A HAPPY MEMORY….submitted by Alan Hallworth
‘Twas the fall of 1958 when our professors at McLaughlin Hall announced that we were all going on a field trip to tour some of the largest steel fabricators in the country. As a bonus, they scheduled it to coincide with the weekend that the Gaels were playing the McGill Redmen.
In anticipation of a great weekend, I tried to calculate the amount of money I would need: splitting the cost of a hotel room, buy meals, cigarettes, attend the football game, etc. Cash was short, because most of my summer earnings had already gone on tuition, books, and the first few months of room and board. As I now recall, I was even wearing my father’s cast-off underpants (size 42) with a safety pin at the waist-band to reduce the girth to my size 32 (in 1958……not now).
So I stuffed $40 into my pocket on Wednesday afternoon and trotted off to meet the bus and my classmates for the bus ride to Montreal.
* * * *
Our hotel turned out to be the aptly-named “Queen’s Hotel”, on one of Montreal’s side streets not far from rue Ste.Catherines. Wednesday night was quiet as we organized our bedrooms and temporary room-mates. But Thursday night turned out to be “hi-jinx” night: As Ray Healey was preparing for a shower, a bunch of us grabbed him with nothing on but his jockey shorts, carried him bodily down the hall and into the elevator, then pressed the button labeled “LOBBY”.
Our field trips to General Electric, Pratt and Whitney, and Dominion Engineering were most impressive. We walked for what seemingly were miles and miles. I had never seen such huge milling machines and horizontal lathes. But, on Friday night, as tired as we were, we decided to explore downtown Montreal.
First stop was the “Chez Paris”, a strip club where the cover was $2.00 each, but we tipped the doorman an extra $2.00 to get a good seat, close to the stage where the viewing was best. Ray Healey and I were sitting side-by-side when, after only a few minutes had passed, two scantily-clad girls appeared and sat down beside each of us.
Not knowing what my next move would be, I overheard Ray ask “What can I get you to drink?”
“Some wine, please” was the answer.
“A nice entrée, Ray”, I thought to myself. So I asked the same question to the toughie sitting next to me.
In less than a minute, a waiter arrived at our table, cracked open a bottle, poured four glasses, and handed me the bill.
I handed the bill to Ray. He blanched.
It was Mumm’s Champagne.
Both Ray and I stormed out of our chairs and chased down the waiter, hoping for an explanation and some form of concession.
“Je regrette” said the waiter. “C’est la vie. And if you make furder fuss, you talk to boss”.
Ray and I eventually located the head waiter, argued our case for being poverty-stricken students from out of town, who didn’t know the rules, and couldn’t pay this exorbitant amount. We sawed it off at $20, ten dollars from each of us. By the time we got back to our table, the champagne bottle was empty, our cigarettes had disappeared, and the girls were nowhere to be seen.
When we eventually returned to our hotel room, I was so angry with my stupidity, I jumped on the bed and it broke under the shock of my weight. Hence, another $10 was added to my final hotel bill.
* * * *
Saturday night arrived, and somehow I had arranged a date (don’t remember how) for the dance with a McGill cheerleader. Melba Richardson was an absolute cutie, with a round, smiling face and short, perky brown hair. But being penniless, I felt uncomfortable all night. Our dancing was clumsy, and our conversation was strained. And it became even more strained when I advised her that she would have to pay for her own taxi fare home, because I was out of money.
I never heard from Melba again.
HAPPY MEMORIES?? Not all of them. But I was happy for the lessons in not-what-to-do.
Feedwater and Dave Wilson
Away back in the dark ages (1958-59), 4th year Miners took a Mineral Dressing lab every Saturday morning from
8:00-12:00 in the basement of dear old Nichol Hall. The object of the exercise was to perform tests on known
samples of milled ores to determine the amount of gold and silver in each, and thus the potential value of the ore.
After the appropriate preparation of each specimen, the next step involved placing it in the furnace for the smelting process to produce a bead of precious metal for further analysis. The smelting process alone normally took up to 2 hours, during which time we had to sit, watch and wait.
Resourceful fellows that we were and wanting our time used to best advantage, we sometimes took up a collection
to cover the cost of Catawba (a fine libation priced at $0.75 per bottle at the LCBO outlet out by the traffic circle on Princess Street) where one of our members (who shall remain nameless) drove to acquire it while others washed out beakers so that it could be consumed in style.
To get rid of the evidence, the empties were buried deep in the bottom of the sample bins, and were hopefully found eventually by successive years. It may not have been our best use of our available learning time, but I'm sure the mention of "Catawba" to any "59" Miner will bring at least a small smile to his face.
Hope you enjoy this recollection of a small part of my time at Queen's.
All best wishes,
Ian (D.I.) Campbell
Mine is the smile on Carl Gorham's face when I body blocked Charlie Sellens (Gaels football lineman - photo below) as he was about to hammer Carl for dumping his bed for making too much noise...
That ended the possible destruction of many pieces of Carl...the smile resulted as I became Charlie's focus of attention. I survived!
Left to right: Jim Real, Rick Piper, Pete Nicholson, Gary Sherwood
Summertime, and the livin’ is easy …. what a song, what a story. Porgy & Bess, George Gershwin, first produced as a stage show in 1935 and enjoyed many revivals. I saw it as a movie in the 60’s.
