Posted by: dave1949 | 2012/02/17

Party 1971

The house an older one in the downtown had a front door which when opened looked directly at a stairway to the second floor.  To the right was a living room. Continuing through this you got into a short pantry which led to the kitchen covering the back of the house and sort of under that big staircase down the middle. If you kept going you got into the formal dining room opposite the living room and back from there to the foyer at the front door.

This house like a lot of the others had seen better days and was now rented out to Brock students. One of the renters was rower and so we found the final party of the year at this house. It was also 1971 and it was the party where we started the tradition of bringing Jereboams of champagne to the party. FOr those who have never had the pleasure a Jereboam is the equivalent of 4 regular bottles of wine. They are cumbersome and hard to handle especially as you get near the bottom. I don’t know why cause they are a lot lighter then than when you start drinking but I can attest that it is nearly impossible to pour out the last couple of glasses without spilling.

Many of us at the time had abad habit of consuming perhaps a bit too much of anything in a bit too little time. It was 1971 and alcohol was not the only party drug we were using. Mostly booze and pot but there was a lot of other chemicals available. Some of them cooked up in the chem and bio labs at the school but most purchased from other suppliers.

At this particular party we had already been treated to the sight of one man showing up there to try to get his wife, who had been rowing with the crew all season, to leave the party and go home with him. When she had refused they had a fight in the middle of the living room which ended with him taking off his ring and throwing it at her, declaring the marriage over.  The dozen or so of us who had been in the room and witnessed the whole thing stood, applauded, and began calling “author, author”. The husband rather than taking a bow or introducing the author stomped back out of the house and the party. The wife later went to bed with the boyfriend she had picked up in the crew that year and in fact it was the end of the marriage. Not to worry however her new BF moved with her to Toronto the next year and supported her while she went to law school, became a lawyer then left him too. SHe seemed to have a hard time making up her mind about men.

As the party continued however we had other problems. Crazy Pete, one of those who from time to time consumed too much fun decided that after one particular pill he had tried that flying out of the second story bedroom window would be a suitable end to the evening. It took a few of us some time to persuade him not to do that. Pete was quite strong and could be quite stubborn when he fixed on an idea like this.

After he seemed to be settling down however those of us who had stayed with him to be sure he didn’t hurt himself were alerted to another problem.

Pete who was then lying half on half off a bed sat up suddenly and announced he was going to puke. None of us wanted him to do that but again he could be quite stubborn and so we instead tried to get him up and into the bathroom.

The bathroom was just across the hall from the bed room but unfortunately it was in use. With Pete outside the door starting to heave someone else thought we should get him out of the house. We started him down the stairs where if he had just gone straight ahead he’d have got out the door in no time and could relieve himself on the lawn. Pete for some reason however tacked hard aport into the living room where several people were dancing to a record playing on the turntable ( youngsters here can ask their parents about this). It was here that the first of the wet heaves came over him and he deposited this right on top of the record player which started to lag and skip through the mess which was now dripping off the record onto the player. Pete continued with urging from all the people there to look for the outside but actually kept going the wrong way into the kitchen, through the dining room leaving his calling cards in both rooms as he staggered and wretched along. As he cam towards the front door a second time someone managed to get it open in front of him and he made it out to the front lawn.
Bent over a bush there he continued gasping and heaving but too virtually no effect. Whatever had been bothering him had already vacated and was left all through the downstairs of the house.

Later in the same party there was a cigar but crushed out on my head which I thought quite rude and later one of the girls was found in the back of one of the coaches cars in a somewhat undressed condition. This was really not very good since it was the last weekend in October and quite chilly out. She could have caught a nasty cold but luckily came through it all ok.

The party was the talk of our quite small University for most of the next week but like everything else time moves on and soon everyone had other things to think about. These are the same people who the university are asking back this year although I have to say I doubt we’ll have quite the same energy or desire to consume large quantities of recreational supplements. We may have to find a couple of Jereboams to share out however.

 

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Posted by: dave1949 | 2012/02/14

Warning Shots?

I have to say I’ m confused again. Rob Nicholson, my minister of Justice said the other day that it would be ok for a citizen, if he felt an intruder was going to burgle his residence or harm the family to take out a gun and fire a warning shot or two.

Now I have to tell why this confuses me. I know Rob personally though we have had no contact for decades now. He graduated from law school about the same time as my ex wife in the late 70’s and as I’m sure happens in a lot of cities several of the young lawyers, going through articling years and bar exams etc hung around together in their off duty times. ROb didn’t seem to be peculiarly dense at the time. Learning that as a young boy he had decided John Diefenbaker was one of his heros, of course caused a raised eyebrow but we have all had silly childhood crushes and I never suspected that he had any serious mental impairment.

