College: Class of 46
yearbook that opened unabashedly with a quotation from Holy Scriptures:
The spirit of God moved over the waters
Priests in black cassocks demonstrating the skills of the game in
the triple brick handball courts (where the University Centre now
stands). Young boys swelling with pride at Fathers complimentary:
Now youre getting the idea!
men in diamond sweater and baggy trousers strolling on the Little
Walk east of the historic building housing the Philosophers
Flats, which once stood immediately south of the old Administration
Wing on the Huron Church Line Road. (Historic especially because
it once housed militia stationed at Sandwich to face the threat
of invasion by the Fenians in the 1860s.)
College. Mid-1940s. Boys from Grade 9 to the masters degree
level all on one small campus. Taught by a male staff, ninety per
cent members of the Congregation of St. Basil. Not a female in sight.
Except the quiet Grey Nuns cleaning the dormitories in St. Michaels
types (registered at the University of Western Ontario through the
affiliation of A.C.) sharing with the high school the Arts Building
(later named Dillon Hall, after the Very Rev. D. L. Dillon, superior
of Assumption from 1922 to 1928 when the building was erected).
ingrained sense of tradition dating back to 1870 when Father Dennis
OConnor was sent by the Basilian Fathers of Toronto to be
the first Superior of Assumption College in the quiet border town
of Sandwich, Ontario.
grand total of 365 students registered at the college level; 364
of us seeking the elusive B.A. And Joe Gualderon, of Akron, Ohio,
sole candidate for a masters degree in philosophy.
1946, 54 of us would graduate the largest class in the 76-year
history of the school to that date. Place is getting too damn
big. Turning into a factory.
Bill Storey heavy five-oclock shadow, chalk-covered
cassock down on his knees among his petunias along the Patricia
Marshall McLuhan (Thats right, Herbert. He dropped the first
name somewhere between Windsor and his arrival as the sage of Toronto)
driving up in his Model-T Ford. Impressing the undergraduates with
his scorn for things material.
tweedy McLuhan, draping his long, lean form over the lectern in
English 4O. Pushing a mop of unruly black hair off his forehead
and announcing: Ill tell you something, boys: the world
accepts you at your own evaluation.
and Wednesday afternoons training with the C.O.T.C. (Canadian Officers
Training Corps Canadas first line of defence
after the Girl Guides). Training on the campus where University
of Windsor residences and the gigantic Applied Science Building
now tower over the landscape.
the corn field (where Assumption College High School now stands)
for the one hundredth time.
do not have a tin hat and a gas mask. You have a helmet and a respirator.
Company Sergeant-Major Cuthbertson. Redfaced. Thundering. We figured
the whole scheme was a plot of the German-Canadian Bund.
Eugene S. J. (for Society of Jesus) Paulus directing budding thespians
in T.S. Eliots Murder in the Cathedral in the basement of
Paulus, a huge, square-jawed man, wearing a grey suit, black shirt
and black tie (and looking for all the world like Mussolini) changing
Eliots impressive lines to improve them. (And the strange
part of it is that he did improve them.)
requiring me to roll on the floor and snort like a dragon so that
I wouldnt get the feel of the part of the Third Tempter.
on the floor, Roach! Roll over and over! Roar! Thats it! Now
snort and snarl! More leaping! More roaring! Louder! Good! Now youre
getting the idea! (I was also getting the idea that I would
slip away from this bizarre individual at the first opportunity.
But I never did. I stayed on to play the Third Tempter and came
to love this eccentric man.)
night dates with the girls of Holy Names College. Mass in the Assumption
College chapel. (The beautiful old chapel, that is, before someone
modernized it and turned the altar backwards.) Father Lee Higgins
delivering straight-from-the-shoulder sermons. The term no
hanky-panky hadnt been invented yet. But when Father
Higgins discussed acceptable conduct with the girls from Holy Names,
the boys knew what he meant. They knew.
that Bonitatem et Disciplinam et Scientiam Doce Me was
more than a motto. Understanding that the order of the three nouns
was of vast importance. Accepting Doce Me as the natural
order of a students universe.
bull sessions in the Philosophers Flats, concerning such consequential
issues as how many angels can stand on the head of a pin.
essay set aside to provide time to write an article for the school
paper, The Purple and White.
school small enough to allow Father Stan Murphy, registrar, to personally
seek out each boy and hand him his report card (with an appropriate
yearbook that closed unabashedly with a quotation from Holy Scripture:
I am the Way, the Truth and the Light.