After dinner, I frequently fell into a delicious slumber in the warm glow coming from the granite-faced fireplace. I did not realize then that most of the heat and plenty of unburned carbon soot were being carried directly up and out of the chimney. Without adequate insulation and flashing in the roof, an ice dam built up each winter in one spot near the front door, and melt water eventually forced its way under the shingles and into the plaster ceiling above the cellar stairs. We also had to call our plumber cousin, whom I named ‘Big Bob’, each winter to thaw a basement pipe with his blow torch, so we could operate the washing machine. And of course, all the windows were just double-paned, the outside ones mounted in heavy wooden frames, which posed a major challenge to remove each spring so that they could be replaced by screens. In the autumn, my brother and sisters and I were all recruited to wash the numerous panes with vinegar and newspaper.
In 1956 my mother, Norma Stanley, was asked to write a history of St. Lambert for the Centennial celebration the following year. My parents moved to St. Lambert in the early 1940’s shortly, after they were married. They lived there until they passed away. I recently came across a copy in the archives of my attic.
– Ross Stanley C’65
Items I particularly enjoy reading in the Alumni Connection deal with the careers and hobbies pursued by graduates of our high school. Sometimes these two activities are closely related, while others could not be more different; I have written about both types before in our newsletter (i.e., fossil hunting and woodcarving). Towards the end of my career, I discovered entomology…
By Donald Oakley, C’42. – The City of Saint Lambert in the 1930s was a town of some 6,000 people. Of interest to you might be the area from Tiffin Avenue down Green Street to Victoria Avenue. There were many wooded and open spaces, especially from Merton Avenue to Tiffin. The present Chambly County High was simply a deep hole in the field where we used to float rafts in the spring.
By Robert Wrigley, C’60 – In recent years it is common to hear of many students’ plight after graduating from college, burdened with five-figure debts, and taking many years of their working careers to repay. I think back to my nine university years at McGill and Illinois and realize just how fortunate I was to graduate and return to Canada debt free.
By John McNeish, C’65 – My first athletic memory left a lasting mark on my life. On beautiful sunny day in spring: dressed in a brown snowsuit, immobile head to toe like a broken leg in a blow-up ski splint, I am standing on two cheese cutters on the ice in a corner of the L’Esperance rink — – L’esperance meaning “hope”, God’s little joke — near the melting ruins of the annual ice castle.
By Robert Wrigley, C’60 – I don’t remember the first time I tried to catch a football, but it must have been in my front yard in the early 1950s with my Dad. I marvelled at the strange shape that caused it to bounce uncontrollably and to spiral beautifully in a long arc through the air, at the numerous little dimples that roughened the pigskin, the double white stripes, and the raised laces that guided the fingers of the passer. For the next dozen years I would pass, pull-in, punt and pursue this weirdly proportioned projectile like my very life depended on it.
By John McNeish, C’65 – I recently read about modern teenagers who have no chores around their home and therefore “grow up” without knowing how to take care of themselves. This was not the case in St Lambert in the 1950 & 60’s. We had a mother who pretended to be weak and helpless, but who cunningly led us through the McNeish Family Labour Exchange and Apprenticeship Programme, which traded food and lodging, clothing and school supplies for hard labour and intense training.
By Heather Humphrey, C’66 – After Graduation from CCHS in 1966, my first job was with Joseph Ribcoff, a local fashion house in Montreal. Then at SunLife Insurance Company where I worked for 9 years and absolutely loved my work. Our department, a female boss of 28 years of age and myself, became the first Forms Control and Design Department in any corporation in the whole of Canada.
By Jack Anderson, C’71 – I had to stop quite quickly and I was in the slow lane. A couple of seconds later the world exploded! I was flung violently against the dash and steering wheel at about a 45 degree angle as my seat had come off its rails, and I ducked as glass fell all around me.
By Ed Wood C’60 – Most of us air force kids who had fathers stationed at Air Defense Command, St. Hubert, Quebec back around 1958-60 had a number of options for our secondary schooling. We were privileged to get an education. Many of us took our schooling on the airbase for school grades up to the end of Grade Nine. Thereafter we had to go to either CCHS in St. Lambert or to Montreal High to complete our Matriculation.
By Harvey Carter C’60 – The concept of curling in St. Lambert started in early 1954 after Harold Atkins, columnist and Sports Editor, and George Clark (1932), of Clark Travel fame, attended a Canadian Legion get together at St. Anne de Bellevue Curling Club.
