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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
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 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 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.