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Saint Leo Community Memory Oral History Collection & Archive: Oral Histories & Interviews

This guide contains a collection of oral histories and archival materials related to the history of Saint Leo University and its surrounding communities since its inception in the late 19th century.

Oral History Interviewees.

Interviews below include:

  1. Eddie Hermann (Saint Leo Prep graduate, 1953)
  2. Charlie Touchton (Saint Leo Prep graduate, 1953)
  3. Sr. Dorothy Neuhofer, OSB (Holy Name Academy alumna and Benedictine Sister)
  4. Pat Reilly (Saint Leo Abbey, 1960-1974) 
  5. Gordon Winslow (Saint Leo Prep graduate, 1959)
  6. Dr. Jack McTague (Saint Leo University Professor since 1976)
  7. Gloria BIllings Roberts (Local African American Saint Leo College student and Saint Leo College employee. Entered Saint Leo College in 1970)
  8. Maggie Beaumont (Started Holy Name Academy in 1953)

Eddie Hermann Interview, non-boarding St. Leo Prep student, 1949-1953. Perspective from a student who was born and raised in San Antonio, FL and whose family has long been closely connected with Saint Leo and Holy Name Academy.

Community Memory Project

File 003

Audio Recording Transcription

Eddie Herrmann 09/23/14

Interviewer:  Heather Parker, Saint Edward Hall, rm. 326 Saint Leo University


I grew up in San Antonio, being born there, I lived there all my life. Now I live in Blanton, just a few miles away. My mother was also born in San Antionio. We have involvement going back to the nuns and the priests from the very early days. My grandfather Herrmann was a baker and he baked here at Saint Leo at one time in his life. My other grandfather Ullrich, my mother’s dad was a blacksmith. And his brother was Father Felix Ullrich who was at one time back in about 1912 sent to (something) Pines to be a missionary. My granddad was asked to come down because they needed another blacksmith at (something) Pines. So he went to the (something) Pines. Soon they sent him back to San Antonio because Father Felix was transferred. When he was at Saint Leo he became a professor of the Spanish language. My Granddad’s shop was right across the street from where the Holy Name Monastery was. His blacksmith shop was right there. His involvement with the monks was that at that point that Granddaddy didn’t have much money at all and the monks had better food than most people and they would trade the offal and the meat scraps to Granddad for his work in the blacksmith shop that the monks needed to have done.

[At this point Herrmann pauses to collect his thoughts and Parker asks for clarification on the spelling of Ullrich. Herrmann verifies the spelling and adds that this is the German spelling. Parker asks if the family was of German descent and Herrmann verifies this.]

As I said, I lived in San Antonio and the priests and monks were very influential in our lives. The Benedictines were pastors of our parish from the earliest days of the parish until just three or four few years ago when the Benedictines pulled out of…they were no longer doing the work of the parishes. They had been very active in the school and parish work.

Parker: Now, your grandfather…so you had a grandfather who was a baker and that was on your father’s side?

Herrmann: Yes, that was Lucius Herrmann

Parker: Now, your other grandfather, his last name was Ullrich. What was his first name?

Herrmann: Max. In German it is pronounced not like it looks like it should. In German they would call him “Machs.”

Parker:  Father Felix?

Herrmann: Father Felix was here before granddad.

Parker: And he was on the Ullrich side?

Herrmann:  Yes. He was a young man who came over from Middle Germany and he had a sister in Philadelphia. He was working there as a volunteer in a parish and the priest said to him, Felix you need to be a priest and I’ve got just the place for you. There’s a monastery down in Florida and you can go down there and be a priest down there. So Felix came down here and then he contacted his brother Max and said you got to come down to San Antonio. It’s a nice little town and a lot of German people there and you’d enjoy living there. So grandaddy’s shop was right across from the, we always called it the Holy Name Convent, and he was the blacksmith for the sisters and the priests and the brothers and they made wine together, my granddaddy and grandma and the priests and the brothers, not the sisters, but the Benedictine monks made wine and the monks always had a supply of wine. Part of the rules was that the brothers got a viertel of wine and the priests got twice that much. The brothers were always down the totem pole a little bit.

Parker:   Do you know about when Father Felix got here?

Herrmann:  1912. And the Herrmanns got here in ’22 I believe.

Parker: So when you went to school did you go…

Herrmann:  I went to St. Anthony’s for the first eight grades. I had skipped one grade but I went grades 1-8. When I was in primer the sister said I was too smart to be in primer so she moved me up to the first grade.

Parker:  So then once you finished with your first through eighth grade schooling what did you do then?

Herrmann:  Came to Saint Leo for 9-12. Graduated from Saint Leo the class of ’53. Started in ’49 and finished here in ’53.

Parker:   Ok. So, tell me what it was like to be a student here for your high school years?

Herrmann: Ok. So I was what they call a “day hop.” A day student. And the day hops never did really circulate as much with the boarding students as they probably should have. We had a place right over here that was the day hop hangout and a lot of us smoked and we would go back there to the big bamboos and they were hollow in the middle – empty space in the middle -- and we would go hide in the bamboos, smoke our cigarettes. I did dirty tricks like I would – the boarders never had any money and we always had a little bit from working in yards and things like that and they would want cigarettes and I had a cigarette making machine, a bugler machine where you had a belt on it that you ran through and made a little indent for the cigarette and you would put the paper on top, You sprinkled in the tabacco and pulled it and it rolled it into a nice little cigarette and I was so mean as to take used cigarettes and get the tobacco out of it and…

Parker:  [laughing] You put it back in the bugler?

Herrmann:  I was helping them out. We had classical courses I guess they would call it. Everyone took Latin. Some people took 4 years of Latin. They taught French here. They taught German. I surely wish I would’ve taken German. I don’t know why I didn’t have the foresight to take German cause I never did learn really to speak German. I learned enough that I could make out what was happening.

My wife and I decided to go to Germany and visit family so we went over there. I went twice, she went 3 times and we went together the times I went of course. And, while I couldn’t speak German, I grew up with the grandparents speaking German and when the children were around they said adult stuff and held conversations in German. So I learned the sound of German and when we went to Germany, I didn’t know how to speak German but I could make out what the people were saying so we had conversations with German people speaking and I would be able to translate it enough to get by. We had a lot of wonderful relatives over there. During wartime we sent clothing and soap things like that to Germany. A lot of people didn’t understand how we could have family in the other side of the world that was not on the same side of the war as you are but that was their country and they had to do what they had to do. What it is is what it is. We really enjoyed our visits with family over there and got to drink a lot of their homemade wine. Apple wine was the favorite. They could pick the apples up for free and ferment the apple juice.

Parker: Speaking of wine, I didn’t get the spelling of the viertel?

Herrmann:  Viertel is a quantity. A fourth – I think a fourth of a gallon is a viertel. The V is pronounced as an F.

Parker:  So, now, you were mentioning your wife. Did you meet her here at the school?

Herrmann:  Now she was a lovely lady I met because of a friendship with another boarding student. Now there was a student named Jim Talley. His mother Margaret Talley was very friendly with the headmaster here and Jim and I got to be good friends and he was dating Patsy because her school was the Academy of Holy Names in Tampa and they had no boys and up here we had no girls and so the dances, they would hold dances taking a busload of boys down there or bringing a busload of girls up here. I met her when I got lucky and, my friend Jim Talley, he didn’t. And how I met her was he had taken Patsy, my wife, he had gotten permission from her mother to take her to Miami where he lived, to meet his sisters. He had two sisters at home so Patsy went down there to meet the Talley girls and on the way back home they did a very Margaret Talley type deal. Instead of coming to Tampa where they lived, she called Mrs. Miller, Patsy’s mother and said, ‘we’re going to go to San Antonio to visit some friends. Would it be okay if Patsy goes with us?’ and then she said of course if you can vouch for the fact that they’ll be good Catholic people. So I met Patsy and like I said I felt like I got real lucky. We’ve been married 58 years. She went to the academy in Tampa and graduated there. She’s one of the very few girls that went to the Academy for 12 years. Her mother worked out a deal – she couldn’t afford for her to go to the Academy – so she worked out a deal where she would work off the tuition by doing things for the convent down in Tampa.

Parker:  So when you and Patsy got married, she moved up here?

Herrmann:  Yes.

Parker:  And so, what did you end up doing here, as for a living after you graduated from high school?


