This week is Halloween, All Saints Day, a religious conference put on by Family Missions Company called “The Proclaim Conference” around here but perhaps known as Proclaim among most attendees. It is homecoming week at UL and it is the week between early voting and the general election. But while I will mention those things in this blog none of them are the core and focus of this post. I also am going to the wake and possibly the funeral of Dr. Hayden “Pete” Mayeaux. He is a man who made a real contribution to my family and community. But I am not posting about any of those topics today. I am posting about work and living.
I am going to discuss a little further down in this post what I thought my life and work might be like over the last twenty-five years. This is not just any homecoming it is my twenty-fifth anniversary one. I am reminded of not getting far down that road first taken and am reminded of the work done since that direct first path was lost. So let us review very briefly my life and work since 1990 when I suffered my first major setback.
When I left Tulane Law School where I had planned to launch my legal career I was still married to the woman I had wed late in our undergraduate studies. We left Tulane and engaged in that activity my associates in life often refer to as “licking one’s wounds”. That took a few weeks. We spent some time with my extended family at a great resort with my grandparents celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary.
Then I was working in seafood sales and brokering as I had done many times before including even during my time at Tulane Law. I went down with the owner and chief sales manager of the privately held company that was my employer on a buying trip to Merida. This was typical of a lot of things about my seafood crowd. The owner paid for four tickets, four registration packages, four hotel and food packages and in me provided one of the two or three best interpreters on the trip. However, the trip was supposed to be a sales trip sponsored by the US Department of Commerce and we were there buying. While that exact event was unique it somehow encapsulates all of my considerable experiences in the fishmongering world. While there Lieutenant Governor Paul Hardy presented me with the honor of Honorary Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana. He gave me a very large and beautiful certificate that I was proud to display as I was to mention the honor on my resume. My interest in food has been lifelong and even in my lawn and garden care around the house this year I am most pleased with the limes and oranges we have harvested and hope to harvest. There is no great scale in that enterprise but it still pleases me a good bit.
When I got back I set up those purchases and set up a series of chain and institutional sales for catfish and catfish products of sizes which were not in the main stream of demand and commerce. That was about all I did before quitting my job and going to work for St. Thomas More High School. I knew it would annoy him but I left my employer with a proposal for changes needed in the company. From a distance over the years I watched many of them take place. (Since I wrote this note however the company has closed because it imported much Mexican labor after the ties established on this trip and has had trouble getting the paperwork in order in recent years according to one of the former owners). I had done some of all these kinds of things before but these were not the paths I had set out for myself when I graduated in 1989. These tasks were different. My intention in those days was to pursue a career that would have involved food, Mexico, teaching and other things that my life currently involved but the basis for the whole of my work activity would have been in the legal profession. My father grandfather and three uncles (two of his three brothers and one of my mother’s brothers) were lawyers and the law framed much of my thinking. It still does as you can see here, here and here. My first year out of the path I had planned on was not all bad, I worked in seafood brokering and sales (which I had done before)and my contributions won me the honor of recognition as Honorary Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana. I left this work to be fulltime theology teacher at Saint Thomas More Catholic High School in Lafayette where I would tie into my certificates as an exegete from EAPI and my commissioning as an Evangelist in the Diocese where the school was located.
My story must return to the subject of St. Thomas More High School. The wake I will be attending today is near the school and I have stayed in touch with people from there and with the institution I various ways for many years since my one year teaching there. My Mom had helped me hear about and get an interview for the job at STM and I took Sarah to school there as I commuted to work. Michelle soon found a job in Lafayette in a career field she would follow in for a good while. I added a part-time job as youth minister at St. Mary’s Parish and then we moved from Mom and Dad’s neighborhood in a rental house to an apartment in Lafayette. Mom and Dad soon moved to house only a few miles away. My sister Susanna was registered to go with Sarah to STM the next year. I care about schools and teaching. I once considered getting a masters in education. I have corresponded with students I taught and didn’t teach. I continued to support and be excited about all of the speech competitions my sisters excelled in at STM. I wrote game stories for their soccer and football teams about ten years later for Lafayette’s Daily Advertiser. This is all the follow through that weaves into my life.
