FROM ROBERT (Joseph Kevin) COLLINS ('55): I've just re-read back issues
of Marists All while enjoying this beautiful 87 degree October day,
sitting on the West Meadow Beach of Long Island Sound near Stony Brook.
Procrastination is something I'll fight till my dying day; I've been
writing this note for over a year. But here's a start.
After a short talk with Master of Novices Pius Victor in May of '56,
I was on my way home to Woodside.The four years of living the Marist
life, two in Esopus and two in Tyngsboro, gave me a foundation in faith
that I thank God for today. The pre-dawn walks in Esopus from the newly
built dormitory to Mass over at the mansion with Br. Joseph Damian and
his Irish setter (was it Kelly?) setting the pace .., walking the roads
saying the rosary ... shouts of joy from the softball fields .. games
of "flag" ... surprise "Benedicamus Dominos" and
a feast day off ... trips to Camp Sunset to pick apples ... learning
the discipline of silence and the love of prayer. Ice hockey on the
almost frozen pond behind the dorm with Br. Luke leading one team and
John Bosco the other. (My Rangers could use their talents.) Trips to
the Scholasticate for picnics and outings. Visits to the Redemptorists
to play ice hockey on a real rink with boards. Riding down the forbidden
pipe line that ended out on 9W with Kelley, Mullins, Sciavone, Dever,
and Dunn. God what memories: Thank you, Marist Brothers.
How about leaf days, raking the gutters till your hands ached? Wouldn't
the rains have taken care of them? Then into the snow-filled woods as
Christmas neared to pick the evergreens for the garlands that were hung
throughout the buildings. Br. Jospeh Able, history as only he could
share it, alive and real; Br. Luke, Caesar and Cicero; Br. John Bosco,
x's and y's given meaning; Br. Joseph Damian, geometry, brought me to
tears! Patient, learned, loving men of God, thank you.
Rushing summer with late May and early June trips down to the stone
dock and boathouse on the Hudson. Tempting the ice floats with unauthorized
walks on the frozen Hudson. Holy Rosary Cottage overlooking the handball
courts ruled by Brother Solano. Growing in the safe, protected Marist
world of love. Closing our days with the beautiful Salve Regina.What
memories! Even as I write, I'm filled with sentiments long forgotten.Thank
you, Brothers, one and all, for the love you taught me. Now that I've
picked up pen to write, I know a follow-up biographical sketch will
not be long in coming. (1 Kimberly Avenue, Farmingville, N. Y. 1738)
EDITOR'S NOTE: A few days after the mailing of the last issue of Marists
All Jim Friel ('52) phoned to say that since he had a number of
Marist contacts, he could elicit write-ups from those friends and acquaintances
and subsequently forward their articles to us for incorporation in the
newsletter.He also suggested that others who have already written might
similarly volunteer to serve as "assistant editors." This
is a much welcomed idea. If your friends have not yet written, urge
them to do so. Any help is greatly appreciated.
D. Kammer, 107 Woodland Dr., Harwinton, Ct. 06791;
G. Nolan, % Marist, Pksie, N. Y. 12601.
FROM BR. JOACHIM HENG ('62): I was so glad to meet so many old friends
at the gathering at Paul Stengel's house last Sunday. Paul asked me
to write something about myself for Marists All, and to send it along
through Jim Friel, whom I met at that very enjoyable gathering. As I
am not a writer, and as English is my second language, I ask you to
make any change necessary to make the write-up acceptable to the American
readers. Tonight I fly out of New York and return to Malaysia. If you
visit the Far East some day, include Malaysia or Singapore in your plans;
you will be welcomed by us. Please put me on your mailing list.
I made my novitiate in Tyngsboro in 1962-1963, then studied at Marist
College, Poughkeepsie.. From 1963 to 1966. After returning to Malaysia,
I taught in our Marist schools for ten years, then in the Marist novitiate
in Hong Kong for three years. In the beginning of 1980 I was appointed
the Provincial Superior of the China Province (Singapore, Malaysia,
Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland China), and held that office for nearly
ten years, until the end of 1989, when Br. John Lek ('60) succeeded
me. (Brother John also studied in Tyngsboro and Poughkeepsie.)