What confuses me now is that he seems to be saying that a return to the old west and the use of firearms for personal and property protection is ok. Now I realize that Stevie and the boys are all gung ho on fast and harsh justice with an emphasis on the fast and hard and a little leeway allowed when it gets to the justice part.

Let’s face it during all his time as a minority leader Stevie dumped Rob’s main get tough legislation several times while at the same time stamping around and yelling about how tough on crime he was. WHy just the other day another of the boys, Vic Toes went to far as to say that anyone who opposed the new internet spying law was on the side of the child pornographers. THat might be stretching the concept of loyal opposition a bit, a representative isn’t necessarily a pervert, criminal or traitor.

ANy way back to Rob it is strange that after decades of trying to get Canadians to rely on the police for their protection, After charging and trying virtually anyone who defends themselves or their property to the fullest extent of the law possible, after running up thousands of dollars in legal bills for anyone who dares to use force for their own protection here we have the chief cop of the entire country saying a few warning shots shouldn’t be out of the question.

Last year, through the courts at least Rob took a Toronto shopkeeper to trial for daring to tackle and detain a shoplifter. The guy was finally exonerated but once again not before running up huge legal bills in his own defense. Now apparently it would be ok for him to do so.

THere is only one thing I can figure that has caused this change in thinking. For decades now it has been made clear that any Canadian who used any force in defending himself had better have and absolutely cut and dried case of being forced to do so or he was going to face a mountain of opposition. It was the police and their strong unions who had the right to do this sort of thing and anyone who infringed on this was obviously a scab worker and had to be dealt with swiftly and forcefully to discourage anyone else form taking away the job opportunities. I guess the Cons hate unions so much and dislike government workers so much they are finally realizing one way to cut both is to allow Canadians to protect themselves and then cops can be let go.
I’m still a bit confused though about the opposition to legalizing drugs and looking for harm reduction programmes as this would also cut police forces and budgets so dramatically.

It’s almost as though the men in charge aren’t really thinking logically about any of this stuff but just running around giddy with their own power now and seeing what they can get away with.

Any way I hope Rob finds his way through all this and comes up with a bit more coherent thinking about how best to protect Canadians. I’m not sure that shooting warning shots by citizens, incarcerating addicts, calling any opposition to them traitors and perverts and generally running rough shod over all our traditions of personal freedom and security is really the right way to go forward.

Then again no one elected me to office so maybe once again it’s me that doesn’t understand.

Posted by: dave1949 | 2012/02/12

Governmment’s First Job

Government Work

I heard the reverend Al Sharpton the other day spouting off as people so often do that the government’s first job is protecting the citizens. Lets be real people this is not and never has been the government’s first job.

The first job of government is acquiring the power to do what it wants. THis isn’t some nutter libertarian rant against the evils of big government it is just a reality. Most of the world is non democratic but all of the world is governed. From small tribal councils to behemoths like modern national governments, they all have to find the power to move forward those projects that they feel are important.

In non democratic realms this is easier in the short run. Those in power use their armed forces when necessary and their propaganda machine all the time to get the citizens to agree to whatever project. WHether it is war on the neighbours or building the new pyramid, or setting up the site for the new farmers market the government sets the direction and gets others to go along for the general good.

The ends are not always evil and in many cases they are commendable. THis particular day in history marks the opening of the first hospital in the United States in Pennsylvania in 1752. Good old Ben franklin had his hand in this along with others and you can bet there were some people standing around drinking tea saying the idea was ok as long as government didn’t get too big and certainly as long as all those sick people weren’t kept near where I live.

That last part is part of the point of government. No one wants the hospital, dump, jail, armory etc, etc, in their back yard but they have to go somewhere. GOvernment cuts through this crap and one way or another sites the project collects the money and creates something.

Those who happen to work for a government in a democracy have the problem of trying to convince people that they should go along with these projects. No democratic government can last long simply imposing its will on the population in spite of what the people want but sometime somewhere they have to call a halt to the crying and moaning and actually build something.

Now part of every government project is the public hearings about the same. These things are mostly window dressing for the people affected to think they at least got a chance to be heard but in reality they seldom have any real effect on the decisions made. Certainly there are times when a group manages to raise enough opposition and a change is made but mostly it is an exercise in creating the feeling that the government is listening. Today too the government is forever talking about protecting the citizens but in reality they are still, as in the days of yore quite happy to jail or otherwise punish those who oppose and cary on with their projects as they see fit.

