EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Counting boathouses along front river in Chapleau among great memories of those were the days in 1950s

Jim Schafer, Des Delaney
Looking back to the 1958-59 school year at Chapleau High School recently brought back many fond memories perhaps summed up best by the line from a song "Those were the days my friends..."

I have been reading some of the columns that Joy Evans and I wrote for the short lived Mid North News where it seemed we touched not only high school news but youth activities generally in Chapleau.

Why did I turn back the clock to those years, you ask? Well, in 2014 I am celebrating 50 years of doing and teaching journalism and communications in one form or another, but it was at the Mid North News when I was in Grade 12 that I wrote my first regular column, sharing the space with Joy.

In fact, the "sound of story" as the American writer Reynolds Price called it, has likely been a major force in my life since I was a child playing with toys on the living room floor as my grandfather George Hunt taught me the history of England -- you know, the exciting stuff about castles and knights in shining armour.

My mother, Muriel E (Hunt) Morris, instilled a love of reading in me before I could walk, and it remains with me to this day.

I shake my head a bit. All these years later, the wheel has come full circle as I write Chapleau Moments for the Chapleau Express, a weekly column for the online Cranbrook Guardian and edit and write for three blogs owned by Uneek Luxury Tours in Orlando, FL.

In one of our columns we reported that Angelo Bucciarrelli, president of the Rotary Club of Chapleau and Des Delaney, chair of the club's vocational service committee, (both of whom had attended CHS), were present to present a Rotary plaque to the 120 students at the school.

They attended the morning assembly that marked the start of each school day, and Alison McMillan was the pianist for the song singing that was part of the daily ritual.

Des Delaney presented the plaque to Jim Schafer, the student council president. It was also announced that popular English teacher Richard (Murch) Murchland had joined the Rotary Club. Mr. Murchland also directed the annual school play.

Despite the fact that the school had low ceiling gym, sports were popular. Girls volleyball had been started under the direction of Betty Ann (Payette) Morin while Mr. Murchland coached a boys' basketball team that was challenging all comers. I was on the team but don't recall if we won or lost games.

Tom Bateman, who was in Grade 11 took on the responsibility of teaching Grade Nine boys tumbling.

John McClellan, who had been teacher and principal at CHS for 30 years had retired in 1956 but had donated a trophy for annual high school hockey competition. Mr. McClellan had returned in 1957 for the annual inspection of 1181 Chapleau High School Cadet Corps and the cadet banquet as guest speaker.

The annual inspection, banquet and dance  which included the Girls' Precision Squad was a big part of CHS life

CHS had been defeated in its first bid to win the trophy by Sudbury Mining and Technical School but there were high hopes to win.. My memory fails me and I don't have a column on the 1958-59 game but I think CHS won! Someone remind me!

Harry Pellow. secretary of the CHS hockey club, told us that he would be calling a meeting to get the all star team organized. CHS also played in the town league and a school league -- at time of writing playing without team sweaters which made it a bit confusing to differentiate who was on which team. I do recall as I referred those after school games.

Joy and I also wrote about the activities of the Catholic Youth Club and the Anglican Young People's Association with the main focus on dances, banquets and other social activities.

Jim Bucci organized a scavenger hunt, and one of the hardest challenges was to come up with the number of boathouses along the front river. Just imagine going out on a cold Winter night and trudging through the snow from the trestle to the forestry point counting boathouses. Great fun though!

For after the hunt though, Naomi Mizuguchi had organized a lunch and dance in the basement of St. John's Anglican Church for everyone.

By 1959 I had expanded my journalistic activities to include a weekly youth television program on CHAP-TV. Imagine, Chapleau had its own television station for a few years.

While attending Waterloo Lutheran University (now Wilfrid Laurier University) I was the editor of the student newspaper 'The Cord' for two years, and on August 31, 1964, my uncle B.W. "Bubs" Zufelt, and my grandmother Edythe Hunt drove me to Timmins to start my first job as a reporter at The Daily Press.

I agree to this day with Reynolds Price, the writer, that to "tell and hear stories is essential" - and the "sound of story is the dominant sound of our lives, from the small accounts of our day's events to the vast incommunicable constructs of psychopaths."

Thanks to Doug Greig for sending me scans of our columns from Mid North News, to Joy (Evans) Heft for sharing a column with me, and to everyone else I have met along the way, and to the many who have listened to my stories, and shared theirs with me, all of you have made that dominant sound come alive. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Michael J Morris

Michael J Morris
MJ with Buckwheat (1989-2009) Photo by Leo Ouimet


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Following the American Dream from Chapleau. CLICK ON IMAGE