help and counsel were invaluable to me—from fisheries matters to the
Constitution. It was so good to know that I could call on someone like him
at that time.
Shelley said of Wordsworth and I say of Brose Paddock:
“Thou hast like to a rock-built refuge stood
Above the blind and battling
CHAPTERÂ 2: A âHIGHERâ EDUCATION
âA university should be a place of light, of liberty and of learning.â
âÂ Benjamin Disraeli
IT WAS ALL A new experience. Exciting and sometimes
puzzling. Everyone was swept up in the new campus celebrations. The opening of
the new modern Memorial University campus, replacing an old and worn-out campus
on Parade Street, took place in October, 1961.
Mr. Smallwood, the premier, had all these famous people visit, and I remember
being part of the parade celebration, marching with hundreds of others along
Elizabeth Avenue parallel to the new campus. There were bands and marching
groups, schools and various organizations, and people representing electoral
districts from all over the province. There was the prime minister of Canada,
Mr. Diefenbaker, the new Chancellor Lord Thomson, and the distinguished
American, Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It was
a glorious time for the province, and it launched me and many others on our
educational and life careers.
There was lots to learn and courses to choose from and my first exposure to
lineups. Just registering at the university meant a lineup, and choosing
subjects and books all involved lineups. Being a bayman, this did not come easy.
We quickly became aware that this new place was very much a townie place, and we
baymen were the outsiders. It was changing with the large influx of baymen
registered in the Education faculty, but there was still a big swagger to those
townies that did not sit well with many of us. This became even more grating
when one of our own numbers tried to act like a townie.
However, perhaps the most surprising early experience of thebaymanâs place was a particular policy at the university. We were informed
that we would all have to take a speech test. And if we did not speak âproperly,â
we would have to take special speech lessons. Wow! This was a bit of a
shocker. And so we were all given times when we would have to appear before two
professors in a room and read a prose passage, the reading of which would
determine whether we would have to take the special speech course or be
exempted. This was perhaps the first time since my experiences in high school in
Toronto that I felt I was being hard done by, as we say.
So I was ready with my own approach to the situation. On entering the room I
was asked to sit, which I refused, interrupting the two professors to propose
that I remain standing and recite a piece of work that I had chosen. Somewhat
taken aback, the professors agreed, and I proceeded to recite from Tennysonâs Ulysses : âIt little profits that an idle king, by this still hearth,
among these barren crags, matchâd with an aged wife . . .â
I donât remember the exact number of lines I recited, but it was not many
before I was interrupted by one of the professors and told that that was just
fineâthere would be no need to recite more, and I could go.
There was no speech class for me.
But the whole thing was disgraceful. This procedure did not last for many
years, thankfully. Ironically, it wasnât long before there was a Folklore
Department and valiant efforts made to preserve the many dialects (that we were
encouraged to âeliminateâ) throughout the province. There was this attitude
throughout the land that we had to modernize, as exemplified by the new campus,
and that meant for some strange reason that our language and customs would have
to undergo major surgery. I was later to realize that this was largely
Cassandra Clare, Robin Wasserman