June 5, a day to celebrate. My wife and I were able to get our second shot of Pfizer at a walk in clinic set up at the old Loblaws’ store on Panama Street in Brossard, four weeks earlier than the previous appointments we were given. Quebec has a large supply of Pfizer doses and have advanced the second dose wait period for most people from twelve weeks down to eight weeks. Now if the variants can be controlled and those still reluctant to get vaccinated change their mind, I’ll feel very safe. I’m hoping the Quebec, Ontario border opens up so I can visit my brother George who was moved to a long term care facility last month. It has been sixteen months since I was last able to see him. If they open the Canada US border I’ll be able to visit my brother, sister and cousins. I haven’t been stateside for five years.
June 6, A harsh, expensive Covid vaccination lessons. I sat down in front of the TV that afternoon to watch some golf. At the end of the day on Saturday, June 5 Jon Rahm, a world class golfer (one time ranked # 1), was leading the Jack Nicklaus Memorial Tournament by six strokes, an almost absolute certainty to take the title and the $1.6 million first prize on Sunday. It was not to be. Sunday morning the PGA announced that Rahm had tested positive for Covid and would have to withdraw. Rahm had not been vaccinated. Whether out of hesitancy, procrastination or some misguided political believe we don’t know. We do know that it cost him $1.6 million, bragging rights and all the ancillary benefits tournament winners can earn.
June 7 and I took a bad spill in front of the Bank of Montreal on the corner of Green and Victoria. I had parked and was going to use the ATM to get cash for the gardener who was doing some work for me that day. I don’t consider myself clumsy but, I tripped on a raised paving stone as I stepped up from the street to the sidewalk. It was almost a full face plant but I got both hands down in time. My left knee hit hard, my glasses flew off and I was dazed, to say the least, but recovered quickly. There were no pedestrians (witnesses) in the vicinity so no one rushed to my aid. I can just imagine what they would have thought. (No officer I haven’t been drinking). Looking back I’m lucky I didn’t break my wrist(s), just some cuts and scrapes that healed in a few days.
June 8, I dropped by the school to give them the Alumni Association bursaries for 2021. I had a brief chat with Principal Jean-Rene St-Cyr who told me they were still unsure of how the graduation ceremonies would be conducted although, for the moment, it looked like they would have to be held outside with the normal distancing and mask protocols. There is some hope the government will ease restriction and let them be held inside. He also let me know that they have been transporting students to Covid vaccination centres for their first Pfizer injection and that almost all students had willingly agreed to get it. So they will at least have partial protection when school finishes this year and should be fully protected with a second injection before the start of the new schoolyear in late August. Very good news!
June 12 we finally had a relatively normal family dinner, outdoors on my daughter’s back deck, all in accordance with the new Provincial guidelines I picked up some lobsters and steak (for some reason not everyone eats lobster)and brought a bottle of my pandemic merlot. My daughter and supplied the beer and the rest of the food. It started cooling down around 8:00 PM so we had to call it a night (no inside gathering). What a welcome change.
June 14 and I bottled a batch of light beer in preparation for summer. It will be batch 6 in this series and I will probably call it “Pandemic Over?”. Too optimistic maybe.
June 15, the Quebec and Ontario border opens with no quarantine requirements when reaching destination. We will soon see what impact all the expected inter provincial vacation travel has on the Covid numbers,
June 17 the high school has figured out a way to hold the graduation ceremonies indoors on July 25 at 3:00 PM. Parents will be seated in the auditorium, wearing masks – no picture taking, no leaving their seats. Students will be brought in one class at a time to receive their diplomas and awards. Once finished, each class will move to the gymnasium. When the ceremonies end, parents will exit the school, no mixing with students. Grads will stay in the gym for some special festivities (not yet disclosed). This was the only way the school could hold indoor ceremonies while respecting the 250 person per event rule. I’ll send pics in the next newsletter.
June 18 and Trudeau announces that the Canada - US border will remain closed until at least July 21. The new delta virus strain that originated in India is becoming a concern, especially with the high number of unvaccinated it now represents 20% of the new cases cropping up in the US. My stateside visits will have to be deferred for now.
June 20 Jon Rahm is back. After sitting out two weeks because of his positive Covid test Rahm captures the US Open title and the $2.25 million first prize. Canadian McKenzie Hughes, who was tied with two others for the tournament lead on Saturday took the gas on Sunday and ended up far down the leader board. Although he was a long shot, I was hoping he would do well. I hate seeing a person fall apart like that.
