In order to keep busy, retired Concordia University history professor Graeme Decarie writes a blog 3 times a week on current events
I am pleased to share with you the following message from Graeme Decarie, who recently shared with us a priceless biographical sketch of the Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm A. Campbell.
This post is in lieu of cash payment for Graeme’s great story (with a human interest detail on the topic of whiskey) about Dr. Malcolm A Campbell, after whom the high school that I attended in Montreal in the 1960s is named. Graeme had been asking about where the cheque for his Malcolm Campbell story was. I said it was in the mail.
Graeme Decarie writes:
In order to keep busy, I write a blog 3 times a week on current events.
It certainly isn’t one of the big ones but, so far over the years, I’ve had just over a million hits.
I think I can safely say it’s on the political left (which, right now, is the only sane place to be).
It’s The Decarie Report.
I order you all to read it. Jaan will sort them, and send me the responses that might be objectionable.
A previous post is entitled:
Graeme Decarie keeps busy researching and writing his daily blog posts
Please note: In posting the link to his blog, I wish to underline that the views expressed at the blog, and the choices of links that are highlighted, are those of Graeme Decarie.
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This is a note to Graeme,
I happened to see you referenced on the internet when I looked up St. Aubin Ice Cream to show my grandchildren that we had a great ice cream parlour in St. Laurent when I was growing up. I came upon a Malcom Campbell site that had lots of contributions from you. Hence this comment to you.
You probably don’t remember me, but I got to know you at Northmount Y (where I was a member and local DJ) and my Mother, Aileen Thompson, was a long time teacher at Parkdale Elementary School. You were one of her favourite fellow teachers. I recall that the Principal, Mr. Campbell, was the son or grandson of Malcom Campbell. I was interested to read about your career – including the fact that you attended Queen’s for your PhD. I was also a student at Queen’s (Faculty of Law, 1964-1967) but I don’t know what years you were there. I recall reading stories in the papers about your activism re: the English population and they brought back many memories – mostly fond memories – about what it was like to grow up in St. Laurent in the 50s – I graduated from St. Laurent High in 1960, having spent most of my school time at SLHS (kindergarten to grade 5; high school for grades 8 – 11; with a 2 year stint at Westbrook School for grades 6 and 7). After SLHS I attended your old alma mater – Montreal High – for my senior matriculation (Grade 12), then off to Bishop’s for my undergraduate degree in history.
I hope you are well and have many more good years ahead of you.
I’ve let Graeme (who now lives in Ottawa) know of your message, Gord. It’s wonderful to read your recollections. I note that recollections from all who know Dr. Decarie (or Mr. Decarie, as he was known in his pre-PhD days) from his teaching days are consistently positive and inspiring.
Graeme’s emailed reply reads:
You know, I Almost remember you. I’m working on it.
I’m as well as one can be at 85. Perhaps somewhat lower on the beauty scale – but I was never that high on it in the first place. I remember those years at the Y very well. They were happy – and they also opened a new world to me – though I didn’t realize it at the time. I had failed grade 11, and never did graduate from high school. And, where I grew up, that was just normal.
Then the Y drew me in as a community worker. Using that, I somehow got into university courses. My grades were still dreadful – all Fs, D-, D. No. I’m not making this up. And that got me into teaching which, to my surprise, I loved. I’d love to do it all again.
I probably got to Queen’s just a year after you graduated. But they hadn’t put a statue up to me yet.
Damn. I have to work on your name. Gord Thompson. I do remember something – but can’t quite make it. And you must have had some connection with Colin Cross.
I didn’t expect to hear from you so quickly. Looks like we nearly crossed paths at Queen’s. I remember Colin Cross – he was the main DJ at the Y and provided music at the Y and many other venues – including St. Laurent High. I also was a DJ at the Y but until I was in Grade 11, I used my own equipment for some of the smaller Y functions. Colin was the main man until 1959. As you may recall, Mr. Ferguson started Northmount Y from a small office on Edouard Laurin (at the corner of Crevier Street) and then moved into the new building on Rochon Street in 1954.
My Mother was also involved in setting up the Y and was its recording secretary for several years, Jack Lutes followed Mr. Ferguson as head of Northmount Y and, at some point in 1959, had a falling out with Colin Cross, at which time I was asked to take over as the “official” DJ. I inherited the turntables and other sound equipment as well as the great record collection that Colin had assembled.
I remember that Alan Nichols (JB and the Playboys) performed at some of our events. Alan’s brother, Dave, was in my class at Westbrook and he too was a prominent local musician/singer. In fact, a number of St. Laurenters became well known musicians – the Ralph sisters, Dave and Alan Nichols, Marty Butler, to name a few. I saw Alan in Hair when it played in New York in 1969. Galt MacDermot, who write the music, was a friend of mine and gave me a front row seat for the show. It was fantastic. Just writing this has brought back many fond memories.
Hi Gord Thompson! You might remember me hanging out next door at 1055 Crevier. Was that the address? I’m still in contact with Bryan Wong and made a few trips up to Kingston before aunt Pauline and uncle Walter passed.
I do indeed remember you and you have the right address – I think you went by the name (pardon my spelling) “Rin Tsin”. Your Dad was connected with an air international association. As you may know, shortly after I moved to Toronto, Bryan and I shared an apartment in 1968-69, following which he left to go on a lengthy tour of Europe. My family and I lived in Toronto until 2015 and Bryan and Kathleen lived fairly close by. They joined us for a celebration of my 75th birthday last October. In 2015 I retired and my wife and I moved to Port Hope. I am currently at my cottage on Lake Rosseau in Muskoka where we have had fantastic weather. Hope it lasts.
Hope you are well,
Today, November 12, 2020, I am sorting through several boxes of personal items from an old friend who passed away last year. I came across a 3-page article entitled “City on Wheels, A short history of a love affair”, by Graeme Decarie. Interesting article about the automobile in Montreal. Send me an email address if you want a copy. Arleen Chenoll, Vancouver, BC