From February 1990 I began a seven month sabbatical for renewal courses
and overseas travel. I followed a renewal course at St. Bruno's in Britain
from March to May and another course in Toronto in July. In June I had
opportunities to visit the Brothers in Ireland, England, Scotland, and
Canada. Then I spent six weeks in August and September in the USA visiting
the Brothers and old friends from Marist College days. The marist communities
I visited were Chicago, Roselle, Miami, Molloy, and Mt. St. Michael.
I also had opportunities to visit Paul Stengel, Woodrow Duke, Benedict
Ho, Mark Kouo, etc. I had a most enjoyable and enriching experience
during my visit in the USA. I sincerely thank the Marist Brothers and
my old friends for their warm welcome, hospitality, generosity, and
thoughtfulness. I return to my country,Malaysia, in mid-September to
take up a new appointment.(Marist Brothers, 1-A, Road 10/3, 46000 Petaling
Jaya, phone: (03)7561164. Malaysia)
RECENT PICNIC: Probably one of the best days ever, weather-wise. The
Mount garth was clean and ready. Mount monks were as gracious as ever:
Simeon Gerald, John Bantz, Tony Iazzetti, Christopher Shannon, Pat Magee,
Bob Leclerc, Br. John Francis had clearly marked the calendar, and he
even provided us with live entertainment with his accordian.
Among the first time attendees were Denis Proulx, Bert Chasse, Bernard
Nolan on his way to Rome for renewal program, Bill Murphy from the mid-West
... Others that returned after some absence were the Ken Murins, Pat
O'Briens, Tony Miserandinos ... Becoming regulars now are: John McGalagly,
Jim Murray, John Wilcox, Bob Reynolds, Otto Kruger, Brian Lonergan,
Joe Maura, Hugh Turley, Marty Healy, along with the old time regulars
led by the LaPietras, the Nolans, Steve Martin, Zig Rancourt ...
Sharing of food worked well. Plenty. In fact, some contributions brought
and never opened; just overlooked. Several guys are unemployed. Jack
Duggan mentioned organizing a bulletin board kind of thing; thought
proposed for having such a page in Marists All, second time such an
idea has come up. (Thanks to Gus Nolan for this report.)
FROM BR. RENE ROY ('60): The Pine Ridge Reservation is the home of
18,000 people of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. This second largest reservation
in the country is also home for three Marist Brothers: Dermot Healy,
Brice Byczynski, and me, We are trying to keep alive the Marist presence
and work begun by Eric Anderberg and Julian Roy in 1973. Other Marists
who have worked here: Joe DiBennedetto, John Scileppi, Pat McNulty,
Scotty-Francis Hughes, Hugh Turley, Dave Murphy, and Ed 0'Neill.
The reservation is located in the poorest county in the United States.
The per-capita income is less than $3000. The reservation is not graced
with an abundance of natural resources and the arid climate makes farming
very difficult. Most people are on welfare, and most of those with jobs
are funded by money from the Federal Government, The tribe does not
have income producing enterprises, save for the leasing of land. Compared
to other reservations, it looks and is light years behind in economic
development and self sufficiency.
Dermot is director and fund raiser of Kola Alternative School, a day
school offering individualized learning, group therapy, and personal
counseling to boys and girls whose lives and families have been disrupted
by drugs, alcohol, physical and sexual abuse. Brice, with a special
education degree, is one of the teachers of twenty students. Dave Murphy
has remained on the faculty. The state pays part of the cost per student,
but Dermot has to raise more than 50% of the operating cost by writing
for grants, by begging, and by borrowing. He is trying to groom a local
person to assume leadership of the school, but it is very hard to find
a qualified, responsible person who will stay in the area for a while.
There is no question about the need for Kola, or about its effectiveness,
but there is question about its future. It goes without saying that
prayer for this worthy cause would be appreciated.. as well as suggestions
of any sort.