June 24 the Canadiens beat Las Vegas and proceed to NHL finals for the Stanley Cup, beyond all my expectations. There was a full moon that night, it was “Fête Nationale”, in Quebec (St. Jean Baptiste to some of you) and all the crazies were out. So, naturally a riot ensued. A police car was smashed and flipped upside down by the mob, store windows were broken and police were pelted with trash – what a way to celebrate.
June 26 and we finally get some much needed rain. Lawns and golf course fairways turned brown weeks ago but rain over the next few days should help. It will also relieve me of my new grass watering chores. I had a small section over seeded and have been watering twice a day for the last two weeks.
I am going to take a summer break so there will be no August newsletter. Landscaping, house maintenance, finishing my US Taxes and golf will occupy most of my time. And the Summer Olympics are always a must, although I can’t believe Japan decided to go ahead with them. They have one of the lowest vaccination rates considering their resources.
I’ll leave you with one of Bob Wrigley’s Cape Cod adventures from his book “Chasing Nature”. I spent many summers on the cape myself and hope to get back soon. If you beach comb, watch out for jelly fish and, if you are a surfer, great white sharks which have become more prevalent in recent years. Massachusetts started protecting the seal population which naturally then exploded. Seals happen to be a favorite snack for Great Whites and they have come to the area to dine. The sharks sometimes mistake surfers for seals, bite hard and then let go but only after the damage has been done. Hard to say which is worse, too many seals or a few large sharks. Go sharks go.
Please send in whatever material you have – pictures, stories, jokes – we need content to keep the newsletter going.
Welcome New and Renewing Alumni Association Members
Maureen Lyon (Knight)
Class of 1953
From Oshawa, ON
Jill Bench (Allen)
Class of 1964
From Kanata, ON
Class of 1960
From Lethbridge, AB
Class of 1953
From Hermitage, NF
Class of 1961
From Kanata, ON
Jenny Exton (Stanley)
Class of 1963
From Kirby Steven, UK
Please renew now.
Class of 1961
Excerpt from Chasing Nature
Copies may be obtained by contacting:
Dr. Robert Wrigley
505 Boreham Blvd,
Cost of Chasing Nature
$55; shipping $17; total $72
Cape Cod Calamity
Atlantic Portuguese Man o’ war. (Autumn Lough)
One of my favourite courses at McGill University was marine biology -- it opened up for me an entirely new world of exotic life forms, ranging from microscopic to giant species, most with unfamiliar body plans and ways of life. I learned such amazing facts, like the very oxygen we breath was largely the gaseous waste product of multitudes of single-celled cyanobacteria and algae drifting in the oceans from three to one billion years ago -- the Great Oxygenation Event. Although I had visited several beaches along the Atlantic coast in South America as a child, I had never seen the sea through the eyes of a budding biologist. So I convinced my closest friend, David Milligan, who owned a car, to drive to Cape Cod, Massachusetts for a camping trip. It would be the longest field excursion of my life up to that time, and I could hardly wait to smell and taste salt water and feel the cool, foamy waves wash over my feet.
The drive to Cape Cod from Montreal was interesting but uneventful, and when we finally arrived at the beach, it seemed like a wonderful dream -- the repetitive pounding of the surf, gulls and terns careening and calling overhead, and the fresh salt spray carried by the breeze. Everything seemed perfect. I could not resist beachcombing for hours, picking up and examining every interesting gift of debris that the ocean offered to me. Since there had been a storm a few days ago, a metre-wide band of seaweed and other debris lay strewn along the shoreline, just waiting for me to identify the hidden treasures. By evening, I had a bagful of zoological specimens such as sponges, corals, and even a shell of an Atlantic Horseshoe Crab -- not really a crab but a representative of ancient group of arthropods related to scorpions that has been traced back 450 million years -- a real ‘living fossil’.
As I lay in my sleeping bag that night, reviewing my biological collection, I began to experience an unusual itchiness on the inside angle of my elbows, and not long after the irritation appeared in other places on my body. Unable to ignore the unpleasant sensation any longer, I sat up and examined myself with a flashlight. Red welts had appeared at the sites and the itchiness became increasingly unbearable. As I succumbed to the need to scratch the areas, my skin began to burn. Since I had never been allergic to anything, I had no idea what was causing this powerful reaction. I spent a fitful night without much sleep, and found some relief with the warming rays of the sun during the day. However, at dusk, the same discomfort returned with a vengeance. Unable to sleep at all, I spent almost the entire night standing under a warm shower on the beach.
