Download Gordon Shrum: An Autobiography by Gordon Shrum PDF

By Gordon Shrum

This autobiography strains Shrum's beginnings on a southern Ontario farm, via his institution and collage years in Toronto, his amazing educational profession at UBC and his post-retirement careers as chancellor of Simon Fraser college, head of B.C. Hydro, Robson sq., and the Vancouver Museum.

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We wore gowns at dinner, but the practice seemed to die out within my first year at the college. As dean, Vincent Massey presided over the head table in the dining hall, and his presence put a damper on such nonsense as bun-throwing. One of the students from the graduate table would be asked to say grace in Latin, but many of those present did not take this very seriously. When the hall first opened, there was a rule that everyone had to stay until the head table had finished. It proved very unpopular and did not last long; the undergraduates would simply get up and leave.

Leaving two guns behind at the old position, we took four guns and horses up about two miles into a limestone quarry. We had no sooner pulled in, dropped our ammunition, and gotten organized, than the Germans put a shell over—probably to check whether there might be somebody in the quarry. The shell hit one of our piles of ammunition, blowing it up, and then they knew they had hit something and began to put everything they had into it. It was disastrous from our point of view; the quarry had seemed like an ideal site for our howitzers, which can shoot out of a depression, but it was very close to the front line.

I became quite good at this. It was pretty easy because my father had grain from the old farm as payment instead of cash, and I simply fed it to the chickens and then sold them. I got the feed free, a nice easy way for him to subsidize me, but I did a lot of work to change that grain into a valuable commodity. An ordinary chicken would be worth maybe a dollar, but these fancy chickens, if they won some prizes, could fetch from seventy-five to a hundred dollars. I did not have much money and never had a chance to go to Madison Square Garden in New York, where the largest annual poultry show was held.

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