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Tuesday, 5 June 2012

West Hill High School-Montreal, Quebec

West Hill High School
West Hill High School was a massive school located on Somerled Avenue in N.D.G., a district on the west side of Montreal. It had an indoor swimming pool, an auditorium, and a huge grass covered sports playing field behind it. I say the word “was” because it hasn’t been a high school for many years.  I am not sure quite what is today.  I had read some time ago that it was being utilized as some kind of warehouse.
At one time, there were about 1200 students attending West Hill High. By the 1970s, with many English speaking  Montrealers  moving away from the city, enrollment was dipping dramatically. The demographics of N.D.G. had changed. I’m not sure what year the school finally closed its doors.
I first discovered West Hill when I was at Willingdon Elementary School. In the summer, for most of the 1950s, for 15 cents you could spend about an hour in the swimming pool at West Hill. The  field behind the school was a great place to play scrub baseball, touch football, or watch some kid try to get his model airplane airborne. You might even see British ex pats playing rugby on a Saturday morning. Or cadets marching around the paved parking lot.
I did two hitches at West Hill. Altogether I was there for about 2-1/2 years. My memories are not the same as most others.  For some it may have been the time of their lives while others might recall their anomymity.  Some remember favourite teachers while others remember very little.
September 1960. Grade 8 at West Hill.
Back at Willingdon School there had been 4 classrooms for each grade. At West Hill there were at least 15 different classrooms for grade 8. Back at Willingdon after 7 years, anyone the same age was recognizable.  West Hill was a much bigger pond.  Kids came from a number of other elementary schools including  Somerled, Herbert Symonds, Royal Vale and Kensington.
It all looked like a giant mass of humanity to me. And a lot more rules. My first home room was the music room and the home room teacher was a Mr. Archie Etienne who taught music but not to us.  I remember him telling our all boy class about “the order of the royal boot” if anyone got out of line.

8-0 Class Picture
Top Row: L to R. Me, Ian MacIntosh, John McFadden, Paul Dean, Don Armitage, Albert Katz, Alan Besner, Peter Garnham, Bernie Mlynarski, David Bates, Dalton Brown
2nd Row: Jerry Wolfe, Andy Elliot,?,Garth Holsworthy, Morley McKee, Louis Yacknin, Doug Feltmate, Mike Agnew, ?, Jeff Shorrock
Front Row: ?, ?, Steven Keirnander, ?, Bob Madden, Kjel Christiansen, Jack Rosenheck, Jack Bracken, George Thompson
About a month into grade 8, a decision was made by the powers that be that the classes in grade 8 had too many students in them and that another classroom needed to be added. I guess there had been a lot of sexual activity going on around 1947 in NDG.
Each class was identified by the class grade with a letter beside it.  The kids that were deemed to be the brightest and the future of our fair country were in the classes at the beginning of the alphabet. It wasn’t all that subtle. In later grades there was also a “commercial class” where those with limited academic interest could learn typing and composing a letter. This class was sometimes referred to as “Bobo” which must not have helped the typists with their self esteem.