Herrmann:  Well we always worked even when we were in grammar school the kids had to do something. I mean, we didn’t get paid necessarily but there was work to do in the yard and on the property. Dad had 40 acres he had a business. He was a gas man and he developed a name for his company Saf-T-Gas. While this is not anything to do with Saint Leo. He was working for Tampa Electric company selling electricity because there was not much electricity around here, very little electricity available. And Tampa Electric said, Joe, if you sell these people a stove, we’ll get them power. So he sold them a stove, but unbeknownst to him, the man who installed the stove was sharp. He held back the paperwork from my dad’s sale and he turned in the paperwork and he sold them something at the same time. The other man sold them a water heater. So dad was selling electricity, the premise of getting electricity, but they were getting it from the other man instead of Joe Herrmann. Strangely, Dad was in a restaurant in Dade City one evening with a friend, John DeWitt and he said, John am I gonna do? I don’t have any money and the electric company is not paying me and my family is needing food. About that time, they were by the front window of the restaurant and they were looking out and John said Joe see that gas truck going by?...It sells butane gas and Dad jumped in his truck and headed up  the road. Went all the way up to Sumpter county before he caught the man, there was only one road in those days. So he caught the man and said tell me about this gas stuff. So he got in the gas business from Tampa Electric not paying him. Dad was always a very entrepreneurish person. He started in business when he was a teenager. He had a radio store called Jovita Radio Store and how he started that was there was something called a QSL and I don’t know what that abbreviation stands for.

[Here Herrmann describes this business]

This Jovita Radio later became Joe Herrmann Inc.

[Here Herrmann describes his father’s parts business where he would take many parts and build washing machines. He bought all the parts and then would build brand new washing machines from the parts. This occurred because you could not get appliances during wartime]

Parker:  Do you know if your father ever did any business with the monks and the sisters

Herrmann:  Of course he did, yes he did.

Parker:  Did your Uncle, Father Felix, stay here for the duration or did he move on?

Herrmann: He went down to Newport Richey to be a pastor and he started Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in New Port Richey, the first Catholic church in the town in 1913 and it’s still going strong. He had a lot of friends, friends that we know through him, lots of friends that were German. The Germans, I guess like lots of nationalities, the Germans hang out together. There were at that time 6 Catholic people in New Port Richey. Now there’s more than 6 [Catholic] churches. Quite a change. His first church was on Washington Avenue in New Port Richey.

Parker:  When you and your wife had children, what schools did you send them to? Saint Leo?

Herrmann:  St. Anthony. Saint Leo was already gone by the time my children…it closed up in ’64. The high school. This is where you would expect to go because the parish had what we called a parochial school and you went to the parochial school.

After St. Anthony they went to the public schools because the Holy Name Academy for girls and Saint Leo for boys had already closed up and were no longer available except as – they started a college right after they closed the high school.

James Horgan wrote Pioneer College and he used a lot of materials that I got for him but one of the most interesting things was that he knew that one day the abbot was going to say you ain’t coming in here anymore, you’re not allowed in here anymore. So he finally told Jim that he was not allowed in the archives anymore and Jim said, ‘but I bet you can get in there.’ I said I’d give it a try. So I went into the archives, but the interesting thing about what I did was that he know from making a – he had a photographic mind, he was a brilliant person. He knew where everything was in that archive. He had looked at it even though he didn’t use it right that moment – he knew what was where and he had a yellow legal pad and he would write on there, ‘turn left at the front door, go down to the end of the aisle you’ll see books stacked up on the shelves. Look in the top book on the 3rd shelf and get me that information – whatever he wanted. So I’d look up that information and bring it back to him. He knew where everything was. He had a map.

Parker:  When did you start working with Horgan on the book, Pioneer College?

Herrmann:  Whenever the book started – I think it was ’89 when it was printed?

Parker: And so do you have something else there too?

[here Herrmann shows Parker some archival materials]

Parker:   We’re looking at Holy Name Academy catalogs from 1889-1920 and Saint Leo Military College and Cash House Account books from 1894-1899 and this is a ledger.

Herrmann:  Somewhere in my things I will find a day by day handwritten copy of the book (Pioneer College) because he (Horgan) would hand write it and give me a proof to look at. Somewhere I’ve got that material.

Parker:  Also an account from Father Benedict Ross – a day to day account of life here in the 1880s is something else that Eddie is looking for.

Parker:  Now, there is something else, there were some stories that surfaced about your wives and the JayCees? What club was it?

Herrmann: The San Antonio Jay Cees. Yeah, that was a very active club that I was a member of and Sue Roach and Patsy Herrmann were both very active in the Jay Cees, but in those days the Jay Cees did not accept women. So we got those 2 ladies involved with us and they were very much an active part of our Jay Cee chapter. But the JayCees looked down ont hat askance, they didn’t like the women being involved. Now the women are Presidents and vice presidents and everything else with the Jaycees but for some reason they were very antagonistic. This was called a ‘Young Men’s Organization.’ We just accepted them as members. [in the San Antonio Chapter.]. We invited women to be members. Not many of them wanted to be. Patsy and I just liked to be together. Sue Roach was a very good friend of Jim’s. They were married for a while. I don’t know if you have that information. Probably better just forget I said it.

[here Herrmann explains that the San Antonio JayCees records were kept by him and Jim Horgan and that, due to Jim’s amazing memory, they would not always write everything down right away, but they were able to keep accurate records and were awarded as the best chapter in the country – the best records.]

Parker: As far as the monks and the nuns, when you were here in high school and just in the community. What did you think about them? Did you have…

Herrmann:  We were all family. The Benedictine family was bigger than the Monastery and bigger than the convent. We called the Abbey the Monastery. Now the nuns call theirs the Monastery. We were very close friends. The nuns in those days had a little more closura which means like a closed…we didn’t often go inside the convent or the place where the nuns were. But the priests we did, I guess because we were men, or a lot of us were – young men of course. But the abbot here in those earliest days, my mother remembers abbot Charles, he was the first abbot. I remember abbot Francis Sadlerion, father francis was right next to him and everyone remembers him as a very holy man. He talked with a very soft tone.

The priests and nuns had a little more freedom to visit. The town now is very active – San Antonio Town – motor cycles and Panchos Villa and things like that.

A funny thing I recall is that the communion hosts, the eucharist host, the nuns made those hosts. One day I was serving mass for Fr. Felix Ullrich and he realized he had forgotten to get the host. I jumped out of the cassock and took my bycicle where I knew they made the host up at the kitchen and went and got hosts for mass.

Parker:  when you were going to school here were your teachers all priests?

Herrmann:  No, but most of them were. I think the first lay teacher was probably Walter Pizeski. Art Mullner to me was the first one. He had worked at a phosphate mine up in Citrus County. He came down here and taught us chemistry. Fr. Damion taught chemistry as well. Fr. Stephen Herrmann who later would become president of the college taught physics and Mathemeatics , some foreign languages. They were very strong here on being on top of what was happening. I remember one incident when there was a flying saucer. Everyone saw this object in the sky. Turns out it was just Venus. Stephen Herrmann came down and my dad had a flat body truck. Stephen came down  and stood on the back of this truck and he explained to people that that was not a flying saucer, just an external view of the planet of Venus. But it looked like a bright star but it was Venus

Parker:  So was Stephen Herrmann related to you?

Herrmann:  He was my dad’s brother

Parker: Now, your mother’s side of the family had a priest at Saint Leo and so did your father’s side and Stephen Herrmann was your father’s brother? He was here at the time you were going to school. Did he treat you better than everyone else? [laughter]

Herrmann:  Yes. He had to be very careful not to treat me even equal [laughter].  He was a very hard teacher. People who did well in his classes were very bright. Because we look at people in the book Pioneer College we see some people that went on to amazing careers and almost all of them that had those careers said they owed it all to father Stephen [including Charlie Touchton].

Here Parker asks about the building where they are conducting the interview – St. Edward Hall. Herrmann says since he was a day student he didn’t live there but they used the building for lots of things. They had strange names for some of the hallways like Diaper Alley [This was also commented on by another interviewee. Gordon Winslow, who said Diaper alley was what they called the hall where the 7th graders stayed].

One of the people you should put on your list is Norval “Buddy” McKechnie. Buddy is the one who self-appointedly notifies all of the boys when someone dies.

I was a student here during the time that the abbey church was being built and is noted around the area as one of the most beautiful buildings in the area. The priests and nuns have dwindled down to a much smaller number than they used to be but there always have been some very wonderful people in the monastery and in the abbey Very good teachers. Some of them have stories floating around about them. They were people just like everybody else. A couple of them liked to get out of here at night – a couple of the priests—and go have a beer and things like that.

Have you heard any names -- Fr. Vincent?

Parker: I’ve heard a lot of names. I had Pat Reilly in here…

Herrmann: He’s the story teller himself…

Parker:  I think he went through every priest from the beginning…

Herrmann: He was in the monastery himself – he married a nun

Parker: He didn’t tell me he married a nun.

