Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Algonquin Heron Park Campus 74-75

Above is a picture of right to left: Sue and her friend from College, Cathy Lewis from Chipman,
New Brunswick.

Sue attends Algonqiun Heron Park Campus in Ottawa from 1974-75.

I got my secretarial degree from Heron Park Campus which was part of Algonquin College in 1975.
I had 10 months of fun at this campus.

I was living with Fred Wegner my future first huband to be. I lived at 370 Forest Street with Fred and his two teenage boys Manfred and Walter. I went to the Unemployment Department on Slater Ave at the time and asked to see a counsellor. I wanted to go to school and get a bursuary. I asked the woman counsellor who sat in front of me what type of courses were available. I told her I was let
out of the Brockville Psychiatric Hospital the year before and I needed to continue my education.
I had a grade 12 diploma from Champlain High School in 1972.

The counsellor quirmed when I told her I was a former psychiatric patient. She rolled her eyes a few times. She told me about the Heron Park Campus Secretarial course. She told me I had been out of school for two years. I told her so what. I was 19 years old and I needed to get a degree of some kind to get a job. I fought to get into my secretarial course. I only was given 16 weeks for a secretarial
refresher course. I said ok and took the course and took my chances at furthering my education.
I had nothing to lose.

I took the bus from my apartment building next door to Carling Ave and went to Heron and Bank and got off. The campus was behind the Canadian Tire on Heron Rd. I was taking psychiatric medication
at the time and I felt sleepy. I sometimes would miss my stop and the bus driver would have to yell
"Sue, you missed your bus stop, don't forget your lunch and briefcase". I had forgotten my briefcase a few times before and my lunch. I had the same nice bus driver most of the time on the route to school.

The school was large. As you came into the entrance, the office was to the right and the cafeteria was
in the middle of the school. I has a locker at the back of the school. There were new students entering the secretarial program every week. I met my friend Cathie Lewis at college. She was l8 years old and tall and thin and pretty. Cathie was from Chipman, New Brunswick. I told Cathie I was living with an older man 23 years my senior. She thought that was odd.

Cathie and I got along famously. We would sit and talk at lunch time and laugh about everything under the sun. Cathie had a carefree relaxed attitude about everything. We would chum around after school. I took my brother Chris to visit Cathie who was living at the Ottawa YMCA in a room.
Chris liked Cathie as a person and thought she was nice.

Cathie told me one day about the rock group Steppenwolf was coming to Ottawa. I bought tickets for my brother and I. Cathie came along to the landsdowne civic center in Ottawa to see the group.
I was naive about street drugs for sure. Never took them before. On the floor in front of the stage
were lots of people. A young man came by and he opened up his jacket and had lots of pills attached to the inside of his jacket. I yelled over to Cathie 'Hey Cathie, this man is showing me lots of pills" I waved my hands to where the man was. Someone said to me "are you for real?"
Cathie yelled for me to shut up. She came over to me and pulled me aside and said never do that.
I asked her why. She told me that man was a drug dealer and it was illegal for him to sell those drugs and that there were Narks around. I asked what was a nark. She said a nark was an undercover
officer who looks for drug dealers. I turned ten shades of red from embarrassment. I led a sheltered life so to speak in some ways.

We all sat in front on the stage close to the amplifiers which is not a good thing to do. My ears were bussing for a few days, I almost went deaf I would say. Steppenwolf played lots of good music.
We got up and danced and so lots of the crowd. Cathie took drugs sometimes as most young people did. She gave me a capsule of mescaline, some type of street drug. Never took street drugs before and that would be the last experience for me. I sure could hear the music real well and everything
was real nice and peaceful to me. The drug was beginning to work. It affected my co-ordination somewhat too. It was one hell of a concert, one to never forget. Those rock'n'rollers had their act down to the wire, they knew how to put on a spectacular show and they did. They pleased the crowd for sure. There was a thunder of applause after the concert was done for Steppenwolf. The song "born to be wild" was played by the band that night, my favorite song.

We all left and it was took a long time to leave the landsdowne civic center there were so many people
We got on the buses and went down to Carling Ave. I almost got hit by a city bus when I thought
the bus farther away than it was. My perception of distance was hindered by the drug.

The next day at Algonquin, I had to sign into my class on a piece of paper. I signed my name 15 times and the teacher asked me if there was anything wrong with me and I told him I was tired and didn't sleep that well and he looked at me as though he didn't believe my excuse. I did not elaborate with him. I never took any street drug until much later on. I tired Marijuana once when I was married to Fred. I choked on the joint and that was enough of that drug for me.

