In kindergarten a few of us ate paste and few of us had “accidents” in our pants.
|Kindergarten report card|
In grade 1 our class went as far as Old Orchard Avenue on a field trip to find the perfect maple leaf. It was also the year a lot of purple paint and crayons were used because of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation.
In grade 2 my teacher, Miss McNabb, wore a tartan skirt every day and rode her bike to school when there wasn’t any snow on the ground. It was also the first year that I got the strap from the principal. I got the strap at least once a year for the rest of my time at Willingdon.
IIn grade 3 I had my first crush on a girl but she preferred someone else. I think it was the same year I stuffed the Valentine’s box with cards with my name on it.
|2nd from the left top row grade 3|
In grade 4 I was still wearing flannel shorts in warmer weather and britches in the winter. After school we would go sliding down the snow stacks on Royal Avenue that the snow blowers had left behind.
In grade 5 we would rush home to watch Huckleberry Hound on TV. Some kids from Hungary turned up at the school. I finally got some long pants to wear to school.
|The big guy in the back is Don Moore, my old roommate in Toronto. I'm in the center in front.|
In grade 6 I was caught trying a get a peek under the woman gym teacher’s skirt. I also finally mastered making it up the two story ropes in the gym.
In grade 7 I had about the worst teacher ever, Mrs. Miller, who was a real nasty piece of work. At the end of the year there was going to be a dance and she paired most of the boys off with girls that she chose. 6 or 7 of us were left in class to our own devises and we ended up playing “hangman”. Years later when I heard the Janis Ian song “At Seventeen” I knew what the song meant and felt badly for the girls that were left behind that day.
For most of my years at Willingdon I was the flavour of the day with a lot of kids. That is until they weren’t allowed to play with me anymore. It seemed like I was always in some kind of trouble. And word got around.
The school had an interesting make-up of kids. More than 1/3 were Jewish. N.D,G. was sort of a weigh station on the road to more success for their parents before they moved to Hampstead or Cote St. Luc. Some kids were immigrants from Europe. Others were temporary until their dads got transferred somewhere else. The overall flavour of the times was Waspy. Don’t rock the boat kind of thing. There was only one black family in the neighbourhood.
My parents passed along a life-long non-belief in religion and over the years I have found it interesting about how much I knew about hymns and the bible from classes at Willingdon when I was but a young lad. It didn’t take apparently. "Swing low, sweet charriot..."
I remember the fads. Bolo-bats, yo-yos, hula hoops, Davey Crockett coon skin hats. Playing Stando against the wall with an Indian rubber ball and kickball or British Bulldog out in the concrete playground. Double Dutch and girls skipping rope and a few boys joining in. Getting cleaned out of my hockey cards by sly guys who could throw “leaners” with their tossing card heavily wrapped in scotch tape.
I learned from my report cards that I wasn’t great at control in speech and action. I could never figure out how I got F’s in things like art, geography, and history when I always was interested in those subjects. I even got failing grades in gym. I think they kind of had it in for me. Gym?
I never showed up on the last day of school not wanting to be humiliated by being one of the few to fail. I got a friend to pick up my report card and was very relieved to see I had passed. The reality of it was more like they were glad to see the last of me and were willing to overlook my grades.
Several years ago a gal I went to Willingdon School with contacted me through a website called Classmates. We had one phone conversation and e-mailed back and forth for a year or two. I kind of pride myself in my memory a bit and asked her if she could help me out in creating a list of people who had been in our classes back then. The gal’s name was Rhona Cossman. She died of cancer in Montreal about 2 years ago.
Here is the list and it is dedicated to Rhona. Apologies for any spelling errors.
Girls…Draper Avenue Entrance
Nina Benedict, Shelley Unger, Naomi Weizz, Heather Lee, Donna Cohen, Liz Martin, Maureen Mullins, Peggy McKay, Christine Hardy, Barbara Afrin, Wendy Chisnall, Bernice Dyer, Gaye Epps, Philippa Bubbas, Rhona Cossman, Anna-Lou Roness, Cathy Marks, Wendy Heyberd, Lillian Bartha, Heather McMillan, Veronica Fletchman, Rita-Jane Lebowitz, Bonnie Pomerantz, Susan Ringwood, Isabel Bennett, Cheryl Fraser, Myrna Daniels, Margie Leiberman, Christine Hardy, Francoise Roth, Karen Bolton, Gloria Soloman, Nancy Little,Joyce Millard.
Boys…Royal Avenue Entrance
Teddy Rutherford, Malcolm Loucks, Doug Storey, Ian Banville, Alan Simmons, Pat Kell, Michael Julius, Harvey Stark, Alan Livingstone, George Thompson, Teddy Thompson, Bobby Thompson, Harvey Biggs, Mark Bernstein, Alan Marks, Geoff Shorrock, Mike Agnew, Doug Feltmate, Louis Yacknin, Murray MacBride, Laurence Levin, Harold Potter, Craig Penfold, John Hutton, Jimmy Fraser, John Robinson, Hugh Mowatt, David Magill, Neil Stein, Shelly Dorfman, Ross Lapper, Miles Hitchmo, Carl Bestersine, Joe Angeles, Herve Dupoe, Jimmy De St. Croix, Martin Dow, Barry Sternthal, Donnie Moore, Don Moore #2, Jay Simpson, Dalton Brown, Andrew Campbell, David Bates, John Haas, Gabor Keitner, Hilliard Abromowitz, Andy Elliott, Wayne Simmons, Charles Dexter, Ian Banville, Jimmy Surridge, Gary Siroka, Julian Smith, Morris Beirbriar, Chuck Wiseman, Drew Brown, Anderson Charters, Greg Small, John Pichnej, Ken Hutchison, Murray MacFarlane, Allan Black.
Apologies to those we didn’t remember.
Kindergarten: Miss Reynolds, Mrs. Cram
Grade 1: Mrs. Laroque
Grade 2: Miss McNabb
Grade 3: Miss Cooperman
Grade 4: Miss Jones
Grade 5: Mrs. Ramus
Grade 6: Miss Reaper
Grade 7: Mrs. Miller
Gym teachers: Miss Helyer, Mrs. Mackay
Principals: Mr. Perrie, Mr. Almond, Mr. Pitcairn
School janitor: Mr. Hunter. Once a year he would toss off all the balls that made it up on the roof of Willingdon School.
Tip of the hat to: Elmer the safety elephant
|I don't want any trouble!|