Herrmann:  She was a Benedictine nun and he was what you call a lay brother

Herrmann:  Starting when I was in high school I was already delivering gas for Saf-T-Gas.

[Here Herrmann recounts his several careers after leaving high school]

In the late 1940s , Herrmann goes on to explain, his father owned a building that he bought from his father in what was then called Jovita. His grandfather had come here planning to build a subdivision.

Herrmann:  Meanwhile he got word that his brother, who was a baker had died in an accident a car accident so granddaddy agreed to go to Jacksonville to take that over and that made a lot of sense because he could make some money and in San Antonio he barely made a living. But the service station is still there. If you go down to San Antonia to SoSA (South San Antonio) on the corner is a closed up filling station, next to that is a pizza shop. Next to that is a building called the Jovita and this is the building I was born in. The first 3 of us children, there are 9 children,  the first three of us were born in that building.

Parker:  Was this building housing at that time?

Herrmann: Well, it was called the Jovita and it was built to be an overnight rooming house. Mother fixed meals for people. And the rooming house each room in the house, which turned out to be very convenient for the family, each room had a lavatory. So when you have 6 kids trying to get ready to go to church or school it was very nice to have your own sink in your room. There were nine of us and I’m oldest of nine. It’s boy-girl-boy-girl-boy-girl, down through nine children. I live in the Jovita until I got married.

A story from brother Paul about St. Francis Hall. Most people think it’s names for St. Francis of Assissi, but it’s not. Its named for Francis De Sales and it is St. Francis DeSales Hall. Purposely he  made the picture in the east of St. Francis of St Francis of Assissi. He knew it was supposed to be De Sales but he picked the other because everyone knows St. Francis of Assissi. He said that even though he knew this, they should have told him what they wanted.














Charlie Touchton Interview, Saint Leo Prep Graduate, 1953, non-boarding day student. Perspective from a non-Catholic student whose father was reared in Dade City.

Community Memory Project

File 005 Stanley Touchton

Oral Interview Transcription of interview of Touchton by Heather Parker

October 1, 2014


Oral Interview Transcription

Charlie Touchton

October 1, 2014


HP:      So, when did you family come to this area, to the Dade City area?

CT:      My father’s grandmother, my grandmother, my father’s mother came to this area with her family in 1898.  She was at that time 15 years, 12 years old.  They came from Kentucky where they had been in the tobacco business, leaf tobacco.  She had a brother, who had a respiratory problem.  So they wanted to come to Florida and Florida was that part, Dade City was at that time one of a couple of centers of tobacco, leaf tobacco industry.  The wrapping, the wrap, the tobacco that is used to wrap cigars.  And the proximity of the tobacco farms in the area was good relative to cigar industry in Tampa, so her family came here in 1898.  My grandfather, paternal grandfather came in 1904 after having graduated from Atlanta School of Pharmacy.  He was from South Georgia originally and he had gone to Atlanta School of Pharmacy and subsequently, after graduating from there, he came to Dade City to work in the drug store where he was, where by 1908 he bought out the interest of the drug store, of the four owners of the drug store.  And then continued to live in Dade City until about 1927 or ’28.  My father graduated from Pasco High School, went to the University of Florida and so my grandfather and grandmother picked up sticks and moved to Gainesville so they could be with their son as he went off to college.  And they were there until the Depression hit, and they left the drug business there.  My granddad went to work for his uncle, for his brother, who was also in the drug business in Central Florida.  And they ultimately came back to Dade City.  My mother was from Gainesville, and her mother was a school teacher and her father was an insurance salesman, both in Gainesville.  And my mother and dad met…I said my father graduated from Pasco, my father graduated from Alachua High School.  They moved to Gainesville before he finished high school, and so he met my mother in Gainesville, where he was in high school.  And they were both in high school, and then he went to the University of Florida for two years; went to George Washington University in D.C. for two years and came back to my…my mother went to Florida State College for Women, now FSU.  And they cam back and were married after she graduated.  That was in 1934, and moved back to Washington because y dad loved Washington, so they lived in Washington for about a year and a half, during which time I was born.  And they came back and moved to Tampa briefly with AAA.  The original Tampa Motor Club, back before there was a AAA.  And subsequently moved in 1937 back to Dade City.  My dad went to work for my granddad in the drug store and continued to do that until about 1960.  During that time my dad also went into the life insurance business and was an extremely successful life insurance person with Mutual of New York.  And so he did that, and then when my grandfather died in 1957, they retained the drug store for a short period of time, and then they sold it.  We were pretty much out of the drug store business.  We used to say the drug business. 

HP:      During this time, did you have any siblings?

CT:      I had two siblings: a brother, Tom Touchton, a he is called today; Tom was born in 1938; and a sister who was born in 1941.  Sister was Judy. 

HP:      And so when you were coming up, you and your brother and your sister, what schools did you go to?

CT:      We all three went to Dade City Grammar School, grades one through six in Dade City.  The…by the time I finished sixth grade, I was giving evidence of goofing off, let’s say I wasn’t very busy in class.  My parents were concerned about the fact that I wasn’t busy in class because I was sort of sitting in the back of the class and doing stuff.  And so I came to Saint Leo the next year in seventh grade.  I went to work and found what real school was like.  It was magnificent.

HP:      And you were a day student?

CT:      I was a day student, yes.  And that’s very significant from the standpoint…because I was living at home and coming here in the daytime.  And therefore, I didn’t have the same level of identification.  This was not my home, and the priests here were not my surrogate parents so to speak.

HP:      And that’s the good perspective that I need because I haven’t go the perspective yet.  So that’s important.  Okay.  So, tell me what is what like here at the school when you got here, you say from seventh to twelfth grade?

CT:      Yes.

HP:      Okay, so tell me what is was like here and your impressions.

CT:      It was very different.  I had never seen a priest before.

HP:      And that’s important because you weren’t Catholic?

CT:      That’s right.  I was brought up Presbyterian, my parents; my grandparents, my grandmother and my great-grandmother were very terrified of the prospect of my being converted.  And as Fr. Benedict says so eloquently when I graduated from high school, he said, well he told my parents – Fr. Benedict was the Chaplin, he said, “We worked on him for six years, and he never flinched.”  But in that context, I sang in the choir and I sang Mass.  I didn’t know what it meant, but I sang Mass and I enjoyed that.  The impressions when I first arrived, it was all guys; it was the first time I had ever seen pecking orders among students.  Guys, I was obese then; I was round then, and so as the round newbie, I was picked on substantially, so I learned hoe to deal with that.  That was probably significant, so I learned, it was a learning process.  I think the big thing was that I had, I guess, ____study.  Fr. James, I think he died, but Fr. James was my English teacher.  I mean these guys were serious, and it was a new experience.  It was the first time I had a different teacher for every course.  The end of the first quarter, we were on a quarter system – four quarters for every year – and at the end of the first quarter, they posted all of the grades on the bulletin board, something I had never encountered before.  And people started to say, “Hey, Touchton, how did…” this was a big deal.  Turns out I had made straight A+’s, and nobody had made straight A+’s before, so somebody had told me that I had the highest GPA that anybody had ever had. 

HP:      Your parents must have been thrilled.

CT:      They were.  A+’s were six points, so I had a 6 point GPA.  And it was the first time that I had ever really been rewarded for academic performance.  And that wound up being very important because, “Hey this is fun, I like this, I’ll do that again.”  And that’s why I mentioned this.  From a motivational standpoint, it was powerful.  And I didn’t make a 6.0 the next quarter, but it was close; it was a 5.9 or something like that.  But the, I wound up at the end of the year getting the, we had lower school, which was six through eight; and we had upper school, which was nine through twelfth,  and for the lower school, I got the outstanding, the number one academic performance trophy.  I had never gotten a trophy for anything, so getting a trophy for something, academics and athletics because I wasn’t an athlete then, I am not an athlete today, but it was the first time that something other than athletics was rewarded.  So that was good.

HP:      So, how did the students react to your not being Catholic?  Were there other non-Catholic students?

