Steven Lesser has shared a great comment regarding MCHS dress codes (and a second great comment about a favourite song)


We have a great discussion (please see comments below, and the photo – which you can enlarge if you click on it – at the very top of the page you are now reading) about the Banning of the Twist at MCHS in the early 1960s. The yearbook photo at the top of this page is courtesy of Charles Tsiang (MCHS 1962).


Page from 1961-62 MCHS yearbook. Click on the image to enlarge it.

[End of update]


Steven Lesser has shared a great comment at a recent blog post dedicated to the moose on the road:

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a moose on the road. “Our brain is not a unitary organ,” Scott Watter comments, regarding the stories about the moose.

Steven Lesser writes (and I’ve devoted a separate post to his comment by way of bringing attention to it):

Comment #1 from Steven Lesser

Comment: Newsletter #16 asks:

“…in the 69-70 somewhere, the whole school banded together to change one of the rule[s] in dress code. Do you remember which part of the code was being challenged?”

Do I ever. Boys were required to wear ties to school. We hated that. One day, towards the end of the school year, we held a big rally on the front steps of the school. As I recall, someone blew a trumpet to urge us on. Then we all took off our ties and marched in the front doors, tie-less. That was my first year at MCHS.

Because there were so many of us, the administration had to use the VisEd room for detentions. We sat for half an hour after school every day for a week.

But the next year: No more ties.

[End of text]

Wow, Steven! That is a most inspiring story. It underlines the fact that, when a good strategy is in place, students can make a difference; students can demonstrate political agency. This is a topic that is dear to my heart:

Aside from bullying, Marjorie H. Goodwin (2006) focuses on collaboration and political agency 

Dress code and moose on the road

The topic of the moose on the road reminds me of a post about Wrong-Way Drivers in New Brunswick:

Question for Graeme Decarie: Can you explain the Wrong-Way Driving phenomenon in New Brunswick? 

The topic of the MCHS dress code reminds me of an earlier post:

Graeme Decarie has shared a recent photo of himself. We also discuss the crop tops topic.

I am pleased to add that the MCHS 2015 Reunion will feature a Twist Contest.

If you have not been practising The Twist for some years – the dance that was BANNED at Malcolm Campbell High School – we would suggest that now is a good time to start practising, so that you will be in good shape for the contest.

Just a note: We will invite Graeme Decarie – he who banned the Twist at MCHS – to join us for the Twist Contest, at the Reunion. There is always time to re-write history!

We are delighted that Graeme Decarie is planning to attend the Reunion, as is Soryl Shulman Rosenberg:

Further update regarding the 1960s XKE Jaguar story featuring MCHS Phys Ed teacher, Soryl Shulman Rosenberg

Please let us know, if you know of any other teachers who might be interested in attending the Reunion. Or even better – please get in touch with them and tell them about the event!

Steven Lesser has also commented about a favourite song that Malcolm McLean Kelly enjoyed:

Malcolm McLean Kelly: “Wonderful, kind, generous and fun man”

Steven Lesser has shared the following comment, which I am pleased to highlight by posting it here:

In honour of Mr. Kelly, here is his signature song:

I’ve just come down
From the Isle of Skye
I’m not very big and I’m awful shy
And the lassies shout when I go by
Donald, where’s your troosers

Let the wind blow high
Let the wind blow low
Through the streets
In my kilt, I’ll go
All the lassies say hello
Donald, where’s your troosers

A lassie took me to a ball
And it was slippery in the hall
And I was feared that I would fall
For I had nae on my troosers

[Repeat CHORUS]

Now I went down to London Town
And I had some fun in the underground
The ladies turned their heads around
Saying, Donald, where are your trousers

[Repeat CHORUS]

To wear the kilt is my delight
It is not wrong I know it’s right
The Highlanders would get a fright
If they saw me in the trousers

[Repeat CHORUS]

The lassies want me every one
Well, let them catch me if they can
You canna take the breaks
If a Highland man
And I don’t wear the troosers

[Repeat CHORUS]

Perhaps the most popular version of the song, sung by Andy Stewart:

Trivia: In the second verse, instead of “A lassie took me to a ball” Mr. Kelly would sometimes sing “I once came down to Montreal.”