Schools are one of the front lines in the world forever more or less and so this military missive I wrote to a student at the Citadel stands for my views about a great deal of teaching. Here :
Your father sent out an invitation for notes to you at The Citadel. I have sent your father a note on my views on a number of matters which I titled “My Own Confederate Heritage” and we are Facebook Friends. I want to say I appreciate and respect your commitment to preserving the living Confederate and American military tradition. I have relatives who have been to West Point, Forks Union, Riverside, Vriginia Military Institute and other such institutions but I myself have no military or military educational record. However, perhaps that can make you feel more connected to the ideals and beliefs of an even larger group than if I had been to such a school.
I wish you well in your studies and hope that you will find in your academic studies an opportunity to expand your mind, develop your character and learn to better present your point of view. You will in time find your own path. There will be disappointments along the way. I remember when I was not so much older than you and was finishing up my first academic degree my young bride and I visited Beauvoir’s Confederate shrine on our honeymoon. However, it has been a long time since we were divorced and my life has had many other twists and turns. Yet through my faith, the grace of God, hard work and the support of thousands of comrades and relatives I am able to look back on some victories and consolations in my half century of life which seem to me to be significant. You too can expect to see great things happen even in troubled times.
The country and civilization in which we live is more in jeopardy than many think. Your resolve and training may one day be called upon to dare great things against great odds. However, I have risked my life enough time in enough places around the world (Mexico, China, the Philippines, Colombia and elsewhere) to feel no shame when I say do not be in too much of a hurry for crisis and risk. I think if you hold to your honor, heritage and conscience it is likely you will be sorely tried. The current phase of your life should be about preparing yourself, making friends and perhaps courting a young woman or a few which will lead to some partnership in life which will ever comfort you. However, fun is also not be undervalued.
I am enclosing a few tokens from a different part of Dixie without explanation. I hope you find them interesting.
I do and did value teaching. I taught for the 1990-1991 academic year. That year I was also certified as a Catechist at the basic level by the Diocese of Lafayette. My wife became the youngest branch manger in a major corporation with many branches and we lived well within our means. But I was moving on from that environment and institution as my sisters continued to study there and my mother would start teaching there for two years with my recommendation after a one year gap. I would follow all their deeds with interest in the early 1990s.
However, by that time I would be a Board of Regents Fellow at Louisiana State University. Michelle had a good job in Baton Rouge with the same company she had worked for in Lafayette and I had the fellowship money and some other sporadic income. My last year was at LSU was the only time I have so far been enrolled at the same place and at the same time with one of my syblings, Sarah was at LSU. I had driven her as a student to STM High School when I taught there. I received my Master of Arts degree there in 1993 shortly after the death of my grandfather former Louisiana Chief Justice Frank W. Summers. While there I published an article in the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television. Michelle’s career flourished and although neither of us were huge successes we were not failures either. We were pretty happy and pretty successful as far as living in a rental townhouse can be considered successful in America. I have never owned a home. I have cared for many and enjoy the hard work of keeping up the grounds where I live currently.
We had no title to a home but we did own two new vehicles we had bought new and although I was getting really fat for the first time since early adolescence we were more in love and happy than at any time since just after our wedding. So if Law school was really brutally bad — then graduate school was pretty good. I was tired and stressed but not as alienated as I have often been. It was a time for maintenance and restorations. Then two things did happen when I was in Grad school at LSU that had a big impact on my life between the two of them. One was that my half-brother Paul Nicolas Jordan came into my life. The other was that my grandfather Frank W. Summers I died. These things and earning my Masters really defined those years. I think that few people realized how hard I worked during those fellowship years. But it was the most sedentary life I had ever lived and although I hunted and walked a bit I did not starve myself to adjust to the change of physical pace. I gained a great deal of weight. After graduating I would back into wholesale food sales as a sales associate for Sysco foodservices before returning to Tulane Law School. I went into food sales again which was familiar but in the summer I started prepping for law school and and then did some legal assisting work of various kinds during the summer before I returned to Tulane Law School again.I am going to deal with both very different periods of my time at Tulane Law below. It is not a simple path to chart.
