Ben Oostdam's

page 23

1957 - 1960

Some notes about Spring, 1959: I was still sharing Douglas Hall suite with Ken Davis and Glen Hunting. I was pretty busy with coursework, did not like the calculus, physics and phys.chem courses but enjoyed the extra geology courses I took. Did a lot of reading and enjoyed Potter's "One Upmanship": experimented with that in E & M Lab in which the most industrious Paul Golightly was my lab partner and did the lion share of work while I walked around a lot. One day I distracted him, loosened a connection of our lab apparatus and walked away. Came back a few minutes later finding him very frustrated that our setup did not work. I looked around in a superior fashion, tightened up the connection and impressed him by making the apparatus work again.
Anyhow, I barely squeezed through E&M and PhysChem, the hardest courses, with grades of 50, but because of the extra Geology courses I had taken, I still had a high enough grade average to remain in the Honours Geology program(me). Poor Paul had one single grade of 49 so he flunked out of honours and moreover, they added a fifth year for the Geophysical option in which he was enrolled.
At the end of the Spring semester, I found out that I had essentially completed 2nd and 3rd year in one, so that I could finish my degree in one more year if I took some extra courses and would be allowed to skip one course. I spent several sessions trying to sell Dean Solin on this idea, heated arguments, resulting in mini-collision of our noses once when leaning across desk. Final victory when I said dejectedly that I was almost 27 years old and wanted to get on with life, get married, etc. "Did you find the lucky lady yet?" "Yes", I responded, having been out on a date the night before.....that settled my case and I would be allowed to finish in 3 years provided I would not in person attend graduation.
This takes me to the topic of interactions with females. There were several lovely and innocent (as far as I knew) British girls, like Carol Anne Dear, and the two daughters of the campus minister, Susan and Christine Jay. I spent quite some time with the daughter of Chemistry Prof., Elizabeth Woonton: we went "co-babysitting", and essentially I partook in or managed her emotional, romantic, poetic and intellectual needs while boyfriend Ray took care of the physical. An opposite arrangement was made with our elegant cleaning lady, Blanche Ubaldini and her unaware spouse at the other end of the telephoneline.

I also eagerly planned for the summer, first enrolling for the required Geology Fieldcourse to be held in Philipsburg, QUE, on the east coast of Lake Champlain, near Vermont but still in Quebec, and secondly, securing a summer job with Consolidated Zinc (Australia) as field assistant in Bathurst, New Brunswick.
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