[End of text]

Two MCHS 2015 videos, for your viewing pleasure

In the past it would have taken me ages to post all this material. Now, with practice, it takes but a few minutes.

As well, I’m pleased to share with you the fact that Bagpipe Music (accompanied by the mandatory Scottish Kilt) will be among the many Entertainment Features of the MCHS ’60s Reunion and Celebration of the ’60s taking place at Old Mill Toronto on October 17, 2015.

In addition, I’m pleased to share with you a brief online video that addresses the question: “Why Toronto?”

An earlier video you may have already seen; in case you haven’t, here it is. This one addresses the question of: “What do I get for $150?”


9 replies
  1. Doug Hambley
    Doug Hambley says:

    Should I wear my full dress kilt then? (Cornish National tartan, but I could also wear Shaw or McDonald tartan based on my ancestry.) I understood that the dress was casual…

  2. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    We have thrown the dress code out the window, as far as it can fly. We will be delighted to see a whole sea of kilts. All modes of dress (or undress, as the case may be) are welcome!

  3. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    By way of rounding out the story of the Twist being banned at MCHS in 1963, I’m pleased to share the following comments from Graeme Decarie:

    “Perhaps I can take this opportunity to reveal a long-hidden truth. It’s about the dance in 1963, I think, for which I banned the twist. It caused a lot of controversy, and lots of speculation than I did to satisfy and overheated sense of morality.

    “Here’s the true story.

    “I have never liked pop music, and have never been much of a dancer.

    “Consequently, when students asked me (constantly) if I was going to ban the Twist, I didn’t even know that they were talking about.

    “But every day, students would bug me about it. Then, one questioner, even before I answered, said, ‘You can’t ban it. It’s been on the Ed Sullivan Show.’

    “And I thought..;.. the hell with that. Ed Sullivan does not set the standards for MCHS dances. I do. And that’s when I said it was banned.”

  4. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    In our ongoing Facebook discussion about the banning of the Twist, Charles Tsiang (1962) has added some great material regarding the topic. I will post his comment, when time permits. In the meantime, here is an additional comment, from Jaan Hendrik Pill (which is Jaan’s handle on Facebook given that there are in fact several people named Jaan Pill on the internet):

    It was an exercise in power relations. The teachers, as I noted during my term (1962-63) as president of the student council, had the upper hand. Under such conditions, the role of the witness – the role of the person who serves as the witness – is highly important.

    Through the power of the witness, we can pass along to future generations, that the Twist was banned, and there were students around who spoke against this arbitrary exercise of power.

    It was an injustice that the Twist was banned. There is no sound argument that supports such a ban.

    • Jaan Pill
      Jaan Pill says:

      I have checked with Charles Tsiang (MCHS 1962) and he has given me permission to add his Facebook comments including this one:

      Now wait a minute! The time was 1962, and I was there! See Kathy Rutherford and me in this picture from the 1961-62 Highlander. We were just harassing Mr Talbot and Graeme one more time about the banning of the twist.

      [Click on the image to enlarge it.]


  5. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Charles Tsiang notes:

    My physiatrist says there is no credible connection between foraminal (spinal) stenosis and the Twist…. when practiced below the age of 30.

  6. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    At Facebook I have added:

    In fairness to Graeme Decarie (I like to hear both sides of each argument, when possible, in my role as a responsible reporter) I have let him know about our ongoing discussion. Be prepared for a Blast from the Past at any time.

  7. Arleen Chenoll (Smith). 11C ‘63 Grad
    Arleen Chenoll (Smith). 11C ‘63 Grad says:

    Loved the videos. Lynne Hennebury’s sister Elaine is my sister-in-law, she is married to my step-brother Ralph Beaulieu, both went to MCHS too.

    • Jaan Pill
      Jaan Pill says:

      Really pleased to know you enjoyed the videos.

      I’m also really pleased to know of the many connections, among MCHS graduates. It’s a wonderful thing that, through input from so many people, we are keeping memories from MCHS going strong.


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