I’ve worked out a tentative paragraph structure for this post, and have added links to posts from the Preserved Stories website that reference themes that Bob Carswell mentions.
Great to read you message, Bob! What a delightful story you have shared.
Haven’t spoken to you since the meeting in downtown Toronto after the 40th anniversary for MCHS. I see you are still alive. I was born in Harrogate, England in November 1944. My brother Jim who went to the High School of Montreal with your brother was born in 1943. We came to Canada with my mother, one of Canada’s 49,000 War Brides.
Those with children born to Canadian fathers brought 22,000 war babies like my brother and I. Both my parents participated in the military during the war, both became officers and both saw war action. My mother’s photo appears in the book Ghosts of Biggin Hill. Because of war service, they were treated as two individuals in the military which meant that no consideration was given to the fact that they were married to each other so they spent months on end apart at times. Such was WWII.
My first home in Canada was an apartment in a house in Pendleton, Ontario as a baby. My father had been posted back to Canada by the RCAF in June 1944 and as station adjutant was the last commanding officer of this Early Flying Training School with a staff of something like a thousand men and women, all waiting for the war to end.
He met me when I was four months old when they allowed a ship of wives to travel via the Azores to avoid any German subs as they headed to Halifax. Released from the RCAF after 6 years of service in the NPAM, Cdn Army Signals, CASF, RAF and RCAF, my father was ready to go back to work.
A graduate of Lakefield College in Lakefield Ontario, he lost a lot of friends in the war. Settling in Montreal, he went back to P.S. Ross the accounting firm he had articled with before the war. After two years, a breakdown due to PTSD and a third child on the way, he joined Henry Birks and Sons in systems and methods.
Over the next 26 years before taking early retirement, he climbed the ladder to Office Manager, Assistant Secretary, and Secretary and Director of nine Birks companies. My mother never worked after the air force experience but contributed her hand as a volunteer to every cause going…most important to her, secretary of the Cartierville School Home and School while her 4 kids went there.
Our first Montreal home was a new apartment, in a six-plex on Laurentian Blvd, then called Reed Street, the main route north to the Laurentians. We lived there for about 5 years. Then Dad had a house built on Martin Avenue in Saraguay and we moved there in 1951. It was torn down in the 90s to be replaced by a modern stone house. My Kindergarten was at Mrs. Terrat’s home at Reed and Gouin Blvd.
It closed when the houses on the east side going down to the bridge were torn down to widen the road. Names I remember, Mrs. Carpenter, Kindergarten at Cartierville School, Mrs. Talbot, Grade one, Mrs. Shields, Grade three, Miss Stanforth in Grades 5 then 6 (We did not get along), Mrs. Jackson in Grade 7 and Mrs. Findlayson, the principal.
One year, Grade four was a divided class across the street in the old Anglican church before the new one was built. I remember a pair of identical twins, Robbie and Wallace, one on each side of the class.
Mrs. Findlayson and I came to blows at times especially when I pulled my hand away while she was trying to strap me. I was an average student yet very bright. I could never understand why my brother got VG and I only got G on my report card. High school was worse.
I spent 3 years at the High School of Montreal, 3 years at Malcolm Campbell High School and 2 years doing another 13 credits at Sir George Williams Evening High School. I then went into SGWU heading for a B. Comm degree.
Sir George Williams University
After taking two summer courses, my company transferred me west. I returned to Sir George Williams University in 1969 full time and completed my degree. In my 50s I self diagnosed my learning disabilities which had plagued me all my life and had myself tested at the U of T. which confirmed it. When things went bad for me later in life, I took five years off and went back to school.
In total I have four Bachelor degrees and a fellowship in the Institute of Canadian Bankers, equivalent to half a degree….B.Comm (marketing); SGWU; Honours Bachelor of Business Administration (management) and Bachelor of Arts (film) both from York University and a B. Ed from the University of Toronto.
I have been doing my family genealogy for some 40 years now and have a skill that way. My roots are English, Scottish, Irish from both parts, and Swedish-Finnish, an interesting mix. I also reunited my mother and her sister after 62 years and brought them together for the last ten years of their lives.
My family history turned out to be a very unique one going from the London Docks to entertaining the Royalty of England. I too married an English girl that I met at a summer chalet at Montgomery Center, Vermont. We lasted 12 years together, separated and divorced about 9 years later since she wanted to remarry.
I have a son and daughter. My son is single, lasted in one relationship long enough in Toronto for that to destroy him and he then chose to do an MBA at the London School of Business in the UK in 2007. Setting up his own entrepreneurial firm, he is currently doing his part in a massive project for the British Government and will likely remain in the UK for the rest of his life. My daughter who lives in Victoria, BC works for the VIHA.
She is expecting her second child in October 2014. Her eldest daughter made me a grandfather for the first time 2 years ago. Funny as it is, her husband’s mother lives a couple of miles from me here in Toronto.
Jaan, You mentioned a school friend. You are talking about Allan MacDougall, cousin to Jamie Duncan, and part of the old Saraguay family there. It was his grandfather Dr. Duncan that delivered my own father into this world. Allan moved out to Vancouver, set up a book distribution firm and ended up the North American distributor for the Harry Potter books. He is also a on the Board of Directors of the Vancouver Library System along with a good friend of my youngest brother, also in Vancouver.
[Bob refers at this point in his text to an excellent book that he has written, that has the potential to be turned into a movie. ]
I am also looking for people who would help me edit my other many books to make sure they make sense and address the problems caused by my LD problems.
No money though as I am just a poor author and artist these days. Well, that is probably enough for now. Let me know what you want to know about Cartierville School and I will try to answer it. Cheers !!!