By Andy Little C’53 – I’ll never forget the first time I entered the old pool hall above the Victoria Theatre in St. Lambert. The dark interior was illuminated by glowing expanses of green felt. There was a hushed silence to the place. The only sounds – the sharp click of ball hitting ball, the distinctive thud when one of those balls landed squarely in a pocket and, of course, the occasional curse.
By Andy Little C’53 – When I try to recall details from my high school graduation ceremony a few impressions remain, like half-melted ice cubes in a watered-down drink. We were seated on the stage of the gymnasium, facing the audience. I know I received more applause than I deserved when the principal, E.Y. Templeton, handed me my diploma.
By Andy Little C’53 – I can’t imagine life as a teenager in St. Lambert without “The Pit”. It was even more important than our two other favorite haunts, “The Cave” (AKA The Cavendish Tea Room) and the pool hall (AKA Chez Armand).
Andy Little, C’53 – Ian Hume was a larger than life figure at Chambly County High School both literally and figuratively. His arrival in l948 sparked a good deal of curiosity among students. Most of our teachers at that time were women and none of the few men on the staff stood out the way Ian did.
Andy Little, C’53 – Say the words “Cavendish Tea Room” to most folks and they conjure up an English countryside inn where Earl Grey tea and scones are served with fresh strawberries and clotted cream. But to a generation of teenagers who attended high school in St. Lambert in the forties and fifties The Cavendish Tea Room had a different meaning.
Andy Little, C’53 – To reach the public beach, where Argyle met Riverside Drive, I had to descend a set of stairs cut through a massive concrete wall built to prevent flooding in the spring. The beach, if it can be called that, was an extended slab of concrete that ran from the base of the wall thirty yards or so into the shallow water.
Andy Little, C’53 – The first time I heard the sound of bagpipes I was playing in the marshes at the foot of Dulwich Avenue, a five-minute walk from my home. It was eerie and I stopped, unsure where it was coming from or what it was.
Andy Little, C’53 – One of the things I remember best, growing up in St. Lambert in the decade from 1944-1954 was the abundance of open fields and wooded areas that seemed everywhere. I lived first on Upper Edison and later on Merton Avenue. From both locations the “woods” were just a block or so from home.
Andy Little, C’53 – Ice on the roads is still something to worry about, but if you were a kid, growing up before they used salt on the streets, ice was something else – it was an opportunity. It made “hitching” a ride on the back of a car, truck, bus or even a streetcar, a favourite winter sport. It was a great way to get around, as long as you didn’t get caught.
Andy Little, C’53 – Dating in the fifties had few things in common with today’s rituals. It is like comparing the way teens dance today to the way we danced back then. Or comparing the music. The era of free love and rock-and-roll was yet to permeate St. Lambert in my high school years.
Andy Little, C’53 – Like millions of other young boys, my introduction to reading on my own came via the comic books. I devoured them and wished I could emulate the superheroes. Superman, Captain Marvel, Terry and the Pirates – the list is endless. And like millions of other boys before me, my first text only books were the adventures of The Hardy Boys. I recall one entire Christmas day spent reading the latest account of Joe, Frank and their chubby chum, Chet Morton.
By Andy Little, C’53 – St. Lambert High School changed when it became Chambly County High School, in the 1949-50 academic year. It was big news in the community. The high school was no longer the preserve of children with parents who lived in St. Lambert, it was a county school and Protestant kids from the regions outside St. Lambert were welcomed.
By Andy Little, C’53 – When the American novelist Thomas Wolfe chose You Can’t Go Home Again as the title for his 1934 novel, he put into words a truth as old as civilization itself. Because the passage of time changes everything, we can never really find the “home” we left behind. It exists only in our minds, in our memories.