Student Council Election: Alan Coxwell, 1968 – 1969

  • Student Council Election: Alan Coxwell, 1968 – 1969

    Posted by Lucas Graham on January 16, 2023 at 4:14 am

    I guess enough time has now passed to retell this story without fear of retribution from the enforcer of all punishments at the time, our much-feared Vice Principal, Mr. Rogister.

    Back in 1968-69 I found myself rather unexpectedly elected as the President of the Student Council. I think I managed to win the election because I stood on stage and started my speech by accepting a bottle of Scope Mouthwash, taking a swig and gargling before spitting it into a basin graciously held for me by my first cousin Eric Meyers. With that bit of theatre complete I made a promise, which was the same as a constant punchline in a popular television commercial at the time, that “First thing Monday morning I will tell Mr. Rogister that he has very Bad Breath! … and give him this bottle of new Scope Mouthwash.”

    The crowd roared in approval while Mr. Rogister stood at the back of the gymnasium glaring at me. I swear I saw steam come out of his ears.

    I have now forgotten who all was on the Student Council at the time but I know we all agreed that we should spend the money in the bank account on the students who were currently attending Campbellford Highschool. The cheerleaders all got new uniforms, we saved the war memorial wall from disappearing because of renovations and we held dances on every other Friday night all year long. In fact, we made so much money on the popular dances that we gave a free dance at Christmas, hiring Mother Hoople’s Boarding House Band out of Toronto. Times were good.

    During the band breaks I often joined Tam Chadwick, the custodian on duty for most dances, in his boiler room office. Tam enjoyed his Irish Stout Ale and was always generous with the contents of his refrigerator when I joined him for the breaks. Over time Tam and I became pretty good friends and one evening he suggested I might find a copy of the Master Key that opened all of the doors in the highschool to be a handy thing to have. I agreed. Tam handed me a key.

    Now at that time those of us in Grade 13 took the last class of the day, Math B with Mr. Reisch, down at the old Junior Public School which was left standing after fire destroyed the Senior Public School which once stood beside it, where the municipal swimming pool is located today. A plan was soon dreamed up with this departure from the highschool to the old public school as an integral part of the operation.

    With the assistance of three others whose names now evade me, but likely Jim Bennett, Mike Wilson and Bill Post, the comings and goings of Mr. Rochester were closely watched. One afternoon, just before heading off to our Math B class, we knew that Mr. Rochester was intently dealing with students in the Detention Room. We saw our chance. With my all-powerful key in hand we headed to Mr. Rogister’s office. Once inside we cleared off his desk, wiggled it out the door, locked the door back up and headed down the hallway towards the school’s back door.

    Where we could hide his heavy wooden desk now became a rather pressing question. On passing the last classroom where John Greaves was attempting to explain calculus to thirty farm kids the solution to our hastily conceived heist struck us. I knocked on his classroom door, stuck my head in and said, “We need to put this desk in here for a while. Is that okay with you?”

    With a quizzical smile John said, “Sure. Put it right over there at the back of the room.” After the heavy oak desk had landed we departed for our Math B class a long block away from the scene of the crime. When our class was finished we all headed straight home.

    Next day the story in the hallways was evolving into one of those legends which become very hard to verify. Apparently all of the school buses were ordered to be held and everyone had to remain in their homerooms until Mr. Rogister found his desk. Exactly how John Greaves handled the situation when the desk was discovered in his classroom I fear I will never know as he is now gone from us. For many years, until just a few years ago, Ken Grant, Wode O’Ray, Eric Meyers and I would join John Greaves at his Meyersburg farm for his annual croquet tournament. Between the excitement of the competition and the whisky tasting as the winners were declared I always neglected to ask John how that afternoon went as Mr. Rogister scoured the school for his desk. And how had it been stolen when his office door was securely locked?

    In any event, John Greaves was a good man, a great math teacher, and he never gave us up. Nor did any of the students in his classroom that day who witnessed our delivery. But every time I met Mr. Rogister in the hallways after that his glaring from the mouthwash episode appeared to have transformed into a sly little smile which told me, “I know it was you Coxwell. Don’t know how you did it but one day I’ll get the answer.” So Mr. Rogister, if you are still out there, my somewhat belated confession is hereby given to you. Mystery solved.

    Lucas Graham replied 1 year, 3 months ago 1 Member · 0 Replies
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