So the next time you are told the governments first job is protecting the citizens think about just who is being protected and who is going to end up paying the price. THey may not be evil incarnate but governments are accumulators of power, through persuasion or coercion as the need arises.

No government however totalitarian can exist for long without the backing of most of its citizens but every government however democratic has all sorts of ways to gain enough backing to proceed. Your duty as a citizen is simply to be aware of these things and oppose what you truly believe is wrong for your society and aid what you feel is right but in any case at some point the projects needed by the bulk of the citizens have to go ahead even if they are in your back yard.

Posted by: dave1949 | 2012/02/01

Mentors

Mentors. We all have them.

As we go about now trying to find all the members of our old rowing crews I was reminded about some of the mentors I have had in my life. My father was undoubtedly the most important for me but especially in a sporting sense another father who lived on our street was more important.

My Dad came from Scotland. As such he, like most scots grew up without the finer things in life. He never learned to skate, threw things relatively well but certainly not like a star quarterback or pitcher. Couldn’t hit a baseball to save himself and because of these limitations never played catch with me or helped in teaching me how to play all the important games for a young Canadian boy.

Mr Junke on the other hand was a superb athlete. He was a phys-ed teacher at the Collegiate when I first became aware of his job and went on to become a principal in one of our local high schools. His son Jim was one of my best friends growing up and they had all sorts of sports equipment. Footballs, baseballs, hockey sticks, skis, golf clubs. Even more important he loved the games and spent hours with all the kids on the block. Showing us how to play the games and allowing us the use of his lawns for our games. I realize now how much this must have cost him because he was also a high quality gardener.

I remember growing up into my teens thinking that it was too bad my father was such a poor athlete and how much nicer it would have been to have a dad like Mr Junke who knew all the sports and liked to play them. It never occurred to me that my dad might have been just a bit tired after a day of work as a plumber.

At any rate. my love for sports was aided immeasurably by Mr Junke and in turn my ever completing a university degree was a direct result of my wishing to pursue rowing once I got into it.

Before rowing I had always been a good enough athlete to get on the school teams but seldom as a first string player. My career was primarily a a bench warmer. I did make the cross country team and the long distance track squad as a starter as I always had good endurance. At the other major sports in Canada however I was just barely above average and certainly no star. That I made the teams at all was mostly because of the teaching and the support of Mr Junke as my dad had little interest in athletics himself and used my interest as a way to get me to pay attention in school. The rules were simple and clear. If I wanted to play I had to keep passing grades and anything less than that meant being taken out of the teams till I brought the grades back up. It was frustrating to have a father that lacked any real skill in or appreciation of the ports of our child hood.

On to the early 70’s and having found in rowing a sport that fit my physical talents to a much better level than the ball games of youth I finally became the champion I always dreamed of being. It turned out actually that at the university championships that year Mr Junke was there to cheer on his son who was rowing for Western at the time and who was actually in the varsity boat our lightweights had beaten for their second title of the day. He also took the time to tell me he was disappointed in our drinking on the water after our win. He felt it was poor sportsmanship to show off like that in front of our competition.

Earlier that same year I had won a race at the Canadian Henley regatta which was an unofficial canadian, and even north american championship. The henley was certainly the biggest and most important regatta of the year back then. I was not aware of the fact but in one of their letters back “home”, (Scotland), my parents had mentioned this to my Uncle Bert. I gt a letter from him a few weeks after the event congratulating me and including the comment that it was good to see another champion in the family.

That puzzled me and I asked my dad what he meant by, another champion, as far as I knew I was the first champion in the family. I knew from talk that Bert had been a wrestler and that my aunt Irene had been a swimmer but not much else. I knew that dad too could swim exceptionally well but he never raced at the pool and didn’t swim laps or train for anything like a real athlete would have.

Dad then informed me that what his brother meant by, another was that Bert himself, far from being a fair wrestler had been a multi national champion. He had also mad the British Olympic team for the Los Angeles games but had not gone as in a time when amateur athletics was really about amateurs, he didn’t have enough money to go and his job would not allow him the time off as it would have taken about a month. The team sailed for america rather than flying and so Bert had declined the offer as he had a new wife to support at the time. Further Dad mentioned that his sister Irene had also been a national champion swimmer.