I was one of the boys assigned to the new classroom that had been formed.  8-O. There was no other classroom as far down the alphabet. The classroom was an all boys one. I think the other grade 8 teachers were asked who they wanted to give up. I don’t think it was because there were more boys than girls. I suspect that back in grade school, where all the teachers were women, that little notes had been written for many of the girls suggesting that they be put in the A, B. C classes.
The new class teacher was a Mr. Garth Rolls-Wilson.  He was from England. Probably in his late twenties. He took the bus to school and wore the same clothes every day. A tweed sports jacket and tan coloured  trousers.  Having seen The Bells of St. Trinian’s,  I could see that it was obvious that he had been steeped in the practices of English boarding  schools.  He addressed his students as “Master” so and so.  One of my classmates had the last name of Bates. There was a joke about that for a day or two.
There is no doubt about it. I was an undisciplined 13 year old. I probably had Attention Deficit Disorder. I certainly could be distracting and liked to get attention. These assets did not sit well with Mr. Rolls-Wilson and I found myself being frequently thrown out of class. I could also be used as an example to others who were considering rocking the boat. I remember once being sent out of class for opening and closing a math kit repeatedly.
I certainly wasn’t  the only boy to see this teacher’s wrath.  He used to carry a wooden ruler around with him and if he thought a boy wasn’t paying attention or was whispering to another boy he would either whack them on the knuckles with his ruler are smack it hard on the desk behind them scaring the bejesus out of them. You never knew when the viper would strike.
(I once heard a story about a teacher at West Hill who had been a tail gunner in the Second World War. Apparently some kid dragged a ruler across a bumpy radiator and the teacher hit the floor. Shell shock?)
Garth Rolls-Wilson’s finest hour might have been when he decided to send several boys outside in their gym shorts and running shoes in 6 degree farenheit  temperatures  to run around the huge field behind West Hill that was covered in 2 feet of snow.  I think a few parents got upset about that.
Word spread in the teacher’s lounge that I was incorrigible and I had a target on my back.
Things went from bad to worse for me. The 8-O classroom was very close to the principal’s office.  At first, I would just be sent out of class for a period. Then it became longer. Eventually it came to a point where I would go to school and stand outside the room all day. I can’t say that I enjoyed other students  going from class to class and shaking their heads when they spotted me.
A letter was sent to my parents and my father came to the school for a meeting with Rolls-Wilson. My father had also grown up in the UK. And he was an asshole in his own right.  He informed me, after the meeting, that they had hardly discussed me at all but spent the major part of the time discussing English literature.
During that school year I was expelled for refusing to take the strap from the principal.  I was also suspended a few times. One time, when I was suspended,  I rode my bike around the front entrance to the school and waved at my classmates.  Perhaps the worst thing I did that year was at a play in the auditorium. It was called Thunder Rock. I would start clapping at inappropriate times which would start others clapping.  I’m not sure if they grabbed my ear as they threw me out.
The school year came to an end and I failed badly. It had been the worst year of my life. At home,  in the neighbourhood, and at school. While all the turmoil was going on at school another event occurred that was rather significant.
I knew two brothers who I thought were my friends. They were being raised by a single mother which wasn’t common in NDG back then.  The MLA for NDG at the time was a man named Eddie Asselin.  I think Eddie met the two brothers through his son and realizing that their dad wasn’t around much, invited them up to his country place a few times.
One day, one or both of the brothers  told me where we could get some soft drinks for free. They said that Eddie Asselin had a stack of the stuff in his garage. For a few months we would sneak into the garage and help ourselves. Then Eddie moved about a block away. One of the brothers decided to up the ante this time.  We went into the finished basement and swiped some booze which we later sold to older boys at the YMCA.  I was later grounded at home for some other reason and when I asked another boy  (there were now others involved)  about my cut in the profits I was told that the booze had been stolen from him. When he went inside his house I decided to look under his front steps and found the booze. I had been cut out of the loot.
This was my total involvement in this escapade. But it isn’t the end of the story. One of the brothers and some other guys ventured further into Eddie Asselin’s house. One of the things they stole were Montreal Canadiens hockey tickets. The jig was up when strangers were found occupying those seats.
The mother of the two brothers phoned my father and identified me as the ringleader. I didn’t know Eddie Asselin from a hole in the head, I certainly didn’t know where he lived, and I never stole any hockey tickets. Someone knew all of that stuff.
Back to West Hill High School. The long and the short of it I was not allowed back at West Hill the following year. My father had to make some choices as to what to do with me. He phoned the two brother’s mother and she told my father about The Boys Home of Montreal also known as Weredale House.  It is a complete other story for another time. I ended up staying there for almost two years.
Two years later I was back at home and back at West Hill. I was there for about a week or so when I was summoned to the principal’s office. I was accused of getting back into the school under false premises.  Although this was not true at all I was given the alternative of either admitting it or finding another place to go to school. Some alternative.  I lied that I lied. And I hated having to do that.
I tried out for the senior boy’s football team with a borrowed pair of cleats. My father had little interest in sports and I never was on any organized team growing up.  An assistant coach on the football team who was from the southern US told me I had a great pair of hands but they had some younger guys coming up. I was the manager of the hockey team the same year. I never could skate worth a damn.
Having been at Weredale House for almost two years I was pretty well aware of what BS was and wasn’t as far as fighting goes and got into a number of scraps while at West Hill, all of which I won.  Outside of the Hampstead Hop, a few times by Bellman’s restaurant  around the corner from West Hill and other places.
In grade 10 I was the lone recipient of a suspension for being involved in a spitball fight between classes.  Chuck got off Scott free. How’s it goin Chuck?  It was the end of my days at West Hill.
I can’t say I cared much for most of the teachers.  I never quite understood why one hung around with his students.  A teacher, Mr. MacKenzie, once told the class that there was good money operating a crane. I wasn’t sure if he meant there wasn’t much other hope for some. The one teacher I had wished that I had known better was a Mr. LeFevre who taught English Lit. I ran into him at a dance at West Hill a few months after dropping out and we had a nice conversation.
A few years after leaving West Hill I was in a bar in downtown Montreal and ran into some guys I had gone to school with. One of them asked me if I was still stealing cars. Stealing cars? I couldn’t even drive a car let alone steal one!
I have 23 year old twins. A boy and a girl. Both received scholarships when they graduated from high school. My daughter was valedictorian.  So…’s finger for all of those that passed me in the hall those many years ago and shook their heads when they saw me.