I began working at Our Lady of the Sioux Church in Oglala in 1977 with
Brice and a Jesuit priest named Jim Dixon. The Parish is poor and enormous,
covering over 500 square miles. Home visiting, teaching,, and much encouraging
led to a gradual involvement of local people in running the parish and
the liturgies, Today I remain the sole survivor of the initial pastoral
team. We have been priestless since 1986; I serve as pastor by default,
finding myself swamped with paper work and people work. I've tried getting
local people to help, but they are not skilled, reliable, or in some
cases willing to lend a hand. On the whole they expect the whites to
do everything. Besides the taking of their land as a gross and obvious
injustice, the creation of a dependent people is our second greatest
sin. Trying to break that dependency is a major task.
Hot summers, cold winters, dust, the distance between places, a Sunday
collection of $25 to $50 ...these are hard enough to deal with, but
the real problems are the evils we face daily. It is almost as if we
deal with the devil face to face. Moral standards have so degenerated
that almost everything is tolerated. When I tell people off the reservation
about this, they say they see the same sins and indifference all around
in our society. If that is so, the problem is quite overwhelming, and
the need to support one another is critical.
Champagnat lived in an age that was picking itself up from the excesses
of revolution and anarchy; his strength and confidence came from his
rock bottom trust in God, In an age that is as morally dishevelled as
post-revolutionary France, Champagnat's example is a viable approach
to dealing with today's challenges. May we all grow in our courage and
determination to keep his vision alive. (Box 20, Oglala, S. D. 57764;
FROM BILL SEARS ('52): Really enjoy Marists All info on all my long
time friends. Am now retired from active priestly ministry because of
heart and other health problems. Keep my hand in though, helping on
weekends and when called on by neighboring parishes.
I live in my cottage near the Manasota Beach which I bought 21 years
ago for next to nothing. Thank God for my training as a monk in taking
care of oneself. So I survive very nicely and comfortably, though God
help anyone who depends on "Holy Mom the Church" to take care
of them in their hour of need. No complaint! I had the combo to the
Am in the process of writing my memoirs, in lieu of anything serious
to do, because everyone I relate my "monkey and priestly"
stories to, tell me "You should write a book." Fine, but who
would dare publish it? Besides, I got enough problems, who needs lawsuits?
Would love to hear from anyone by mail or phone if you're in my area.
God bless all of us. Remembrance of all in my daily Masses and prayers.
Yes, I really live at 1745 Padre Lane, Englewood, Florida, 34223; 813-474-5217.
FROM DONALD MULCARE ('57): Many thanks, Gus, for your role in producing
and distributing the Marists All newsletter. I have written to Dave
Kammer in the past; it is your turn. We have not communicated directly
in a long time.
It is wonderful to hear news of friends after many years. Some have
traveled a long road in that time. It is reassuring to know that they
are doing well. The newsletter is also welcomed for word it brings on
the evolving work of the Marist Brothers in the Church and in the world.
At times there is some confusion in not being able to place the names
in the news ... nicknames, names in religion, family names. The directory
that was included in one of the earlier editions was helpful. Each newsletter
usually brings some sadness as the deaths of former teachers and confreres
are revealed. There is plenty to pray about after reading a copy of
I was particularly saddened to hear of the death of our friend Br.
Denis Damian. I was fortunate to have him as a science or math teacher
during each of my four years at St. Agnes High. Of all the outstanding
Marist Brothers that I met as a high school student, the impression
Brother Denis made was the most powerful end enduring. His only negative
aspect was a misplaced devotion for the Yankees. His influence was most
important in my entering St. Joseph's Novitiate in Tyngsboro. I did
not get to see Brother Denis very often during my four years in training
houses or afterward. There were visits by him to my family's home associated
with his summer courses in Chicago, and there were a few Christmas cards.
It always seemed, though, that he was available if I wanted to get in
touch with him. My folks provided news about him from time to time.
I heard that he taught in a public high school for a time. He was doing
something out of the ordinary. I am sure that his radiation of Marist
spirit did wonders for his students. My image of Brother Denis is more
than thirty years old. I hope that it is not out of date. The Agnesian
yearbook for 1955 contains many pictures of a young and smiling Brother
Denis. He was one of the most important lessons that we learned at St.
