1963: Comment from Graeme Decarie

Graeme Decarie writes:

I was just listening to Pete Seeger on Youtube. He was leading an audience in singing We Shall Overcome. I remember it as if it were yesterday with a packed house and I was still singing it with the rest of the audience. And there was Where have all the flowers gone…and I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night….

Those were years of optimism and idealism and determination.

Then I checked the news, and learned that the Trudeau government is seriously thinking of equipping the Canadian military with drones, and maybe with the F-35, too.

I won’t go into all the stupidities and profound dangers in both of those. I won’t waste time talking about how we are effectively watching the end of Canada as a nation.

It just all, in a sweetly sad sort of way, made me think of the idealism of your generation and mine. (Well, we are scarcely separate generations.) And, with just sadness, to see a current generation so electronicized it has neither optimism nor despair. Just blankness.

And we have a government that is just a blank. I knew Pierre Trudeau. We didn’t agree, politically. But we were on friendly terms. I liked him. Despite his showboat image, he was a modest and rather shy man.

But Justin ain’t Pierre. Justin is simply a photo ad for a men’s perfume.

And that is what brought me back to the 60s and the dances in the gymn and We shall overcome.

[End of comment from Graeme]

Comment from Jaan

It’s a good song – We Shall Overcome.

My favourite book about Trudeau is Young Trudeau: Son of Quebec, Father of Canada, 1919-1944, Vol. 1 (2006).

I agree – we are scarcely separate generations.

Montreal Memories Facebook Page

On another Montreal-related topic, I’ve recently posted a link and a story at the Montreal Memories Facebook Page; I was pleased that people liked my story.

The link is from a Feb. 27, 2016 Guardian article entitled:

“The Life Project: what makes some people happy, healthy and successful – and others not? The factors that most affect our life chances are revealed as the first group of British babies followed in a remarkable cradle-to-grave study turns 70.”


Changing times … London, 1950. Photograph: Haywood Magee/Getty Images. Click on the image to enlarge it. Click again to enlarge it further.

My story reads:

“This Feb. 27, 2016 Guardian article opens with a great photo of kids playing soccer in the streets of London in 1950 [see photo on right]. At that age, I was four years old and living in Sweden. The next year, at the age of five I was aboard a ship called the “Gripsholm” on my way with my family to Halifax. We took a train from Halifax on the way to Toronto, which was to be our destination. But when we stopped in Montreal, my mother had a look around and convinced my father that “This city is just like Europe! Let’s get off the train right now and settle here.” And we did. That’s how, in my case, I eventually ended up at Malcolm Campbell High School in Montreal. In the years that followed I continued on my way to Toronto.”

I have added also noted:

“Pleased people enjoyed the story. Montreal is a great place. Pleased to know of your journey back and forth, Gloria. To round out the story, I can add that in 1944 (before I was born), my parents along with a number of other relatives fled Estonia across the Baltic Sea to Sweden in separate boats. At times I look back, and think about those times.”

It’s worth your while to check out the Montreal Memories Facebook Page

In an additional comment, I wrote:

“Charles Tsiang, I agree with your comment about Montreal as a great post WW2 melting pot. I much appreciate that you and others have shared information in the past about the Montreal Memories FB Page. I hadn’t thought of sharing this particular link & story at the MM page, until I got a suggestion that it would be a great idea to do so. I owe thanks to Lynne Hylands-Lister for suggesting that the MM page would be a great place for sharing of such a story.”

[End of comment]

As well, a couple of people at the page have mentioned that they, too, moved on from Montreal to Toronto – but in their cases, after a decade or so, they returned to Montreal. I found it of interest to read their messages.


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