Not my car but my finger

Saturday, 2 June 2012

On The Road In 68'

There was a guy I knew in high school when I was growing up Montreal who was from Australia. Many of us back then were intrigued by his accent and his stories about where he grew up. I was one of them. He told us about the outback, the white sandy beaches, and kangaroos. His father was a diplomat and he could get his hands on duty free Foster’s beer and 555 cigarettes which made him even more likable. On a late November day in 1963, right after school, we heard some talk about John Kennedy being assassinated and I ended up at the Australian guy’s house and watched on TV as Walter Cronkite, with a tear in his eye, said that the president of the United States was dead. It was a very surreal moment in time.
Over the next few years, from time to time, I would think about travelling to some far off exotic place. I had had a number of jobs, most not lasting very long, and really wasn’t getting anywhere. Expo 67 had come and gone and English speaking Montrealers were leaving town in droves. I started to think that it was time to shit or get off of the pot. I was going to find a way to get to Australia.
I was living in the student ghetto area near McGill University in a rented room on Hutchison Street at the time and I had a girlfriend who lived a block or two away. I had been working on the trains as a waiter since the beginning of Expo 67 and started putting a little bit of money aside for train fare to Vancouver and a little bit more. This Australia thing was going to happen. My departure date was set for early January in 1968. There was a little going away party and my girlfriend and I promised each other that we would write.
I got a bit of a discount on my train ticket and left Montreal on one of those cold bitter winter days. The train ride was about 4 days. I didn’t have enough cash to afford a berth and slept each night on a seat in one of the passenger cars. I can’t recall much about the train ride other than noticing the ice on the windows change to condensation as we wended our way through the Fraser Canyon in BC.
The train finally pulled into the station which was located on Main Street in Vancouver. For whatever reason, I changed into a sports jacket and tie. I took out my umbrella, checked my trunk, and walked out of the station eager to investigate the city. The first thing I noticed was the run down hotels. Ones with names like The Ivanhoe. Somehow, I found my way to English Bay. There was a light drizzle as I sat on a large log and stared out at the Pacific. Seagulls flew about and did their screeching thing. I was alone and a stranger in s strange city. I didn’t know a soul. Cue Otis Redding and Sitting In The Dock Of The Bay.
I picked up a local newspaper and found a room to stay in on Nelson Street in the west end. The room was in a three story wooden house and had a distinct smell of dankness. A couple of guys who were in the construction business owned the place.
A day or so after arriving in Vancouver, I decided to find out how I could get a job on a ship to Australia. Back then, there was ramp at the foot of Burrard Street that led down to the docks. I found some kind of shipping office and went in to ask about working my way across the Pacific. The guy behind the counter told me that all of the ships were foreign owned, almost no hiring was done in Vancouver, and they weren’t about hiring unskilled young guys like me. Right then and there my plans and hopes came to an abrupt end.
I went back to my room and tried to come up with a plan B. Maybe I could see if I could stick it out in Vancouver? Find a job. Make some money. Make the best of it.
A few days after moving into the rooming house I ran into the owners and they offered me a job on one of their construction sites. I turned them down which was a really stupid thing to have done. I was young (21) and healthy and could have really used the cash. For some reason I was determined that I wanted to work in an office.
I filed for unemployment insurance and used general delivery at the main post office on West Georgia Street as my mailing address just in case my job search didn’t work out. The waiting period back then was something like six weeks. As it turned out I couldn’t find work in any office and the final straw for me was the day the wind tore my umbrella apart near the Hotel Vancouver.
I was starting to run out of money. I remember walking by a hamburger joint near Stanley Park called The Texan and almost salivating. I spent a lot of my time in my room listening to my Lloyd’s radio. Jack Cullen, the original Vancouver Canucks in the old WHL and tunes like Hugo Montenegro’s The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly and The Son Of Hickory Holler’s Tramp. 1968 was Hippie time in Vancouver but I never really experienced it. I did see the posters on wooden telephone poles advertising joints like the Retinal Circus and bands like Jason Hoover and the Epics.
I was now down to my last few dollars. I had given up on Vancouver completely. Each day I would take the long walk to the post office to see if my unemployment cheque had arrived. There was a feeling of despair and emptiness each time I was told there was nothing there for me. I did get a few letters from my parents and my girlfriend. I got so desperate that I went down to The Sally Ann and they gave me a few coupons to a Chinese restaurant near Main and Hastings. A delightful area to be broke in.