CT:      There were a few.  The students didn’t react at all.  I mean, the students were kind of, “So what?”  At least as I recall.  The one thing that was significant about freshman, I mean my seventh grade year, I was pretty much not involved in anything.  The day students, there were about 26 day students; and the day students kept to themselves and the boarding students, except at lunch.  We all were sport jackets.  After about the 1st of November until the 1st of April, we ate at the dining hall in the basement of Saint Leo Hall, part of the Abbey now, and we had to wear sport jackets to lunch and I remember when somebody said, “Oh smell these mashed potatoes, they are really good.”  So leaned over to smell them, and, swoosh!  I wound up with them in my face or something like that, so you learn.  But the, I think the couple of interesting things from the student stand point, I was in religion class, in religion class, there wasn’t anywhere for you to go, so here I was in religion class and I was supposed to use it as a study hall.  As we were sitting there, something came up about animals and the difference between the King James version of the Bible and the Catholic Bible, and a student was asking, and one the of the students said, “Well, where can I get a copy of the King James version of the Bible so I can read it?”  And the priest said, “Well, you can’t because it is a sin for the Catholic to read a Protestant Bible.”  So, at this point, Charlie raises his hand, because I am listening, so Charlie raises his hand and says, “Excuse me, Father, but how come it is alright for me to read your Bible but it is not alright for these guys to read my Bible?”  And I didn’t have to go to religion class anymore.  And that was the only time where I would say there was a conflict.  The next year, somebody said, the choir director, the music director said, “Why do day students ostracize themselves?  Why don’t they participate?”  And the answer was that nobody invited us.  We didn’t know it was sort of open.. So I got in the band and I got in the choir and so forth; and being in the choir, learned to sing Mass, and I thought it was great.  The eighth grade was living at home, I had parties at the house and we had girls, friends in Dade City, and we had parties and would invite them -- my friends from the class, so the guys from Dade City and the girls from Dade City loved meeting the guys from Saint Leo.  And it was big parties, 12 or 15 people, or something like that.  That was the most memorable part of the eighth grade.  Ninth grade, I didn’t really have wheels.  By the time I was in tenth grade, I did.  So we drove at young and tender ages – not necessarily legal.  So we drove at young and tender ages.  By the tenth grade, I was going to dances here.  We had, the dances were in the old gym.  You may have heard that they gymnasium was down, from here…, it was about as far from the entrance road it was far from the entrance road as Saint Eds is from the entrance road.  And that side of the main drag, East-West, and went right in front of Saint Eds.  So the big gym was 100 feet north of that big road.  The gym was the site of our dances.  The dances, Saint Leo had its own band, a dance band as well as a football band and so forth.  The dance band was pretty good.  The, we had dances that was mostly guys with dates, and I would typically have a date.  And the girls from Holy Name would come.  The nuns would position themselves around the periphery like hawks and come out if a couple happened to be dancing too close together, the nuns would come out and separate them.  So it was different.  I didn’t know it was different.  I was really, I had the best of both worlds because I was at the Saint Leo functions when Saint Leo had a function, and I was at the Dade City functions; so I was at Dade City, Pasco football games and Dade City dances.  So mine was more of a normal existence.  They…

HP:      You were doing to tell me about the disciplinary process at Saint Leo Prep.

CT:      Disciplinary process was something that I had never encountered before.  I was a goody two shoes in one sense.  I think in the six years I was at Saint Leo, I got a total of 15 demerits, and some people typically got them in the hundreds.  But it is hard for a day student to get demerits.  It’s also hard because he is not around, number one, and number two, there is this absence of, again – surrogate parents.  “We’ll let your parents deal with it.”  But smoking was a capital offense.  And, but I wasn’t a smoker.  The guys that misbehaved, and “misbehaved” is in the eye of the beholder; so the guys that misbehaved, and it could be like flunking a test could be misbehavior, and the prefects – there were about three or four priests who were the disciplinarians, the Head Master and three others, they were very liberal in their bestowing of paddling, and flunking a test was worth a paddle.  I don’t remember what some of the offenses were, and I never got a paddle.  But I can remember guys coming in, dropping their drawers, and shoeing their backside.  And here they were black and blue on both cheeks.  And there were 130, 140 strokes.

HP:      Oh wow!

CT:      Head Master would take, as I heard the story, he would take a metronome and set it up on his desk and he would stroke the paddle, Bloody Joe was the name of the paddle, and Bloody Joe had holes, thick board with a reasonable handle and holes for it in the paddle.  And he would apply that paddle according to the metronome for, let’s say, 100 strokes.  They guys would come back and say, “I got 140.”  And the next guy would say, “That’s nothing; I got 150.”  So they wore their punishment as a badge of honor, and the other thing that the Head Master did was sometimes would take the microphone for the public address system and he would mount it on the front of the desk so that the paddle and the wales, but the paddling was broadcast throughout Saint Eds Hall here.  So it is interesting, you look at today, people would be coming unglued, it would be on national TV.  Then, it was a badge of honor, and interestingly enough, one of the students who had might have been receiving more paddling than anybody else, more intense paddings than anybody else, was also would up being the Head Master’s favorite; and during his junior and senior year, frequently the Head Master would give him the keys to his car, and he wound go out.


HP:      They bonded.  Now, the Head Master when you were there?

CT:      Fr. Raphael. 

HP:      And he was Head Master the entire time you were there?

CT:      Yes he was.  Fr. Stephen Herman, who was the first president of Saint Leo; Fr. Herman was one of the prefects.  I only knew him in a very positive sense.  He, I had a hand radio, an amateur radio license when I was in the ninth grade, and so Fr. Stephen, and I was interested in radio and electronics and all this kind of stuff and so was Fr. Stephen.  Fr. Stephen and I, I had Fr. Stephen for Algebra in the ninth grade.  I consider Fr. Stephen to be, argumentatively, the most formative teacher, if that is the right word, the teacher who was the most instrumental in putting me on the path that I ultimately took, and I give him credit for a great deal for what I ultimately wound up doing and what I am today.  He gave me the key, we had a storeroom back off, back here (indicates) and back off the end of the building and lots of radios and so forth.  So I went in there, and during lunch time I would go in there and stack the things and find out which would work and fix some of the radios and stuff like that.  So he was giving me free reign and support.  He was a mentor and so forth.  He was also perceived as an absolute tyrant by many of the students, but I never saw that aspect of him and could never figure out how they could carry on and how they could be so negative when I was so positive.  When I took Physics, he was also the Physics teacher.  And I took Physics in my junior year, which was normally a senior course, because it had electronics in it, and I wanted to take Physics as soon as I could and my junior year was as soon as I could.  So I took Physics as a junior when everybody else in the class was a senior.  You are halfway through the course when the electronics area, Fr Stephen had to go off to a conference; l, he was out of town, so he asked me to take the class for the week he was gone.  You can imagine how a class full of seniors reacted to having a junior be their teacher, and discipline, I didn’t, I mean they didn’t pay a bit of attention to me, and I was very frustrated.  So they would just leave, and what am I going to do?  I can flunk them, but so what?  And so we cut a deal and we came up with the area we were dealing with were electrodes and electronics and what makes electronics- electronics and stuff like that.  So I said, “This is what we want to know about by the end of the week.  So if we can get there by Wednesday, then you don’t have to come to class anymore.”  So they thought that was a pretty good idea, so they started behaving.  So that was one of the most instrumental, an incredibly formative period in my life because it was the first time I had ever been in a position to teach.  To be in front of a group and try to motivate and all this kind of stuff, and that was very important.  I ultimately would up majoring in Physics when I went off to college.

HP:      And where did you end up going to college?

CT:      Georgia Tech.

HP:      And did you make a career out of Physics? 

CT:      After I got out of Georgia Tech, I was in the Navy for two years.  Because I majored in Physics, the Navy says, “Well, if you majored in Physics, that must have something to do with atomic energy and we will make you a nuclear weapons officer.”  So I spent two years as a nuclear weapons assembly technician.  Back in the old days, if you needed a particular nuclear weapon to do something, you assembled Part A, and Part B, and Part C, and Part D and then put it together and then would test it and make sure it would work; send it off, if we ever had to send it off.  So I did that in the Navy, so I was in a technical capacity in the Navy.  Before I had gone in the Navy, I had gone to work for IBM for three days and they said, “We want you.”  And I said, “I have to go in the Navy.”  And they said, “Well, come to work for us for however long you can, and then go in the Navy and then come back when you finish the Navy.”  So I said, “Well, I only have three days before I have to report.”  And they said, “Okay, come work for three days.”  So I went to work for IBM for three days up in New York.  And after IBM, went in the Navy for two years, came back to IBM just like they said I would and spent the rest of my life with IBM.

HP:      Now, when did you graduate from high school?  What year?

CT:      1953

HP:      And so you didn’t end up marrying anybody from here?