Suitably impressed with this new found family glory I recall mentioning it in one of my own rare letters to uncle Bert. I had the cheek to belatedly congratulate him and Irene on their past achievements and commented about how odd it was that neither of their children had gone on to sports glory while I unlike my dad had managed to bring fame and fortune back to the next generation.

In an even rarer letter back to me personally as opposed to one to the whole family which was the norm for us Bert pointed out that far from being an athletic dud my dad had also been a top contender as a junior athlete in wrestling, swimming and cycling in Scotland.  He had unfortunately, like a lot of other kids burnt out and had quit competitive swimming just as he was getting to national level competition. He had gone on to win a gold medal in cycling time trialling in britain, completing a 100 mile course in under 5 hours which was the gold standard at the time.

When I asked dad about all this his response was typical. He never bragged about it because he had done it so long ago he felt it wasn’t particularly important. Turns out grand dad had also been a champion wrestler in his day and it was he who had trained dad and Irene for their swimming competition.
Who knew. Dad wasn’t actually an athletic dud just one who grew up with different sports than we watched on the TV every week and played every day. I had known by then that he was a mentor for me in how to carry myself in life in total, I just didn’t know till then that he had also preceded me in a life of athletic pursuit. He just never gave sports the emphasis so many in north america did, always insisting that education and general character were far more important than mere games.

Posted by: dave1949 | 2012/01/30

Pension Fun Again

So it seems that our fearless leader is touting, quietly that 67 us going to be the new 65.

Now I have no problem with the fashion industry trying to boost their sales by propounding drivel of this sort. Sure older people can dress like younger ones and not look like fools. No more than anyone that pays for high fashion designer stuff looks like a fool.

I do have a tiny little problem though with the Prime minister whe he starts hinting about needing to rejig the old age pension because, surprise, surprise, we can’t afford the current system. Once again Stevie shows what he really really wants to do in government. He wants to make sure that the power f government is only used for important stuff.

Stuff like flying Peter Mckay in and out of fishing trips. Stuff like building gazebos miles and miles away from economic meetings with his good buddy Tony. Stuff like building more and bigger prisons because they are so  much better for the country than more and bigger schools or hospitals.

For myself there is just one little problem. I retired from GM 8 years ago. At the time I gave it all the thought possible. I knew that I would be cutting my income pretty drastically but with no dependents I figured I could get by without any real hardship and enjoy a long contented retirement.

Part of the planning was that the pension was going to be indexed to the cost of living. Like the pensions for members of parliament. The indexing wasn’t perfect. We would get 80% of the change in the cost of living every half year. Working out the numbers I realized that that meant that over the years I would fall behind but slowly so if I managed to live for 30 years or so I wouldn’t be in the position of trying to pay 2030 costs with 2000 wages. The sort of thing that has caused older pensioners in Canada to lose their houses after decades of ownership.

Well of course GM decided to declare bankruptcy and with the active help of TOny and others they were allowed to dump a bunch of the pension benefits and indexing was one of the first to go. Tony of course didn’t lose the indexing on his pension.

Now Stevie is hinting that he will change the rues so that people can’t get the pension at 65 but may have to wait till 67. Well one of the other parts of my retirement benefit form GM is that they pay me the equivalent of my Old age Pension from the time I retired till I turn 65. The when the government pension kicks in GM.s supplement cuts off. Therefore I will get the same income just from the government instead of GM’s supplement.  Now I’m sure Stevie will just tell GM to keep paying the supplement for 2 more years if he changes the rules because surely he wouldn’t want me to go without any of this money for 2 years. Oh by the way Stevie, Tony, Peter, all of those guys, they don’t have to wait till 65 to get their indexed pensions. Heck they can even work at another job and still collect the pension on top of their wages. So certainly they would want to be sure that thousands of their fellow Canadians aren’t left in destitution over a gap they propose to create in the pension rules.

Gosh it’s hard to figure out how to plan for the future when they keep changing the rules right in the middle of the game. Even the NHL waits and changes rules between seasons.

Now I believe that all citizens of this country should be able to live out their old age in decent conditions. I worked full or part time from the time I was 16 till I was 55. I realize that because I worked at GM I got the ability to retire 10 years earlier than people without private pension programmes and I’m thankful for that. I just hope that while Steve makes sure he has enough money for the planes and jails he seems to love so much he doesn’t forget that there are thousands of us that would like very much to be able to buy something besides cat food to live on. I just hope that he realizes that money spent on the citizens of the country instead of the corporations actually comes back in as taxes and runs through the nation as we drive, and eat, and buty clothes and frivolous stuff like that.

