Message from Graeme Decarie: “Well, you can tell Peggy that If I had known then what I know now, my course would been been very different”

The MCHS luncheons that we’ve been organizing about once a month for some time continue to take on momentum.

On Wednesday, July 25, 2018 we had a turnout, at the Mandarin Restaurant on the Queensway east of Kipling in Toronto, of seven people.

Graeme Decarie, at that time a History professor at Concordia University, discusses the history of anglophones in Quebec, in NFB film, "The Rise and Fall of the English in Montreal (1993)."

Graeme Decarie, History professor at Concordia University, discusses the history of anglophones in Quebec in The Rise and Fall of the English in Montreal (1993).

Our featured guests included Peggy (Cornforth) Robinson (MCHS 1965) who reports that Graeme Decarie was her homeroom teacher. A second featured guest was Paul Farrow, Peggy’s partner. Also in attendance were the regulars – namely, Daniel, Scott, Rita, Bob, and Jaan  – MCHS stalwarts whom we’ve introduced in previous posts.

Peggy noted, in our discussion about things we remember, that she’d ask Graeme Decarie some question about history and Graeme would say, “Don’t worry. It’s not on the exam.”

I reported this great blast from the past of a news story to Graeme Decarie himself, who replied at once:

“Well, you can tell Peggy that If I had known then what I know now, my course would been been very different …. of course, that also means, seriously, that I would have been fired.”

As I understand, Graeme is still in Moncton.

Graeme Decarie, Aug. 6, 2016. Moncton, N.B.

Graeme Decarie, Aug. 6, 2016. Moncton, N.B. In an email comment about the photo, Graeme writes: “It doesn’t capture the lush glory of my hair.”

Reservation for five: Seven of us turned up

I made a reservation for five and seven people turned up. Fortunately, we were able to handle the logistics of getting everybody seated.

Scott Munro (MCHS 1963) had the best suggestion of the afternoon. He said that when Graeme Decarie has settled in Ottawa, we should all drive to Ottawa and have lunch with Graeme there. Save him the trip to Toronto.

I’m writing this at a short-term rental an hour from Toronto.  In news from my way, we’ve sold our house in Long Branch (Toronto) and are working on our next step, which involves settling in Stratford.

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Soryl Rosenberg and Graeme Decarie at a get-together in Montreal, May 2016. Both Soryl and Graeme taught at Malcolm Campbell High School in the 1960s. Photo source: Soryl Rosenberg. Click on the photo to enlarge it.

If you are an MCHS grad (or former student even if not a grad) and wish to be on the email list for updates on our next luncheons, please email me at jpill@preservedstories.com

Graeme Decarie misses the teaching days of long ago

In a recent post to our email list for the MCHS luncheons (we are now looking at Sept. 21, 2018 as the next meeting date, at 12:30 pm), I had written:

I am pleased to report that Graeme Decarie has been following our email deliberations very closely. He is on our email list and likes to keep up to date on MCHS goings on. He has said he misses the teaching days of long ago.

[End]

In response, Graeme has commented:

Those teaching days changed my life. Before them, I was a high school drop out, and very low level clerk at Bell Telephone. I hated it, and I was terrible at it. If I had stayed there, I probably would have been fired. From that, I would probably have ended up at a factory – and been fired from that. Somehow, I got into teacher’s college – and taught grade 7. While there, I finished a very, very bad BA at night school – so bad that I have lots of Fs and Ds and DNWs. But I discovered I just loved teaching.

And for that, I thank all of you.

[End]

Graeme has talked about his growing-up years

Graeme grew up in a rough neighbourhood. I know, because he has shared many stories with me about his growing-up years. I thought about this, when I came across a new book at the Toronto Public Library website, namely: Punching and Kicking: Leaving Canada’s Toughest Neighbourhood (2018).

A blurb reads:

People don’t leave the Point, even if they move far away. Or at least that’s how it seems to journalist Kathy Dobson. Growing up in the 1970s in Point St. Charles, an industrial slum in Montreal, she sees how people get trapped in the neighbourhood. In this sequel to the highly praised With a Closed Fist, Dobson shares her journey of trying to escape from what was once described as the toughest neighbourhood in Canada. Kathy and her five sisters, raised by their single mother, deal with slum landlords, “pervy uncles,” and their father-a mostly absent police officer who does occasional work on the side for the local mob. As Kathy grows up and starts attending college outside the Point, she has to learn how to survive in a new environment where problems aren’t solved by a good punch to the head.

[End]

 

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