And the livin’ is easy
Back when I was between my 2nd and 3rd year of electrical engineering at a southern Ontario university, I was lucky to get a job with the Ontario Hydro as a summer student working at an old hydro (water) powered generating station on the Montreal river, just outside of Cobalt, Ontario. Cobalt was a mining town, with the houses arranged around a long sloping curve of the Northland Railway. Some wit suggested the town was produced when a train went too fast through the curve and flung the houses into the side of the hill. There was still one working mine (cobalt etc.) with the other main employer being the railway.
Being a student and already in debt I sought the economies of lodging in a private home c/w eating privileges.
My first host was an amiable French Canadian railway laborer, his suspicious and untalented cook of a wife, and a daughter a few years my junior. As an example of the repast we enjoyed, most of the main evening meals were a product of ‘the frying pan’, the one kitchen utensil the wife claimed mastery over. One memorable night we dined on chicken bits that had been ‘sautéed’ in the oil of the Smelt fish we had endured the previous evening. Not a blue ribbon attempt, even for a poor student. By the way, the husband was as thin as the rails he maintained, obviously able to hold his tongue as he guarded his stomach.
Being 20 and vigorous, my initial physical outlet on arriving was to come home from work and go for a run along the railway right-of –way just below the house. The door to my bedroom was a 2 part saloon type swinging door with the inevitable gap in the middle. One afternoon after a run and a shower, I felt a female presence in the hall availing herself of my naked body. For some unexplained reason the next day I was invited to find alternative lodgings. Not sure if I was that bad or that good?
My next accommodation was at the home of an elderly Irish widow who also housed another of the hydro crew. This was heaven! Cecilia had a heart of gold, a quick wit, and a steady hand in the kitchen. I enjoyed the comforts of a real home, congenial companions, and the output of a great cook.
My next foray was into the social scene. Through chance, or the local grapevine, I soon met a 3rd year dentistry student whose father was the local pharmacist. Jake and I hit it off immediately and soon we were sharing his motorcycle, our passion for hardball, beer, and a common latent desire to deflower as many local gals as possible. We joined the local baseball team, enjoyed post-game beer events, and beetled about town and to Jake’s family cottage on a lake just south of town.
There were not a lot of ‘entertainment’ outlets in Cobalt. A couple of small restaurants and a hotel with a well established beer parlor. Some of the feats of beer consumption that emanated from that parlor where local legends, not readily equaled.
Through Jake, I met a clutch of local damsels about our age who were easily intrigued by our southern Ontario university worldliness and our faculty jackets. Good people. As a group we would meet most evenings in a local ice cream/hotdog place and share our stories. The owner liked having us there as it was next door to the beer parlor and I think he felt it raised the tone for prospective customers.
Of the many attempts we engineered to entice the local pulchritude to more advantageous surroundings, one event stood out for its uniqueness.
One of the miners where Jake worked for the summer told him of a sure-fire potion that would melt all inhibitions and deliver desired results. The key ingredients were equal parts of grape juice and cheap champagne.
Two particularly toothsome sisters were selected and after some mild persuasion we all ended up at Jake’s family cottage by the lake. The lake was calm and warm, but that was a side issue. We soon repaired to the living room and suggested some mild refreshment. After some prompting and explaining our choice of a flavorful grape juice based summer cocktail, we quickly produced our first batch. Our dates were still skeptical, so to prove our benevolence, Jake and I downed a couple of glasses. The assumption being that our beer hardened metabolisms would not easily succumb to our ‘punch de jour’. Sadly, that turned out to be a cruel fallacy. My enduring memory of that evening was of lying facedown on the end of the boat dock, bringing up everything right down to my socks, while trying to remind myself our mixture was not all that lethal. In his haste to write down the formula, Jake obviously, had neglected to inquire about a suitable dosage.
I’m not quite sure how our dates made it back to town, but subsequent smirks suggested that while a complete failure, it had been one of the better attempts to claim their chastity.
The rest of the summer produced many more highlights and good memories ….. and the livin’ was easy!
Memory added January 22, 2012
In January, 2012, three Chemical '59ers from the Niagara Peninsula area, organized a quick trip to Rochester, New York and to the home of Bruce Amm, another "chemical guy". Bruce apparently is experiencing a few health issues, and was overjoyed with the company.
In case age has disguised the four, from the right they are: Bruce Amm; Umeo Nakano; Marv Kriluck and Toby O'Brien.
Memory added January 17, 2012
During our Saturday evening reunion banquet on October 15, 2011, we asked our first-year student guests (four of our bursary recipients attended), if they were familiar with a “slide rule” and what it did, because it is featured on our class crest that Norm Douglas designed. With blank stares at one another, and a shrug of their collective shoulders, they admitted that they had never heard of a “slide rule”.
We explained to them that it was a magical piece of hardware that every engineer carried, and there was even a special slide rule pocket in our Science jackets. It was about the size of a ruler, and it could multiply, divide, calculate natural logs and log 10, sines, cosines, tangents, it cost less than $20, weighed only a few grams, and it DIDN’T NEED BATTERIES. They were in awe.
Then Ted Fiander (Mechanical ’59) sent me this old photo featuring a slide rule doing calculations on the Queen’s Heating Plant efficiency, and I thought it was worth passing along. The cat (named “Feedwater”) was a permanent resident at the old boiler room, and probably would have done better on my Thermo 4 exam than I did.