Agnes, in the early to mid 1950s. (105 Long Road, Fairhaven, Ma. 02719)
LATE WORD: Br. Nilus Vincent Donnelly is seriously ill, and has been
hospitalized from the Brothers' retirement home, 8230 S.W. 136th St.
FROM RICHARD LAPIETRA ('50): The weekend of August 3rd to 5th at Marist
College witnessed an event that was unique in the annals of the Marist
Brothers of the United States. The men of the profession groups of 1950
and 1951, both those still professed and those attached to the Marist
Brothers in the broader Marist Community, came together for a reunion
on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the taking of the habit of
the class of 1950. The members of the extended Marist family were accompanied
by their wives and, in many cases, by their children.
The weekend began on Friday evening with a social in the Fireside
Lounge in the Campus Center. Those hailing from distant points had been
able to check into their apartments in Gartland Commons earlier in the
afternoon. The next day featured free games until noon and a picnic
lunch under a tent set up on Gartland Commons Mall overlooking the Hudson
River. At five in the afternoon the film prepared for the Marist U.S.
centenary, was shown on video in the chapel; this was followed by the
celebration of the Sunday Liturgy by the community with Luke McCann,
the new college chaplain. After Mass, cocktails were served in the Fireside
Lounge followed by dinner in the River Room. The rest of the evening
saw the group socializing in the Fireside lounge. With this the formal
activities of the weekend were concluded, but most remained over till
the next day, as it was close to one in the morning when the last revellers
left for their quarters. Many spent part of Sunday morning touring the
campus or making a trip to Esopus.
Thanks to the initiative of Bill Lavigne, who had contacted me and
Larry Sullivan a year earlier, plans for the reunion took shape, Somewhere
in the course of the early stages of planning, Gerry Cox inquired about
the possibility that the reunion, originally intended for the Class
of 1950, might be extended to include his group, the Class of 1951.
Members of the Class of '50 were sounded out, and the joint venture
was overwhelmingly accepted, together with Gerry's offer of the hospitality
of Marist College for the occasion.
The weekend was special indeed. The Friday night social began tentatively,
as a handful of early arrivals assembled on the more or less deserted
campus, tentatively looking one another over for signs of recognition,
As Barbara and I walked toward the Campus Center from the Donnelly parking
lot, we spotted just one other couple making their way from the Champagnat
lot, I said to Barb that this must be someone coming to the reunion,
because there was simply no other activity on campus that weekend. It
turned out to be Pat Donaghy and his wife. I can still remember that
moment, the flash of recognition, the bear hug, and the instant sense
that my emotions would be taxed to their limit for the next forty-eight
As the crowd in the Fireside lounge grew, so did the din of excited
and delighted voices. Throughout the evening knots of people formed,
merged, fragmented, reformed in new configurations, and all the while
the sense of camaraderie heightened. Each new arrival was greeted with
shouts of joy and astonishment at how little, or how much, we had changed.
Although many were not due until the next day, I was struck at how large
this first get-together turned out to be.
A brilliant sun and a cloudless azure sky greeted us Saturday at the
picnic. There was a gentle breeze off the river, and even the humidity
for which Poughkeepsie is so noted, as you well know, was held in abeyance.
A great tent offered protection from the sun, and the smell of sizzling
franks and hamburgers lent a carnival air to the lovely summer day.
If I had a dollar for every time a camera shutter went off, I could
retire.But what I can't get out of my mind even now is the sound of
the voices ... the voices. I can still hear them ... excited, enthusiastic,
joyful, earnest, happy, loving ... Some grouped around a table where
a number of picture albums, dating back forty and more years, had been
gathered. And the conversations ebbed and flowed between accounts of
present ventures and reminiscences of the past. How we savoured the
telling and retelling of the old stories.
