Left to right, on April 20, 2018 outside Mandarin restaurant: Jaan Pill, Scott Munro, Daniel, Rita, Bob Carswell

Left to right, on April 20, 2018 outside Mandarin restaurant: Jaan Pill, Scott Munro, Daniel McPhail, Rita Witrylak, and Bob Carswell. Click on the photos to enlarge them; click again to enlarge them further.

MCHS Sixties get together at Mandarin restaurant in Etobicoke on April 20, 2018 shared many more great stories

As you may know from previous posts, an MCHS lunch group meets about once a month in the Toronto area.

Our most recent get together was at the Mandarin restaurant on The Queensway in south Etobicoke on April 20, 2018.

In attendance were Rita Witrylak, Scott Munro, Daniel McPhail, Bob Carswell, and Jaan Pill.

Also planning to attend was Heinz Thurner but he ran into car trouble in the morning and had to skip the event this time around.

Several more people are on our email list and we look forward to meeting them as well at a future event.

Our next get together is tentatively set for Friday, May 25, 2018.

Please contact Jaan Pill at jpill@preservedstories.com if you would like to be on the email list for messages about our upcoming luncheon meetings.

We welcome MCHS graduates from all decades from the opening years in the 1960s, to the final years of the school in the 1980s. As graduates of this great high school, we all have a lot to learn from each other.

Newcomers to the group are the guests of honour

MCHS crest (one of three) on Rita's school jacket

MCHS crest (one of three) on Rita’s school jacket

We always make it a point to make newcomers to the group the guests of honour, as we much enjoy the wit and wisdom that newcomers bring to a group, such as ours.

Our honoured newcomer guest of honour on April 20, 2018 was Rita Witrylak (MCHS 1968), who shared many great stories with us from her years at Malcolm Campbell High School.

Daniel McPhail (MCHS 1969) and Rita Witrylak also shared many anecdotes, between them, about people that they both knew during the years they were at MCHS. Rita also noted that, from what she can see from the MCHS 1967-68 yearbook, Daniel was among the stars of the MCHS basketball universe.

The rest of the group graduated a few years earlier, but we still had much to share, with the younger group, especially with regard to the many teachers who were at the school from the early into the late 1960s.

Among the things that I learned during our meeting, from Scott Munro, was that there used to be a French Huguenot school in Montreal (Huguenots being Protestants from France).

Bob Carswell shared many interesting stories with Rita related to the experiences of ancestors in England and elsewhere in Europe, before the subsequent events that brought families to Canada after the Second World War.

We talked up a storm, about the weather

Left to right: Rita and Scott Munro

Left to right: Rita Witrylak, Scott Munro

At one point, among many other topics, discussion turned to the weather. Several of us noted that, with the recent stormy weather, we were pleased that we had not yet gotten around to removing the snow tires from our cars, as things got pretty wet and slippery a week or so ago, here in Southern Ontario.

There was also talk about Miami beachfront properties in the era of climate change. The news was that Florida real estate agents prefer that people not talk about the erosion of the Florida coastline, as the prices for beachfront properties might be affected, when people talk like that.

Another comment was that climate change is like rust on a car. Little by little, the rust goes about its business, until the day arrives that the car has had its day.

We then moved on to other topics of interest, including the fact that it’s been a while since Vancouver has had an earthquake. The understanding is that, when a major earthquake occurs, the soil will slide into the sea taking condos and houses with it. Southern Ontario, by contrast, is in a good stable area (so it is said).

All you can eat, and then some

We all ate a lot, and we all got a 20 percent seniors discount on the very reasonable price for our meal. Speaking for myself, I will next time have a bit more of a breakfast, before I arrive at the Mandarin for lunch. On this occasion, I went to the buffet many times, until I could barely take another bite.

I ate a small bowlful of beans, beets, corn, and shrimp. Then I ate another small bowlful of the same. On a third occasion as well, I ate another small bowlful. Along with some helpings of cookies and small pieces of cake, I then topped it off with two small bowls of ice cream.

I may, during the course of the day, have gone beyond the 25 grams of sugar that I usually allocate for myself, in accordance with the daily sugar-intake limit recommended by the World Health Organization.

So, for the next luncheon, which is tentatively set for 12:30 pm on May 25, 2018, I will start the day with a big breakfast and will make a real attempt to exercise more discipline, as I walk up to the buffet.

Rita’s vintage MCHS sweater

Along with bringing along her 1967-68 MCHS yearbook, Rita Witrylak also wore her MCHS sweater. I was especially impressed with the design of the three crests that adorned her impressive sweater, that she still likes to wear on suitable occasions, these many years after attending Malcolm Campbell High School.


A March 26, 2018 CBC article, relating to climate change and related topics, is entitled: “Human activity pushing Earth towards ‘sixth mass species extinction,’ report warns.”

As well, Bob Carswell notes that he was in fact offered a higher chair; so it’s good to know that, if the too-low chairs are an issue (they can create discomfort from prolonged sitting, in some cases), then the Mandarin restaurant is readily able to address such a concern.

4 replies
  1. Bert Eccles
    Bert Eccles says:

    Hi Jaan,

    Re: “…we all got a 20 percent seniors discount…”. Yes, that’s one of the many perks we have when we get older. I hope I’m not misquoting, but I believe that Bertrand Russell is credited with saying, ‘Youth is a wonderful thing. It’s too bad it’s wasted on the young.” We could replace “Youth” with “age” and “young” with “elderly” and the observation might still be accurate.

    Seeing the picture of Rita reminded me once again of how time flies. You don’t realize it when you’re younger, but wow! I met Rita in 1957 (!) but it certainly doesn’t feel as if 61 years have gone by since then. It’s amazing that she still has her MCHS sweater and even wears it (at least for special occasions such as the one you described).

