Last-minute notes as we get closer to Oct. 17 MCHS ’60s Reunion

On Oct. 12, 2015 I stopped by the Humber River near old Mill Toronto, in the evening when I had some time, to see if there is evidence of the fall change of colours in the foliage. The colours are indeed changing - and the salmon run was in full swing when I turned up at the riverbank. I don't know if they will still be around, on their way upstream to spawn, on the Oct. 17 weekend. If they are still there, at that time, they will be a sight to see. Many people were observing the scene on Oct.12. Jaan Pill photo

On Oct. 12, 2015 I stopped by the Humber River near Old Mill Toronto in the evening. The colours are changing by the day – and the salmon run was in full swing when I turned up. I don’t know if they will still be around on their way upstream to spawn, on the Oct. 17 weekend. If they are still there at that time, they will be a sight to see. Many people were observing the scene on Oct.12. Jaan Pill photo

Click on the photos to enlarge them – including of the photos the salmon swimming and jumping; click again to enlarge them further


Yearbook or age-17 or undergrad photos of Spouses/Guests

To the extent it’s possible, we’d like to include yearbook (from whatever highs school) or age-17 or undergrad photos of Spouses/Guests. I’ve contacted a number of Spouses/Guests and have received such jpeg photos from some of them. If I have not contacted you yet (I have quite a few other things I’m working on), please know that we seek such additional photos. You can send them to me as attached files.

Jaan Pill photo

Jaan Pill photo


If you are not attending the reunion but would like to touch base with us during the event, please contact me via Skype at jaanpill.

On Oct. 13, 2015 at the MCHS ’60s Facebook Group we discussed the MCHS ’60s Reunion format

Hannah Reim (MCHS 1968) writes on Facebook: Hi y’all! I hope someone talks to me on Saturday! There is not one person from my year attending. Weird, right? Looking forward to meeting alumnae from other years.

Salmon swimming upstream. Jaan Pill photo

Salmon swimming upstream. Jaan Pill photo

Jaan Pill (MCHS 1963): I’ll make a point of introducing you, during the opening remarks, Hannah. We’ll make sure there is a line-up of volunteers keen to talk about old times with you! I’m just working on the text now. Also, one of the points that we emphasize is that people are encouraged to get to know, and talk with, people from across all of the graduation years. We seek to ensure it’s an inclusive event, where what we have in common is that each of us has walked down the same hallway of the same school – no matter when, or at what age, that might have occurred.

Hannah Reim: I understood the concept and felt that it was what I wanted in a reunion, Jaan. I see that the cliques of high school continue with my year only attending their own reunion. I am an artist and a writer and understand the bigger picture of social relationships in life. Love to share this event with you, I was impressed with all the organization and thought behind the reunion. Happy to see you and my peeps on Saturday night.

John Masselos (MCHS 1972): I signed on because I recognized a few names from my years at MCHS. They have all dropped off the list. So, you are not alone! We should start our own table…

Hannah Reim: Done!

Jaan Pill: Wonderful to read the messages! We’ve made a point, from Day 1 of the planning process, to ensure that we have an event that is inclusive. The bigger picture of social relationships is a source of enduring fascination for us all – and there are so many great ways in which these matters can be approached – from the vantage point of exclusivity, with all that is entailed with such an approach, or from the vantage point of inclusivity, again with all that is entailed with such an approach.

Both approaches have their places, in life. I love to explore research related to linguistic anthropology, social interactionism, and all manner of ways to study what happens whenever people get together.

Whenever a manages to make it to the upper level - often it appears that several attempts are required - the assembled audience of human observers express their elation at the achievement! Jaan Pill photo

Whenever a salmon (note the fish in the middle of image; you can click on the photo to enlarge it for a better view) manages to make it to the upper level – often it appears that several attempts are required – the assembled audience of human observers express their elation at the achievement! Jaan Pill photo

For the MCHS ’60s Reunion taking place in Toronto, we’ve chosen inclusivity and all of our planning and decision-making has proceeded from that. It’s not the only way to organize an event; it is the way that this event has been organized, and is being staged. Each person is the star of the show (unless of course, they wish Not to be a star), and each person is the honoured guest.

Gary Lambertz: Hi Hannah! A few drinks, good meal, more drinks! How can we not speak to all that attend! Looking forward to having a great time.