But let us fist go back to the time I was in undergraduate school and which was over twenty-five years ago. I hope to weave this in with other parts of my life more clearly now. The bulk of this post is a pasting together of excerpts from my earlier blog posts and Facebook notes I wrote a while back. That means I should have had more than one chance to correct spelling, mechanical and minor factual errors than usual because I spent time creating the text first and then a longer or shorter time reworking it. However, I know from experience that there may be a gross error of continuity from pasting parts together and have lots of irritating glitches. I hope not. If you read it and wish to comment I will try to address errors and questions. It is part of my life to keep interconnecting and reworking media even if it is generated by me. I have not gotten rich and famous but I have been involved with many kind of media and communications in my life and work.
Perhaps I have been a bit prone to focus more on my own thoughts than the average person for quite some time. Today is a day when that seems more true than usual. I am very much aware of how far I am from the kind of success many of my correspondents in life have achieved. I am also interested in anniversaries and the passage of time. I am currently not planning to buy a ticket to my alma mater’s homecoming football game this year which I usually do. I would need to at least purchase one more or less as soon as I get finished with my blog post. That is more or less the last minute and later than I normally buy the tickets on the many years when I do go to Homecoming. I did make one game this year already — the home opener. I got that ticket through the coordinators of the Circle of Friends group I was meeting with in Lafayette.
It has sometime happened in the years that I did make the homecoming game that I bought these homecoming game tickets with cash even second hand or else with my own bank card. But more often than not someone else has bought them for me at a group rate or I will be buying one a bit early for myself alone with my mother’s credit card. I sometimes do this and pay her back with cash but it often happens as with other things this weekend related to events I am going to try to take in during the end of the year that she has given a ticket to me as a gift. I feel a sense of obligation to be there and I have often been to Homecoming games over the years. Much of my life has been devoted to observing and becoming invested in other games . . . I will mention again sometimes writing high school sports but I also have been to many games for nieces and nephews.
THIS YEAR MARKS TWENTY-FIVE YEARS SINCE MY GRADUATION. But I have not gotten an invitation to anything except those sent out to all University students and have not had the resources to initiate much organization although I do love my school and watching football. I certainly am not proud or happy not to be going to this game nor would I be delighted to be going alone and in many other ways in the situation I am currently in at this time. Back in the days I was in undergraduate study things were not so smooth either, but I was still a little optimistic. I had less radical goals and more hope of achieving them. I began my studies at USL in Lafayette Which is now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and I earned about a smemester of Advanced credits which I certified by completing the courses above them in the catalogue, I also took the course required to be enrolled in the Honors Program and this filled out my first semester pretty completely at the end of which I was a sophomore gaining on those my age who had started college a year before I did. But I left the uNited States returned to tthe Philippines with my family and ended up missing the next semester and the summer. When I returned I was enrolling at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. I won the Sophomore Class Award there (so did a young woman as they were awarded to one male and one female student). I also had the part with the most line in the University of Steubenville production Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town — that of Stage Manager. But I left the school in the middle of my third semester there. I left there in the middle of my third semester for many reasons including money. My work life woven in with my education is an almost impossible story to digest in a brief sketch like this so I am representing it here as a separate timeline. When I got back to Louisiana my family were coming back from the Philippines. We met up at my maternal grandparents home called Kisinoaks on the Bayou. My grand parents were now living only in the small house in the back leaving what some would call the mansion in the front unoccupied. Mom and Dad settled in and Dad (who had done legal work during many trips home) worked as a lawyer. They bought a house in Abbeville and I (who had broadcast experience of various kinds and who had taken mass communications in college) got my lifetime FCC radiotelephone license and got a job as a country music DJ. After a bit of time welcoming my family back from the Philippines and working in parish based religious education before I returned to U. S. L. I went to work as a Director of Religious Education at St. Theresa Church in Duson , Louisiana where I lived in the rectory with Monsignor Ignatius A. Martin This was not a long but was an important institutional transition job. My first semester back in college I met Michelle Denise Broussard the only person I have been legaly and/or sacramentaly married to and we began dating. We wed in December of 1987. I graduated in May of 1989 and was the Outstanding Graduate selection of my department and college as well as of the Alumni Association of the whole university. Michelle graduated the next semester in December. I was already at Tulane Law and we were having a multi-faceted hard time that I will return to later in this post. But at USL I felt my life had some drive, focus and promise as regards a career. One reality is that today I do not really have much a career as such things are usually defined.
