Feller Memories from Carol Myers Elliott
 
When I read some of the comments about life at Feller in the 60's and reflected back on my time at Feller from 54-56, I felt that we were just as high spirited in the 50's, united against the teachers and preoccupied with the opposite sex. We had good times, some grief, lots of laughs and a very mixed bag of teachers. Some only lasted a year, if that and you wondered where in the world they had come from, while other teachers left a more lingering and positive impact. It was a most unique and unforgettable experience. Here are some things I remember about some of the teachers with more stories to follow shortly.  
Mr. Bragatto:
Mr. Bragatto taught us Latin in Grade 9 (53-54). He perceived himself to be quite suave and charming,
however he had a penchant for clutching and caressing the hands of his female students. I found this habit more and more offensive so decided to skip his classes and hide in the girls' washroom while my classmates told him I was too sick to attend classes. At meal times, I'd slouch down in my chair, hoping he wouldn't see me and was quite successful for several days until he caught up with me in the dining room, noting that my health had obviously improved. When I didn't reappear in class the next day, he managed to worm my whereabouts from the class and sent someone to get me.
He and I had a showdown in Mr. Boisvert's office with my parents on the other end of the phone. Mr. Bragatto was told to keep his hands to himself and I was allowed to drop Latin at the end of the year. He didn't come back the next year.  
Mr. Lee:
We had Mr. Lee for Math. in grade 10 (54-55). I remember that his keys were almost an appendage to his body and of utmost importance to him. He used to hold  them and twirl them around in his hands. We used to  sing to him: "Mr. Lee can be a hero, He can open any  door..." to the tune of "You've Got to Have Heart" (substitute "keys" for "heart"). In his second floor classroom, on signal, we'd jump up and start dancing in the aisles, or the guys would throw books (not necessarily their own) out the windows. He never came back the next year, either.  
Mr. Cram:
Mr. Cram was unique.  He attempted to teach us Chemistry  and Math., not too successfully at times.
In Grade 11 (55-56) the girls would distract him while the guys cooked up stink bombs at the back of the room and then we'd have to vacate in a hurry. We'd feel so contrite when we saw him shaking and trembling with anger, then we'd do it again, another time.  I didn't have a clue what was going on in Chemistry, so I used to copy all my boyfriend's work, including answers on exams and Mr. Cram never noticed. I may actually owe Mr. Cram a debt of gratitude for a strange turn of events that year. We had to write Provincial Exams in grade 11 that were sent directly to the Department of Education. I obviously was not going to do well in his subjects as the exam setting was very formal and we were spaced well apart and monitored by a couple of teachers. Mysteriously, (I still wonder if Mr. Cram
was responsible) the final papers for Chemistry and Algebra disappeared on their way to the department of Education and the Ministry decided that they would accept our Feller marks, lowered by 10 points, and with that miracle, I was accepted at Macdonald College and went on to have a long teaching career.  
Mrs. Boisvert:

Mrs. Boisvert ran a tight ship in her French classes, making us all toe the line and it was wise not to
cross or provoke her. I didn't do my homework one day and was subjected to total humiliation by her in front of my classmates followed by a week of doing my homework in her pantry. Guess I was lucky because that was where she strapped the boys. Anyhow, to avoid further confrontation, I worked hard at French from then on and thanks to Mrs. Boisvert, it served me well when I later taught Core French and French Immersion. 


 The Extended Holiday

 In 1954-1955, a group of Feller students met at the bus terminal in Montreal at the end of a long holiday weekend ( possibly Thanksgiving) to take the bus back to the school. Some students did take the scheduled bus back to Feller, however a group of us thought that it was too soon to return, so after determining that there was a later bus with connections to Grande Ligne, a group of between 15-20 students opted to take advantage of the situation.  I remember walking around the city and think we went to a movie. What I do remember vividly is that we arrived back at Feller quite late in the evening, after lights out. The school was dark except for a light at the front door. We tried to enter by one of the other doors but found all the doors locked except the main door. We fell silent as we headed towards the main entrance, hoping to be able to sneak in undetected, however we were
shocked to find both Mr. Boisvert and Mrs. Brouillet guarding the door, armed with paper and pencils. They made us enter single file and as each student passed by, they diligently wrote down our names. Our claim of having missed the bus had little effect. The next day we were all suspended for a week only this time, our parents had to come and get us as well as bring us back the following week. 


The Raid on the Boys Side

 I think this happened in 54-55. That year I shared Room 401 with three other girls. This room was most desirable  because it had a balcony for sun bathing. It also had a ladder with access to the roof.
Some of us decided to plan a nighttime raid over to the boys' side, via the roof. Numerous notes were sent back and forth across the Iron Curtain, alerting the boys to be ready and to watch for us. The raid was planned to take place after lights out one evening and the girls were to sneak into 401 then go up the ladder to the roof. A couple of girls were designated as lookouts to warn us if any teacher appeared. We didn't really have much planned beyond going over to the boys' side. Everyone managed to silently sneak into our room and all went well as we scrambled up the ladder and headed across the roof towards the boys'side. We tried to call the boys quietly but with little response (that I can remember) so someone picked up some stones on the roof and threw them towards an open window, only the window was closed and the glass shattered. I heard a loud scream then everyone raced back towards the ladder. As we reentered the room, someone warned that the teacher was coming. I hopped into bed but some of the girls were trapped so had to dive under the four beds in the room. The teacher came in (can't remember who it was) and shone her flashlight into our faces, asking us where the other girls were. We all feigned sleep however the teacher had already gone up and down the hall checking each room and had written down the names of all the missing girls. Claiming to be sound asleep through the entire incident wasn't believed either, so once again some of us were suspended and shipped  home for another week of holidays. My parents were not
impressed. 



  

Back To Homepage