Bembo Davies: There is however from my POV (point of view) one glaring omission in your romp through formative years. Lyle Stewart (English) was surely an even greater influence on your year than on me who received his wisdom when but a little grade nine. I can still recite the definition of a ‘horrible example’, spout off the four levels of human consciousness in the Jungian winged psyche, and if prodded could lead an almost verbatim group visit to the waters of the Pool of Silence. His insistence that Eng. Lit was the only subject taught at this institution and that everything else was to be shunned as elements of the seen world was above and beyond what the curriculum dictated as fodder for impressionable minds. Mine certainly was.
I was in his neighbourhood once (circa 1979) and wishing perhaps to extract his acquiescence for including the Pool of Silence in an opera I was writing, phoned him up to invite myself round for tea. He wouldn’t have remembered me from Adam, but couldn’t say no to a bit of flattery. We had a pleasant chat; only at the end dared I broach my most pressing enquiry -Did he still perform the Pool of Silence group meditation? – “Oh, no, not that,” he said. “I cannot stand the mockery.” Ciao di Piedmonte, Bembo
Oliver Bertin: I remember him well. A real character who used to spout Plato and Sophocles to us. His daughter was a year or two behind us.
Oliver Bertin: We used to have English class right after gym. That means we’d come out of the gym, dripping with sweat and then run up the stairs to his classroom on hot days, dripping with more sweat and panting with our exertions. I remember him glaring at me one very hot day: “Oliver,” he said. “Stop sweating!”
Oliver Bertin: I managed to buy an old-fashioned telephone generator in Hercules, the army surplus store over on Yonge St., the type that you cranked so you ring a far-off bell in a far-off telephone in black & white movies. I put the generator inside my desk, ran a wire to the wall, along behind the radiator and all the way to the teacher’s telephone. Ring Ring, went the telephone. Mr. Stewart stomped over, picked up the phone. “Who’s there?” Nobody. Slammed down the phone. Ring, Ring. He stomped over again. “Who’s there?” Nobody. By the third time, he was getting really agitated…..Good fun! The punch line is that the telephone was also ringing in Mr. Jewel’s office. Oh no! We found out later that he was also getting VERY agitated!