Bert Eccles (MCHS 1968) shares his reflections about Malcolm Campbell High School in the Sixties
From time to time, I have asked MCHS grads, that I have been in touch with, if they would like to share some reflections about their elementary and/or high school years.
I know from my own experience, in trying to write about events and experiences of years ago, that it takes a tremendous amount of work, in order to follow through on such reflections projects.
Some time back, I sent Bert Eccles (MCHS 1968) a DVD of the MCHS Yearbooks from 1962-63 to 1973-74. The creation of the DVD was one of the projects that was a central feature of the organizing of the MCHS 2015 Sixties Reunion that took place in Toronto in October 2015.
From time to time, I’ve mentioned on Facebook that any MCHS grad who’d like to get a copy of the DVD can send me their mailing address and the DVD will be on its way. When I’ve subsequently sent out the DVDs, I’ve often mentioned that if people have any reflections to share, from their high school years, it would be great if they would send them to me, so that I can share them at the Preserved Stories website.
When Bert originally received the DVD in the mail he wrote:
“It was very interesting to see the evolution of MCHS through the years. I also enjoyed seeing not only my contemporaries (64-68) but also many of the elder siblings who preceded us and the younger ones who followed.
“Thanks very much for all that you did on this great historical and nostalgic project!”
I am very pleased to add that Bert has recently put together his own reflections about MCHS, and I am very pleased to post them.
“A few months after your e-mail,” he recently wrote, “I decided to send you some of the ‘reflections’ you invited. Here they are.”
Reflections about MCHS from Bert Eccles
The 1960s were a great time to be young in Canada (although maybe not elsewhere – even elsewhere in North America).
I associate MCHS with wonderful times in my formative years.
On my first day there in September 1964, I recall an older student looking at me and a few other friends from Morison School and saying, “These grade eight kids are getting smaller every year.” For the record, I was about to turn 13 in a few weeks, I was 5 feet 1 and a half inches tall, and I weighed 107 pounds.
We were herded into the gym and teachers called out names of who would be going where. I was pleased to see that there would be many of my fellow Morison alumni in our 8A class. I was less pleased when I got to the class and we seemed to be bombarded by forms, papers, combination locks, and regulations. Soon, though, all feelings of strangeness or trepidation vanished and MCHS quickly became a place that offered fun, friendships, and growth of all kinds.
Just by doing what we were told we were able to learn most of what we needed, although there probably should have been a little more curriculum content on practical matters like finance, health, and nutrition.
There were many teachers who deserved appreciation for their involvement in coaching sports and supervising activities. I enjoyed soccer, basketball, and ping pong, among other things. Sometimes we just ended up in various areas because the teachers knew they’d be a fit for us even if we hadn’t considered them ourselves. In my case, I’m thinking especially of Debating (thanks, Mrs. Gilday), the Gazette literary competition (thanks again, Mrs. Gilday), and Reach for the Top (appreciation to Mrs. Greenberg, a truly great teacher). In all those cases, I was drafted and in all those cases I’m thankful for the conscription that took place.
I could also include all the French activities shepherded by Mr. Christmas: in many cases, his efforts were largely unappreciated at the time but you have to give him full credit for his continued enthusiasm in everything he did.
For a while the times were innocent but just as the world was changing in the brief era of Vietnam, the Beatles, and Haight-Ashbury, MCHS was also evolving…although that evolution only really began to be expressed a couple of years after my class (1968) graduated. In our final year, the most obvious expression was the dissemination of “The Invisible Circle” as a semi-radical alternative to “The Carrier”. Those who were there can also remember “The Great Escape” that took place one day in June 1968; those who weren’t will only ever hear of it in an off-the-record context.
As we age, we see that time has passed quickly, but of all that time those four years at Malcolm Campbell were some of the most important and some of the most memorable for many of us.
Email from Jaan to Bert, Nov. 24, 2016
I am delighted to know that the DVD arrived in good shape.
I was interested in your comment about the evolution of MCHS over the years. Thank you for your kind words about this nostalgic, historical project [that is, the creation of the 1962-63 to 1973-74 MCHS Yearbook CD]. I’m pleased that, with help from many people, I’ve been able to contribute to this project.
From time to time, MCHS grads have written overviews about what the MCHS years meant for them, for posting to the MCHS website. Sometimes they’ve also scanned photos, which we’ve posted to the website. In the event you or students that you know from those years would like to write such overviews and reflections, I would be pleased to post them.
Is the 1971 MCHS Yearbook available online?
It’s not available online. However, it’s included in the MCHS Yearbooks DVD that I’ve mentioned. If you would like to send me an email at email@example.com with your mailing address, I can mail the DVD to you via Canada Post. In return, I will invite you to make a $5 donation to help cover the costs associated with the sending out of the DVD.
Actually, the class of 1971 yearbook IS online and has been since the big Y2K reunion:
I’ve lost track of the current freebie site it’s on but you can see the archived version at the link above.
Thank you, Rob, for the correction. This really means a lot to me. I like to ensure that the information I share is as accurate as I can possibly make it. Without help from others, I sometimes do not meet this goal. Without your correction, we would be decidedly less than accurate, with regard to the 1971 yearbook.
At a Facebook page, a classmate of Bert’s has written:
I knew Bert well and he was so very articulate, and a great Bridge player too. I had forgotten the things he wrote about.
And I want to add, if any other MCHS grads would like to send an email to me with their reflections about those years, I will be pleased to post them.
Sometimes, in fact often, it can take a while to write such a message, so even if it takes you a few weeks, months, or longer, there will be a ready audience of MCHS alumni, who will read your insights and reminiscences with much interest.
Hi, Stephen Rowland here class of 68 married for 45 years to Cheryl Goodman also class of 68. Rumour has it that a 50 year anniversary party will be held this summer at Eberhart’s estate.
Wonderful to know of the rumour, Stephen.
Please let me know if I can do anything, via the Preserved Stories website, to publicize the planned reunion, in the event such publicity may be helpful.