapter of her life. Unfortunately, the Universe had other plans, and she unexpectedly slipped away from us last Saturday morning, October 26, 2019. Typical of Anne, she had planned a surprise birthday party for a friend that evening, but sadly someone else was needed to step in to ice the cakes she had left to cool.
Born 51 years ago in Montreal, Anne was the youngest and most adorable baby of Ina Mae Butler and Chipman John MacDonald, of Tide Head and Kegwick River, New Brunswick. She was predeceased by both her parents, who were taken from us just a few short years ago, and are still mourned deeply. Anne was blessed with not only being instantly a princess, but also a wild tom boy; loving competitive sports, the great outdoors, Cher, and yes, even fancy china! Ina joked, calling her Gertrude and sometimes the Queen of Sheba and taught her to above all, always be a thoughtful and charming hostess and guest.
After a brief stint as a baby living in Tony and Margaret Rokas' rental cottage, Anne spent the rest of her childhood in leafy St. Lambert, Montreal and Fairfield Pond Vermont, graduating from Chambly County High School. She was immediately armed with the people skills and street smarts of her parents and inherited Ina's enduring questioning of authority. Anne was always a lioness! Anne was proud of her Scottish heritage and she was a woman of integrity and honesty who was fiercely loyal, determined and protective of the ones she loved! When Anne joined the Army her family thought she was going through a rebellion, a phase that would pass. It did not, and they worried, but looked on with pride in her 31 year career, before her eventual retirement in 2018.
Anne made life-long friends throughout her CF career, there are too many to list here but they know who they are and she loved them to the end. It was also in the CF that she met her first husband, Wayne Forster, the father of her 2 children Haley and Kaela. Haley and Kaela, like their mother, spent their childhood summers at Fairfield Pond with Anne and their beloved grandparents, Chip and Ina. Anne watched with pride as they grew into the young women they are today. Anne had a distinguished career in the Canadian Army in the Communications Research trade retiring as a Warrant Officer. She served in Gander, NFLD, Alert, NWT, Kingston, Bosnia, Texas, Ottawa, Afghanistan, Ottawa and retired in Kingston. Not only did she serve "on the ground" in Afghanistan, but she worked supporting the Mission before and after the deployment, including as Operations Warrant Officer at CFB Leitrim. This involved her in the life and death stress of supporting combat operations for approximately six years. As a result of this lengthy involvement she suffered disabling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and was medically released and retired from the CF in 2018. She was a wounded Warrior. Despite her inner wounds she spent her life thereafter helping and supporting others with PTSD or not.
Her family have been moved by the outpouring of sympathy from the many, many people whose lives she touched and the comments repeated over and over that she was the most unselfish person they had ever met and always put herself last. It was while serving in Bosnia in 2002 that she first met her husband Nick whilst they were peacekeeping together. Later, they enjoyed a long distance relationship and marriage. Before Nick left his career in London, UK to come to Canada to be with her. During that long distance courtship Anne loved to travel to the Caribbean and Europe with Nick, Haley and Kaela. Anne was safe and asleep beside Nick when she left us. Haley and Kaela did not expect to bury their mother so soon, nor Nick his wife, nor Gracie and Andy their baby sister, nor Aunt Monica her great-niece, but here we are.
Anne leaves family, both blood and those of her own choosing, all over Canada, US and the world. We send love to you all. Instead of flowers, please consider making a contribution to an organization that Anne cared for deeply and supported passionately, Wounded Warriors Canada which honours and supports Canada's ill and injured CAF members, Veterans, First Responders, especially those with PTSD, and their families.
Where have you been
Russ and Sam, two friends, met in the park every day to feed the pigeons, watch the squirrels and discuss world problems. One day Russ didn't show up. Sam didn't think much about it and figured maybe he had a cold or something. But after Russ hadn't shown up for a week or so, Sam really got worried. However, since the only time they ever got together was at the park, Sam didn't know where Russ lived, so he was unable to find out what had happened to him. A month had passed, and Sam figured he had seen the last of Russ, but one day, Sam approached the park and-- lo and behold! --there sat Russ! Sam was very excited and happy to see him and told him so. Then he said, 'For crying out loud Russ, what in the world happened to you? 'Russ replied, 'I have been in jail.' 'Jail!' cried Sam. ‘What in the world for?' 'Well,' Russ said, 'you know Sue, that cute little blonde waitress at the coffee shop where I sometimes go?' 'Yeah,' said Sam, 'I remember her. What about her?' 'Well, the little gold-digging witch figured I was rich and she filed rape charges against me; and, at 89 years old, I was so proud that when I got into court, I pled 'guilty'. 'The judge gave me 30 days for perjury.'
Walking is good for you!
The room was full of pregnant women with their husbands.
The instructor said, "Ladies, remember that exercise is good for you.Walking is especially beneficial, it strengthens the pelvic muscles and will make delivery that much easier. Just pace yourself, make plenty of stops and try to stay on a soft surfaces, like a grass path.
"Gentlemen, remember -- you're in this together. It wouldn't hurt you to go walking with her. In fact, that shared experience would be good for you both."
The room suddenly became very quiet as the men absorbed this information. After a few moments a man, name unknown, at the back of the room, slowly raised his hand.
"Yes?" said the Instructor.
"I was just wondering if it would be all right, if she carries a golf bag?