After my first time at Tulane I never felt that I would find a short and clear path leading anywhere I wanted to be. Before that I thought I might. I will revisit USL one last time as a an approach to the coming crisis at Law School and the death of those plans. I once had plans for an ambitious and more conventional career. When I graduated from UL in May of 1989 I went to work that summer for the law Firm of Mangham, Hardy, Rolfs and Abadie in the offices near the top of the First National Bank Tower in downtown Lafayette. It was as close as I have ever come to feeling like my life was on a smooth and established track and not a trek through dangerous places. I was headed off to Tulane Law School in the fall. A lot of people in my life who have always behaved badly toward me when they were around chose not to that summer. I had been on television and in the newspapers a great deal when I won the Outstanding Graduate award and it seemed like I would be given some space to do things one step at a time in a way that I have never really known at any other time.
My time at Tulane Law School that first run was one of the worst times of my life. That is from my point of view saying a great deal. We lived next to a family who were in charge of our floor in student housing and screamed and roared many hours every day. Michelle never found any job of significance which wrecked our financial plan, I got hit in a horrible traffic situation and got the ticket, I was chronically sick, we had several family crises. Someone who owed me a substantial amount of money skipped out on payment and it was an informal exchange without legal recourse. Those patterns were established early on and then there were a lot of other bad things. Michelle told me she was pregnant fifteen minutes before my first moot court competition and that she was not (either never was or had lost the pregnancy) just in the middle of my real examination preparation. Then my relationships already included a lot of people who were the opposite of supportive. Despite being a harsh, grim and critical man my grandfather Frank W. Summers I came across as a major source of counsel, social and financial support. He and I had been close of years and this put a strain on our rebuilding relationship but it was a time when he really shone in several ways. When Michelle and I left Tulane after a semester and a bit then in almost every way the life I had sought to graduate into was dead. The journey since then has been an entirely different journey.
That journey has involved a mix of family, recreation and work. But it has been ambitious in less attainable ways than I had hoped.
But it has been varied as is evinced by looking at one aspect of my whole life, associations. I want to list some or most of the groups and associations with which I have been involved although I cannot do much more than list them: Known Groups I have belonged to but did not help to Found and in which my records may be imperfect:National Rifle Association,Louisiana-Mississippi Press Associations Joint Roll, Louisiana Sportswriters Association, Community for Creative Nonviolence, Pax Christi, Bread For the World, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Blue Men of America, The Optimist Club and Student Catholic Action of the Philippines. Known Groups I have belonged regularly but did not help to Found and am now lapsed: Democratic Party, Certified Foreign Experts of the People’s Republic of China, University of Southwestern Louisiana Pre-Law Club, Knights of Columbus, Family Missions Company, American Cancer Society, United Blood Services, Louisiana State University Alumni Association, Mensa, Gamma Beta Phi, Phi Kappa Phi, USL Honors Program, University of Louisiana Honors Program Alumni Association, University of Louisiana Alumni Association, The Black Scorpions, Tulane Public Interest Law Foundation, Christian Association for Carreer Development in Youth Services, and numerous Facebook Groups. Known Groups I have Founded or Helped to Found outside of Facebook Groups regardless of other factors: Juventud San Pedro, Maranatha Youth Group, Bukidnon State Catholic Youth Congress, Brotherhood of the Cross, Open Dooor Community, 7 Cs. Facebook Groups I founded and destroyed when the rules changed: Crater Cap Colony Concept Group, Abbeville Louisiana’s Mount Carmel Elementary School Attendees, Summers Family Name Association, Seedbed of a New Geopolitics, Responsible Royalists Reforming Republics, Vermilion Parish Library Independent Patrons Association, Historical Restorarions, and eight others.