By David Baxter C’60 – Without doubt, I was the most run over defensive halfback ever to play midget football. Steve Montague, our coach, looked upon this poor football misfit and assigned me to defensive halfback and back up quarterback. The star of the team, John Milligan played first-string quarterback. John was one of my best friends…
By Angus Cross C’60 – While I have enjoyed Andy Little’s Flashbacks on growing up and coming of age in St. Lambert, I must point out that many of us did not fit that mould. I know that I was not alone in moving to St. Lambert from another area, and suddenly having to cope with a new town and school.
By Carolyn MacDonald (Vance) C’58 – “It takes a village to raise a child.” That African saying could well have been penned by St. Lambert residents, and more specifically by those who lived on Pine Avenue, between Green and L’Esperance Streets “My Village”, during the years 1945 to ’55.
By Janis Johnston Cotter C’58 – Our class was CCHS’s first to have a Senior Class trip. An American friend, who had attended our school for a couple of years before returning to Philadelphia wrote and told me of her school’s plans for a Senior Class trip to New York City which was sort of an annual tradition there. At that time my perception was that US high schools had more fun (spawned no doubt by Hollywood movies) and wished we could do the same. Then I dared to think, “Why couldn’t we?”
By Warren Mackenzie C’57 – What’s new in St. Lambert? Quite surprisingly, a lot. The many changes we noticed to have taken place in St. Lambert during the four years since our last visit were very surprising, and in fact, we both felt St. Lambert appears to really ‘be on the move’.
By Catherine Weeks (Glen) C’57 – Dances fifty years ago at CCHS were always held in the gym and included a Sock and Sweater Hop, the Grad Dance, a Christmas Dance with the music of Eaton’s Band Box, a Now or Never Hop, and the popular Sadie Hawkins Dance to which the girls invited the boys.
By Wendy Plumb (Irvine) C’57 – It’s the winters that I remember most about St. Lambert. Now, that was winter! After moving to Toronto in ’68 and not having to wear snow boots after January, it was quite a contrast from growing up in the Montreal area.
By Virginia Carter C’54 – I didn’t get to India until I was well along in life. That’s because Dad forbade me to go. He had spent almost 3 years in India during WWII and, while he had learned many things and had many experiences, he also almost died, which may be why he had a jaundiced view of the country.
By Lorne Perry C’49 – Born in 1931, at the real start of the Great Depression, I spent my growing up years in and around St.Lambert, Quebec. This was a dormitory community of about 6,000 people. The majority of its workforce found gainful employment in Montreal, that is, when they could find it.
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 Beverley Walker (Lowe) C’77 – It was awful. I’ll try to start from the beginning of the quake, but I’m sure I’ll jump all over the place. There is so much in my head. My emotions are all over the place. The feeling of helplessness, the despair, the pain of the people, the poverty, the suffering, too many thoughts…
By Dave Erskine C’63 – My decision, at 60, to drop out of the rat race and begin taking my retirement in chunks by working part time and the fact that I have a brother-in-law living in Vancouver offering a place to stay made the dream of participating in an Olympics as a volunteer a real possibility.
By Laurie Mackenzie C’89 – Before I visit my home town of Saint-Lambert, Que, a spring enters my step. My mother still lives there, so the joy of seeing her doubles the pleasure of going home.
By Various Contributors – Last month’s post by Alan Hardiman C’68 entitled CCHS Bands of the Late 60’s has elicited further recollections from our Alumni. So here are more CCHS Bands from the 50’s, 60’s & 80’s.
By Alan Hadiman C’68 – Café Twilight was a regular Friday night happening in the St. Barnabas hall behind the church. Café Twilight most likely started in the fall of ’66, I know it went until spring of ’68, but am not sure if it started earlier or went longer. Since this chapter in the life of CCHS and St. Lambert hasn’t appeared anywhere on the website yet, let me start the story.
By Seaforth Lyle C’53 – I was struck by a wave of nostalgia. There I was lying on my back in the pool on the ms Noordam in the Mediterranean heading for Croatia not thinking about much, but it suddenly came to mind that in a few weeks my sixty year mark since graduating from CCHS will end. Amazingly, I can’t remember what I had for breakfast, but I remember 1953 at CCHS as if it were yesterday.
By Jack Anderson, C’71 – The City of St. Lambert has seen dynamic growth and significant demographic changes over its 150-year history, and the history of the City’s English schools have evolved over time to meet the educational needs of its English-speaking residents.
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.
By Robert Wrigley, C’60 – My best friends and neighbours (a senior couple) recently had to sell their Winnipeg family home of over 50 years, due to illness. This is the eventual course of life for most people, but it started me thinking about what a home means, as ones passes through various stages of life.
