Among the previous posts is: MCHS Bio for Graeme Decarie, who taught for three years at Malcolm Campbell High School.
Graeme Decarie writes:
I’ve been reading the autobiography of Christopher Plummer because he and I were classmates – almost.
This was at Montreal High – in the A stream. When the school was built, the area from Pine down to Rene Levesque still had lots of the super rich. That’s why Erskine American, St. Andrew and St. Paul and St. James are there.
So Montreal had its origins as the school of rich kids – and the staff had a snobbery about them that still was felt when scum like me attended it. (The rich started moving to Westmount when the CPR came, and they could commute to work.)
Among the rich were the Plummers who, when I went to Montreal High still lived in a fine house on Pine. But the times were changing when I got there. Already, Oscar Peterson had gone through when it was very rare for a Black in Montreal to be accorded that privilege. (In fact, there was no Black teaching in t he school system until 1960).
The A stream was for the smart kids. I was in it (an error on somebody’s part) about five years after Plummer and Armstrong – both of whom were already famous when I got there.
It was a great district for a kid duking school – as I commonly did. There were still mansions on Sherbrooke, one of them the home of a knight. I would sometimes pass the home of Dr. Bethune, an ardent supporter of Mao who died of infection while treating the wounded of Mao’s army. And of Dr. McRae who had written In Flanders’ Fields.
Plummer, I learned, had been fond of visiting his grandfather’s mansion – in fact, it was almost a palace – and some MCHS grads might know it. The property on lake of Two Mountains – either in or near Hudson. The driveway was a half-mile long. Close to the shore were the ruins of a stone fort built in the French regime. I remember climbing the walls of it when I was a child.
Oh, I am reminded of my first day at MHS when a teacher named Jack Leroy entered the class. He abruptly told all Jews in the class to stand. Then, equally abruptly, told them to sit down. He did not look pleased. (he was part of the old, elitist mentality of MHS for which Jews were not a welcome innovation.)
So far, Plummer’s book hasn’t mentioned me. But I shall soldier on.
[End of text]
Over the years I’ve written at length about the Holocaust and related topics.