Hannah Reim: Hi Gary! I’m in

Mark Melkonian: We will be one! Uniting for the Scarlet n the Silver!

Lois Goldenberg: Hannah, no worries . . . not sure of your graduation year, but all I can say, the people that I do know that are coming are a great bunch of people. I look forward to introducing myself to you and others.

[End of Facebook excerpts]

Margaret Elliott Kurtz also comments on Facebook

Hi everyone,

I am so very sorry I cannot make it this weekend. Came across my graduation program from 1966. Strange feeling to see all the names; some of whom are now Facebook friends and others sadly departed. My 4 years of high school were among the best years of my life. I played about every sport offered and owe so much to Soryl Rosenberg who was an amazing coach and friend. We have shared a meal and coffees in recent years and I look forward to hearing her stories from the reunion. Have a wonderful weekend. My email can be published if anyone is interested.


[End of text; Margaret Elliott Kurtz can be reached at My email is]

Comment from Corrine Cutler-Welke

Corrine Cutler-Welke: It looks like everyone will have a great time I feel the love you have all put into this to make this a reality. I am sorry I will not be there I am on the Sea of Galilee having a glass of chardonay.

Jaan Pill: Wonderful to read your message Corrine. It’s wonderful to think of you on that day with a glass of chardonnay. Those of us who are not Designated Drivers will have a glass of wine or other drink as well, here in Toronto.

[End of text]

Additional notes as Oct. 17 approaches

1) Table 7 on the floor plan we have been using will have 8 chairs; the other tables will have 10 people each.

2) The coat check on the way to the Humber Room from the Old Mill Restaurant entrance (which is across from the parking lot) will be open.

Jaan Pill photo

Jaan Pill photo

3) In the unlikely event a grad turns up at the last minute, to pay at the door, that will be no problem, especially given we are having a dinner buffet. We just need to let the Banquet Captain know.

Salmon run, on the Humber River by Old Mill Toronto

4) I notice yesterday evening (Oct. 12, 2015) that the annual salmon run at the Humber River is now in full swing. There were people out watching the salmon trying to jump up a weir (or whatever it’s called) as short distance north of the bridge that crosses at Old Mill Road. I don’t know whether the salmon run will continue until the weekend. The ‘sports’ setting or ‘burst mode’ on a DSLR camera is the ideal means by which a person can get good shots of the fish; it enables the taking of score of photos within a few seconds.

5) Graeme Decarie will likely be unable to attend as he has some family responsibilities he must focus on; however, he will send a note for Soryl Rosenberg to read to the attendees.

A tripod and a suitable telephoto lens is helpful if you want to get the best possible shots of the salmon jumping up the weir (or whatever it's called). Jaan pill photo

A tripod and a suitable telephoto lens is helpful if you want to get the best possible shots of the salmon jumping up the weir (or whatever it’s called). Jaan pill photo

Parking pass

If you have lost your parking pass (sent to all attendees as a PDF file), please contact Jaan Pill at and I will send another copy.

Brunch at 11:00 am on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015

I have 15 people listed for the Brunch (it’s $35 a person). If you have not yet contacted me, and wish to attend the Brunch, please let me know. We can make small adjustments in the attendee numbers if we need to.

Get-together at Stay Inn on Friday, Oct. 16

Our get-together is at the Conference Room at Stay Inn starting at 7:30 pm. It’s BYOB. If you are driving, please ensure you have a Designated Driver. Many people attending the get-together will be staying at the Stay Inn, in which case you do not need to worry about driving anywhere, that evening.

The trails across the bridge from Old Mill Toronto are a good place for walking and jogging during the day. Keep your eyes out for cyclists. Stay on the right. Observe the rules of the trail. Jaan Pill photo

The trails across the bridge from Old Mill Toronto are a good place for walking and jogging during the day. Keep your eyes out for cyclists. Stay on the right. Observe the rules of the trail. Jaan Pill photo


In the event you do not wish to have your photo (or a video of you) appear online, after the reunion, at the MCHS 2015 website, the Preserved Stories website, or on Facebook, please let me know. A number of people have let me know already. We seek to share information about the event – and at the same time,w e seek to respect privacy of information.