I’m not certain because of course the jails will be awesome and the jets will be stupendous but I’m not sure how much they’ll help the local businesses here and in every town in the country where pensioners live and purchase.

Remember when any one tells you they are going to cut taxes but not services they are lying.

Posted by: dave1949 | 2012/01/28

The Tank

If this is working as it should what you see here is a picture of a 1966 Ford falcon.

This is the type of car I had during the start of my illustrious rowing career. Some At That time in 1970 if a Student was to get a student loan he/she could not own a car. Because of this and the general state of most student finances those of us who had cars were few and far between. I had this particular car because of a small mishap.

I had gone to Brock in 1968 paid for entirely by my parents. At the time they had said they would pay tuition and any other fees and let me live at home free. If I wanted to go out of town to another school I would have to find the money for residence myself. I was also told that this arrangement would be continued as long as I continued to pass my years.

Displaying the keen financial acumen for which I have become notes I proceeded to while away the entire year playing ping pong, the real game not a video stand in and otherwise enjoying myself thoroughly. My father always a man of his word never paid another cent towards my university education after I flunked out in May 1969. Not to shed too bad a light on this brutal treatment he always allowed me to stay at home free anytime I was in school full time. THis of course cost him several thousand dollars as my BA degree stretched out to an awesome 13 years, but it was a matter of principal that he would never again actually pay any fees or expenses to the University.

Back at the dawn of time in 69 Brock had a rule that if you flunked an entire year you were required to take a year off before applying again. All in all I can’t disagree with this thinking as a year working as a communications delivery clerk for General Motors, otherwise known as the mail boy, led me on being laid off in 1970 to realize I wished to further my academic pursuits.

While working at GM and earning the princely sum of $549 per month I had bough my firs brand new car. A 1970 Renault 10. Showing the driving skill and clear decision making for which I have become noted I bought the car in January and lost control of that little bugger in May  going about 70 mph on a country road running head on into a big v8 powered Buick. The Buick won. I exited the car through the gap where the windshield used to be and ended up on the road. The truly remarkable thing about all this is that I suffered nothing worse than a few cuts and bruises and the loss of the car which was in the vernacular of the day totaled.

WIth unemployment looming and university fees needed after some wrangling with the insurance company I went and found the Falcon at a used car lot for $600.

Some Falcons came equipped with V8 engines. Some had automatic transmissions. Some had air conditioning, power steering, power windows, AMFM radios etc. The tank had none of these fripperies. A 144 cu in ch straight 6 with 3 on the tree and an AM radio. It had about 70,000 miles on it which back then was getting to be a pretty used car. The gear shift lever was held in place with a hose clamp that required retightening every couple of weeks, so much so that I took to keeping a screwdriver in the car just for that purpose. It both leaked and burned oil and with a claimed 80 horsepower was just about fast enough to get out of it’s own way. What it lacked in performance though it made up for in ugliness where several areas were rusting through the paint and a few had actually perforated the metal. Luckily none of these were in critical spots just the usual door bottoms and fender rust so common to all cars in the era.

With this land yacht however did come one very crucial advantage. It started and it ran. I drove the car till it had 165,000 miles on it and sold it to another Brock student who I know drove it at least 2 more years after that. Exactly how long it lasted I can’t say because he graduated and left town with it then but suffice it to say that the old car did its duty come rain or shine, snow or sun. It never let any of us down.

And I do mean any of us. I used it as a bus to pick up 3 people to go down to rowing practice which was at 6 am every day in September and October. After practice we regularly took as many as 6 others beside myself up to school to begin the day’s classes.

We went on field trips with the car, rowing regattas, summer vacations,and of course the general trips around town for whatever. On one trip to London for a regatta we set out with 5 of us in the car along with our clothing to change into after the race. As we drove past Hamilton we started climbing the 403 hill out the west end of town. For a while it looked as thought the temperature gauge in the car had been replaced by an altimeter as the needle drifted up the temp scale as we chugged up the hill. We made it to the top and with the easier driving on the level there it slowly drifted back down again with only a bit of steam escaping just at the crest of the hill. Before leaving for home that day I refilled the radiator at the rowing site and it took about a quart of fluid to top it up again.

All in all the car was actually one of the better investments I ever made. It took me where I wanted or needed to go for almost 5 years and then I sold it for $200 dollars. There were multiple repairs during that time but only once anything that required a mechanic, the rest were carried out at home with parts bought at Canadian Tire. I have had many cars since. Lots of them better in nearly every way form the old Falcon. Better performance, better safety, better luxury, quieter, better fuel consumption etc. I have not though, had very many cars in which I had a better time.