It is impossible to describe fully the depth of feeling that I experienced
at the liturgy. The viewing of the video film set a context and tone
for what was to follow. How many familiar faces we saw in the film,
and how reminded we were of our common roots. As the liturgy began,
the roof. fairly trembled with the joyous ovation of our song, as our
voices rose in heartfelt celebration, Lord, it is good for us to be
here! Most moving was the commemoration of our dead, five from the class
of 1950 and two from the class of 1951. In silent succession, seven
men rose from their places, took a candle from the altar, lit it from
the Pascal Candle, and stood side by side across the sanctuary. In order
they uttered the name of the Brother being commemorated, and then Bill
Lavigne intoned the Salve. You would have to have a heart of stone not
to be moved by the rendition of that hymn that day. As we gathered about
the same altar that had been the site of our prayer many years ago,
it was very clear that we recognized the lord in one another in the
breaking of the bread. And what better way to bring the celebration
to a close than with the strains of "Ever, Forever."
The celebration that began in the chapel continued with the preprandial
libations and the excellent dinner that had been prepared by Dining
Services. And the "blowout" that followed dinner conjured
up many happy memories. Ziggy Rancourt did the honors at the piano,
and yeoman service it was, as we sang all the old songs. The climax
of the evening has to be the full-throated rendition of "The Holy
City" that absolutely raised the roof.
I am writing this account fully a week after the evens I have recounted,
but even at this distance the feeling of euphoria is still with me,
and as I recall the events, the people, the cameo moments, I am overcome
by a feeling of peace and well-being. We've all gone our special ways
over the years, but there must have been something very powerful in
our common origins, for it has endured and persisted over these many
years with such intensity and passion. We have reason to be grateful
and joyous in the Marist spirit that binds us together in a unique brotherhood,
Champagnat's gift to us, And the best measure I have that this is something
real and quite genuine, not a figment of imagination or of euphoric
reverie, is the fact that the wives and many of the children were truly
touched by the spirit that I have attempted, however haltingly, to describe.
I close with profound gratitude to Bill Lavigne for his leadership
and initiative, and to Gerry Cox for so expertly martialling the resources
of Marist College to provide us with a full measure of marvelous hospitality.
And I admonish the editor to use scissors and red pencil generously
to spare the readers of Marists All. My line indicator is showing 139,
so I realize that this has gone somewhat out of control. Finally, I
expect that there will be other accountings of this glorious day, and
I look forward to reading each and every one of them, (12 Wilmot Terrace,
Poughkeepsie, N. Y. 12603; 914-485-8219)
FROM BR. HUGH TURLEY: We had a memorable time at the reunion. On Saturday
evening at Mass, Richard LaPietra gave the homily; he outdid himself,
We were all visibly touched by the feelings we experienced over the
weekend, and Richard was able to put those feelings into words. He is
a real gift to us.(4200 West 115th Street, Chicago, IL. 60655)
FROM JERRY COX ('51): What appears below is a reflection an impressionistic
record, made within hours of the conclusion of the 1990 reunion held
at Marist College in August, 1990 marks the fortieth year in religious
life for the Marist Brothers among the membership of the college graduating
class of '54 and the thirty-fifty anniversary of commencement for the
college graduating class of '55.
Attending from the class of '54: Kevin Carolan, Pat Donaghy, Charlie
Scott, Maurice Bibeau, Ed Canavan, Frank Casey, Brendan Haggerty, Joe
Horan, Michael Kelly, Richard LaPietra, Frank Moran, Jimmy Morrissey,
Larry Sullivan, Bill Powers, and Brothers Bill Lavigne, Robert James,
Hugh Andrew, Anthony Urban, and Robert LeClerc.
Attending from the class of '55: Thomas Casey, Dom Cavallaro, Jerry
Cox, Br. Gregory Dela Noy, Leo Forrest, Charlie Kelly, Phil Kelly, Bill
Krueger, Gil Levesque, Joe McMahon, Frank McNiff.. Tom Murphy, Br. Declan
Murray, John Nolan, Denis Proulx, Br. Luke Reddington, John Redmond,
Mike Sheridan. Both groups were especially pleased to be joined by Jep
Lanning, and Brothers Cornelius Russell, Joseph Belanger, Hugh Turley,
and Richard Rancourt.
"Reunion, reunion: In the beginning ... Awakened by the suddenness
of the announcement, a voice thinks aloud, "reunion." A seed,
a notion, a suggestion. Minds together wonder, wander before confirming.