Fred and I had a fight in our apartment on Forest Street. He threw me onto our bed roughly. I told Cathie this and she told me to leave Fred but I did not listen to Cathie, something I would regret later on. Fred would apologize and make up it up to me and it was like a honeymoon period for a while
and he would get violent towards me again.

Fred was drinking heavily. His sons were attending high school. I told Fred I thought I may be pregnant and he said not to worry, one more kid would be no problem. I was not pregnant, my period was just late.

I was only given a 16 week course. I had forgotten the shorthand I had taken earlier in high school
as a result of the electroshocks I had. I had to fight with Mr. Younghusband about getting more
weeks added to my course and I got it. I had to do a song and dance practically. I was in college for 10 months rather than 16 weeks. It was a year in my life I shall never forget

I had to take Business Math. It was a 4 week course and after 4 weeks I was still in class and I
could not learn very quickly. I was frustrated. I was put in another Math class with a teacher who
taught alternative teaching in the USA. He told me I learnt by someone showing me the data on the board not by the book. I was a visual learner. I took the math course and got a B average. The teacher told me I could do anything if I put my mind to it and I have.

One day I was at my locker between classes. A guy who a locker beside me had a plastic bag over his mouth and he was breathing into it. I ran away and I was confused and not sure what he was doing.
My friend Cathie told me "he is sniffing glue, stupid". I did feel stupid.

The comedy group of McLean and McLean showed up at our campus and their off color jokes had us all in stitches with laughter. They wowed the crowd for sure. We had so much fun.

One day my typing teacher an older woman was in a snarly mood and liked to pick on me. This one morning she looked down at my hands on the keyboard as asked why I looked down at the keyboard when I was typing and this was my answer "That is my style, that is me". Some of my peers in the class laughed.

I saw some painters painting the hallways and I felt very ill and nauseous. I realized I am very allergic to fresh paint and so I left the school that day. I had a headache and vomited. I stay away now from
places that have been freshly painted.

After class one day, my professor who was a black man and very handsome asked me out for a drink.
I declined. I told him I was living with my boyfriend. He was ok with it. He used to dress really
nice and wore flashy clothes and had a sports car.

I went to the doctor in the Spring of 75. I had a nasty cough you could hear half a block away. My
family doctor told me I had whooping cough and it was contagious. I went to the office at the campus
and told them I had to take a week or two off sick leave. They told me to get going quickly after I told them what I had was contagious - the cough. I was off for two weeks and I would have to catch up in my homework. I did.

I would play jokes on the teachers. One of them was this - new students would enter a class and it would end at 10 to the hour. 40 minutes after the hour, 10 minutes before class was finished, I would
yell, class is over for the day, thank you students. The teachers did not find this funny but some of
my classmates did.

The students at Heron Park Campus were all different ages. It was interesting to talk to many of my peers. I learned alot about different cultures and heritages.

The head of Algonquin College came to see us. He was a nice man who had encouraging words for us.

I had to go one week work experience and I chose the Secretarial Program Section at the Woodroffe
Campus. I was the head of the department's secretary for one week. She was a nice lady and the staff treated me well. I used a selectric typewriter, one that had a key to erase a mistake. It had
a white ribbon with the black ribbon.

The head of the department told me her husband had some type of shell fish and had a terrible reaction and almost died in hospital. I had never heard of allergies like this before.

My stepson Manfred gave me a nice wallet for my birthday in April. I put my purse under my desk.
for a few minutes as I went to another office at the opposite side of the campus. In my purse I had
lots of bus tickets, 20 dollars and all my I.D. My wallet was stolen and I had to ask a secretary for some bus tickets to get home. It was the last day of my work experience.

I graduated in May 1975 from the college and I had had good marks. My brother Chris attended the small ceremony and I was so proud of myself. I got a nice certificate "Secretarial Sciene" Each graduate was given a flower along with their certificate.

I called the federal government and got a typing test to do. I passed the test with flying colors.
I was asked to go into the Surgeon General's Branch part of National Defence (DND). I was two weeks after I graduated and I had my first real job. I had to sign some papers for the RCMP to check my background and they did, I got a secret clearance.

My boss was Major J.P.D. Robinson or "Robbie" as some people called him.