Have you ever had a car like that. An old clunker that just kept on clunking whenever called on and took you on the trip you needed when you needed it.

Posted by: dave1949 | 2012/01/28

24 years ago

Canada’s Supreme court declares anti-abortion law unconstitutional
by gary_satanovsky on January 28, 2012
In every revolution there is some watershed moment that crystallizes the conflict and then changes it, irreversibly. In Canada’s debate over abortion rights that moment came when a Montreal gynecologist, Dr. Henry Morgentale, declared openly and proudly that he had performed hundreds of abortions in contravention of the law at that time. Canadian law allowed therapeutic abortions – those that threatened the health of the mother – and left it up to the hospital three-doctor panels to decide what that meant; Morgentale, who believed that any woman who desires an abortion should have one, did not clear his procedures with any panel.On this day, January 28, in 1988, thanks in large part to Dr. Henry Morgentale’s work, Canada’s Supreme Court overturned the therapeutic panel requirement, striking down the last legal barrier to abortions in the country.

It was Morgentale’s case that which went to the Supreme Court. After his illegal abortion practice was predictably challenged in court, which found in favor of the government, Morgentale appealed to the highest judicial body in the land. There, a seven-judge panel agreed in a 5-2 decision that the abortion panels violated an article of the constitution regarding the “security of persons”.

I realize that abortion i a very hot button topic for a lot of people. All that aside though I think we have to admit that the judgement made 24 years ago today did not in fact cause the world to end. it did not result in the death of the catholic church and it did not in fact stop the persecution of women who decide for whatever  reason that this is an option they require.

24 years later we still have people who feel it is their right to interfere in the reproductive decisions a woman makes about her life and her body. We still have people who are willing to kill in order to stop abortions and we still have many of the injustices that have plagued women for millennia.  Women are still being payed significantly less than men for the same work just as one tiny example.

24 years later however we can be sure of something. Even with the opposition to abortions there are a lot fewer women maimed or killed by back alley abortions than there used to be.

I understand that for some people the abortion equates to murder and I understand that they will never be persuaded otherwise. That is until their own daughter needs one anyway. The fact is though that like other things that we may not like abortions have been around for ever and are going to be around forever. The choice is not about whether they can be ended it is only a choie of how dangerous and costly you make it for the woman.

Morgantaler risked his life, his career  and jail time to make safe abortion possible for women in Canada and his work was finally recognized when he was named to the Order of Canada.

Today when we can still have a major politician running for the GOP nomination in the states insisting that abortion be banned even in cases of rape it is important to remember that this fight is not and probably never will be over.

TO paraphrase the Supreme Court ruling form 1988 the old law took the decision about reproduction away from a woman and conferred it on a committee. It could be seen as a way to force a woman against her will to carry to term a baby she didn’t want. The decision was that individual women should have the final say over what happened to their bodies, not a group of people assembled by the local hospital.

24 years later Canada is a better place because of this decision and because of the bravery of Henry Morgantaler. For those who feel compelled to fight against a woman having this choice I suggest you work at making it better for women to raise children in our society so fewer feel the need for abortions.

That of course would be difficult and not nearly so easy as following whatever the pope tells you to do.

Posted by: dave1949 | 2012/01/23

The Party House

How we came to inhabit 260 Glenridge. In the summer of 1971 a couple of friends fro the rowing team decided to move from an apartment about 5 km from Brock to 260 Glenridge. Ed and Cory were 2 friends from Brantford who had come to Brock together. Ed and I rowed together in 1970 in the novice boat. we won our championship that year. The next year ed started rowing in the lightweight boat while I moved to JV and cory started rowing in the novice boat. When the time came for them to make the move they asked for help from some of their friends. It happens all the time and in this case they ended with a group of about a dozen young fit happy go lucky guys to provide the muscle.

The day of the move we all assembled at their old apartment and the project for the day was laid out. Ed had managed to wheedle a deal with the truck rental company. I can’t remember the price but what it amounted to was that though the company usually rented the truck by the day only ed had struck a deal that if he used the truck for only 2 hours he could get a considerably reduced rate.

The problem with the deal was that if he didn’t get the truck back within the 2 hour window they were going to get billed for the whole day.

