Planning is now underway for a 1960s Malcolm Campbell High School reunion

It was great to meet with my friends recently from Malcolm Campbell High School (MCHS) in Montreal. Such meetings are of tremendous value.

Scott Munro retired two years ago as a geography professor at the University of Toronto. Jaan Pill photo

MCHS is the the high school that I graduated from in 1963 when I lived in Montreal. It’s a source of comfort, as one gets older, to remain in touch with childhood friends.

Scott Munro, Howard Eisenberg, Peter Mearns, and Jaan Pill met on Jan. 31, 2014 for lunch at the Green Mango Restaurant on the north side of Bloor Street West just east of Royal York Road in Toronto.

At our meeting, we got discussion under way on planning for an Early 1960s Malcolm Campbell High School Reunion which is slated to be held in Toronto around September 2015.

Peter Mearns is owner of Bolton Lock and Security Ltd. Jaan Pill photo

A key organizer for the event is Peter Mearns, who is blessed with a great, detailed memory for people, places, and events in Montreal dating back over half a century. When he was in elementary school, he lived in Toronto meaning he has a great recollection of Toronto starting in the 1950s as well.

Perhaps as a consequence of his memory strengths or as a means of assistance for keeping his memory sharp, Peter has a great network of contacts related to Malcolm Campbell High School. For many years, he worked as a salesman for a paper company. Having a memory for names is also a great asset when you are in sales.

Also at our meeting was Howard Eisenberg, who has met quite a few times with Scott Munro and I over the past decade. Howard Eisenberg is owner of a company called Syntrek Inc. My meetings in Toronto with Scott go back about twenty years. Over the years we had been thinking of who else to invite to our get togethers and Howard was among the first that we thought about.

If you are interested in attending this reunion or assisting with the organizing of it, please contact us through the Preserved Stories website. Please visit the Malcolm Campbell High School category at this website for updates about the reunion in the months ahead.

Update: I’ve reminisced about my Cartierville years in an earlier blog post entitled: “Farmers’ fields north of Montreal is where the City of Laval was built.”

Jaan Pill is a retired elementary school teacher. Selfie by Jaan Pill

4 replies
  1. Howard A Hight
    Howard A Hight says:

    Fellows this is fantastic. I am now a 67 year old retired grandfather of 9.
    My wife, Diane, of 44 years and I live in Grafton Ma. We migrated down here in 1980.

    Lets see if my memory works at all. Jaan Pill was class president , right?

    We were in the same class at some point, 11B??

    I am in touch with Wayne Grier, Jim Gordon and Al Jones.

    Let us know about the reunion idea.

  2. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    What a delight it is to read your message, Howard. I’d love to learn more about your life in Grafton Ma. It’s great to know that you are aware of the plans for the Early 1960s MCHS Reunion.

    We were in 11B. Scott Munro and many other great people were as well. I remember Wayne Grier and Al Jones. Jim Gordon I don’t remember but if I saw a photo, I would likely remember him.

    Peter Mearns is exploring two possible locations for early 1960s reunion

    Peter Mearns is checking two possible Toronto locations for the reunion. He’s also going through his list of MCHS contacts. Like a good number of people I’ve met from those years, Peter has a close to photographic – or videographic – memory of selected key events at Malcolm Campbell High School in the early 1960s.

    He recently told us, for example, about the first day that Mr. Edelstein, in his role as the new English Literature teacher, addressed the class and laid down the law, the new standards of conduct, that he as a teacher would be enforcing.

    Mr. Edelstein first made a point, as Peter Mearns recalls, of shutting the door and explaining that the kind of language he liked to use, when speaking about topics related to classroom management, was not something that the school administration would be pleased to hear a teacher using. It went on from there.

    When Peter recently explained to us – to Scott Munro, Howard Eisenberg, and Jaan Pill, at the meeting outlined in this blog post – what it was like the first time Mr. Edelstein walked into the class, it was like watching a movie, only better. I had been in the class but remember only the broad outlines of the story related to the new teacher.

    As I look back, reflecting on the lives and experiences of all the great people I know from those years, the stories have the elements of a novel – only even better than a novel.

    Among other things, I enjoy how each of us, as characters in real life events, go through experiences that often give rise to character development. That is, in some ways we are the same people, and in other ways our personalities, or roles, the characters we play, change over time.

    Some of our classmates died young, unexpectedly, and their lives and stories remain with us, in our recollections and reflections, as well.

    October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis

    One of the anecdotes that stays in mind for me dates from around October 1962, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. You shared with us the procedure that had been developed, according to a humorous report that you had encountered, when it was clear that the crisis could, indeed, end with the launching of missiles. Among other things, it involved students getting under their desks to await the end of the world.

    Your comments about how to prepare for the end included a touch of humour. I don’t remember all that many things from high school, my memory never having been spectacular, but I do remember what you said on that occasion, because it was funny. I still chuckle when I think about it now.

