I was very sad to hear of Jack Garstang's passing, but I have chuckled over the comments by his former students. Jack was one of a kind, with a unique sense of humor, and a turn of phrase that eliminated retort or failure to comply, and then there was his smile and his laugh. I have so many memories of him at Ecolint with Jean, Jackie and Jennie. He was the proudest father that I have ever met, and his family adored him.
My special memories of Jack are unique and took place in the USA in 1965. Twenty five of us were sent to the United States to connect with schools and universities. Jack's travel companion was Arnold Jones, and they were two funny men together.
I was in Chicago when I spotted Phil Thomas driving a Mustang convertible. After I joined him in the car, we saw Jack and Arnold crossing the street in front of us, wearing cowboy hats, and quite oblivious of the world around them as they laughed their way across Chicago. They were staying in a terrible YMCA to save money to take their families on vacation when they got back to Switzerland. We had a bad dinner in Tad's Steak House ($1.29), again to save them money.
We agreed to connect in New York on our way home. Jack and Arnold had taken the 3 hour Circle Tour around New York Harbor, the day before, and they suggested that I should do it too. They gave me a letter to open once I was on board the boat. As the boat set sail I opened the letter. "Great trip, Mary, but it is 2 hours and 55 minutes too long!"
I did see Jack over the years whenever I returned to Geneva. Next time I will miss hearing his cheeky comments, but I will alway treasure the fun times that we had.
Mary Winskill Roosevelt
I will never forget Mr. Garstang.
He is the person who really made me realise what sports was all about. I felt good after his classes. I had done and accomplished something.
I remember when we didn't have our sport clothes (IN THE WINTER). He would take us to role in the snow - if there was snow, or to run without a top on, because
it was below freezing...so all the bacteria were frozen...so we could not get sick.
Jack was a great person, WHO I WILL NEVER FORGET.
GOD BLESS JACK.
I enjoyed Jack in 1962 and 1963.
Erik Bjertnes (1955-1964)
My first experience with Jack was in sports, of course, being one of those with the Yankee sweat shirts. He always finished off the first day of the new year sports speech with "...and, by the way, are there any 'queiries'?" Tough but with a sense of humor. Got to know him much better after graduation. Nice guy.
I remember Mr. Garstang motivating us before the run: "I'm forty-nine years old, so you should all be back before me." Now that I'm older by a year than he was then, I realize that a 15-year-old boy who runs once a week has no chance against a forty-nine year old man on a proper fitness regime, especially on the ridiculously short runs we did. Yet the motivation had its effect all these years, and surely helps explain why today, unlike so many of my age cohort in America, I can look down and have an unobstructed view of my toes.
I remember watching Mr. Garstang on the trampoline, doing flips and turns, and thinking he looked impossibly old to be doing that stuff. He was probably all of 40! I also remember his one arm push-ups.
When I was in the internat, I quickly learned one of Mr. (Yes, MR.)
Garstang's first rules. Mr. Garstang occasionally came around to wake
up those who did not have the discipline to be up and at it early. I
found out that in the process of waking up and rolling out of bed
that I could pretty much say anything, but the second my feet touched
the floor, a quick inevitability with JG at your door, I was held
totally responsible for whatever escaped my mouth.
I had one or two of my own run-ins with Mr. Garstang. I am surprised I didn't have more. We were young and spirited and frequently out-of- bounds. The issues were usually justified on his part. None were fatal or too serious (well there was one time....). None were long lasting. The annual cross country run is one of my best memories. I came to like and respect the man whom I always called "sir". I still do. And I still tell a few good stories to friends occasionally.
The best two years of my life were the ones I spent at Ecolint. The friends I met and decisions I made lead me to this day. I miss my extneded family from the Dorm and my teachers especially Mr. Garstang who was a second father to me. if only I could go back in time . . .
And Mr. Jack Garstang will conduct our self indulgent youth and maybe this time we will understand. Mr. Jack Garstang, more of a role model and a father to me than my biological father ever was.
Robert Ellison Smith
I arrived in Geneva from the states in Jan. of '67 and went to my first sports class in a college sweatshirt and a "jams" bathing suit. Mr. Garstang's disapproving gaze said it all. For the next class I was properly attired. In subsequent interactions with "Internaters" over the years it is clear that he had such a positive role during their formative years. I floated an idea at the last reunion that a cross country event be added to the agenda at future reunions and that it be run in Mr. Garstang's honor.
Visiting Ecolint last week after a 20 year hiatus and seeing the football field put me in mind of Mr. Garstang's cross country races and I actually have fond memories of the experience (as excruciating as they were) perhaps because it was the only thing I excelled at.
Ah yes, many the bane of Ecolint males doing sports. It was/is called Promenade Charles Martin, leading straight to Malagnou. Its named is burnt into my memory since Mr Garstang always bellowed the course to us each and every time before leaving "UP PROMENADE CHARLES MARTIN, DOWN MALAGNOU, UP AMANDOLIER ..
My thoughts on the cross-country event idea for future reunions are thoughts of complete horror (though I hope and presume the event would not be compulsory). I used to come third from last in the cross-country, and that was because the last and second-from-last had stopped for a smoke on the way round. They know who they are and I love them both. But still.
