THE FUN OF GROWING UP
(with the odd detention in Harvey Stewart's room)
Bob Ginsberg Class of 1953
I attended Lady Beck Public School from September 1940 to June 1948 and Sir Adam Beck Collegiate from September 1948 to June 1953. So that big playground in the backyard with the Army base behind it was my main life for many years. I remember recess at Lady Beck, playing Allies against the darn Axis in holes we dug in the hills between the playground and the Army base.
Playing baseball for organized teams during the summer recess was a highlight. I remember Mary Ellen Bieman, Mary Lou Cox, Kathy Gillet, Lois Riggin, Shirley Brown, Alfie Leeson, Jack Alexander Valerie Stewartson and her brother York, Stewart Smith, Isabel Johnson and others by first name.
The first day at Sir Adam Beck Collegiate was truly exciting, dressed up in our good clothes and freshly bathed. I was assigned to Grade 9B in Room 202 with Miss Dorothy Meen as our home room teacher. Terry Ferris was our Physical Education teacher. During our first day, the boys all lined up and called out our names, last name first: Harris Kent, Hair Ron, Gillick Roy, Gooding Gary, Ginsberg Bob, Hill (and with a very slow action) William. Everyone exploded in laughter and from that moment on, everyone knew Bill Hill.
The Shales brothers were reknowned. Willy Shales taught Physics at Beck and was deaf. His identical twin brother taught Physics at Central (boo) and had poor eyesight.
Willy had one of the first telephone numbers when we went to Fairmont and Metcalf exchanges in the '40's. His telephone number was Fairmont 1. Before that it was just a number. Ours was 3-1326. I lived at 496 Edgerton Street across from the Western Fairgrounds.
The teachers were fantastic. Wonderful memories include: Willy Shales physics, Pop Adamson math, Albert Bartley French, Denny Groat Latin, Cap Pritchard art, Harvey Stewart geography, C.J. Askew history, Fritz Hickman physics, George Ramage chemistry, Carl Chapman math, Walter Herron chemistry and my favorite teacher of all time Fred Langford English.
Physical education teachers were the greatest: Dunc Hoople, Terry Ferris, Marsh Morris and the greatest basketball coach and mentor in North America: Roger Macaulay. We went to the finals our first three years beating Central (yeah) in the semis. Playing against Windsor Patterson our first year was awesome. We came into Thames Hall with only our uniforms. Patterson players had purple and white capes. Tommy Grant and Zeno Kartz played against us in the junior game. Tommy broke the Thames Hall record for points. (both went on to professional football with the Hamilton Tigercats as did my great friend Ross Buckle with the Alouettes.) Tommy Grant was about 5'11" and played centre in our game. Doug Murray was our centre and when they announced that Grant had tied the Thames Hall record, just before a jump at our end of the court, Tommy whispered to Doug, "get out of the way when I come down the court or I will run over you". He scored the next two points. They beat us, and then Zeno played in the senior game against Beck and scored more points in the game against the Beck Seniors than he had against us.
Principles were very strong in those days. I remember one of the players on our team (name not mentioned) was caught smoking. Roger called the team together to vote on whether to suspend the smoker or let him continue on the team.
Mr. Walter Johnson was our principal, followed by Mr Tom Armstrong from South. I moved to London South during the Summer of 1950 and continued going to Beck. I used to get a ride to school with Mr. Armstrong in his 1941 maroon Ford Sedan every morning.
I remember Pop Adamson teaching Geometry with 10 Christmas Exam questions and everyone missing the 10th except Ruby Esuzaki who always got 100. His comment was when we got our grades: That will be one of the easier questions on the final exams in June. Scared us all.
The pure fun of growing up, studying, playing sports, sock hops Friday night, Labatt Park football games, Thames Hall games at Western for the basketball finals, the odd detention in Harvey Stewart's room after 4:00 PM. Those memories of growing up, studying, learning, competing, meeting friends and getting to learn to socialize and settle differences through intellect rather than brawn or emotion made strong and mature women and men of us all.
The years at Sir Adam Beck Collegiate were the foundation for the future of every student.
Thanks to the dedication of those great teachers, the principles of "meret qui laborat" have done us well. I am sure that Denny Groat would agree.
Copyright Bob Ginsberg September 11, 2004
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