    We’re thinking of September 2015, at a location in the heart of Toronto or close to the downtown.

    I’m 67 as well. Your memory is very close: Jaan Pill was president of the Student Council. In the election speeches by the candidates, in the school’s auditorium, he began his speech with the memorable – and endlessly rehearsed – line: “In your hands instead of mine will rest the final success or failure of the Student Council.” I made a point of making no promises. Many people liked my campaign, and I won the election.

    In the school year that followed, when I served as president, I became acquainted with how power operated in a high school in the early 1960s. The teacher who was adviser to the student council called the shots. It was enjoyable, especially in retrospect, to figure out the dynamics – regarding how decisions were made – that were involved at that level of the school’s operations.

    I also enjoyed the experience of feeling at ease in using a microphone and in appearing in television events, in my role as a student leader, and as a competitor in a high school quiz show. Since my high school years I’ve enjoyed using and working with microphones.

    Jenning Dai

    Scott Munro was the campaign manager when I ran for president; he helped us to put together some great posters. The nomination originated with Jenning Dai. He said he liked the way I made comments in class, by way of expressing my opinion, and thought I’d be a great candidate.

    What I’ve just written is the most that I’ve said about my high school political career in the last fifty years.

    We live in Long Branch in Toronto. We’ve been here close to twenty years. Long Branch used to be the Village of Long Branch. It was a village in its own right, as was the case with many Toronto villages years ago. Then it became part of the Borough of Etobicoke, which eventually became part of the City of Toronto.

    Long Branch (Toronto not New Jersey)

    I have an interest in the history of Long Branch. My website is to an extent devoted to sharing of first-person accounts based on experiences people had starting in the 1920s and thereabouts in this community, this small corner of Toronto at the southwest corner of the city, on the shoreline of Lake Ontario right at the Toronto-Mississauga border.

    Some years ago I was involved in a successful campaign to keep a local school, close to where we live, in public hands rather than being sold to a developer. The school grounds of the school is the location of a significant archaeological site. That facet became the basis of the letter writing campaign that was a key part of the successful community effort. That’s what prompted my interest in local history. My website is in part devoted to sharing information about Long Branch (Toronto not New Jersey).

    There’s also a Long Branch in New Jersey. Until I began to emphasize that I live in the Long Branch that’s in Toronto, I used to get a lot of phone calls and email messages from the U.S. asking for information about the Long Branch in New Jersey. In fact, the two Long Branches had a formal “twinning” kind of relationship years ago, and both began as resort communities, but that’s another story.

    I’m married and we have a daughter. I got married when I was fifty. I retired from teaching elementary school in 2006. I organize local Jane’s Walks with a friend, Mike James, who was principal at a school in Mississauga where I taught for many years. As a teacher, I especially enjoyed introducing role play and drama into classroom experiences whenever the opportunity presented itself, which was often.

    Decision making and leadership succession

    Another highlight in my life is that at the age of forty one I attended a speech clinic in Edmonton, and with a lot of work after that I gained control over the stuttering that got in the way of communication (except when making well-rehearsed campaign speeches) in my high school years. In the years that followed I was involved in the founding of the Canadian Stuttering Association, the Estonian Stuttering Association, and the International Stuttering Association. I’ve been particularly closely associated with the first of the above-mentioned associations.

    From the start we focused on a flat-hierarchy approach to decision making (that is, everyone who wants to offer input and have influence has the opportunity to do so), and a strong focus on leadership succession (which includes fixed terms of office for leaders). That has worked out really well. A new generation of leaders has taken over at the Canadian Stuttering Association. It has a great website, a great strategic plan, and a great approach toward social media applications and media relations.

    I’m delighted, Howard, that you have found out about the plans for the Early 1960s (that is, up until the 1965 graduating class) Malcolm Campbell High School Reunion.

    Overviews invited from early 1960s MCHS graduates

    One of the concepts that has occurred to me, for the reunion, is to ask people to write overviews of about 750 words or thereabouts outlining some key aspects, as I have done above, by way of example, of their lives during and since high school. Would you be interested in writing such an overview, with photos?

    The text can be longer than 750 words. My own text, the one you’re now reading, is about 1,500 words.

    If the concept appeals to you, Howard, please send me your text and photos via email at the email address posted on this page at the lower left.

    I’m also interested in posting overviews – about topics close to people’s hearts – from other people who attended Malcolm Campbell High School in the early 1960s or thereabouts.

    We’re also interested in comments from any source – from any place in the world, from any era – about what in your experience makes for a great school reunion.

  3. Shirley Damant
    Shirley Damant says:

    I graduated MCHS 1967 ♪ ♪ with pride we wear the scarlet and the silver ♪ ♪

    I am interested in your plans for a reunion !

    I am still living in Montreal . . .

    thank you kindly

    Shirley Damant

  4. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Wonderful to read your message, Shirley. That’s a great tune! We will contact you with additional details. It will be great if you can join us at the reunion. All the best, Jaan


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