However, although Mr Garstang was terrifying to me at the time, I do know that he really did have our best interests at heart. I appreciate him now in a way I never did then. I genuinely mourn his passing.
I was at Ecolint from '86 to '94 and I also remember Mr. Garstang..... I was always terrible at sports and came in absolutely last in the cross-countries.... but he was a very nice man, strict in the English manner but a gentleman, I also appreciate their intentions, especially now that I am also an educator (but not in sports!) God bless.
MR Garstang thank you for comforting me at the boarding house. The very best years of my life were all because of Mr Garstang. And also thank you Jakie and Jenny.
You were wondering about April Fools at Ecolint. Things did happen on that day back in the seventies. I remeber particularly well certain events during April 1st 1977. It was the last day of the term so things did get a bit wild. A few of the events were these: 1.Apparently the first prank was to glue all Garstang family shoes to the floor, a task carried out by the interns.
Pablo O. Canziani
I remember Mr. Garstang (Big "G") buying us all dessert after we were served some gummy rhubarb on some kind of paste that passed as a "tarte". He was at his best when his anger was directed toward the kitchen...he had a way with words.
I had a great stay at Ecolint - fondest memories were from sports with Mr Garstang - rumoured to be an ex-British Commando. Nothing like doing pushups in the snow in shorts and a cotton shirt !!! The first week back in the Fall was hell - especially trying to go down stairs the day after the first sports class.
I arrived at Ecolint from West Africa in January 1966. My first encounter with Mr. Garstang was at dinner on my first evening in the internat. Strolling among the tables greeting the interns after the holiday break, he stopped at our table, looked at me and said "You will be getting a haircut tomorrow, won't you, Mr. Anderson?" I responded "I don't know." and remember to this day the audible intake of breath from the others at the table. Mr. Garstang smiled and continued on his circuit of the dining room. My fellow interns told me that I'd best get that haircut.
He was a great guy. The very model of calm and discipline. I don't doubt that he cared for all of us a great deal. I recall being disappointed in myself, and resolving to do better, when I felt that I might have disappointed him.
Hey Dennis... Do you remember that Garstang would let you say anything you wanted in the a.m. until your feet hit the ground. Then you belonged to him...I never had the nerve to do much but groan at being waked up!
[I'll] Never forget the night Garstang came over to the girls house because Becky never came home. She has somehow managed to get on a plane without a passport and go to her boyfriend in the States.
Jean (Harvey) Brasser
Sneaking out on the fire escape to go to parties after lights out. (One time, Dave Cargill and I were awakened the following morning by the cheerful tones of Mr. Garstang calling out, "Oh, THERE you are!")
My recollections of JG are all from being in his sports class in the latter 1960s as I was not an Internater. How he made us exercise, 30 press ups at a time on the Greek theatre steps. I recall he often said if you don't keep this up you'll all be unfit by the time you in yr 30s- how right he was (although I credit him with keeping me fitter for longer than might otherwise have been the case)!
It was a culture shock initially for him coming to Ecolint from a pretty strict (grammer school?) in the UK and I remember so well his comments about those wearing US college T-shirts instead of the Ecolint sports gear! And how he ripped us apart the first time he was in charge of the cross country run when most of us gave it a miss and trotted out a variety of lame or imaginative excuses for not showing up at the next sports period! But in time he adapted well to the Ecolint spirit and I think we respected him (I certainly did) for his professionalism.
And after we had left school he always seemed pleased to see his former students and until latter years looked as fit as ever due to his tennis coaching. I am glad to have seen him like that at the reunions in 1994 and 2004.
I will never forget the impact he made when he arrived at Ecolint LGB in the early 1960s. Sports had been taken very lightly- I recall we had a very easy going Swiss sports teacher whose name I can't recall, a nice chap who would say "come on boys" as he led us on a token cross-country.
With JG it was very different. First off he was appalled that few bothered to wear the Ecolint blue sports kit with many of the Americans in the class sporting college sweatshirts. Next off he wanted us to take the cross counmtry seriously! I remember the first one he organised- must have been my second year in secondary so about 1962. We were supposed to turn up- on a Saturday!- and needless to say many didn't. The next sports class he went round asking all of us who did not make it why not! A variety of excuses- mine being the feeble one- although partially true- that from Vezenaz where I then lived there was only an infrequent bus service (the No 9).
But Steve Popper came up with a corker which totally flawed JG. "Sir, I had to go see my psychiatrist" said Steve with a totally straight face. JG looked stunned- no kid at his previous English school would ever have dared tried that one on, whether true or not- but realizing he now had to deal with a different flock, he let it ride, and with a somewhat quizzical expression, passed on to the next.
Later on, we all, mostly, came to appreciate JG's qualities- he genuinely wanted us to be fit and to enjoy sports, and as he got to know us individually bcame much more human. I'll never forget also when we groaned about having to do 20 or 30 press ups on the steps of the Greek Theatre, he would say, if you don't do this and keep it up, just wait and see how unfit you'll be in your 30s! Well not quite- but by my 50s having stopped doing press ups years ago although I go swimming regularly- I have to admit he was right!
Years afterwards I met him and had pleasant chats with him at both the 1994 and 2004 reunions and think he had become a tennis coach- and still looked very fit for his age.