“I was at Beck from 1928 until I graduated in 1933. I think Mr. Langford
came to Beck in 1931. He’d been teaching in Sudbury.
student, I admired Mr. Langford tremendously. I think if you like a
teacher, you usually do much better. For instance, I wasn’t very good in
Mathematics. I passed all right, but I wasn’t very good. English, I
really loved, and with a good teacher, I always did very well. I don’t
know how to put it, but if you’re an English teacher and you have a
student who loves English, I’m sure the teachers feel just as
differently toward you as you do toward them.
“Now I came
from a working class family. My father was killed in W.W.1. My mother
was a widow and worked in a hosiery mill. That meant we were REALLY a
working class family. The way I put it, I appreciate things MORE than
someone who’d been given things when they were younger. Our holiday was,
once a year my mother would take us to Port Stanley on the train. We’d
go quite early and spend the WHOLE day at Port Stanley, and we LOVED it!
“One day at
Beck --and I can almost tell the formation of the clouds that day --
Fred said to me: ‘If you are ambitious and wish to gain social mobility,
there’s no better tool than a good command of the English language.’
such an impact on me, because I WAS ambitious, and I really took that to
heart. I always try to speak well and to write well. I credit Fred for
“In W.W.2, I
served with an armored regiment. When I was in Rome, I went to the
Protestant Cemetery and picked a shamrock from John Keats’ grave. I put
that shamrock in a letter and sent it to Mr. Langford. He talked about
that many, many times.
“When I came
back after the war, I had an younger brother at Beck. I saw Fred then
and on many different occasions in the following years, especially when
he became a widower.
“Fred had a
brother named Clancy. Clancy was a retired English teacher who lived in
Toronto. When I had to make a call in Kitchener or maybe Burlington, I’d
call Fred up the night before and say, ‘Listen, Fred, I’ve got to go to
Toronto. I’ve got to stop in Kitchener for a few minutes and make a
call, but I’ll have you at Clancy’s before lunch’.
Fred with his brother, and later we’d meet in front of the Royal York
Hotel. I’d maneuver things so that I’d drive in front of the hotel at
5:30 or maybe on some occasions, 6 o’clock. I’m not saying I did it a
hundred times, but I did that a LOT of times. He loved that, because he
had a chance to visit with his brother and then spend a nice day with
me. Through that, we became very good friends.
‘I’ retired, we took trips together. He was good company. He was also a
great man and a most interesting person and highly respected by every
one. Without doubt, his proudest moment was graduating from Queens. It
was paramount to him.
born in Lucan. His father owned a lumberyard, ‘Langford Lumber’. It’s
still there. Isn’t that something! Langford Lumber is still in business.
Fred’s other brother carried on the lumber business.
was married to Ottes, they lived on Riverside Drive opposite the Thames
Valley Golf Course. After Ottes died, he got sort of a bachelor place
that was owned by Sifton’s. Fred lived until he was 98 years old. I
think he died in 1996.
Dolan was Beck’s first principal, and he was also principal when I went
there. I never had any trouble with him, but I didn’t particularly like
him. No one else liked him either. He was a bit cold.
“One day when
Fred and I were driving back from Toronto, Fred told me something about
Mr. Dolan. This was typical of Fred. ‘Ian,’ he said, ‘ Mr. Dolan is
quite a wonderful man in his own way.’ Mr. Dolan had some money, and
Fred told me at least a dozen Beck Collegiate students were put through
university by Mr. Dolan. They wouldn’t have had that chance unless Mr.
Dolan had done that.
Mr. Dolan was retired, I happened to meet him in Jimmy White’s downtown
barbershop. The barbershop was downstairs and on the opposite side of
Dundas Street from the Capital and Loew’s theatres.
“As I said,
Mr. Dolan was there, and I stopped and talked to him. I don’t know
exactly what I said, but the idea of it was this: ‘Mr. Dolan, you
weren’t a hero of mine at the time I went to Beck, but you are today.’
had recognized me right away. ‘Oh Ian, why did you say that?’ he asked.
I explained I was a good friend of Mr. Langford. ‘Mr. Langford told me
that at least a dozen worthy students would never have had a college
education without your help. That makes you a hero in my eyes.’
was visibly moved.
wonderful how you can change your mind! I still didn’t have any warm
feelings toward him. He just wasn’t a warm man, but thanks to Fred, I
came to respect what Mr. Dolan had done.”
“Did you know
Fred was in the Air Force? He was a pilot in the First World War and
served in the Royal Canadian Air Force.”
“You know an
interesting thing about Mr. Dolan’s daughter, Katie, Beck’s first
librarian? Katie left one MILLION dollars to Queens University when she
died. Like Fred, she was a Queens grad."
Colonel Ian Haldane - Additional war information:
Second World War, I went to an officer’s training camp in Gordon Head,
B.C. In March 1943 I was sent as a reinforcement officer to 8NBH
(abbreviated for 8th Princess Louise's New Brunswick Hussars) in Crowborough, England. I served in Italy in November 1943 and NorthWest-Europe
early 1945. The regiment was equipped with Sherman tanks, but I never
had to drive one.
that regiment was one of the luckiest things that ever happened to me. I
made a lot of wonderful friends. The war did some good. In training, for
instance, we gained knowledge of other parts of Canada. People from
Ontario (as in my case) went to the Maritimes and somebody from the
Maritimes went to a British Columbia regiment.
“What I saw
--what all of us saw, if you survived-- well, it was the greatest
experience of your life. Of course, the trick was to survive."