We spent the summer getting ready to pack up and ship me off to the high school seminary in Edgerton, Wisconsin. It’s not really fair to say “ship off” – I already had three brothers before me attend the place. The parish organized a bus to take a whole bunch of interested eighth graders out to Wisconsin (maybe a seven hour drive) in the spring for a weekend to get an idea of what the place was like.
From what I can remember, I was looking forward to going there. Of course, once you were there, it was a slightly different story. There was the expected homesickness, but nothing intolerable. I don’t think the fathers made us write home every so often, but I do remember writing home fairly regularly that first year. Some years later, I remember Mom telling me those letters were some of the nicest things she ever got from us – just a few short pages every so often from her boys telling her about the latest goings on, how they missed her and loved her and was looking forward to coming home for Christmas or summer break.
It was a small high school. There were around seventy, eighty students that fall, maybe sixteen seniors, and a lot of freshmen, forty of ‘em. As far as priests and brothers go, these are the folks I remember:
Father Leo was rector. His brother Robert was also a priest, stationed in my home parish in Detroit; he recruited many Holy Redeemer eighth graders for seminary. I didn’t know Father Leo very well; I think we thought of the rector as CEO, president and king of the joint all wrapped into one. He might have been approachable, but how would you ever know?
Father Walt was second in command, the school principal. He was fun to know; very friendly, a full melodious FM radio kind of voice, pleasant to hear. Occasionally he would dress students down every so often for unacceptable behavior – part of his job. I’ll tell you more about Father Walt in the senior year Parents’ Weekend story.
Father Martin was the school bursar; he handled the money for both the school and the religious community. He wasn’t unfriendly, but he didn’t have much interaction with the students, so it was difficult to get to know him. Father Marty was a tall guy, very sturdy too – not heavy, not thin, sturdy.