CT:      I did not.  I married a young lady at Anges ____ College in Atlanta.  And she was at Agnes while I was a Georgia Tech, and she was a year behind me.  And we married, and after I got out of the Navy and went to upstate New York, and I was in upstate New York for four year, and the Washington D.C. area for 15 years.  And shortly before the end of the war, two or three years before the end of that 15 years, I realized that the woman I had married, we had shared values at some point in time, but her values system went one way and my values system went another way. And that wouldn’t agree, and so we wound up divorcing.  And I came coincidentally, I guess after we had separated before we were divorced, after we had separated then, IBM had set up a new function in Boca Raton, where I was doing some things that I was doing in the Washington area for a number of years.  So I went to Boca Raton as product manager for this new line of office products.  So after I was down here, I met a magnificent woman here in Tampa, who is a good friend of my brother’s wife.  She knew every member of the family, except me.  So we met, blind date, went to Burns.  The rest if history.  We’ve been married for, it’ll be 38 years in December.

HP:      Everybody loves a happy ending.

CT:      It was the best blind date I ever had.  A couple of things that were relative to the ___part that are fairly significant, there was…I didn’t appreciate as much at the time, when I was in ninth grade here, there was a priest who was from New York.  He was sort of on special assignment down here for some reason, but he was different.  He wasn’t a Benedictine priest; he was a Marigold (?) priest.  I don’t know if you are familiar with those kind of differences, but Marigold, as he used to say, he was one of the Cardinal’s bellman’s boys (?).  And but they were the real redeemers and operators in the Catholic scheme of things.  But he had had a lot of experience, and he was our English teacher.  And he had a lot of experience in industry, working with industry and so forth.  And he would used to give us talks on the importance of giving talks and making your point in five minutes and so forth.  I flunked that part.  But another one was he would give us and expand on Saint Augustin.  We would talk about Saint Augustin back in the fourth century.  And Saint Augustin would have to use three fundamental questions:  Who Am I, What am I doing here, Where am I going?  And those three thing stuck, and I would up over a period of time as I was a planner.  Never worked as a Physicist.  Never worked, did my graduate work in electrical engineering, never worked as a Physicist, never worked as an electrical engineer, but I really worked with my one foot in the marketing camp, one foot in the technical camp.  I could talk engineering to the marketers and I could talk marketing to the engineers.  So I was never a pure anything.  So I went around the world talking about it.  With that said, from a planning standpoint, the, it would up being, in the presentations I gave, I would use Saint Augustin, as the patron saint of planning.  Because what Saint Augustin was saying, I would apply to the corporate world.  Not from the standpoint of who am I, what am I doing here, where am I going; But from the standpoint of who are we, what are we doing here, where are we going.  And that is saying, the Saint Augustin part, had it not been for Saint Leo, I would probably would never had known who Saint Augustin was.  But having Fr. What’s His Name, introduce that in this formative age, that is something that was wove, was a continuing theme all the way through all my years and years and years with IBM.  The IBM had a sack of corporate beliefs, fundamental beliefs:  integrity, importance of the customer, best customer service, be ethical, and all this kind of stuff.  The things that wound up being this “Benedictine values” of Saint Leo University, I was on the committee shortly after Art came, and he formed the committee that put together the plan for the college to become the university.  We put those six Benedictine values together, or at least the committee did.  Those, many of those six Benedictine values are replicated over here in the IBM values, which are once again replicated back in the early Saint Leo days.  So, there are those that perceive me to be an idealist.  But I think it was important to me, the rotary 408 test (?), is it the truth?  Is it fair to all concerned?  This is something that came out of Saint Leo, it was true, it was true in the Navy, it was true in IBM, and I would say in the 20 years since I retired, it’s been true in that area.  And I think Saint Leo, being the core of that; did Saint Leo make it happen?  No.  But it gave a context within which to put it, and that to me is very, very significant.  I wouldn’t have gotten that out of School XYZ.  I might have gotten it had I gone to one of the service academies.  I certainly didn’t get it out of Georgia Tech, what we used to refer to as the Factory.  But those are characteristics of one’s academic world, one’s professional world, one’s personal world. To have this common theme coming through:  Is this right, is this fair?  And I would say that that continues today.  And I would give Saint Leo, begrudgingly, but I would give Saint Leo and my parents the…because that would certainly be the case there. But parents, one would tend to put over here, but when those principles are reinforced in so many places, I think that is pretty significant.

HP:      I agree.  You being a day student and being from this area: this is a perception I’d like to hear.  What was the perception of Saint Leo and Holy Name in the community in Dade City, how aware were people of this institution?

CT:      They were aware.  I’m glad you asked that.  Certainly at the time I was there.  I don’t know what the perception is today.  In Tampa, the perception is “That School Up There.”  It is slowly becoming part of the Tampa Bay area college community.  That is a lot slower than I would like to see.  At the time I was at Saint Leo, a number of people came to my parents, my dad being in the drug store business, he would run into people all over the place.  “What is Charlie going to Saint Leo for?  He’s a good boy, I know he is.”  Saint Leo, the girls’ school didn’t have a perception.  The boys’ school had a perception of being the last stop before reform school.  And that’s probably, in some cases, that is valid.  Most, I would say, for the most part, it was kids that were in trouble.  But I was never aware of that.  Kids that were in trouble, single parent families.  I know I had friends that very rare, at least kids from this country, very rare would you have a kid here who had two parents at home.  I never ran into that before, but many of the guys that were here, they were with their mothers, as was typically the case back in those days, and today.  They were with their mothers; their mothers either couldn’t take care of them or didn’t want to take care of them, might be too busy and so forth like that.  So they were, the perception from the community standpoint was that Saint Leo is the place for troubled kids, troubled boys.  The, I never encountered that, but I don’t know that I would have.  I wouldn’t have known it if it had walked up and shaken hands with me.  But the, it was Saint Leo was a major grid iron competitor, football competitor with Pasco High.  It was almost war.  I sat there very carefully…but anyway.  It was, I would say the perception was they were tough, they cheat.  I don’t know that they cheated any more than the other side.  It was not a positive.  It’s kind of like Florida and Georgia, USF and UCF.  They could be the greatest guys in the world, but that’s the enemy.  So how you separate the perception of the grid iron opponent versus the problem kids facet, I don’t know.  The…I know, only after several years, I guess I had people asking me, “Why did you go to Saint Leo?”  And the answer was from an academic standpoint, they made me work harder, and both my parents and I wanted me to be as qualified as I could be to go to any school I wanted to.  I thought seriously about going to MIT.  I chose Georgia Tech because I didn’t want to go that far off, and also it was that cold.  Why go that far.  And it turns out that going to Georgia Tech was the right thing for me, and I’m sure was a good thing to do.  But it was a worthwhile experience.

HP:      Now, when you were at Saint Leo Prep, had the international students come yet from South America in any number?

CT:      Yes, a few.  That’s another point there.  There were a couple of US kids in the class that were from Panama.  So that was a case of them parents didn’at want them to go to school in Panama, so they came up here to go to school in the US>  There were kids from Cuba.  I have heard there were kids from Nicaragua, and the famous, I forget what there names are, but a couple of the famous, from a famous family in Nicaragua.  They were not here at the same time I was, but there were kids here from Mexico.  In my particular class, there might have been one or two.  I can’t think of anybody right off.  My class had 29; it was kind of amazing.  I wound up graduating number one in my class, but out of 29, it doesn’t say very much.

HP:      So now, at that time, were students who were South American or who looked like they were South American were they able to go into town?

CT:      Oh sure.

HP:      It was fine?

CT:      Yeah, I don’t recall any problems of that type.  I know that when the bus, the Saint Leo bus would load up whoever wanted to go into town and take people to Dade City. 

HP:      I hadn’t heard that before.

CT:      So they could go into Dade City, they could go to the movies; they could go to the stores.  So I guess, I don’t remember when they arrived because I never took that bus.  And the, but I do recall that when having heard the story that when the Saint Leo bus hits town, everybody keep your eyes open; storekeepers keep your eyes open.

HP:      (Laughs) unsupervised boys.

CT:      There was a facet that just struck me when I mentioned the bus.  Until my senior year, I guess by the time my senior year, I was driving to and from Dade City to come here, up until then, even in the seventh grade, in the afternoons, various sets of parents from Dade City and Zephyrhills would bring us to school in the mornings, but when it came to the afternoons, we could call somebody to come and get us if we couldn’t get a ride.  So we’d all go out, five or six of us, would go to the road out here and stick out our thumbs.  And we would ride our thumbs back home.  Thought nothing of it, and I never had a problem, never occurred to me to have a problem.  I know my parents didn’t want me to tell my grandparents about thumbing a ride home, but my parents didn’t have a problem with thumbing.  And over a period of time, I don’t know that I ever got to know, occasionally I would encounter someone who knew me or the family or something.  But again, it is one of those things that is just kind of interesting that at that point in time, along with corporal punishment being something you did then and not today.  Thumbing was something that was perfectly alright then, but I would be apprehensive about doing today.  So it was a good experience.  The world history, Fr. Vincent was the world history teacher, and I never realized the degree to which studying the reformation in the context of a Catholic institution.  I never thought about until I saw the Tudors and the ____ on TV within the Passover years and realized the degree to which none of that was ever studied.  We just glossed over it.