The next morning we found a doctor who was only too familiar with the symptoms. He informed me that during my beachcombing, I must have unintentionally contacted a transparent tentacle of a sea jelly, or perhaps even a Atlantic Portuguese Man o’ War -- a hydrozoan related to sea jellies, but consisting not of a single organism but a floating colony of tiny animals called zooids. The numerous tentacles draping down underneath this large jelly-like blob may reach a length of 31 metres long. These tentacles are lined with countless microscopic, explosive stinging cells whose coiled barbs are sprung like little spears on contact, and deliver a potent venom used to stun fish and crustaceans on which the polyps feed. Cnidocytes have provided the colony a level of protection over the ages from predators such as fish, giant marine reptiles, and dive-bombing, scooping pterosaurs. The good news for me was that the venom is rarely deadly, but it would take days before the symptoms would cease. He gave me some antihistamine pills and sent me on my way back to the beach.
Another day and night in pain and without any sleep, convinced me that my vacation was ruined, and that we had either to drive home or seek help closer at my sister Jean’s home in New Haven, Connecticut. But without having her contact information, I was at a loss as to how to find her. I recalled that her new husband, Robin Sunde, worked as a radio broadcaster for CBS in New York, so on a pay phone I dialed the CBS number, hoping that someone there could connect me to my brother-in-law. To my great surprise and relief, he happened to pick up the phone; I recognized his deep voice immediately. With his directions, we made it to my sister’s address, and upon hearing my tale of woe, she gave me a powerful sleeping pill. I slept soundly for almost two days and when I finally awoke, the welts and pain had eased considerably. My system had finally eliminated most of the venom.
Since that nasty experience, I am more careful when I go beachcombing, and avoid picking up anything I do not recognize. When swimming in these Atlantic waters and the Caribbean, I have observed large numbers of small jellyfish and made every effort to avoid bumping into them, or better still, I exited the water as soon as possible. I find it profound that a primitive hydrozoan, whose ancestors were among the first multicellular marine creatures, appearing about 650 million years ago, could lay me (a highly evolved terrestrial mammal) low. Ancient technology and venom still work.
Class of 1957
Looking for Lawlor Wakem
Grant is trying to locate Lawlor Wakem, Class of 1957. The only information we have is that he was living in Jefferson City, Colorado.
If you know his whereabouts, have an email address or a phone number please get in touch with Grant at email@example.com.
Class of 1963
Dave Erskine, class of 1963, is going in for a nose job. Dave wrote and let me know he probably wouldn’t be able to make our board of directors meeting on June 22. He was injured playing basketball against Royal George back in high school. It was a sharp elbow to the nose that did him in. After all these years, the resulting damage was affecting his breathing more and more. So he bit the bullet and decided to have some minor surgery to straighten things out.
Alumni Association Notes
At the June 17th school’s governing board meeting it was announced that a 17 room extension to the school would be constructed to house the Riverside School Board’s “Reach” program for students with learning disabilities. There are not a lot of details yet but the building is expected to be completed in time for the 2023 – 2024 school year. Reach currently occupies 5 class rooms in the school and has space is several other facilities on the south shore. The new building will enable them to bring everything together under one roof.
Ian Yule, Class of 1976 dropped me a line to let me know that he is still on the south shore living in Brossard. He also made me aware that one of his classmates, Stephen Emmins, had passed away in 2016. I’ve include his obituary in case other readers were not aware. If you know of someone who has passed away and is not shown on our memorial list by all means let me know.
At our June 22 board meeting the Alumni Association felt very confident that a May 2022 reunion would take place but, there is still a sliver of doubt. We will make a call and have more to say about May 2022 in the October edition.
Alumni Association Bursary Winners
Traditional Alumni Bursary
and Outstanding Girl*
Bruno Rink De Sousa
Traditional Alumni Bursary
and Outstanding Boy*
Traditional Alumni Bursary
Traditional Alumni Bursary
Traditional Alumni Bursary
Awesome Australia with Frederic Hore
Recorded by the Beaconsfield Library on June 2, 2021 - "my very first YouTube appearance!!"
Montreal adventure photographer and ranconteur Frederic Hore takes you on a breath-taking 15000 km journey of discovery, through the spectacular continent of Australia! He recounts the stories, the history, and the people he meets in this odyssey through the Land Down Under. It's a colourful 90 minute show, featuring Australian folk music and atmospheric Aboriginal melodies, played on the famous didjeridu.
Stephen Paul Emmins
Class of 1976
The Mechanic Gets His Answer
A Lexus mechanic was removing a cylinder head from the motor of an LS460 when he spotted a well-known cardiac surgeon in his shop. The surgeon was there waiting for the service manager to come and take a look at his car when the mechanic shouted across the garage, "Hey Doc, want to take a look at this?"