With that in mind we gathered at the apartment early and started carrying all the heavy bulky stuff down the 3 floors and piling it up on the lawn. The building was an older walk up apartment with relatively narrow stairs which involved walking out the door down to the end of the hall down the stairs back to the middle of the building and out the front door.

To get the job running smoother we all used the stairs at the other end of the building to go back up for the next trip. When all the really big stuff was down, and remember we’re talking 1970’s university student furniture, ed went to get the truck while we continued at the apartment.

The minute the truck pulled up one group stayed down below loading all the stuff already there, several continued bringing down boxes of books etc, kitchen ware, all the fiddly little stuff that takes so much time in a move. Meanwhile a few of us took stuff llike the bedding and clothing, really anything that wouldn’t break or hurt too much and threw it out the 3rd floor window.

The truck was loaded in about 1/2 hour, we all drove across town to the new place and started unloading everything working at breakneck speed. Again lots of stuff was dropped on the lawn, It’s a good thing the day was nice, a heavy rain would have really messed up the timing. Other stuff was run up the stairs to the apartment and some of the big stuff, a couch, a chair and a couple of beds were hoisted overhead on the tailgate of the truck and then grabbed from the balcony and pulled into the apartment through the patio door.

The truck was emptied even faster than we had filled it and then they were off to return it to the rental company.
Mission accomplished. They got the truck back in time to avoid the extra charges. we all settled in to helping unpack which of course ended up with a beer party and so the new apartment was christened as our go to party place on the first day that oarsmen lived in it.

That particular apartment housed oarsmen for about 5 years from that day. As one or 2 graduated and moved on others such as myself moved in and in turn left it to others.

Ed went on to teach and Cory eventually went into social work. Over the years we have lost touch but today I managed to track Cory down so now he too knows about the hall of fame induction and plans to attend in June. At present we have contact info for 8 of the 9 men in the lightweight crew and only 3 of the nine in my JV crew. Luckily we still have lots of time to hunt  down the others. Heck with the internet how hard could it be.

Posted by: dave1949 | 2012/01/21

That Day in 1972

if you read the last post then you know our university is going to honour our 1972 crew for winning the rowing championship that year. In his letter the current coach said he hoped we could find everyone involved and have a party to celebrate. Pete wasn’t alive the last time we did that.

There are a series of quadruplexes on Glenridge ave that used to be Brock’s first residence and in 1972 were rented out mostly to students after having been sold off by the university a few years earlier.

260 Glenridge had been an unofficial jock house for a few years. 3 oarsmen in the upper left, 3 Basketball players upper right, 3 women Basketball players lower right and two volleyball players and a hippie boyfriend lower left.

I and my buddies were going to host the year ending party there after the final regatta. The others, who we all knew had been invited and accepted. The rowing final party over the last few years had become legendary around Brock. In previous years we had witnessed attempts to fly, marriage breakups, dwarf tossing, etc. Hey it was an era of sex drugs and rock and roll. Mass quantities of recreational substances were consumed, mostly booze and pot but there was some more potent trace elements available and no one looked too closely at it.

As rowers we really did very little partying the first 2 months of school. The training started right at the beginning and there were races every weekend through October. We had parties usually on Saturdays but at away regattas we didn’t get home till late in the evening after leaving as early a 4 in the morning. We had practice again on Sunday so the parties were pretty subdued till the final.

With no practice the next day and a regatta at home the stage was set for a blow out and we willingly obliged.

On top of our own crew an the other jocks around Brock there was always a group of rowers from St Catharines who might be rowing for the other universities. AS small as Brock was virtually all the varsity athletes knew each other so there was always a lot of cross pollination at any of the team parties.

With that in mind the crowd started growing about 7 pm and continued for the next 6 hours. The apartments were pretty standard sized 3 bedroom units. Maybe 1000 sq ft certainly no bigger. By the height of this particular party we had about 200 people who spilled onto the lawn out front and a bit more alarmingly onto the roof on top of the building.

Several had climbed up from the balcony railing and were sitting up on the roof watching the traffic on Glenridge and at times teasing the cops that were called a couple of times to quiet us down.

I can report now that there were no serious injuries although a little alcohol poisoning was suspected in the aftermath.

Our stereo system at the time happened to be my own underpowered little unit. Record player, radio, and 8 track,( ask your parents) with a couple of speakers. We had wired in 4 extra speakers and had them playing in the living room and 2 of the bedrooms. It was cranked to 10 on volume, bass, and treble for the entire night.