Reunion. Do it. Alone as with others: foreboding, promising in concept,
yet complications. Weigh pluses; weigh minuses, Other notions, of course,
yes. Two bands of brothers; time after time, the two made one in Esopus,
Tyngsboro, Poughkeepsie. Partings and reunions patterned after bargain
subscription rates. One more time, again, to do as if the first time.
Forty or fewer years. Thirty-five or so, maybe. Depends on the wages
in the field, then, not now. Fears: can the green persist in the dry?
They told us YES Dare we discover? Do we believe? Hold the mirror up
to what is, to find what was.
Dreams from the start; no quest without one or more. Dreams, then and
now. Memories of the then. Memories and dreams together flickering in
the darkness of solitude. Reverie wrestling with the past. Where did
the dreams end? Where do the memories emerge ... from minutes in the
dust or moments in the wind. Resting, escaping. Which is real? If either
recalls faithfully, tell us. Hold the mirror up we did. Glorious, weathered
images formed clearly in good, familiar light. Images sparkling flashes
of former states, dispositions, relationships.
Memory rejoiced, renewed when recalling: Brothers Joe Al, Joel, Iggie,
Jimmie D. and Jimmie Regis, Edmund, Luke, Steve, John Pat, Aspirations,
St. Paul's Bay, the Dock, Vespers, Army-Navy games, Christmas decorations
in the mansion, scraping shutters, scrubbing marble stairs. Leagues:
A, B, C. Writing gospel study papers, committing to memory the Passion
Gospel. The Upper Room. Saturday fast. "Shall henceforth be known
as:" Dedication, commitment; investiture, vows, The Life of the
Founder; Biographies. Lake Ossipee, Camp Marist. Brothers John, Victor
A., Gerard, Pius, Louis Oner, Simeon, Giles, Petrus.
And George Burns, Adrian, Nilus, Paul, Leo, Frank, George R., Tarcy.
"By and large, gentlemen ..." The litany of childhood saints
grows larger. Projects. Catechism of the BVM. Lux et Tenebrae, the Monsignor's
Hour, the Lame Donkey, Henry V. Building a chapel. The Cardinal's visit,
Blue vigil lights. Looney tunes. Camp Sunset. The egg run. The bus-coop.
Assignments: laundry, tailor shop, August anxieties, teaching. The first
departures. "Group" succumbs to "community." Group
reunions, perhaps, at retreats. The thirty day retreat, solemn reunion.
First home room. Discovering television after the fact. Graduate work.
Summer projects, camp, back to school. Movement: different schools,
different communities. Vatican II. Renewal. Chapters. Leaves. Departures.
School years become decades, too fast, too soon. Convocations, commissions.
Marriages, children: David and Dan, Andrew and Anne, Chris and Steve,
Jim and Luke, Jane and Janet, Maureen and Mike, Joe and Andy ... Old
names, familiar faces, voices prodding recollections of younger days,
sharing in distant undiscovered moments. Wives sharing dreams, helping
to spin days, weeks, months, and years into newer memories, scattered
as clutterments among anniversaries. Names as charming as their bearers:
Barbara, Arlene, Linda, Anne, Mary, Jo-Ann, Donna, Susan, Evelyn, Marilyn,
Jacqueline, Margaret ... Each strengthening by depth and color our mirror's
Highlights appear from leadership challenges: directors, provincials,
councillors. New missions, apostolates. Write, research. Publish. Promote.
Recruit. Furrows form, lines grow deeper. A new generation is coming.
Newness is evening.
