February 25, 2024

Properly-researched Montreal correspondence holds all of the information that is match to print

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How fortunate can I get? No, I didn’t win the lottery, however I’m the fortunate recipient of a e-newsletter that I get pleasure from studying. The e-newsletter is put out by Harvey Grossman and is addressed to his classmates from the Class of 1947 on the Excessive Faculty of Montreal.

I’ve met fellow author Harvey on the conferences of the Montreal Department of the Canadian Authors Affiliation of which each of us had been members and he, at one time, president. Over time our acquaintance developed into friendship with him and his spouse Eileen. That is how, awhile in the past, I obtained onto the mailing listing of Harvey’s e-newsletter.

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Harvey began writing his twice-yearly e-newsletter some years in the past. The most recent problem is quantity 25.

At first a newsy account of classmates’ doings — and their quantity has sadly dwindled through the years — the e-newsletter now accommodates 20 or so pages, stuffed with materials worthy of a nice publication.

Harvey, a nice author, takes his activity significantly. Whereas not computer-savvy, he does his analysis the old school approach, visiting bookstores and checking limitless library cabinets to seek out info for his chosen subject.

In fact, class information continues to be one of many options of the e-newsletter, together with the unhappy activity of penning obituaries. The pages are additionally enlivened with photographs, cartoons and quotations associated to the subject at hand.

Harvey’s pursuits are wide-ranging and his newsy commentary may embody up-to-date matters just like the state of affairs in Ukraine, local weather change or maybe the reason of the phrase COVID (an amalgamation of CO for corona — crown — and VID for virus).

Or, it may very well be an essay on the good Saint Francis of Assisi, whose identify the current Pope selected on ascending to the papacy and whose poem, “Lord make me an instrument of your peace” is beloved and sometimes quoted.

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So what are Harvey’s favorite matters? A critical lover of classical music he additionally sneaks in an article or two on that topic. It may very well be Joseph Haydn’s Creation, an impressive oratorio composed for voices and orchestra and primarily based on the guide of Genesis. We additionally discover out that each Mozart and Beethoven had been associates of the composer and that; in reality, Mozart addressed him as “Papa.”

A extra up to date composer featured may very well be Britain’s Gustav Holst and his masterpiece, The Planets. There are seven actions within the work, every depicting a planet’s character, from the clamour of Mars to the exuberance of Jupiter and the mysticism of Neptune. Studying this evaluation, one has the will to listen to this hour-long masterpiece.

A lifelong lover of Latin — instilled in him throughout his highschool years — and of Roman and Greek tradition — Harvey penned An Tour into Latin. Quotes from the poet Horace, plus further Latin phrases equivalent to “Carpe diem” (seize the day) give us a peek into that long-ago world (it additionally made me understand how a lot of my highschool Latin I’ve forgotten). We additionally be taught that, as an indication of standing, Roman emperors and excessive society conversed in Greek, not Latin.

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As soon as initiated into the classics, Harvey pursued studying classical works by Virgil, Homer and Ovid although, admittedly, in English translations.

Nearer to the current and to residence, Harvey reminisces about that well-known Excessive Faculty of Montreal. Based in 1843, the varsity boasted, in Harvey’s day, a big gymnasium, indoor swimming pool and planetarium. It additionally offered a nice schooling in numerous topics, together with Latin, arithmetic and science. Harvey additionally credit his highschool schooling for instilling in him a love of English poetry. “Highschool imprinted on our adolescence a life towards love and maturity,” he writes.

In these days, in fact, Montreal Excessive was segregated into boys’ and women’ faculties. Harvey relates that two good folks, Doug and Annabelle, managed to outwit the system, assembly on the dividing line between the faculties. A daring act that ultimately result in their marriage.

Right here’s to the Excessive Faculty of Montreal Class of ’47 and preserve these newsletters coming, Harvey!

P.S. to final month’s “get up” column. Use your judgment and be COVID- and health-protected.

— Alice Lukacs writes the Life within the 90s column

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