HP:      You just passed over the reformation?

CT:      It was there, but I never understood the role of the king of England.  But what was significant was, that was the only world history I ever had.  And by the way, geo politics today is my football.  That holds my interest, geo politics and world history.  But then something cam up, one of the students in the class asked, “Father, with all that Martin Luther did, did he go to Heaven?”  And Father says, “Oh no, absolutely not.”  And I wasn’t doing it for the purpose for making waves, but I said, “Father, can you document that?”  And he said, “Well, yes, he went to Heaven, but he didn’t go to the same Heaven.”  And I said, “What is this Heaven?”  “Well, it wasn’t exactly a different Heaven.”  And that along with Bible situation were the only two cases in the entire six years that I was ever even motivated to raise the question of aware or any conflict or questioning, even though I am a questioner.  Nobody was ever pushing.  There wasn’t this tense good guys-bad guys –that never, I never experienced any of that.  It may have happened when I wasn’t around, but I have no reason to think that it did.  But those are the only two, and I think they are fascinating.  Fr. Vincent finally said, “Class, stop.  Just remember that this is a history class, not a religion class.  Whether Martin Luther went to Heaven has nothing to do with history.”  So he bailed himself out; he brought it back on course and everything was very good.  In retrospect, he never should have allowed himself to get into that, but he was a neat guy.  They were all neat guys.  Walt Lezesky, he died just recently, was the English teacher.  Palezwski.  Walter Palezwski.  And he dies recently at age 93, I think it was.  His son is Fr. Palezwski at Christ the King in Tampa.  Walt, who was Mr. Palezwski back then, I could quote Shakespeare today because of Walt Palezwski.  He was Saint Leo’s first permanent hire lay teacher.  There were temporaries before, but I think he came about ’51, roughly.  But he was a highly thought of individual.  But I think all of the priests and all of the pay teachers, one exception, he was a lay teacher, and I think he had an alcohol problem.  In fact I know he had an alcohol problem.  And there were people that would come here because of an alcohol problem at the adult level, and I don’t know why.

HP:      You are not the first person to mention that.

CT:      Oh, that’s interesting.  I don’t know how that came to be, but I would say he’s, he wasn’t bad; he just wasn’t as good as the others.  And I had him for Algebra II, and it would have been better to have someone stronger.


Sister Dorothy Neuhoffer Interview. Perspective from a student whose family has deep roots in this area and who started Holy Name Academy as a non-boarding, day hop 8th grader. She became a Benedictine Sister and serving her entire lifetime.

Community Memory Project

File 014 Sister Dorothy Neuhofer

Oral Interview Transcription of interview of Neuhofer by Heather Parker

December 1, 2014



My mother’s mother was born someplace on the Atlantic Ocean when the family was coming from Germany to America. And her father his parents had been in the United States a little longer so [his Grandfather] came directly from Minnesota. Bernard Barthle was the first family settling in St. Joseph and it’s from that Barthle that we come from. Andrew Barthle came earlier and then Bernard came, he came looking around prospecting, and then he came back and told everyone how great it was and then my great grandfather, Bernard Barthle came with his family in June of 1883. And someplace along the line when I was working on my dissertation I discovered what probably was the incentive to get down here sooner. He had some of his sons at St. Johns University [in Minnesota] at school there but one of them died there because there was an epidemic going on in the school so shortly after that he was down here where it was warmer. That’s my mother’s side.

My father’s side – his father…had a newspaper in Germany. Because he had a newspaper, he knew what was going on…that the war was coming [World War I]. And he wanted to get his sons out of the country. So he takes the money that my…[Grandmother] his wife, had been saving, petty cash, and he takes the boys, my father and one brother, and he takes them down the Rhine or up the Rhine, whichever, across to England and from England to the United States. When he gets to the United States he sends word to [Grandmother] that if she wants to see her boys she has to come too [laughter]. The relatives who were left in Germany, when they found out all the details they never quite forgave him but they did have to admit that he had a point because my father certainly would have been drafted in that world war I. So that’s how my father’s family got here and mostly, they were very German. My father learned English very well, but Grandmother did not and neither did Grandfather. So I grew up in a bilingual home. Grandmother and Grandfather lived with us in a little cottage that was their place but they were back and forth with us and we were back and forth with them.

[Father’s parents did not directly to Florida]. They went first to…someplace in either North Dakota or South Dakota where a more distant relative was, but they didn’t stay there. They went looking for warmer climate so they went downt he Mississippi as far as Arkansas, stayed there for a while, I don’t know how long, and that’s where my father learned music – to play the organ, and so on with a Benedictine sister there, we never knew her name and then from there they followed the trail on what many German immigrants were doing at that time, moving down to Florida where – if you know the story of Judge Dunne, land was available. So they get down to St. Joseph….My father’s family was coming down in 1910, 1912, I don’t know the exact date. It was always a marvel to me, how did they get together? Part of that story also has to do with, German immigrants had a very keen knack for finding other German settlers and all going to the same place – whatever place that was, so it became a German settlement. San Antonio did too, but San Antonio was not as fully German as St. Joseph was. San Antonio had enough Irish people that there was some…disagreements and of course that’s part of the whole story of how St. Leo got here. Because the Bishop took notice of this colony that Judge Dunne had started, he had a lot of German-speaking people and they needed a priest to be able to talk to them in their own language. So he goes to St. Vincent’s Arch abbey and asks for a priest to come down here and so we had Father Gerard [Pilz] and then you know the rest of the story.

My mother was a homemaker, housekeeper, but she grew up in a family that did a lot of agricultural work so because she had a large family she wanted to have vegetables on the table. She did have a vegetable garden. We were a family of eleven, all told. One of them died as a little girl, she was the oldest, I was second oldest. In first grade she got streptacocous, the doctors didn’t know how to treat it in those years, and so she died. Six boys and five girls all together, including the one who died as a little girl.

My father…if he had stayed in Germany, probably he would have been an accountant or something in business. He comes down here and he’s smart enough to do what people do in order to make a living – he became a farmer, which he was not. When he came, he was probably 18 or 19 – old enough that he had fully completed all of the German education. He had the university. In Germany he would not have done [farming]. Here he did start some citrus groves – oranges, kumquats especially. But the big thing for him was a poultry farm for the purpose of producing eggs, not the chickens, but the eggs and it was very profitable. It had to be because he had to support us all. [He provided eggs to Holy Name]. The eggs that were produced, they were packed for commercial purposes and there was a dealer who would collect the eggs and then sell them in the market. There was a lot of work involved in that [and we all helped with that]. The eggs had to be collected every day and to do that we didn’t have chickens in their own little cubby holes, they were on the range. My father provided little cubicles that the hens could get into one by one, lay their eggs and move on. Sometimes they didn’t move on – sometimes they were sitting on their eggs and that was a little challenge to get those eggs. The family lawyer one time, when I was talking with him as an adult, he really marveled at how profitable my father had become. He was smart. He know how to use what he had and he put his children to work – what you would do on the farm. Not everyone did the gathering of the eggs. The boys got harder jobs, like cleaning the stables and everything that goes with keeping everything healthy and keeping everything neat and clean. The chickens were gathered into enough yard space, so they had almost free range, but they were confined, they couldn’t go beyond the yard. Mostly the chickens were trained to use the indoor nests so you didn’t need to go outside picking the eggs up from under the bushes, but it worked very well. Added to the yards, we planted pecan trees. Pecan trees gave some nourishment to the soil that was good for the chickens. And so then we had nuts too – picking up the pecans. With as many children as we had, we didn’t sell the pecans. And what we couldn’t eat right away – they were frozen. And we’d have some a little later. There were oranges, tangerines, kumquats because we were a large family and we needed to have good food. He added a couple of cows, not for profit, but for food – for milk. We learned to milk the cows and do all the things you needed to do in order to keep yourself having food. My mother made butter – the cream was very rich…and she sold the butter to local grocery stores. It became a very popular item. She had the parchment paper, to wrap the butter – she had an imprint with the family name. The grocery stores would have people asking for their butter. One time the grocery people asked her not to add coloring. She was offended. She did not add color, that was the natural color. It was very rich. In order to have all that going, the milk that we didn’t drink and the milk that was separated from the cream – that went to the chickens – not as milk, but as flour which mixed with their grain and the chickens loved it. It was another example of everything [being] put to good use.

