Letters home to Mom and Dad circa 1957

Peter Hebb '57 (1938-2021)
Peter was recruited by NJC's founder, Mr. Leonard Wilde, and was a champion of NJC throughout his life. He has the distinction of meeting all Heads of School in NJC's history and his wisdom and stories were of great help and entertainment. Throughout his life, Peter remained actively involved with NJC and served on the College’s Advisory Board, sharing stories of Leonard Wilde and organizing class reunions over the decades.  

Enjoy Peter’s letter’s home as originally shared in Neuchâtel Junior College The First Fifty Years: 1956-2006.
Dear Mom and Dad...

October 4, 1956

One could buy a bottle of wine during Fête Des Vendages right on the street, and walk around snorting it out of the bottle in the middle of the street right under the nose of the cops who couldn’t have cared less.  Over here there are no restrictions, and no riots occurred at all.  But at home, everything is so tightwad and look what happens.

I find the food at this place not so bad.  Swiss meals aren’t too different, but they do not go on the cheap sometimes.  One can get a Coke or a Canada Dry (here it is Buvez Canada Dry, while in Germany it is Trink Canada Dry). Also, all American cigs can be got here.  The people in the shops are always nice to us. 

January 21, 1957

There is about two feet of snow here, which arrived when we were on the Christmas trip.  Saturday I went skiing on my new Kneissel skis, which are absolutely wonderful, at Tête de Ran. I bought a seasons pass for $15, which can be good savings if there is enough snow.  Otherwise, the chairlift would have cost Cdn .46 cents for each ride. 

February 12, 1957

On Saturday night, a group from the pension and NJC went to The International Club up Mount Chaumont above Neuchâtel for 'fondue’ which is melted cheese and wine placed on a burner on the table in a pot.  One takes bread and dips it in the cheese before eating.  It is the “national dish” of the French part of Suisse. At midnight we went down on the funicular and on to a great student dance in a restaurant hall (La Rotunde). One pays $1.50 to go in unless a friend already inside walks out, getting two re-entry tickets, and this way entry is free. I danced with a very nice Swiss-French girl, 17, from a little village, but she does to a cooking school for girls and was out on special leave so I shall probably never see her again. 

February 18, 1957

Dad, will you please immediately send back on separate paper - ‘I give my full permission to Peter to go skiing without supervision on the March 1st weekend, and accept all responsibilities. Frank J. Hebb’. This rule was made mainly for girls’ parents who would say ‘“What? You let Kathy go off alone? What if she had broken her leg?”

June 2, 1957

We had a spring fair beside the Post Office for two weeks. One day the paper said Prince Rainier was coming.  8,000 people jammed the streets and then some old jerk drove up driving a Plymouth in sunglasses and a hat and jumped out a ran inside.  The biggest fraud in Switzerland. 

June 24, 1957

On the final McGill French Composition exam, we had to write what we wanted to be.  I wrote “a travel agent” because that was the profession for which I knew the most French words having written many letters to book hotels for weekend trips.  If I had not been in Switzerland, I doubt I would have passed, but here, I have picked up all sorts of commonly used French words for things like ‘timetable’ ‘auto-rental’, etc. The second competition was to write my preference between movies and TV.  Again, for the French teacher, and secondly, when I go to the movies, I learn all sorts of French words such as “screen”.
Neuchâtel Junior College offers the unique opportunity to study Canadian curriculum abroad. While living in Switzerland in a French community, students enjoy an international education through travel and experiential learning in Europe. Gap year and Grade 12  high school students gain international experience and develop independence and life skills that prepare them for university and the global workplace.

A Canadian high school in Switzerland | Grade 12 & Gap