As the accolades and remembrances begin pouring in about former Montreal Canadian winger John Ferguson, most of the memories are about hockey and his illustrious career. However, mine is a small one from a distant past. Way back in the fifties at Vancouver Tech High School.
I didn't even know he played hockey until a few years later. But I was a sort of 'team-mate' in the class called Notorious Nine-E. It was different and the boys were different, East side kids mostly. But even then Fergie stood out, but not as the tough guy he became in hockey, but as the guy most of us liked to be around. He was fun, maybe not quite the class clown, but always ready for a laugh, or to instigate one at the expense of the teachers mostly. It was the most fun of my youth at school.
One time the principal was coming to class to address the students because of our irreverent behavior. The home room teacher's desk was up a step on a platform. Before the principal arrived, John edged the front legs of that desk to the very edge of that step up, within an eighth of an inch. The principal arrived, long faced, glum, and coined the phrase we all became proud of, saying, "So this is notorious nine E," to a tumult of cheers and clapping. He then began a serious reprimand of our pranks and conduct while our young home room teacher stood gravely in the corner. At one point he remarked that so far that year, not one of us had been absent a day. A reply from someone called back, "Hell we're havin' too much fun here!" which elicited another roar of laughter. The principal, trying to look more threatening, leaned forward on the desk, and sternly began talking when his weight made the shift we were all waiting for. He ended up sprawled across the desk and sliding off it head first like a crushed ant while everyone leaped up to shake Fergie's hand.
Our teacher and the principal left the room and we happily shared one more moment of what John Ferguson was all about to us of that era; full of life and fun.
A small memory but a nice one to have.