Le Pasquin VOL. XVIII NOS 1 et 2 Janvier, février ,mars 1986

Reminiscence of a high school boy in the fifties

Father Carmel Paquin throws some light in what high school students’ life was before the fifties.


“Those under 40 and all the others who never had the privilege of being a high school resident cannot have a fair understanding of lifestyle in colleges at that time. According to those who have known those wonderful years, one is tempted to believe that being a resident student was a full time job.”


Some will even say that windows were only missing metal bars. However, the metal rods of the fence were almost insurmountable both physically and psychologically. In other words, one could not go out frequently and if so, for not very long.


Father Carmel Paquin has lived, without regret along with at least a hundred others, through this period of the fourties with an extremely high level of discipline. This college resident’s lifestyle developed friendships, strong links almost family links between residents and outsiders. “We were always together in classes and got to know each other very well. It was a good way of developing our temper…” He recalls how impressed he was at the early stage with the size of the building, the number of students the presence of all these priest wearing cassock. Adjusting to this new lifestyle was very difficult for the great number of country boys, at the time.


It was very difficult also with the lack of free time, overloaded schedules and strict rules. Our days were fully occupied and our permissions for leave of absence were very few in number. Even for Easters, only the Monday was a day off until 8 pm. In fact, those staying behind, because of distance, which included many french american students, were only able to go home for the Christmas period.


Those living in the area were able to go home for a visit a few times during the year like at the St-Joseph holiday. However, they were not allowed to stay over to the next day, they had to be back for 8 pm.


Residents as well as outsiders had time off every Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, but were not allowed to go outside the yard without a good reason. Some of the reasons being: going home to change, visiting an aunt in the city, getting a watch repaired or visit a dentist.


At the time, it was customary for students to wear a dark blue uniform with a green belt made of fabric which was called the “suisse”. It made a glare in the scenery, I can assure you of that.


Speaking of scenery, our writer remembers the long hours spent in the yard, during holidays, simply walking most of the time.


When listening to Carmel Paquin, one can almost say the college had such a strong control over the students that we could not go outside. He will even say that at a certain time his younger brothers did not know him since his visits were so limited. “ They took me for a cousin”.

" (Le Nouvelliste du 11 janvier par Jacques Gingras).