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.
By Robert Wrigley, C’61 – Before the age of television and electronic games, Saint Lambert kids devised their own play activities — most harmless; a few questionable. Fishing in the St. Lawrence was quite a popular pastime after school and on weekends, in the days before the Seaway, and when fish were abundant and even edible, prior to significant water pollution.
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.
By Angus Cross, C’60 – I have been back to St. Lambert only four times in the last forty-eight years. All four occasions have been in the last ten years. In June of 2005, my wife, Joanne (Lemke) C’60, and I drove up from Halifax to attend Reunion 2005. I hadn’t been to St. Lambert since 1962 and, quite frankly, had not missed the place.
By Angus Cross, C’60 – Several things occurred the summer of 1958, which changed things for our family. The “old man” decided to buy a yacht. We went out to the Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club in Dorval and inspected a 52 foot motor cruiser named “Kona”.
By Joseph “Joe” Steiner C’60 – I sold my house and moved onto a sailboat. The idea was to cruise, first to the Bahamas and then the Greater and Lesser Antilles, all the way to Trinidad. This would take two years and then I would reassess the Journey and make a decision about the future.
By Warren Mackenzie, C’57 – Until a week ago 14-year-old Elizabeth Williams had never seen a high-rise building, had never been on a subway train, and certainly had never been to a zoo. But this past week has changed all that. Together with 12 other high school students from Inukjuak – a tiny Inuit settlement on the east side of Hudson’s Bay – Elizabeth has experienced all that and more.
By Robert Wrigley C’60 – While a surprisingly large range of sports was offered in Chambly County schools and throughout St. Lambert community parks, the game of choice for most of my St. Lambert friends and I was without a doubt hockey – bolstered by the Montreal Canadiens, resident right across the river. We were all proud to wear the red, blue and white jersey with the big ‘C’
By Lorne Perry, C’49 – After Grade 4 we all moved to St. Lambert High School for Grades 5 through 11. Grade five was kind of hard for me and then grade six was a breeze. I remember Miss Dolena Smith as being a rather ordinary grade 5 teacher, while Miss Elliot (later in the year she became Mrs. Darley) excelled in grade 6.
By Robert Wrigley, C’60 – Developing a variety of hobbies and pursuits during the middle-age years certainly eases the transition into retirement, and gives a person something to look forward to. So it sounded perfectly reasonable for this ‘old fossil’ (Class of 1961) to spend more time searching for other old fossils. And by this I don’t mean classmates from CCHS, but the really old kind — the ones lying underground for thousands or millions of years.
By Robert Wrigley, C’60 – I remember strolling into the large Industrial Arts room for the first time with classmates at CCHS, and being impressed with the rows of carpentry benches, vices, racks of neat-looking tools, and the spray booth from which emanated some rather strange smells. Absolutely nothing was out of place and every surface was clean – rather surprising considering the daily generation of wood shavings and dust.
By Lorne Perry, C’49 – By September 1942, when I moved to the big school in the center of town, the world was in the depths of global war, but I cannot say it intruded much on school life. We saved our pennies to donate to the Red Cross, and quarters went towards War Savings Certificates, but I don’t remember being taught about the countries war was affecting so seriously, nor do I remember any reference to the frequent tragic events taking place all over the world.
By Robert Wrigley, C’61- Music has always played a prominent role in the lives of young people, and there were plenty of opportunities to explore different avenues in St. Lambert and at Chambly County High School when I was a teenager in the 1950s and early 60s. I admit to having enjoyed music class in school – a welcome break from challenging French and geometry classes, mastery of which persistently alluded me right to graduation.
By Lorne Perry, C’49 – Radio was a prime form of home entertainment. We had a big old Stromberg-Carlson console radio, really a fancy piece of furniture with some radio parts inside. Sometimes we could pick up short wave broadcasts from around the world, and a few strong US AM stations late at night.
By Lorne Perry, C’49 – C.W. Smiley was the supplier of coal for furnaces or stoves, and wood for fireplaces. Most deliveries were made by horse and wagon in the warmer months and by sleigh in winter. These vehicles could only handle a ton at the most. The wagons consisted of an open top box on very high wheels, the driver sitting at the front as the horse plodded along.
By Lorne Perry, C’49 – There are lots of memories wrapped up in the various deliveries made to our house. Every day except Sunday, the milkman from Elmhurst Dairy trundled his horse and wagon from Montreal West to St.Lambert by way of the mile and three-quarters Victoria Bridge, starting out at 4 am.