Fall ’71 – Conclusion

That fall, Father, oh, let’s call him W, and Father Bob were the high school sub-directors.  They oversaw the daily operations of the place, organized and assigned the students’ work schedules, and generally managed to keep chaos in check.  Father W was originally from Holy Redeemer.  Most of the students admired and respected him.  He tended to favor jocks; I don’t think he was all that fond of me.

Both he and Father Bob coached the school’s soccer teams:  Father W was the varsity coach; Father Bob, the JV.  I’ve always kind of thought that Bob was the antithesis of W.  W was, not guarded, but chose his words carefully, nuanced so that you couldn’t really be sure what it was he had in mind.  By contrast, Bob was very direct, very forthright, and never shy about letting you know exactly where you stood.  He ruffled feathers (definitely not W’s style) and didn’t care – especially if he thought things needed to change.  At least one of his sayings (“Rompin’ Robert” comes back to mind – Bob was a combination of Gene Autry, Gary Cooper and John Wayne) was:  “Don’t want it.  Don’t need it.  Get rid of it.”

Father Bob is one of the finest people I’ve ever known.  He’s shown me great kindness over many years, from the time I cried in front of him and a couple of my classmates when the rector’s brother scolded me over the phone in Bob’s office that I was telling Edgerton prospects not to go to the seminary – a misunderstanding ultimately, but still hurt like hell – and other high school traumas, to his time stationed in Chicago at St. Michael’s (circa 2007) as part of the Redemptorist Mission Team, where we’d talk about philosophy, theology, social justice, and just life at large.  Good times …

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