This post is about work, life and also about working for a living. I believe that My life’s work has gone on for almost long as it can under the circumstances in which I labor. I must face the future or whatever else the next step is somewhat distinctly from those carried forward on a great wave of momentum. I have evaluated my work and life before and now I must do so again. I am jumping around my life’s timeline and while the pictures reference recent things and so do some comments in paragraphs we have worked our way back to USL and then forward to Tulane after dealing with the time between the two Tulane years. I am eager to set out some basic dates: I first enrolled at Tulane Law School the next fall after a May graduation— August 1989. I left the school in early 1990. I returned to Tulane Law School in August of 1994. Michelle and I separated in January or so of 1995. I went to Micronesia to be with my family and shortly afterwards we divorced without contest on my part. I have been very single almost all the time and somewhat single all the time since then.
I want to discuss what these later underemployed years have been like in a brief narration before returning to the changes and crises of earlier years. I went back to Tulane and the second time my marriage ended. It was a major crisis although my grades were better and I met one person I consider an important figure in my life. After Tulane I almost taught in Micronesia but returned to the United States to tend to my divorce before really getting started. Shortly after or before the final saga of the divorce procedure I returned to Abbeville alone from Micronesia. I was staying in Abbeville with my paternal grandmother and my family came back fromwhere we had all been in Chuuk together. I had been spending some time together with the only one of my sisters who had not made the journey. Sarah was married, had a daughter named Alyse and had graduated with a top ranking and perfect grade point average from LSU. She was giving birth to her second daughter Anika at about that time. I became Anika’s godfather. The role of parrain is very important to me and to some others around me. The rest of my family came back after my mother had come back to be with Sarah and the children and her husband. I reunited with my parents and younger siblings and all of us moved into a tiny house (for us a very crowded one) near the railroad tracks in Abbeille. Mom and Dad began building a large home on the smaller farm called the Big Woods Farm which was part of a larger feature called Big Woods and which had been part of my Dad’s large family farm when I was growing up. This would be a long process it seemed with my mother shopping for bargains on materials and her brother Bruce working as the contractor as well as one of the hands on carpenters. I was homeschooling my brothers Joseph and Jon Paul for free that year. I taught them film class, logic, the classics, an introduction to the martial arts and the Bible in five formal classes each meeting a few times a week and they worked on other things the rest of the time. I did many things in those early years after ending my publicly growing carreer but I did little that is well documented or worth including here.I went with my mother, brother John Paul and others on a pilgrimage to Grand Pre in Acadie Canada. We traveled to Domino Farms in Michigan to visit Susanna at FUS, Niagara falls, to historical sites in Boston, to the Shrine of the First North American Martyrs, and to visit my sister Sarah who was working at Yale’s Project on Nonprofit Organizations (PONPO) while her hubbie Jason was studying at Yale Divinity School. We had met up with her and her daughters at Niagara Falls and vacationed there. Some of the stops I mention were made on the way back but our trip’s high point for me was the sacred and powerful time in Acadie. The sense of union with my Acadian heritage was very meaningful to me. I came back and Dad transferred a very small farm to me called the Rock-a-Bye Tract One which I improved a good bit and later returned to him. The words buy and sell could be used but these family transactions are not the same as ordinary purchases really. I worked with this farm and distributed my mother memoirs Go! You are Sent around the country and the world along with other tasks. In the summer of 2000 I went alone on a long train trip. My mother met me at the end of it. I had business in Virginia and Alabama but also went to New Haven to watch Jason graduate, treat Sarah to a birthday celebration and bond with Alyse and Anika. On return in August of 2000 I began work as a substitute teacher for the Vermilion Parish School Board and continued to do the work on my farm and business doing this. While I was subbing my sister Susanna married Mike and at this writing they have Michael, Anthony, Dominic and Thomas. Susanna’s wedding was held in Mexico out of our family home and mission base once part of the palace of the Marquess de Aglaya to which I had then and later would make many short trips. I now kept up teaching, writing and continued the other things I was doing.The school system and other parts of my life were battered by a series of storms less famous