Future reunions

There’s been an interesting discussion at the following post regarding ways that we can continue to keep in touch as the years go by after the current reunion has come and gone. We welcome further comments:

MCHS 2015 organizing committee met in Kitchener on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015

The relevant discussion reads:

Gerry Garnett (MCHS 1964): re the Oct 10 posting that this reunion “may be he last time that alumni from the 1960s cohort of MCHS graduates will have the opportunity to meet together in an event of this size, in a venue of the kind that we have in place for the occasion”. Ever the optimist, I would hope that this event will re-kindle interest in the MCHS grads to convene periodically in grad reunions. I’m a 1964 grad, so our 50 year date has come and gone. Another milestone would be 55 years in 2019. At our ages, we can’t wait for every 25 to celebrate.

I wish you all the best for a successful event, enough so that we are inspired to gather again some time in the NEAR future. Sorry I’ll be missing this event, but hopefully I can connect at another time perhaps in another place. VANCOUVER anyone?

Jaan Pill: I very much like the idea that there will be future reunions! There may be one on the horizon of a smaller scale – in Vancouver, by way of example. Or in Montreal. And I do like the idea of something in another five years or however we picture the near future. I would be pleased to help out especially in a minor consulting role if there is a need. Same for publicity; I’d be happy to help publicize such a reunion in the event publicity would be helpful.

All it takes is a group of keen individuals and the show is on the road! Whether or not there will be an MCHS ’60s event of the same scope as the Oct. 17, 2015 event, I don’t know. We’re getting older, frailer. Can a team be assembled that can stage such an event in future? The MCHS 2015 organizing team has the sense that it may be hard to replicate such an event, on a similar scale, with a focus on students who were at MCHS in the 1960s whether as graduates or as students who started high school in the 1960s. But some other organizing team can readily prove us wrong, of course.

Speaking for myself as an organizer, I often think: My skills have limitations; there must be other people out there who can help out with the planning of an event even more effectively than I can.

The key skills, at least for the kinds of events that interest me, include the ability to work with a wide range of people; the ability to set a positive tone; and a capacity for attention to detail, for getting things done, and for taking into account input and reflections from a wide range of sources. What I’ve described, by way of skills, applies to a particular approach to community self-organizing. Other skills may come to the fore in other approaches to getting things organized. Whatever tone the organizers establish, in the course of the planning phase, will be reflected in the content and format of the event itself.

Now, thinking about these topics reminds me – on Oct. 17, 2015 (same night as the MCHS reunion) a high school class of 1955 in the State of Virginia will be holding its 60th reunion. The school is Norview High School, Norfolk, VA. The students have been meeting regularly for many decades.

So age need not be a barrier. However, with the passing of the years, the number of people who are able to attend does tend to diminish. Several people who were keen to attend the Oct. 17 event are not able to attend for reasons related to personal or family health. That is a factor that we need to keep in mind, I believe; these challenges are a feature of the passage of time that must be taken into account.

I learned about the Oct. 17, 2015 Norfolk reunion when I recently met a visitor from Virginia with an interest in local history in the neighbourhood where I live. The visitor is Al Ablowich; his wife is attending the reunion in Norfolk. I have posted photos of Al meeting recently with long-time residents of Long Branch, at a recent post or posts (I forget which) at my website.

I spent an afternoon visiting local sites of historic interest in Long Branch (Toronto not New Jersey) and Lakeview (Mississauga) with Al Ablowich, and introduced him to John Easton and Bill Rawson who know the local history well. There is much information that can be shared in the course of a neighbourhood walk, I’ve learned over the years, that is not readily accessible to visitors – and also sometimes local residents – by other means. I was really interested to learn that Al’s wife’s high school class reunion is on the same day as the MCHS ’60s reunion in Toronto.

I met Al through my website; sites that deal with local history, as mine does, give rise to great meetings and conversations.




4 replies
  1. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Further update (Oct. 13, 2015):

    Noreen McMillan is picking up some plates to go with the bagels for the Stay Inn get-together at 7:30 pm on Friday, Oct. 16. All MCHS grads are welcome to attend the get-together, whether you will be attending the reunion the next day or not. Noreen is also picking up the bagels at the Bagel House and has done a taste test. She reports they are indeed fine bagels!