The mirror confirmed that it's 1990. We bonded, few learn that our
barnacles are truly surface; feelings, values, beliefs remain firmly
set, rockbottomed. The green years did lead to variety and variations
in personal choices, and yet to consistency in goals. "Omnia ad
.." today as always. The foundation for the bonding remains. Rejoice,
we, individually and collectively, always for what was, and is, and
has yet to come. Ever, forever. (83 Remsen Avenue South, Wappingers
Falls, N. Y. 12590; 914-297-7655)
FROM CHARLEY (Peter Daniel) KELLY ('51): Thanks so much for sending
me all the back issues of Marists All. It helped me catch up on thirty-five
years of separation from the monks. Our reunion was an experience that
is difficult to describe: it was fun, it was silly, it was profoundly
moving, it was deeply religious with strong renewed feelings of being
part of a community. I tried to capture my thoughts and feelings on
the airplane as I returned home Sunday. I've sent it to some of the
monks already, but feel free to include it in Marists All if you think
others would like to hear about our weekend. We didn't want it to end:
As Ziggy played the last few bars of the last song, we said good-bye
to each other once ... twice ... and even three times, but no one was
leaving the lounge. And even when we went back to the apartments, Binski,
Otto, and I sat on the stone steps and talked some more. We just didn't
want it to end ...
The reunion weekend had been an incredibly exciting emotional roller
coaster. I had been a bit apprehensive. I had been so disconnected for
so long a time! Would I recognize anyone? Would they remember me after
thirty-five years? But there we were, playing "WHO AM I?"
in the cool bright sun of a late Friday afternoon. For me, all had been
frozen in the time capsule of my mind as they were so long ago: we were
tall and lean, our hair was black, blond, or red, we were 20 years old
.But the faces before me were crowned with steely gray as was my own,
and we were just a bit wider in the middle, and "twenty years old"
was a L-O-N-G time ago.Then Charlie Scott wondered out loud if Phil
Kelly could still catch a baseball, and Phil yelled across the grass,
"Ah can still catch yo fastball Charlie ... barehanded!" It
took less than an hour of warm affectionate hugs and laughing at each
other, and the years magically evaporated. We began to become again
the bonded group of "young" men telling old stories, teasing
one another and irreverently mimicking those who had so valiantly tried
to make us good monks.
Saturday morning dawned clear with a bright sun to match my mood.
More of our brothers arrived. Pictures appeared to re-enforce our images
of "the way we were" and the way we were feeling again, We
began to meet the wives and children of our buddies. And some of the
kids enjoyed seeing how Dad looked when he was 18 and weighed in at
a snappy 150 pounds. Quick trips to Esopus and long walks around the
campus brought back more memories and shared experiences. "The
pool was over here ... and the chicken coop was over there ... where
is the old cemetery?" As we stood reading the names of men who
taught us and for whom we prayed every night, I wondered to myself,
"How could I not have thought of these men in all these years?"
Now we are in the chapel with its many visual reminders of the hours
of work, sweat, and fun we shared together in working on its construction.
The film has set the stage by bringing us "up-to-speed" on
the Marist Brothers of the Schools over the last 100 years. Joe takes
us near the top of the roller coaster when he asks us to remember the
great men who played a part in the forming and the transforming each
of us from kids to Marist Brothers and to the men we are today. The
remembrance of the seven who had gone before us was deeply moving. I
only got half way through the Salve when I had trouble with a large
lump in my throat. The Eucharist was particularly special this day,
When Joe said, "Charley, the Body of Christ," I could think
only of the men about me and the great men who had done so much for
us. When we sang Ever Forever, the links were completed. We were together
again .. one band of Marist Brothers with a common heritage and tradition.
What a wonderful feeling of belonging!
Then the "construction crew" had its picture taken from every
conceivable angle by the most wonderful group of ladies I've met in
many a year, They too banded together and let "the boys" do
what they wanted to do ... tell more stories, The banquet was really
great. Phil never was able to feed us that good... but then Jerry had
a slightly larger budget to work with. The cheese cake topped off a
truly magnificant meal.
Back at the Fireside lounge where Ziggy (God bless him) played for
hour after hour, we sang till our voices began to fail us. And again
Joe and Jerry brought us back 35 years to sing "Old Man Noah"
and "The Holy City" followed closely by their classic rendition
of "The Good Ship Lollipop." And though the spirit was truly
willing and even wanting to continue, the excitment of the day took
its toll on our bodies and voices ... and it was time to say good-bye.