than Katrina and Rita’s joint devastation years later. Just as that whole pattern was coming to an end I attended the Health and Life Insurance License required training offered by Insurance Specialty Training of Louisiana. I completed the course successfully. I then took the test, passed it and got my license. However, I was unable to find a real job selling insurance and have since let my license lapse although I once did renew it. The well known phenomena of Gulf of Mexico hurricanes in the form of storms less famous than Katrina or Rita had a lot to do with me looking for a change. In 2004 I went to China, a country I had always wanted to visit. I flew into Hong Kong hoping to take a train from there. Instead, I flew the rest of the way. I taught at the Shandong Institute of Business and Technology. I taught in several of the colleges within the university including the China Canada Higher Applied Technology College. I had wonderful students and a full load. From several of my classrooms I had a fabulous view of the Yellow Sea and a small view of it from my apartment. I toured extensively in Yantai, Shandong where I lived and in other places. I finished a semester having taught almost a year’s load of courses completely. Due to passport and visa paperwork problems I left early and was not able to return but had no calsses left in progress though others were scheduled to start. I returned feeling somewhat transformed to the United States fairly early in 2005. I wrote an article with photographs about my trip for a local cultural newspaper called Bonnes Nouvelles and that was the last real paid job transaction I have had in the united states outside of family transacttions except when I took a job helping my disabled brother Simon adjust to life outside his aprtment by working full time for IBC Healthcare. That job ended in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita when I was injured and fled the chaos to San Diego and then Mexico. I have over the course of my life in fact been employed as a writer by The Daily Advertiser, the Abbeville Meridional, Bonnes Nouvelles, and The Vermilion among other periodicals. I have been employed to teach by quite a few institutions. I have over the course of my life had my own business, a farm, and numerous small jobs and projects. I have at one time or another spoken, read or written a really large number of languages although I am not comfortable calling myself fluent in very many of them. I think Americans are unlikely to re-examine ideas and assumptions about work but I think that they should.
I have been really busy the last few days. I often am really busy but there is a great deal of what I do which is fairly marginal. It toil at setting up small home offices and keeping up lawns and gardens. I really never grow too tired to hope for the restoration of beautiful things in my life and surrounds. I recently have been enjoying the autumn and all the somewhat muted wonders of early Fall around here. But there is a lot to do all around me and I suppose it is work.
Long and rambling as this post may appear it is not exhaustive. Much of my life’s work is unmentioned . I have worked in a number of public endeavors more or less continuously since I was four years old. However, I now feel that even if I die tomorrow my own mostly frustrated efforts will produce a few tangible and discernible ripples in the future which an astute person could discover and find significant. In a blog like this I write about a great number of people who lead lives more successful and with work paths more rewarded than mine. That is no less true even when things seem to be going well by some measures. There have been good times in my life and I have included myself on a list of some distinction here on the blog. However, by any measure it is hard to argue that I am as successful as any other member of this list. They also have their secret successes but I must rely almost entirely on undisclosed successes to make up for the obvious differences. I have had plenty of work to do in making up the list of course but it was not very remunerative.
However, I do write about other people and do drop names because those people interest me as does their work — but the blog and other things I write also focus a lot on my personal life and work. Thus in describing and sharing how I view the world I give myself a longer biographical note than anyone else because it is my post and becuase of the lack of other publicity. Of course because this is my blog I had a much easier time making the blog list than anyone else. This Blog and it’s list are like most of the things I have done in my life and like other sections of this blog in that it more resembles a failure than a success and yet it is a completed and worthy project which some people will read and some already have read. But I do not have the comfort of a newspaper masthead very often any more. Newspaper have a way of keeping their writers focused on the business at hand. That is while they are on company time anyway. My appearance in that list and the post you are reading here are related in some ways. Both have to do with my views on work and a life’s work in different ways.
