EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Kevin Walker stirs up talk and brings back memories with 'I'm so Chapleau"

Kevin Walker wanted to stir up talk and bring back memories among his friends on Facebook so he started short anecdotes called "I'm so Chapleau" and suddenly he had a success story.

The more he posted the more others commented and added their own "I'm so Chapleau" anecdotes. I also joined in and asked Kevin if I could share some of them.

Kevin, who was born and raised in Chapleau, is the son of Billy and Betty-Lou (Simard) Walker, while his grandparents were Bill and Della Walker and Bud and Kay Simard .His brothers are Larry and Bob.

He now lives in Crystal Beach on Lake Erie  but for 17 years he worked for the Ministry of Natural Resources in Chapleau as an incident commander, then on to Pickering for a while now at his present home.

But Kevin's great passion has always been music, and he now spends considerable time writing and performing. He advised that in 1987 he appeared at the Chapleau Winter Carnival. For more on Kevin and his music, I highly recommend a visit to his web site: http://www.reverbnation.com/bloodshoteyez

And now here is a sample of "I'm so Chapleau" by Kevin Walker.

"I'm so Chapleau as a child in the 60's I remember all of us loading up the car and going for a monthly trip to Wawa just to go to the Drive In Theatre and the A&W... I still remember how good the Root Beer and Teen Burger tasted... not the same as today!"

"I'm so Chapleau I remember when we were kids, One of our highlights was going to the CPR trestle by the Planer to snag Suckers when they were running!"

"I'm so Chapleau I remember going to the Fox theatre on weekends and having a 15 cent pop and 10 cent bag of chips"

"I'm so Chapleau that I remember walking 2 miles to school in -40 weather over the horseshoe bridge."

"I'm so Chapleau I remember having to go to Timmins as a child because we were evacuated from a forest fire near the Golden Route!! Where did you end up?"

"I'm so Chapleau I can remember Jumping off the walkway into the snow below when it was first built...!! At least the second flight... who dared jumping any higher?"

"I'm so Chapleau when we were young the big thing was going to Bucciarelliville to swim at the beach... Only to come out and get doused down with salt because of all the blood suckers in the lake haha"

"I'm so Chapleau on my favorite things to do was to hang out on second rock.  It's where the Arena is now.. but when I was young that was all bush.. its not much now but as a kid it was a huge chunk of land..lol and then taking trips down Billy's Trail.. anyone know why it was called that?"

" I'm so Chapleau sometimes when I hear a train whistle blowing... I think back to when I was a young kid on a hot summer night with the windows open listening to the sound of the frogs and a distant train coming home!"

I don't recall who first made the comment about you can take the boy or girl out of Chapleau, but you can't take Chapleau out of us as no matter where we are, we remain "so Chapleau". Let's hear from you with your anecdotes. Post them on Facebook or send them along to Mario at the Chapleau Express. Thanks Kevin! My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Those were the days my friends in the life of Chapleau

Alison McMillan, Sharon Swanson, Gemma, Donna Lane, Joy Evans 2012
"Those were the days my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never loseFor we were young and sure to have our way.La la la la...
Those were the days, oh yes those were the  days..."

 Ever since I received photos from Gemma Ouellet, the words of Those were the days my friend have been running through my mind, along with memories of the 1950s when we were both students at Chapleau High School, along with everyone shown in the photos she provided from those days.

Ian Macdonald kindly provided video from CHS in 1956. What memories... It is at end of text. Enjoy

But before going any further Those were the days my friend is likely best remembered as recorded by Mary Hoskin in 1968 which made the top ten on the hit parade. The lyrics have been credited to Gene Ruskin. However, some of us who remember movies from the 1950s may recall it from Innocents in Paris, sung in its original Russian version. I vaguely do!

Vince Crichton, MJ, Neil Ritchie, Danny Mizuguchi
Gemma included photos from life at CHS which captured two of the major events of the year -- initiation in the Fall (1955-56) school year in our case and the annual inspection of 1181 CHS Cadet Corps in the Spring of the year.

These two included social events -- the annual wiener roast and dance at Bucciarelli's Beach to end initiation and the Cadet banquet and dance to close off inspection day.

But Gemma also sent a selection from the 90th anniversary reunion festival of the school in 2012 which many of us attended, and two years later I am still thinking about it as part of "those were the days my friend" seeing so many of the "kids" from my high school days and catching up. Thanks once again to the committee for making it happen.
Gemma, Alison, Harriet Chambers, Betty Ann O;Brien

The photos speak for themselves -- as a then and now selection, and thanks so much Gemma for providing them.

Gemma's photos arrived at such an excellent time for me, as I am celebrating five years of writing Chapleau Moments on a weekly basis, and in the beginning I really never thought I would have enough material to keep it going six months. Well, here we are, and thanks to Mario Lafreniere for giving me the opportunity.
Harry 'Butch' Pellow, Joy, Sharon

For over a year I have also been writing a weekly column for the Cranbrook Guardian, and it all slows down the approaching "winter of my years" at least just a bit.... I have to think about both  Cranbrook and Chapleau each week. It reminds me of directing plays and coaching hockey in Chapleau at the same time and confusing "acts" with "periods", as in telling hockey players we had to do better in the "third act" and vice versa to actors for the "third period".
Alison, Gemma, Joy, Darryl Downey, Vince

Yes, my friends, those were the days, and for a time, once we moved from home, except for family and close friends we lost touch. Now, in a moment, in an instant, we can be in touch globally. Just this week for example, I received an email from Lorne Riley who lives in Dubai. It arrived in seconds from the moment he hit send

Take the popularity of Facebook for example. I joined  at the suggestion of some of my former students, and I extend great thanks to them. I have been able to reconnect with so many people with whom I had lost touch for many years, and catch up on their lives. Facebook is also an example of the success of new media with its convergence of all media to digital forms.
Shelby Cortson, Sharon, Betty Ann

I doubt very much if I would have been able to do the "BIG ROCK" column without Facebook. Comments came from folks still living in Chapleau and all over the place

 In 1995,  after launching a graduate program in New Media Communications at College of the Rockies (would now be called Social Media).
Gordon B, Gemma, Judy Gibson, "Buttons" Pat P. Betty A, Ken S

 I spoke at the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Journalists. I argued that the Internet, in due course, it would be a major contributing factor in politics. Interestingly, the old guard in the room vehemently disagreed with me, while campus journalists supported my position. Today we live in a 24/7 news cycle, in an Internet world.

And so, yes indeed, those were the days in the life and times of Chapleau that I share with you weekly and I hope they come alive as you recall those yesterdays.. I extend my most sincere thanks to all of you who have been in touch over the past five years, and as I told an old Chapleau friend recently, we have only scratched the surface. A special thanks to Gemma this week. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Here is the video ... thanks Ian.

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