My Forgotten Postage Stamp

I was raised in Creston and after completing grade 13 in 1961 I applied to register in first year engineering at UBC. Money was tight so after being accepted, I applied for any scholarship or bursary that I thought I had a chance of getting which meant many letters to Dean Gage’s office.

On one letter I forgot to put a postage stamp on the envelope and I realized my error after it was mailed. I was sure this would negatively impact my chances of being considered for the bursary so I decided that all I could do was write a letter of apology and I included 2 postage stamps. My understanding at the time was that the Post Office would deliver a letter without sufficient postage but would charge the receiving party double postage. In the end I was somewhat successful and grateful in my quest for financial help and along with my earnings from my summer job I was off to UBC and settled into Fort Camp.

After registration and buying an Engineer’s sweater I started classes and had the good fortune to get Dean Gage for calculus. I still remember my first class in the Engineering Building. The lecture theatre was full but Dean Gage didn’t teach any calculus in that lecture. Instead he went around the room to each person and had them introduce themselves and indicate where they were from. When it came to my turn all I had to do was say my name and Dean Gage did the rest. To my initial embarrassment he related where I was from and the many letters he had received from me and, of course, the letter of apology and the two stamps.

To my amazement, and all the others in the class, Dean Gage remembered each individual as well as their names! During that year whenever I asked a question Dean Gage would say “Yes, Derril Thomas from Creston”.

Derril Thomas
BASc 1965