I started [Holy Name] after 8th grade. When I was in first, second grade [at St. Josephs, a public school] I had a desk close enough to the door that I could see out the door and I was always fascinated by the big boys who came riding by on their bicycles. About second grade I decieded that when I got big enough I would go to Holy Name like they went to Saitn Leo and I would ride a bicycle too. When it came time, I was gong to Holy Name Academy but my mother didn’t like the idea of my riding a bicycle… but I broke her down. I had a friend who was a little older than I and she had a bicycle and she was going to sell it so I made a deal with her and I got a good price and I got a good bicycle and I did ride from Saint Joe to Holy Name. It was a nice long ride – 3 miles at least – and the hills were a challenge for me. That’s what I thought was so macho about those teenage boys, because between Saint Joe and here ther are a couple of hills that are rather challenging and I did just fine. Riding a bicycle gave me a little bit of independence too. I didn’t have to get the car that was doing the transporting, just right on time. When I was doing this, the sisters had a Japanese immigrant who worked for them and he was a chauffeur. I was rather scared of him. He was a gentle man, but I couldn’t understand him too well. I really didn’t like to have to ride with him. Basically, I wanted my independence. But later on the group that would be coming, someone in the group would be doing the chauffeuring. When I started [going to HNA] for a while I was the only one of the girls. There weren’t as many girls. In my class [at St. Josephs] there was only one other girl. [There were no girls going with her to Holy Name in her class from St. Joseph].  And that lasted [for quite a while].

[Holy Name Academy] was pretty much as I expected. It was a challenge. The sisters at that time had…a German speaking professor who taught Latin. He was very good but he was hard to understand. And some of the girls would make fun of him but some of us were nice enough to try to give him a little equilibrium so the man could have a chance. He was really very learned but he was hard to understand. He really didn’t speak English very well – so fun and games.

[The relationship between the boarders and the dayhops at HNA]. As far as I could see it was good relationship but in the years that I was doing this the dayhops were not very many in proportion. Exactly what proporation, I can’t tell you. But in my graduation class there was at least one other girl was a dayhop. And that was a class of 12 [students] which was rather a large class. But being a dayhop had its rewards. It had its problems too when you were left out of things you would have liked to have been doing. Those were years when the Prep school boys and the Academy girls were very much separated. The boys on one hill and the girls on the other and the space inbetween where there is now a little bridge at the bottom of the hill – there was no bridge back then. [There was a conscious effort to keep the boys and the girls separate?] Oh, you better believe it. If and when they did [get together] it was always with a lot of chaperones as far as I could tell. Now remember, I was a dayhop. [There were no dances back then as there were in later years?] No. However, at Holy Name, what we call the Lakehouse. That was built in the 40s and the purpose of that was to provide for the girls that were boarding to change their clothes for bathing. That was the top part. The bottom part was for dancing. So of course there were going to be dances. They were scheduled with plenty of chaperones. Those were times when the boys and girls could be together, but with lots of chaperones.

[Relationships between the students and the nuns and priests?] By virtue of inside rumors you know which ones would be the ones you would want to have and the ones you wouldn’t want to have. Those who were not really appropriate for that kind of work, I suppose they were not put into those positions. As a dayhop, I did not have as much exposure to those kinds of things as the boarding students because as a dayhop and in high school. The teachers were mostly [religious but there were some lay teachers]. The word passed from one to another that sister so and so was going to be rough – be careful. But for the most part the relationship [between the girls and the nuns] was good.



[When did you start thinking you wanted to enter?] Some time in High school. Probably when I was, um maybe as early as sixth grade I was thinking about it. [Your experience at Holy Name, did it help to solidify that?] Oh yeah. Somehow it wasn’t the dominate thought in my head. The big thing was there were all kinds of classes that really fascinated me, so that was the big thing that was in my head. [So, you wanted to teach?] No. I was just thinking that, ok religious life would be what I would want to do, because there were good examples with the priests. Those were years when the pastor of Saint Joe was a monk from the Abby. And that continued a long time. That made a big difference. I think that was a very good thing. The priests could not keep doing it, but in my experience that was a very good thing. Then of course the Covenant school was taught by the sisters. That started early.

 My great Grandfather was the first teacher at Saint Joseph. The first settlers started a school before, Saint Anthony, and my Great grandfather was the first teach, but when the sisters came to teach at Saint Anthony then the sisters were asked to teach at Saint Joe too. And always as a public school. Except during the time of Governor Cass’s administration, who had no use for the nuns, and the nuns were terminated by him. When my mother was going to school during that time, one of her favorite teachers was not one of the nuns but one of the ladies who became a teacher when the nuns couldn’t come. Who just happened to be the mother of some of the sisters who were in our community. They weren’t in our community at that time, but she would become the mother of some girls that would enter our community.

[What did your parents think about you entering the religious life?] My father was, well they both were pleased, but initially I chose to break the news to my mother on our way home from a practice that we had for the Pirates and Pansons. Her version of that was that the news so jilted her that we almost had a wreck. [laughter] I didn’t know what she was going to say so I told her in the car. She recovered. When she realized, when they realized I was serious it was ok, you know I didn’t have anything to worry about, but you don’t know.

[When you graduated high school, you entered here, but you ended up going somewhere else to study?] Well yes, but not right away. I entered, and we had some, we, meaning the class I was in, had some courses on teaching done by some of the nuns who were already teaching. But with very little experience we were sent on missionments, meaning sent elsewhere to a parish school that needed teachers. We wouldn’t be the only ones, but we were the novices. I did that a number of years. During the school year teaching, in the summertime going to school getting more credits working toward my Bachelors Degree. That went on I don’t remember how many years. But at some point in time I had calculated that at that rate it would take me twenty years to finish, and I didn’t like the idea. So, when I had the chance I took overloads in the summertime, and I managed to finish, to get my degree in fourteen years. The end place [where I got my degree] was Berry University. During the school year, when I was teaching, I taught in the daytime, you know regular school hours, and the after-school hours Berry University had some late afternoon classes. So, you taught school and you went to school at the same time. That was no fun. [ this campus was way down in Florida?] Yep, that was no fun. But that helped make it fewer than twenty years. But added to that, during the summer time when you could take… during the school year while you were also teaching you usually got one course a semester. We didn’t all do that, and I didn’t do it every year. But I did it enough times to know what it was like, and it was no fun. No fun at all.

 Ok so, it was only when I got to a graduate school, the first graduate school was Library Science, that I was doing…taking classes and a full-time student. That was fun. [That was in] Rosary College that was up in Chicago. And that happened because some place along the line, well that was beginning to be the time when Saint Leo was a two-year college. Well the four-year college hadn’t started yet, but there were questions would you be interested in… One question would be would you be interested in Library Science. That question wasn’t just for me but a general question. I remember writing uh I could be, possibly.

Ok, well some place before that, or about that time, I had advanced if you will, to become a principle in one of the schools. A brand-new school. And because I had always loved to read, I thought to myself the prime opportunity to start a school library. A real one, not just a bunch of books in the back of the classroom. So, not being a librarian, I got the help of some of the ladies in the parish who made contacts with the public-school people, and the public-school libraries where very helpful in how to get started. So, we got started and we had a library. Some years later, I don’t remember what year this was but quite a number of years later, I had the occasion to be at that parish for some other event, and I got to see the library as it grew. That made me feel so good. You know, that they didn’t just pass it off, they kept it going and it was really a good library. A children’s library. So that’s what got me into library school.

The library school, I had in my head, ok well I’ll go back and go to another school and I’ll really know how to do this. It never entered my head I’d be coming to Saint Leo. I was then thinking I was preparing for school libraries to do it right. So, I get the assignment and no I’m not in a school library, I’m in a college library. [Coming back from Chicago] I came straight here, and I’ve been here ever since. And I joke about it now. When I got to Saint Leo I stayed…all those years before then, maybe fourteen or fifteen years, maybe not quite that many but there about, that I had been in peripheral schools, six of them total, and never staying any longer than three years in any one of them. A number of them was only one year. That was heartbreaking because you really don’t get to know people. To be part of the parish you really have to know people. And that was really heartbreaking that I would no sooner build some repour with all the people and know the students and know their families and whatever, and then I’m gone.