As one of the hosts and also one of the senior participants I stayed relatively sober for most of the party.  I noticed among other things before time was suspended that the group that lived right below us had not come to the party and thought that a bit odd because we were quite friendly and they had been to other parties with us.

I didn’t have too much time to think about it and rational thought was becoming a bit of a chore anyway so I continued to enjoy the night and though no more about it.

Next day we had the usual, hangovers, cleanup duty, discovery of overnight guests on the balcony and living room. As the day wore on Nancy one of the girls down stairs appeared to ask if we were ok.

I asked her why she hadn’t come to the party and was told they were afraid to come in. I asked why and she tok me down to their apartment. All around the corners between their ceiling and walls the plaster was cracked. Nancy said that as the party had got wound up the dancing upstairs, something I personally never contributed to, had started their chandelier swaying and bouncing and then they had noticed that the whole ceiling, our floor had been bouncing up and down and plaster dust started coming out at the edges. Nancy said she had come up and warned one of the other residents and then fearful that the whole house was going to collapse they had left and spent the night at her boyfriend’s place to avoid the catastrophe.

Of course there had been no final catastrophe and the building is actually still standing. Over the years the balcony has been removed from the upper floor and it has remained largely a student rental unit. The bunch of us have surprisingly all grown older so I expect any party this year won’t have the same energy or abandonment we had back then. Still I can’t help thinking we had a lot more fun in our university life than the kids today have.

I suppose they however probably think our times were pretty lame and they are having the time of their lives too.

Posted by: dave1949 | 2012/01/20

Party like it’s 1972

Modern Brock Crew. Cameras weren't around when we rowed.

 

Last Saturday in October 1972. The OUAA rowing championships were going on at the Henley course in St Catharines. At that time Brock was a very new very small university and in competition with other more established universities we were used to getting whipped.

The university didn’t have a gym they could hold a basketball game in. The team went to a local high school to practice and play. Same for an arena, none on campus so down to the local city arena for practice and games.  In off seasons trying to get pemier athletes to come to Brock was more than difficult. There was no phys-ed dept. very little in training facilities and no reputation as winners to lure prospects to come here to follow their athletic dreams.

But rowing was different. St Catharines has been a hot bed of rowing for a century and the local high schools all have programmes. At that time there was some friction between the local rowing club and Brock but at least we had a great course and good boats to row in. There was also a sense around the city that if you were going to row you did it well or went home.

Western University was at that time the prime rowing school. Every year they had a lot of St Catharines guys attending that formed the core of a very powerful team. They were used to winning regularly and sometimes that was aided by a head coach who felt it was fine to cheat if he could in order to win.

In 1972 however things were different. Brock had an incredible lightweight crew. So good in fact that they were winning both light and heavy varsity races. They were backed up by a junior varsity crew that also won every race that year except our own invitational regatta.

The men’s programme was the same each year. All races were in eights and they went novice men         20 pts
light weight varsity    40 pts
junior varsity           30 pts
heavy varsity     40 pts

Western won the novice race and then our lightweight crew won their race
Score western 20 Brock 40.
As we went out for the JV race we knew hat if we won it would clinch the overall championship. Even if Western won the heavy varsity it would have made the score 70 to 60. With this in mind we did the only thing that made any sense. We took out a bottle of champaign with us in the boat. Carrying the extra weight in the bottom of the boat under the coxies legs.

It was as always a tough trace but as usual that year we pulled away from Western and clinched the race and the overall championship for Brock. We pulled out the bottle, popped the cork and toasted the victory out on the water in front of the grandstand, a little celebration that got a bit of criticism from the purists but we had just won what at the time at Brock was a very rare provincial championship.

As we headed back to the dock the light weight crew was already racing in the heavy eight race which they won.

Final score for the day Brock 3 championships to Western 1 and overall winners for us.
The party that night as always at the end of the season was a total blow out.

Now 2012, This year marks the 40th anniversary of that victory and I was informed yesterday by the current Brock rowing coach that our crews are being inducted into the Brock sports hall of fame.  Now we are trying to find all the crew members that we have lost touch with over the decades to have a bit of a party in June at the induction ceremony. I know our coach has passed away as has one of the women’s coaches of the time. Many of the crew members have gone off my radar but between the alumni association and our own contacts we hope we can find everyone to let them know and I guess the party won’t be quite as riotous as we were used to but it will still be nice to touch base again.

The one advantage we will have after all this time is that there is virtually no one left to dispute our lies when we brag about how fast we were.

Not that we’d ever stoop to that sort of thing. We didn’t need to. We were/ are that good.

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