I am still fascinated by the idea called “true work.” My work has been distributed or not in ways that have not made me rich or famous and sometimes without influecing others but includes studies and essays and group organizing related to family needs, scriptural exegesis, physical geometry, sexuality and politics among other things. That arduous and obscure route has been my path on to this list. It has been in this larger and deeper context of work and responsibilities not so easily seen that I have done the things which qualify me for this list. Even here there are many things which will not be disclosed. Of the people in the final ten list I am by far the least famous. Even among the hundred I am one of the less well known and less compensated. Although I am known in some circles which are less reprted than broad that difference does not overcome the basic fact that I am the least known. Most of the reason that I am on this list will not be included on this little biography. However some reading no one part and some another part of the hidden realities. Only in the unlikely event of a large readership will most people reading it be entirely at the mercy of this brief sketch. To those few who are now I apologize.
One of the bugbears of my life is that people of influence thought I had not done the work to deserve to go to college. They resented any success thereafter. I note below my pre University life and study.I think it speaks for itself.
I was born in 1964 and my mother Genie Summers and father Frank Summers began educating me imediately, lots of other people played small parts in the project My father was himself a student during much of my early childhood, so unlike some oldest children I was always in a house where school was in some sense part of life. while my Dad was a young law clerk for a federal judge my mother bought a course called Teach Your Baby to Read and did just that. I never stopped. I attended Happy Howard’s Nursery School in Abbeville and then my Dad went on to pursue an advanced law degree at King’s College in the University of London. We (Mom, Dad, my uncle Jed and I) lived in a small apartment in Soho. Jed however was usually at boarding school. I attended a a kindergarten that Americans call public in America. My mom educated me in museums, galleries, castles and markets. I also went to a cartoon theater and really was a pretty authentic Londoner. On holidays Dad took the helm and the steering wheel of our car and with Mom researching and Jed joining us or not we saw and studied Europe.
For first grade I attended Mount Carmel Elementary School in Abbeville. Dad then pursed yet another advanced law degree at Columbia University in New York. While he was there I attended Second Grade at St. Hilda’s and St. Hugh’s School in Manhattan. I returned from there to Mount Carmel Elementary from the third grade to the middle of Fifth grade.
My parents (and I ) had a transforming religious experience and went into the missions with the Marists. We lived in Maufanga, Nukualofa, Tongatapu, Tonga in Polynesia in the South Pacific. I attended Tonga Side School. Then we moved to Pago Pago American Samoa where I began to home school. I continued this as we worked for a while among the Navajos in New Mexico. Then I returned and did another year of Junior High School at Mount Carmel Elementary in Abbeville. Then I attended a very small start-up school at Our Lady’s Youth Center in El Paso while my parents ministered in a ministry to a large public high school. The little school I attended was called The Lord’s School. Then after a little home schooling, I attended a IDEAL (Instituto De Estudios America Latina) in Cuernavaca, Mexico for a basic course in conversational Spanish and Mexican culture. My father and I were classmates. Afterwards I returned to a homeshcooling program through many grand and small journeys. In Colombia where I lived in the same lay Catholic farming community as Miguel Angel Barriga, I borrwed the Colobian Government correspondence books and workbooks from other community kids while learning more Spanish, chess and agriculture. I resumed homeschooling thereafter until I both apprenticed informally to Bert Farquarh of Titahi Bay and enrolled formally at Viard College in Porirua near Wellington New Zealand. I was already involved in ministry and music and media for several years by that point. It was at that time that I reached the age of most Americans starting High School’s Senior year and we left in the middle of it to go to the Philippines. In the Philippines my main focus in school terms was accompanying my sisters on a long weekly journey to attend class, go to the library and hand in a week’s work at Nancy Knobloch School. . In Malalybaly and elsewhere I took minicourses in Cebuano-Visayan and I often taught mini courses in Theology or English. However I also did certified work, Icompleting a formal course at the Ateneo de Manila’s East Asian Pastoral Institute. It was called Scripture Ventures and was spear-headed by Fr. Herb Schneider SJ. Dad and I were classmates again. This was the last formal studying I did before enrolling in a University in the USA.
I have worked hard all my life and where it will lead I do not know. But I choose today to reflect upon it. I wish we all would in these days of harvest. It is a season for such thinking on past labors.