A bit of melancholy crept in as we said that word goodbye ... over
... and over ... and over again, Once again affectionate hugs were exchanged,
and the ladies who had been strangers just a day ago were now warm,
almost close friends, and I saddened a bit at the thought of being separated
again from my brothers, Binski, Otto, and I had to sit on the steps
to tell one more story .. to keep it going just a little longer ...
not wanting to let go. The next morning broke cloudy and a bit dreary,
again appropriate to my mood. But we laughed some more at breakfast
and shared a few more bear hugs till some large raindrops told us it
was really over ... time to go.
A quick stop at the chapel to say good bye to THE LADY who had brought
us together in the first place ... and then on to the plane to return
to my other world, to the lovely lady who has loved me and shared our
life for 32 years, to our boys and their families and to the many joys
these people hold for me. But somehow it didn't seem fair to have to
bridge forty years in just forty hours. I kept thinking, "We just
didn't want it to end ! (6905 Jester Boulevard, Austin, Texas, 78750)
FROM CHARLEY SCOTT ('50): This is for my Marist brothers, especially
for those in the groups of 1950 and 1951. You have been in my thoughts
a lot since we gathered in August for our reunion, celebrating 40 years,
plus or minus a few, that we have been part of each other's personal
histories. Like the song says: "... it was a very good year."And
so it was ... when we were eighteen. But now I think I want to extend
the song and say about 1990: It. was a very good year when I was fifty-eight,
and I met you once again, many for the first time in forty years. I
count myself very lucky, and I want to thank you for being there.
For me our reunion in Poughkeepsie was a very special time, one that
may never repeat itself, so therefore all the more special. I find myself
trying to recreate and bring order to a kaleidoscope of images of that
week end ... faces especially, those there and those not there in body
but in my mind's eye, but also words said and words unsaid, and the
acute strength of our bond in the liturgy of Saturday afternoon. I had
prepared myself mentally for the "Salve Regina" but not for
the "Ever, Forever," a hymn unaccountably gone from my memory
for all these years, the strains of which triggered such a flood of
recollections as almost to overwhelm. It made clear to me that the phrase
"my Marist brothers" held an importantly different meaning
for me from the phrase "the Marist Brothers," but one equally
valid, and in any case the one closer to the reality of our present
Weren't we fortunate to have Bill Lavigne and Joe LaPietra and Gerry
Cox to put it all together for us and to help us through those potential
moments of inarticulateness? At our dinner we recognized what they did
for us. And well they deserve our thanks. But, if memory serves me right,
I think it was in these pages of Marists All that JOE HORAN first asked
if a 40th reunion was an idea that interested any of us.At least, this
is what I remember.So I think his suggestion was the spark to set it
all in motion. And I wish I had thought to say so that evening at dinner.But
I want to say it now, and to thank him for raising the idea in the first
place. Thanks, Joe.
And again, thanks to all. It was a grand reunion. Just the way a good
Old Timers' game should be. You'll forgive me, I hope, for the analogy.
But what else could you expect from a pitcher with no zip left on his
fastball? (4737 Lafayette Drive, Madison, Wi. 53705)
FROM FRANK SUTTON ('59): Greetings to all present and former Marists.
Receiving the newsletter still conjures up many good memories. This
summer Lenny V's annual birthday greeting from Rome turned out to be
a real epistle, wondering how the big 50 would hit me. Well, at the
beginning of the summer I spent three weeks in Guadeloupe, thanks to
the French government. It wasn't a totally relaxing time at its beautiful
beaches, but it was another of those learning experiences. Next. I hope
to have a group of students spend time in French West Indies. Besides
teaching French in Bennington, Vermont, I am still running SUTTON PLACE,
my "maison d' hotes" in the midst of great ski areas and store
outlets. So all you ski lovers should make your way here. It's great
keeping in touch with all through the newsletter, finding out how extensive
the families have become. Hope to be reading about you or seeing you
in Vermont. (School Street, Manchester Center, Vermont, 05255; 802-362-1165)
Mail articles to David Kammer, 107 Woodland Drive, Harwinton, Ct. 06791,
or to Gus Nolan, % Marist College, Poughkeepsie, N. Y. 12601.