April 15, 2014
the philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation3rd entry – easter 2014
The image is of my parents’ driveway this morning. This will be the last time that I will voluntarily come up here in April. If I come up to visit in the spring, it will be after mid-May. Coming back to winter is depressing.
Today, I finally went up to the Board of Education hoping to find a trove of old photographs of the elementary schools from back in the late 50’s. Found nothing. The Catholic Board is housed in the old convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph. The all-girls high-school – Mount St. Joseph College – next door is the curriculum department. Walking into the door of the old high-school was like going through a time warp. The lobby has had no renovations done to it. It still looks like it did back in the early sixties. Here was a location that I spent many hours in while at St. Mary’s, the all-boys high-school. The Mount was our sister school and we had many dances together. (For one semi-formal, I helped to decorate. I had this idea of hanging streamers from wires strung across the gym. It was lots and lots of yard-long streamers and one of the other guys helping got all pissed at my insistence that they be one yard long. That was the last time I ever volunteered to have anything to do with school dances. To this day, I avoid school dances.)
will be the philosophy of the government in the next generation
In the open/liberal days of the 60’s the separations and restrictions of the previous decades were beginning to fade away. By the time Jo’, Rose and Mary were at the Mount, the boys from St. Mary’s were coming over to take classes at the all girls’ school.
The visit had me thinking about all the generational shifts that I’ve seen. I began as a young man believing that the structures and agencies that I had grown up with were worth joining and embracing. The structures were provided by the Catholic Church, so I went off and joined a group of teaching Brothers. What I found when I got there was a group going through a generational shift and I saw the organization and Catholic education radically change. The structures and agencies fell apart as the modern world exerted itself on the old order. Little by little the world that I had grown up in disappeared. The Church and the immigrant community were radically altered. All the familiar sign-posts fell down and new ones could not stay up in the quicksand that was the late 60’s and early 70’s.
I went from a hill-top village in Calabria, to a steel-mill town in Northern Ontario, the a monastery in Rhode Island, to a college in the center of the world – NYC – all in 13 years.