The Ridge Rambler was the newspaper of Maple Ridge Senior Secondary School and later just Maple Ridge Secondary School when the senior and junior schools combined in 1965. I don’t know when the paper started, or started under this name, though I have one issue dating back to 1956. This is the oldest one I have, others are from the year 1961 and onward. As of early 2023, I donated these older issues and other material like school annuals to the Maple Ridge Museum.
During my grade ten year (1963-64), I don’t recall having anything to do with The Rambler, maybe because I was preoccupied writing about school activities for the local newspaper, the
Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Gazette.
However, when I was in grade eleven (1964-1965), I continued writing for the Gazette and still had time to assume the editorship of The Rambler. The paper was sponsored by George Zebroff, who was new to the school and had a rather “philosophical” approach to teaching. I became like the William Randolph Hearst of high school journalism, running material which was sometimes edgy while managing to stay within the typical boundaries of the era and those which had already been established for the paper.
My “partner in crime” while running the paper was my friend Neil Arthur, who was the “literary editor” on the masthead, but who had a wide variety of opinions about other things ranging from the Rolling Stones to high-falutin’ philosophers. Neil was also rabidly anti-American, though I don’t recall he let that side of his personality show while working on The Rambler. (According to a friend, Neil passed away at the age of 41 in England which he moved back to; this would have been in the early 1990s.)
The Rambler supposedly came out every two weeks, at least according to the line at the bottom of the stock cover which the paper used. The 1964-65 issues were edited and produced by me, using a typewriter which I must have borrowed from the school, because the typewriter I had at home was an older Underwood which was in wretched condition. (I used that typewriter to produce the Fort Camp News, a single-page paper for the UBC residence where I lived while in second and third years there.)
The Rambler pages were typed on Gestetner stencils and mimeographed using the machine at the school. The paper was sold in the school for five cents a copy and as far as I can recall was eagerly anticipated whenever it was published. Part of the reason for this was the gossip section which took up the last page of each issue where dirt was rumored about people using their initials.
Some of the opinions expressed by me in Rambler issues went too far. One particular instance was a reply to some students who had written a critical letter where I was, to be quite blunt, a jerk, for which -- though it probably doesn’t mean much at this point -- I would like to apologize now. (This isn't the first time that I felt remorse about something like this; I had a similar experience when I was working at the
Vancouver Provinceyears later.)
Even after my attempt to emulate Citizen Kane was over, I persisted in being involved with The Rambler. For example:
- M.R. Echo, February 13, 1964. This predates the stuff below. It is a newspaper (4 pages) for MRJSS (Maple Ridge Junior Secondary School) created not with a Gestetner, but a spirit duplicator which had purple printing. Its editor was Penny McNeill. There is this comment on the first page of the first issue: “We mustn’t forget to thank our behind the scenes man, Michael Quigley, for coming over and typing out our paper, in his own time, too.” (What?!?)
- Rambler, Vol. 29, No. 1 (October 5, 1965) — Margaret Fogg was editor, I was “Special Correspondent.” There is a message from me as Students’ Council president, a job I assumed in Grade 12 (not something I particularly enjoyed), as well as a couple of poems by myself and my friend Howard Baker. The two of us used to write stories when bored in English class and we would each write alternating lines.
- Vol. 29, No. 3 (November 4, 1965) — Margaret Fogg was editor, I was a “Reporter.” Contains a Baker/Quigley story, “One of My Adventures in Spuzzum.”
- There were several issues of The Rambler from January to June of 1966 which used a totally different format rather than being printed on 8½″ x 11″ paper like all of the other issues I have. These were printed in black and white on newsprint and the size was approximately 9⅞″ x 13¼″. I had nothing to do with these. Margaret Fogg was the editor, though this was not established until the fourth issue in April. There were no dates on the first two issues, presumably in January and February. I don’t know why this format was chosen or where they were printed. This was not something that could be done with a Gestetner. Maybe this format was chosen because it was easier to include artwork and photos?
- Thursday, October 13, 1966, Vol. 30, No. 1 — I was editor and also did reviews of two movies, The Blue Max and Khartoum, as well as the Doctor Zhivago soundtrack LP. There were also more examples of Baker/Quigley humor. This was when I was in Grade 13; perhaps no one wanted to do the paper at the beginning of that school year?
- Friday, November 25, 1966, Vol. 30, No. 2 — I was editor.
- Thursday, December 22, 1966, Vol. 30, No. 3 — I was editor.
- January, 1967 — Mae Burrows became editor, I was “Special Editor.” I did a review of the Rolling Stones’ Got Live LP and The Monkees' first album.
- February, 1967 — Mae Burrows was editor, I was “Special Editor.” There is a review of the film Blow-Up which I suspect I did; also a horror film parody which I wrote, “Dr. Voth’s House of Horrors.” This was extremely gross, I’m surprised it was approved for publication.
- March-April, 1967 (celebrating Canada’s centennial) — Mae Burrows was editor, I was “Special Editor.” There is a review by me of the film Doctor Zhivago. I don’t know why, this film came out at the end of 1965 and I had already reviewed the soundtrack in October of that year. There was also commentary by me on the recent production of the Sound of Music (in which I played Captain Von Trapp). My Sound of Music criticisms were kind of extreme, complaining about the piano and organ musical accompaniment (no orchestra), which was kind of odd, since my father was the one playing the organ.
- April-May, 1967 (Expo[sition] Edition 67) — Mae Burrows was editor, I was “Reporter.” This issue has a long article about “hippies” (not by me). The Exposition was a show put on by the school which featured music, fashions, art, physical education displays and examples of student work and projects.
- June, 1967 — Mae Burrows was editor, I was “Special Editor.” My contribution included a short (very short) story, “The Death of the Soul” as well as a review of The Byrds’ Younger Than Yesterday LP.
I also discovered a guide for the people who were working on the paper, as well as the original "reporting" for the first Rambler which was written out by hand (no computers in those days) and then typed on to the Gestetner stencils, as well as that for other Rambler issues. I was going to use this to reconstruct the first issue, which was originally missing, but has since been found.
LINKS TO 1964-1965 RIDGE RAMBLER ISSUES:
October 8, 1964, No. 1
October 22, 1964, No. 2
November 5, 1964, No. 3
November 24, 1964, Vol. 28, No. 4
January 14, 1965, Vol. 28, No. 5
January 28, 1965, Vol. 28, No. 6
February 11, 1965, Vol. 28, No. 7
March 2, 1965, Vol. 28, No. 8
March 16, 1965, Vol. 28, No. 9
April 15, 1965, Vol. 28, No. 10
May 13, 1965, Vol. 28, No. 11
June 10, 1965, Vol. 28, No. 12
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