It’s 1954 and a RMC cadet says he’s “going over the wall”. What does he mean?
a) Hanging out with a cadet’s ex, even as friends.
b) Cadets climbed out residence windows and over the wall around the military college to go see their dates (e.g. at Queen’s).
c) For a cadet agility test, cadets would grab the top of the wall from a run and jump, then use their feet to climb while simutaneously pulling themself up over a 6 foot wall
d) a springtime tradition. After stretching and huddling up, cadets bolt out of the gates and took the day off. Think of it as senior ditch day – but everybody participates. The seniors just decide when it’s going to happen.
Answer: b) cadets climbing over the wall around RMC to go see their dates at Queen’s (or vice versa)
Across the bridge and over the wall
Written by Heather Grace
Published in Queen’s University Alumni Review, Spring 2003
It’s a late, rainy April evening in 1964 on the Queen’s campus. All is quiet in the residences – except for some muffled, curfew-defying laughter echoing through the halls of Anne Baillie Residence at the Kingston General Hospital. Three Queen’s nursing students are throwing a line of knotted bedsheets out the window. A brown-haired girl in a Royal Military College (RMC) pea jacket dangles her legs out, then begins the long descent to the ground. When she reaches the ground, a smiling RMC cadet in pillbox, blue tunic, and cape gives her a hug, and the pair run off together to say their summer goodbyes in the pouring rain.
RMC Cadets, resplendent in their dress uniforms, marched to campus for celebrations marking Queen’s 1991 Sesquicentennial
Today, 35 years married and with two grown daughters who are Queen’s graduates, the couple could be any number of students who lived in residence over the 127-year history of the two historic educational institutions that call Kingston home.
Making visits to “the other” school was especially popular in the days of curfews and same-sex residences. And the adventures weren’t restricted to Queen’s girls climbing out residence windows and heading for the long walk across the LaSalle Causeway – “The Bridge” – as the students call it. It worked the other way, too. Jane Kaduck lost her heart to a dashing young RMC cadet, and a half-century later, Ray Kaduck still has it.
“There was always talk of cadets climbing over the wall around RMC to go see their girlfriends at Queen’s,” says former Alumni Affairs staffer Jane (Sherman) Kaduck, Arts’55, who dated cadet 3061Ray Kaduck, a 1954 RMC grad, during her Queen’s years. “‘Going over the wall’ – that was the expression!” she laughs.
Jane and Ray have been married for almost 50 years now, and five of their seven children are Queen’s grads. As to whether Ray ever ‘went over the wall’ for her, Jane just smiles. She wants to “stay off the record” on that matter!
Most Queen’s and RMC alumni remember the dating, the glamorous RMC formals, busloads of cadets coming over to attend dances at Ban Righ Hall, or spotting groups of “the other” in uniforms or Queen’s year jackets on Princess Street. Review Editor Emerita Cathy (Morton) Perkins, Arts’58, recalls how in the 1950s, with males outnumbering co-eds four or five to one at Queen’s, RMC cadets were hot competition for dates. “Scuffles between male students from Queen’s and RMC cadets after the bars closed weren’t uncommon,” she says.