As soon as my cheque arrived I knew I was going to do two things. Buy myself a brick of ice cream and get out of town and hit the road back to Montreal as soon as I could manage. I carried my trunk over to the train station and sent it back to Montreal. Then I packed up my navy blue duffel bag, stuck out my thumb and headed south to the US. Of course it was one of those typical rainy winter days that Vancouver is known for.
I got as far as White Rock, BC that first day and found myself under an overpass on route 99. It was now dark out and raining more than before. Cars started to veer as the drivers spotted me with my thumb out. Nobody was going to risk their life trying to pick me up.
I made the decision to walk into the seaside town of White Rock and find a motel room regardless of the cost. For some reason, the guy behind the counter at the first motel I could find gave me the bridal suite. I took off all of my soaking wet clothes and rolled around on the fashionable shag carpet naked. Seemed like the thing to do. It dried me off.
Washington State and Oregon
The next day I got a lift across the US border into Washington State. I made it as far as Tumwater, Washington south of Seattle. The home of Olympia Beer. Spent the night in a truck stop and partook in the all the pancakes you can eat deal and endless cups of coffee. By sunup my stomach wasn’t feeling too good.
I didn’t have a map and only had a general idea of where I was headed. I would go as far south as Portland, Oregon and then turn east. Somewhere along the line someone told me about Interstate 80 and how it ended up in Chicago and it seemed like a good plan to take that route. Getting to Interstate 80 would turned out to be easier said than done and I kind of wandered off a more direct route more than once.
By the early evening on my second day on the road I found myself on the outskirts of Portland and was trying to figure out my next move. From off in the distance I could see a German Shepherd dog headed my way. Then I noticed he had a few friends with him. All in all there were about ten of them. They must have escaped from somewhere. They started to give me the old sniff routine and I was getting more than a bit nervous. Luckily, someone pulled over and gave me a lift. I was very grateful.
The Dalles, Pendeleton, La Grande, Baker City, Fruitland
I made it as far as eastern Oregon that night and ended up near a town called Fruitland. The motel back in White Rock, BC had eaten up a good part of my funds and I knew I was going to have to find a place to stay each night that wasn’t going to cost me any money. I got the bright idea of walking into the local police station and asking for a cell for the night. It was going to be a bit of a sympathy sell of the weary traveller, out of money in a foreign country, in need of some temporary shelter. It worked.
Jail cells are pretty much the same everywhere I travelled. Metal bunks attached to the wall, a metal toilet, a metal sink and maybe a metal table. No bedding like sheets, a blanket, or a pillow. Lots of carved out messages, often on the rude side, most likely made with keys. Cue Dwight Yoakam and Buck Owens singing The Streets Of Bakersfield.
In the morning a deputy gave me a brown bag with an apple and a sandwich in it and wished me luck as I went on my way. I gave the place a half a star for atmosphere and three stars for friendliness. As I walked out of town I noticed some guys shooting hoops behind a school. Small town America eh?
A rancher gave me a long lift out of Oregon and into Idaho in a pickup truck. There was no mistaking that he was a real cowboy. A lanky kind of guy with a big belt buckle. He had his young son with him. This was one the longest rides of my whole drip. Eventually the rancher’s son fell asleep on my shoulder and it felt kind of good being trusted to that extent by both of them. We pulled into a restaurant and the rancher offered to buy me dinner. It was turning out to be a pretty good day on the road. I remember ordering Ranch dressing on my salad. Seemed like the thing to do. We headed out on the highway again and after a few hours they let me out as they were now going to go in a direction that wasn’t the same as mine.
It was the month of March and it got pretty chilly at night. I remember looking up at the sky and that the stars looked much bigger than I had ever seen them before. It was now about 11 p.m. and I was basically out in the middle of nowhere. I decided to walk down the secondary highway I was on until I ran into some lights and some kind of civilization. And then I heard these strange sounds. It took me several minutes to figure out that it was just cattle grunting in the darkness. I have no idea where I ended up spending the rest of that night. Probably at another a truck stop.
Boise, Mountain Home, Pocatello, Idaho and into Utah.
One of my rides in Utah was with some native Indians who were Utes. I also met some Mormons and found out they weren’t big on smoking or drinking. I breezed past Salt Lake City and ended up in a small town in eastern Utah called Vernal. I was told that it is the biggest town in the US without a railway station. It was in Vernal that I spent my second night in a jail cell. The crowbar hotel. Fortunately for me I never had to share a cell. Something I didn’t mind missing out on.