    Noreen has found a Dollar Store where she can get helium-filled balloons at a very reasonable cost. At other places balloons were expensive. As our budget person Lynn (Hennebury) Legge has specified, we have to watch every dollar. It used to be watch every penny, but now the pennies, as tokens of currency, or whatever the term may be, are among the things that are fading into a bygone era.

    On Saturday we will attach the balloons to fixtures (we cannot under any circumstances use tape) in the hallways leading from the Old Mill Restaurant entrance, across from the Old Mill parking lot, to the Humber Room. That will help people find their way and will add to the festive atmosphere.

    Noreen McMillan, Barbara Sayfy, and Heather Anne Liddell of the Entertainment Subcommittee will be at Humber Room on Saturday at 4:00 ready to assist us with any tasks that remain to be completed at that time.

  2. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    I would add in passing that it’s a fact that some graduation years are well-represented and some are not. From my perspective, it’s a matter of happenstance which years have many representatives at the reunion, and which have fewer. I’m not aware of any ethnographic research or other evidence-based means whereby we would be able to arrive at definitive conclusions regarding the differences in numbers of attendees when we compare the graduation years.

    We have a good turnout. We owe thanks to a lot of people for encouraging attendance. My sense from what I’ve been keeping in touch with over the past several months is that Gina (Davis) Cayer and Lynn (Hennebury) Legge among others went all out in their outreach efforts and it’s paid off big time.

    The Newsletters that Howard Hight and Diana Redden have been sending out regularly, to the Database that Howard and Diana set up over a year ago, have also convinced a good number of people that it’s a great idea to attend.

    Other people helped as well – in some cases some of the graduation years have done lots of networking among themselves.

    We owe thanks to every person who helped us to get a good attendance for the reunion.

    The breakdown in figures is as follows below. I want to emphasize, as many people have emphasized (as in the Facebook discussion from mid-October 2015, that we have highlighted above), that this is a reunion where each of us has the opportunity to touch base with everybody else at the reunion – including people in other graduation years than our own.

    Each of us is the honoured guest, each of us is the star of the show (except for anybody who does not want to be a star, of course). The stars and honoured guests include the Spouses/Guests who are attending. Their stories, their reminiscences, and their presence brings so much of value to the event.

    There are many ways for people to network and get together, and to share information, whether through this particular reunion or through other means. The work that every graduation year is doing, to share information and to organize get togethers, warrants celebration, I believe.

    To put matters another way, one of the things I’ve learned in the course of organizing events is that often I’m working with bits and pieces of information, through brief encounters with realities that other people know in greater depth than I do. The bits and pieces are often sufficient to get things done. In general I don’t have particularly strong views about any matter, and I make an effort to listen and learn as best I can from all of the opportunities for information-gathering that come my way. I also like to rely on fact-checking and on evidence, as I go about my work as a volunteer.

    Teachers: 1
    1962: 3
    1963: 20
    1964: 12
    1965: 1
    1966: 4
    1967: 9
    1968: 2
    1969: 4
    1970: 7
    1972: 1

    SUBTOTAL: 64

    DJ: 1

    Photographers: 2


    People who registered but are no longer able to attend: 7

  3. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    So I can add a few more notes. It’s my belief that the MCHS 2015 organizers would be keen to share their experiences with other groups that seek to organize reunions in the future, in other cities in the years ahead. I believe we would be happy, as a team, to share what we’ve learned, in the event some other team is interested in what we’ve learned. Of course, it may be the case that sometimes people aren’t interested in advice from any particular source, which is fine as well.

    What are our areas of expertise? I would say: budgeting; publicity; choice of venues; choice of DJs; development of programs and playlists, and so on.

  4. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    I’ve been organizing events for thirty years; here are some things I especially enjoy about this form of volunteer work:

    I especially enjoy three features of organizing:

    1) One of my big areas of focus has been leadership succession. I’ve made it a practice to ensure that whenever possible an organizational culture is in place so that when I move on other things, there’s a good chance that new leaders will emerge to carry on from where I’ve left off.

    2) Another area of focus concerns strategic thinking. My area of expertise is ground-level organizing. For strategic advice I’ve learned to turn to people whose wisdom and experience in the world exceeds my own.

    3) A third area of focus concerns concepts that have the word ‘meta’ in front of them, as in meta-communication – in the sense of communication, for example, that indicates how verbal information should be interpreted.


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