Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mount Allison Anecdotes

Donald Wells MacLauchlan, Mount Allison So Fair. Sackville, New Brunswick: Mount Allison University, 1980. ISBN 0-88828-029-7

[Agnes Trueman, wife of George J. Trueman, President of Mount Allison University (1923-45),] was a lovely lady from Upper Sackville stock. She was very well-liked by all but was quite noted for unusual remarks. For example, when the hostess at a tea party she attended asked her how her tea was, she replied, "Oh, it's just the way I like it, cold and weak." At another party she remarked to another lady, "I've been wanting for years to tell you how much I admire that dress you are wearing." [P. 9]

Dr. Harold Bigelow, Mount Allison professor of chemistry and Dean of Men in the 20s and 30s [...] was truly one of those "absent-minded professors." [...] [Pp. 10, 11]

Near the end of his teaching career his memory failed him even more. He was walking down town and as he was passing one of his honors chemistry students, he suddenly looked at his watch and exclaimed to the boy, "Shouldn't you be in the Chem. 6 class right now?" The student replied, "Yes, but I thought I'd skip it today, but shouldn't you be up there teaching it?" [P. 12]

[Allen Gornall, class of 1936,] tells about [Bigelow's] umbrella. Quite frequently the professor would leave it behind some place but one Sunday returning from Church, he proudly said to his wife, "Well, this is one time I remembered to bring the umbrella home." But she gave a sympathetic smile and said, "Harold, you did not take your umbrella to church today!" [P. 13]

William Thomas Ross Flemington was President from 1945 to 1962, after serving as Principal Protestant Chaplain overseas with the Canadian Army. [P. 16]

I enjoyed an incident he related to me. In his capacity as Principal Protestant Chaplain Overseas during the last War, he was on one occasion, crossing the Atlantic on a large warship. On ships large enough to carry a ship's Chaplain, the latter would always say Grace, but if he were absent it was the duty of the Captain. Ross described the proceedings at his first meal. As he entered the ward-room to take his place the officers were all standing quietly behind their chairs awaiting the Captain's arrival. When the Captain arrived, the following brief dialogue ensued: Captain: "Is the Chaplain present?" An officer: "No, Sir." Captain: "Thank God". Certainly a short blessing, although somewhat ambiguous. [P. 18]

There is a story Ross Fleminton [sic --bc] told us on one occasion that really bears repeating.

He related that he was on a train a while ago, and seated opposite him were two U.N.B. [University of New Brunswick -- bc] students who obviously knew who he was, although they did not speak to him. The boys started a loud conversation that ran as follows: 1st boy: "Where are you heading for anyway?" 2nd boy: "Oh, I'm going as far as Vancouver, because I want to get as far away from any Mount Allison fellows as I can -- and where are you going?" "Well," replied the 1st boy, "I'm going all the way to Tokyo because I'm sure there will be hardly any Mount A boys there."

Then Ross told us he leaned across the aisle and said to the boys, "Why don't you fellows go to Hell, there won't be any Mount A people there!" [P. 19]

A peculiar phenomenon occurred in one of Prof. [Roy] Fraser's classes which proved to be an interesting problem for research. One of the girls in a biology class would come in each morning and give a gasp and jump from her seat when she sat down. It was obvious that she was getting a shock. He had her sit in other seats and still she experienced the same disturbing experience while other students at the same desk did not feel anything. At last the Professor deduced that an electric charge was being created by the rubbing of her silk bloomers, or whatever underpants were called at that time, and it was discharged when she touched the metal of the seat. The other girls, however, wore similar underthings, so why was she unique? Finally he hit upon the solution -- she was knock-kneed! [P. 23]

There are many tales told of the old days on the campus. I cannot vouch for the authority of the following, but it was told to me as a true incident. There was some gathering at Mount A which was attended by the Anglican bishop, and he was put up for the night in residence. Arrangements were made for him to be served breakfast in his room.

Next morning a kitchen-boy took up the tray. He was quite nervous about it all but had been carefully briefed what to say when he would knock on the door. He was told that if the guest asked who it was, his reply should be: "It's the boy, M'Lord." So all the way up the stairs the lad kept saying over and over, "It's the boy, M'Lord." Arriving and knocking, he was greeted by: "Who is it?" and his immediate response was: "It's the Lord, m'boy!" [Pp. 51-2]

I think the following was at Mount A, but it may have happened elsewhere. A young lady in the library stopped the librarian passing by and asked "Where can I find this book?" She pointed to a line in an index book that read "How to Hug," and was quite disappointed when she learned these were just letters forming part of the index. [P. 182]