As I was walking out of town along the main drag the next morning I kind of got the feeling that I was being followed and turned around to have a look. Four young gals in a convertible gave me a wave and slowly drove past me kind of giving me the once over. Something dawned on me right then and there about these times in small town America. A lot of young men were overseas fighting in Viet Nam and a good many of them were drafted from places like Vernal where they were unlikely to get student deferments.
I got a lift through Dinosaur National Park and into the state of Colorado. I still hadn’t hooked up to Interstate 80 but I was going in the right general direction. The Rocky Mountains were up ahead.
A couple of slick looking guys in their late twenties picked me up in their late model Cadillac. We were now deep in the mountains and the highway had a number of hairpins. Ski country. I was sitting in the back seat. Up in front of us was a Mustang with what looked like two couples in it. We were pretty close to them when the traffic had to slow down at curves in the road. One of the guys in the car I was in said something to his friend about a gal in the backseat of the Mustang having her arms around a guy in the front seat and that it looked like he wasn’t paying any attention to her. A moment later the Cadillac driver pulled out a gun and asked his friend if they should shoot the guy in the front seat of the Mustang. I think my head hit the car ceiling in shock. They were only joking but they scared the crap out of me. I was quite OK about them finally dropping me off when they found a resort and a bar they wanted to visit. Sheeesh!!!
That night, I found myself in downtown Denver. Larimer Street to be specific. Once again I needed a place to sleep for the night. A couple of winos who were panhandling asked me where I was from and where was I going. I told them I was going to see if I could get a cell for the night at the local jail. Not a good idea I was told. The Denver jail wasn’t your rural Andy Griffith kind of place. The winos offered me a spot on the floor of their room. I needed somewhere to sleep and they had convinced me that jail wasn’t the place. Their room was in one of those old high ceiling run down hotel kind of places. A light bulb, at the end of long wire, that hung from the ceiling. Altogether, about four down and outers shared the space. They took turns going out and panhandling for more booze money. I lay down on the floor and rested my head on my blue duffle bag. My eyes flickered. I could see other eyes looking at me, perhaps wondering what was in the duffle bag. This was not a good idea. I got the hell out of there.
I was back out on Larimer Street. I still needed a place to stay. A thought came into my head. Maybe I could fake being a frat brother from Montreal. I asked a passerby where the University of Colorado was and was told that it was in the city of Boulder about 60 miles away. Then they told me about The University of Denver that was close by. That might work. I had stayed at frat houses in Montreal and knew about some of their rituals. The one thing I didn’t know was the secret handshakes.
I think the frat house I found was a Delta Upsilon. I rang the front door bell. After telling them I was a brother from McGill University in Montreal and on the road hitchhiking, I was welcomed with open arms and 20 questions, all that I managed to answer satisfactorily. It was nice to sleep in a cozy bed again. It had been a weird past 24 hours. I had a nice breakfast in the morning and hit the road again after thanking my temporary pals.
I made it as far as Scottsbluff, Nebraska that day. Once again I stayed at the local jail. I was getting used to jails. The following day I made it as far as Lincoln, Nebraska. A young guy, about my age, picked me up in his Volkswagen van. When he found out where I was from he decided to give me a tour of the city. He then offered to put me up for the night at his parent’s house. The guy’s name was Mike Disney and yes he was a distant relative of Walt Disney.
In later years I wondered what might be in the water in Nebraska. Johnny Carson, Dick Cavett, Marlon Brando, Henry Fonda, James Coburn, Fred Astaire, Montgomery Clift, Walt Disney, all came from there.
It was kind of neat spending the night in an American family home. Sharing dinner with them. It wasn’t the last time that I would see Mike. About a year after being in Nebraska I was living in yet another frat house at the top of University Street in Montreal. One day, there was a knock on the front door and it was none other than Mike Disney. He had got my address by contacting my parents. There was no parking on that part of University Street back then and I told Mike that he could park his van around back. A few minutes later there was another knock on the door. This time a bit louder. It turned out that the emergency brake on Mike’s van had failed and his car slid down the street smashing into some other cars. Mike stayed for about a week and spent a good part of that time with a blow torch trying to fix his van. He drove back to Nebraska being able to see the asphalt from a hole in the floorboard.

