Sunday, April 8, 2007

Life is a Circle

When I came to Canada my first school was called Sir Arthur Currie School and it was in the former middle class area of Montreal known as N.D.G. That was back in 1957 and I remember being a 12 year old with a limey accent who actually knew who Sir Arthur Currie was. The Canadian General in charge at Vimy Ridge was well known to English schoolboys who had been brought up on stories of the different wars of the english speaking peoples. It really surpised me that Canadian kids did not know who he was, especially since the school was named after him. There was only a photo of him in the school's vestibule, but nothing as to who or what he was. I changed that by gathering as much info on him as I could and setting up a proper display. The principal and teachers were supportive and when I left a year later in 1958 the Currie display was my legacy.
It was 47 years before I had a chance to go back to that school. What a change! It was no longer a school but a community centre named after Louis Riel, with a picture of the famous rebel in the foyer. Any reference to Sir Arthur Currie or his namesake school had been eradicated. I was a stranger again, only this time my accent was Canadian, especially when I spoke French. I managed to speak to a caretaker and during our conversation I asked him who Louis Riel was. His response brought me back 47 years when he said he did'nt know.
I did not set up a proper display this time though.

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