    Even more amazingly, I think the best years are still to come…for all of us! Earlier I quoted Bertrand Russell, but now I’ll refer to that other well-known philosopher, Carly Simon: “These are the good old days.”

  2. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Hi Bert,

    Wonderful to read your message. I’m really pleased that we as MCHS grads are keeping in touch, whether online or in person as at luncheon meetings. We were very pleased that Rita was able to join us, and to share many stories with us on April 20, 2018.

    I very much like the quote: “These are the good old days.” It is in the present moment, where life unfolds, and it is through the present moment that we access the past, through the power of our memories and our imagination.

    I recently came across a Washington Post article, reprinted in the Toronto Star, which, offers valuable information and reflections regarding the passage of the years.

    The Toronto Star’s reprint of an April 21, 2018 Washington Post article is entitled: “Those with a positive outlook on aging are less likely to develop dementia, study finds: Attitudes about aging arise from anxiety over physical ability, appearance, loneliness or boredom, but these beliefs ‘aren’t rooted entirely in reality.’”

    Counterclockwise (2009)

    A book with a good overview of relevant research in this general area is: Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possiblity (2009).

    A blurb (which I’ve broken into shorter paragraphs, for ease of online reading) at the Toronto Public Library website, for the latter study, reads:

    If we could turn back the clock psychologically, could we also turn it back physically? For more than thirty years, award-winning social psychologist Ellen Langer has studied this provocative question, and now, in Counterclockwise, she presents the answer: Opening our minds to what’s possible, instead of presuming impossibility, can lead to better health–at any age.

    Drawing on landmark work in the field and her own body of colorful and highly original experiments–including the first detailed discussion of her “counterclockwise” study, in which elderly men lived for a week as though it was 1959 and showed dramatic improvements in their hearing, memory, dexterity, appetite, and general well-being–Langer shows that the magic of rejuvenation and ongoing good health lies in being aware of the ways we mindlessly react to social and cultural cues.

    Examining the hidden decisions and vocabulary that shape the medical world (“chronic” versus “acute,” “cure” versus “remission”), the powerful physical effects of placebos, and the intricate but often defeatist ways we define our physical health, Langer challenges the idea that the limits we assume and impose on ourselves are real. With only subtle shifts in our thinking, in our language, and in our expectations, she tells us, we can begin to change the ingrained behaviors that sap health, optimism, and vitality from our lives. Improved vision, younger appearance, weight loss, and increased longevity are just four of the results that Langer has demonstrated.

    Immensely readable and riveting, Counterclockwise offers a transformative and bold new paradigm: the psychology of possibility. A hopeful and groundbreaking book by an author who has changed how people all over the world think and feel, Counterclockwise is sure to join Mindfulness [another book by same author] as a standard source on new-century science and healing.


    Memory Fitness (2004)

    Another study addressing the same general theme is: Memory Fitness: A Guide for Successful Aging (2004).

    A blurb (which I’ve broken into shorter paragraphs) at the Toronto Public Library reads:

    The latest scientific information on aging and memory, along with expert advice for middle-aged and older adults concerned about memory problems. Do all adults experience memory difficulties as they age? What is the difference between normal memory change and the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease? Is it possible to stem, or even reverse, memory decline?

    This timely book is a comprehensive guide for the growing number of adults who are eager to learn how aging affects memory and what can or cannot be done about it. Gilles Einstein and Mark McDaniel, widely respected for their research and lectures on memory, explain how memory works and how memory processes change with age.

    Based on up-to-date and rigorous scientific evidence, they also offer techniques and strategies for improving memory in everyday life; alternatives to hard-to-use mnemonic techniques; physical and mental exercises that can enhance memory; a review of drugs and nutritional supplements touted to enhance memory; a complete discussion of Alzheimer’s disease, its symptoms and risk factors, along with guidance for caretakers.


    Our discussion, I am pleased to add, has given rise to an additional post:

    Counterclockwise (2009) and Memory Fitness (2004) are two evidence-based resources addressing the passage of the years

    I have also followed up comments from Scott Munro, at our April 20, 2018 MCHS luncheon:

    I became interested in The Waters Will Come (2017) after I heard (anecdotally speaking) that Miami real estate agents are decrying talk of disappearing coastlines

  3. Bob Carswell
    Bob Carswell says:

    How fast time goes when you think about it. I was living on Ossington at Davenport back in 1996 trying to identify an allergy to Benedryl which was paralysing me when I saw this thing on the Internet about an MCHS student who was really frustrated in trying to fine his classmates for a Montreal reunion. I sent him an email suggesting that if he really wanted to bring the class together, it would be easier if it was launched as a 40th Anniversary Reunion of Malcolm Campbell High School students which would cover every class that graduated there simply out of people telling people telling people.

    Then I dragged myself off to the Toronto General Emergency Ward to sort out my problem. That is a whole story in itself. When I look back at my life, this is just one of those accomplishments that I got involved with along the way that turned into something. It brought together 1,200 people from Canada, USA and Europe, all who wanted that one last connection to old friends of their youth. I had that idea some 22 years ago and it still seems like yesterday.

    It eventually led to the 55th Anniversary of MCHS members at the Old Mill in Toronto for those who could not make the original one. In my life it ranks up there with finding My mother’s older sister in northern England and bringing the two together again, after 62 years with neither knowing where the other ended up. Not bad for a kid whose claim to fame at MCHS was running the dishwasher in the cafeteria at lunchtime.

  4. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    You have made a most valuable contribution – in fact, you have made a large number of much appreciated contributions – on so many levels, Bob! We owe you thanks. You are a person with great networking skills, and you have the capacity to see opportunities in every situation, that a person can encounter.


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