Me and Mike Disney, Council Bluffs, Iowa April 68

After spending the night at Mike’s, he gave me a lift as far as Council Bluffs, Iowa which is a twin city to Omaha, Nebraska. I’m not sure if it was that day or the next that I heard the news. Martin Luther King had been assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee and cities were burning throughout the United States.

Can't remember how I got this card
I got as far as Iowa City and did my fake brother act at another fraternity house at The University of Iowa. I remember the brass eagles in front of the fireplace and that they had fresh baked croissants at breakfast. Go hawkeyes!
Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan
I travelled into the State of Illinois and missed Chicago. Big cities that were rioting were not a place to be. I zoomed through part of Indiana hardly knowing that I’d been there. In Flint, Michigan some police officers stopped me and drove me to the other side of town so I would avoid the rioting and burning. I spent one more night in a small town jail in Lavonia, Michigan. Years later I found out that this is where Ryan Kesler, a forward for the Vancouver Canucks, grew up.
Back in Canada
An elderly insurance salesman drove me across the bridge and back into Canada at Sarnia. Somehow, I managed to leave my passport in his car. The same passport I planned to use to get to Australia. I kind of lucked out though. The insurance guy sent the passport to my parent’s house. However, it was stolen from me a year or so later.
I finally made it back to Montreal. I had stories to tell. The girlfriend I had left behind and exchanged letters with had moved on. Oob-la-dee, oob-la-da.
The whole odyssey wasn’t quite Jack Kerouac and On The Road but it was an amazing experience. I never did get my kicks on Route 66.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Chris Hayes

The Dockside Marine Pub, Tofino, BC
About four years ago my daughter, my girlfriend, and I were sitting in a pub in Tofino , B.C. late in the afternoon after spending  the day at one of the beaches at Pacific Rim National Park on Vancouver Island.  It had been kind of an overcast day with just a few glimpses of the sun. There may have been a few sprinkles of rain throughout the day.
I noticed a couple who were sitting close to us. They looked like they were in their late twenties or early thirties. They were both reading books and the guy in the couple who was kind of lanky had his legs stretched out and looked rather comfortable.
I have never been the shy type and asked them what they were reading. I couldn’t make out the book titles from where I was sitting.  From what I can recall the books were both about American politics. I then asked them where they were from and it turned out that they lived in Washington, DC or close to it.
The 2008 presidential election campaigns were underway at the time and we ended up talking about US politics for about a half an hour.  It didn’t take long to figure out that they were both political people. I mentioned that I had read somewhere,  something  about  John McCain referring  to his wife using the “C” word.  The guy in the couple told me he had heard some stuff about that too. Somewhere in the conversation we learned that the wife in the couple was a lawyer.
Our bill came and we had a 2-1/2 hour drive ahead of us back home. When we said our goodbyes, Chris, the guy in the couple, jotted down his website address and handed it to me.
Later that evening I checked out the website address. It turned out that the guy I was talking to was a Chris Hayes. He is one of the editors of the US magazine The Nation. About a year later I spotted him on MSNBC substituting for Rachel Maddow.  I have always liked Rachel. Standing in front of the Hoover Dam and asking the question “Whatever happened to America’s big ideas?”
Today, Chris has his own show on MSNBC on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Up with Chris Hayes.  Both shows are two hours long and I think it is one of best US political programs on TV. They cover subjects in depth and allow for opposite opinions. They also have younger politically active people offering viewpoints instead of older dodgy political hacks seen on weeklies like Meet The Press where answers are avoided.
And now you know what my own political persuasions are.
To me, Democrats in the US are where Liberals in Canada used to be before  they self- destructed. A social  conscience with some fiscal responsibility.  I miss the old days.