The cardiac surgeon, a bit surprised, walked over to where the mechanic was working. The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag, and asked, "So Doc, look at this engine. I opened its heart, took the valves out, repaired or replaced anything damaged, and then put everything back in, and when I finished, it worked just like new. So how is it that I make $48,000 a year and you make $1.7M when you and I are doing basically the same work?
The cardiac surgeon paused, leaned over and whispered to the mechanic...“Try doing it with the engine running."
They Walk Among Us
Both Jim Baxter and Bob Wrigley sent me these so they must be good.
1. - A guy bought a new fridge for his house. To get rid of his old fridge (still working), he put it in his front yard and hung a sign on it saying: 'Free to good home. You want it, you take it.' For three days the fridge sat there without anyone looking twice. He eventually decided that people were too mistrustful of this deal. So he changed the sign to read: 'Fridge for sale $50.' The next day someone stole it!
2. - While looking at a house, my brother asked the Real Estate agent which direction was north because he didn't want the sun waking him up every morning. She asked, 'Does the sun rise in the north?' My brother explained that the sun rises in the east and has for some time. She shook her head and said, 'Oh, I don't keep up with all that stuff......'
3. - My colleague and I were eating our lunch in our cafeteria, when we overheard an admin girl talking about the sunburn she got on her weekend drive to the beach. She drove down in a convertible, but said she "didn't think she'd get sunburned because the car was moving."
4. - My sister has a lifesaving tool in her car which is designed to cut through a seat belt if she gets trapped. She keeps it in the car trunk.
5. - I couldn't find my luggage at the airport baggage area and went to the lost luggage office and reported the loss. The woman there smiled and told me not to worry because she was a trained professional and said I was in good hands. 'Now,' she asked me, 'Has your plane arrived yet?'... (I work with professionals like this.)
6. - While working at a pizza parlor I observed a man ordering a small pizza to go. He appeared to be alone and the cook asked him if he would like it cut into 4 pieces or 6. He thought about it for some time, then said "Just cut it into 4 pieces; I don't think I'm hungry enough to eat 6 pieces.
7. - "Dumb as a box of Rocks”
A noted psychiatrist was a guest speaker at an academic function where a prominent politician happened to appear. He took the opportunity to talk to the good doctor a bit and asked him a question with which he was most at ease.
'Would you mind telling me, Doctor,' he asked, 'how you detect a mental deficiency in somebody who appears completely normal?'
'Nothing is easier,' he replied. 'You ask a simple question which anyone should answer with no trouble. If the person hesitates, that puts you on the track.'
'What sort of question?' he asked.
Well, you might ask, 'Captain Cook made three trips around the world and died during one of them. Which one?''
He thought a moment, and then said with a nervous laugh, 'You wouldn't happen to have another example would you? I must confess I don't know much about history.'
Sadly, they walk among us! And, MORE sadly, hold high offices!!!
8. - Traffic Camera
A man was driving when he saw the flash of a traffic camera.
He figured that his picture had been taken for exceeding the limit, even though he knew that he was not speeding. Just to be sure, he went around the block and passed the same spot, driving even more slowly, but again the camera flashed.
Now he began to think that this was quite funny, so he drove even slower as he passed the area again, but the traffic camera again flashed. He tried a fourth time with the same result. He did this a fifth time and was now laughing when the camera flashed as he rolled past, this time at a snail's pace.
Two weeks later, he got five tickets in the mail for driving without a seat belt!!!
9. - Parachuting Anyone?
Yesterday my daughter e-mailed me, again, asking why I didn't do something useful with my time.
"Like sitting around the pool drinking wine isn't a good thing".
(Talking about me "doing-something useful" seems to be her favorite topic of conversation.)
She is "only thinking of me," she said, and suggested, I go down to the Senior Center and hang out with the fellas. So, I did and when I got home, decided to play a prank on her.
I sent her an e-mail saying that I had joined the Senior Parachute Club. She replied, "Are you nuts? You're 79 years-old and now you're going to start jumping out of airplanes?"
I told her that I even had a Membership Card and e-mailed a copy to her.
Immediately, she telephoned me and yelled, "Good grief, Dad, where are your glasses?! This is a membership to a Prostitute Club, not a Parachute Club
"Oh man, am I in trouble," I said, "I signed up for five jumps a week! The line went dead.
Life as a Senior Citizen isn't getting any easier, but sometimes, it can be fun.