[What about the church and the community of Piney Grove?] I don’t know all the details. I’m sure that we got started with Piney Grove people because we had, in our kitchen we had some of the kitchen help, cooks or whatever, they were in the Piney Groves community, and they would invite us to come. And we did. And about the same time we had, first one and then at the most two at a time, black sisters from a community up in Maryland. I think that’s where the came from. They were probably sisters of… I can’t remember the whole title of their order. They were a black community…I don’t remember. I’ll have to look that up. They were with us because the school at Saint Joe had to be integrated. The faculty. Because it was a public school it had to be integrated. So, our solution was to ask those sisters if at least one could come and live with us and be on that faculty. Ok, so that happened. At first it was one and then it was two. The original was, Virginie was the first one. I don’t remember the last name immediately. She was the first one, and she was well liked. But then she decided that she would try to get on the faculty of Pasco High, and she did. Ok, now she’s still living with us. But to take her place for the school of Saint Joe another sister came. Off the top of my head I can’t remember that other sisters name, but whoever it was both of those sisters were well liked. I think, I’ll have to either, my memory will have to pull this up or I’ll have to look it up to see what the title of their community was. I’m thinking Oblate Sisters of something or other was who they were. And they were founded to be a black community. I want to say Oblate Sisters of Providence but I’m not absolutely certain of that without looking it up.

So, they stayed with us quite a while. And of course, they didn’t stay forever. Well, for one thing the Saint Joe school was closed when they opened one in San Antonio which was to be the one school in the area for Saint Joe and, I don’t remember, a couple of other communities. Local area people. I think that was about 1980. I think. Sister Mildred was on that family for a long time. But she was also here.

[Did those sisters being here have to do with the association with Holy Name and Piney Grove?] Well, probably because the Piney Grove people could identify with the black sisters, and it just helped to form stronger relationships. I can’t remember the cooks name but, oh, Viola, Viola Harris. Oh, she could really make a red velvet cake to die for. And a few other things too. She was really good. [She was one of the ones that would want you to come to Piney Grove?] Yep. And so, we did.

[As the prep schools started shifting into Saint Leo College do you remember anything changing as far as civil rights or the war?] No, I can’t off the top of my head. But a little bit later, uh, late 60s early 70s, we had students at Saint Leo College who were here not because they wanted to be students, they were avoiding the draft. That was big. You just knew that they really… if um… Let’s see, that was the Vietnam War and something else going on which occasioned the draft, and well you could tell by the students who were not serious about their studies that they wouldn’t be here if they were not trying to avoid the draft.

Now let me give you the example of my brother. For example. He didn’t start, well he was past the time for the prep school. He was too young for that. Alright, so when he gets to be old enough for college he decides to go to Florida State. Ok, so he’s up there and the next year he’s home. And my mother is wondering what in the world is going on. And he’s going to school here. Ok, well one of the reasons he came home was at Tallahassee they never knew when there was going to be a drill or a bomb threat. Ok, and he just didn’t like that kind of life. Alright, so he decided he would live at home and go to school here, and as he was going to school here he finished. At that time, in his senior year, as a librarian doing library instruction classes, we hadn’t convinced the faculty that it would be better to bring the students to the library and let us do these class there. No, we should come to the classrooms. Part of had to do with the library was to small. So, I’m doing this class, and here’s my brother, it’s his senior year, and he’s sitting in the back of the classroom. It’s an English class. So afterwards I said “What are you doing here? Why are you taking this freshman course in your senior year?” Well, the answer was what he had taken in Tallahassee they didn’t accept here. They didn’t transfer the credits. And he had to have the course. He had put it off hoping that they’d forget about it. So that’s a little bit about it. And he finished here.

To get to the point that was inspiring, he would spend time stopping in my office and talking and whatever. He was just in his last year, his senior year, and he was just really beside himself about what to do. He didn’t want to be drafted. He just did not want to be drafted. So, it took him awhile to finally figure out, well, it would be better to volunteer to do what he would like to do if he had to do it and to not be drafted. So he did. So, you asked the question of what was going on. Well I know the draft was going on. And it was really affecting a whole lot of…it was on going for quite a while. Because the students that we had here that we just knew in the late 60s, it was already starting there, and this was 72 that my brother was graduating. And I don’t remember how long it lasted after that. But that really uh…well, we could both look up the stats, but that really had an impact on the students.

Ok…lets go way back…I’m a little girl, and my sister has just died. She was two years older than I was. My first real life introduction to Saint Leo Abby was through my father, who being a German immigrant he had library privileges with the monks. So, he would take me with him, up the stairs, the big high stairs in front of the Saint Leo Hall, and we would go into this dark dark room, and he would go through the books and every little while he would pull a cord of an electric light, a light bulb just hanging from the ceiling, and that was my first introduction to Saint Leo. To the library. It lasted a while. Well, I always liked to read. When I was in grade school I always got finished…public school then at Saint Joe was four grades to a room, ok, and I would be finished before anyone else would be finished, and so I would be bored. And sometimes I did, I frequently did amuse myself with books. Then that got boring too. So, I used to… well I got myself into trouble by playing some tricks on the little girl in front of me. [laughing] And got caught. [more laughter] Ok, so then I decided after that, well ok, the thing was still going on that was causing this to begin with. I didn’t have anything to do, so I chose books that would be a little bit harder to read. I chose the history books. Yeah, I read the history books, and that did work. It gave me something to think about. I would finish with one and I would go to another. I have always liked history.

[How was your German?] Ok, had my sister lived it would be better I’m sure. Grandmother and grandfather had their own little house, and they taught her English. She was bi-lingual. But they didn’t do that for the rest of us. And I was always sorry. But in the home, both German and English were spoken when my grandfather and grandmother were around. And I could understand, but to speak it I did not remember the same thing that my sister had, and I was always sorry about that. But I could understand a lot. And at one time I thought well I should learn to speak it, but I have not really done that. Because it’s not my top priority. Now when I went to Germany I knew enough German to be able to understand. Of course, I was smart enough to get my mother to go with me, who really you know. Cause by that time my father had died, but I wanted to see my father’s Country. And she could speak it, and I could understand a lot, but I could not understand everything.

[ Your father had privileges at the Abby. Was that because he was a German speaker?] I’m sure that had a whole lot to do with it. Because he was a German speaker and because he had a really good education. Of course, the monks had all these books in German. He didn’t want to lose his affluency in German. Which he didn’t. I’m sure reading had a whole lot to do with it.

Oh. Did anyone ever tell you about the Mass in the Grato? Ok, that was a custom for the 8th of December. It was a custom that the Abby and the Prep School students would all go over to the Grato on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception coming up on Monday for Mass in the Grato. And people in the local Perishes where invited to join the group. I have lots of memories of that. [That was going on when you were still a child?] Yep. Oh, also, before there was an Abby Church, the church that served the Prep School and the monks was on the top floor of what is Saint Leo Hall. The third floor. I can remember climbing those steps, not by myself but, it was way… it was up there high. But that’s where Mass was held. Before the Abby Church. And that attracted other people. Probably not as many, my family was probably the most frequent in doing that. We didn’t do it all the time, but we did it. That’s where any big celebration would happen. But the Mass in the Grato, anyone could come to that and people were invited.

 [ Is that still going on now?] No. No. I’m sorry. If it is I don’t know it. I think if it is, or were, I think I would know it. Yeah. Well for one thing the Abby doesn’t have that many priests anymore. And during the time that that was happening, there were more monks then. But it wasn’t just for the monks it was also for the students. Because they were expected to attend. And it really was a nice event because, I don’t remember clearly whether there was offered, whether people had the option to have a meal afterwards. I don’t remember, but it was a big event. In a child’s memory. At least in mine.

[ Anything else you can tell us?] The Prep School had a marching band. And there were times when they would march all the way out to Saint Joe. And we would be so excited. [laughing] Somehow we got the word they were coming, so we’d be listening for it.

 Anyone tell you about the boys’ choir? The Prep school years, probably late 50s. No, not late 50s. Probably early 50s and late 40s. Father Raffial, who was quite busy… oh yeah, it had to be between that time period… he was the head master of the prep school, and he was a quite a very good musician. He was one of the ones who was instrumental in getting the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas going. The Pirates and Pinsess. Anyone tell you about that? Yeah, I was in that. That was a big deal. And it was part of Father Raffial’s doing to work with the other person on the music staff, Don Crush, and they got together how to do it, and got not just the prep school boys but also the academy girls. That was an early piece of interaction that just didn’t happen before.

Midnight Mass was always a big thing for the Abby. And many people from the local area attended Midnight Mass, because many of the local perishes didn’t have the midnight Mass. That’s changed now. On Christmas. I don’t even know if the Abby is doing a Midnight Mass anymore. I would seriously doubt it, but then I could be wrong. But they just don’t have the priests. But that was a big event. People from miles around came to that.

Did anyone ever tell you that in the early years, let’s say the 60s, after the college was going, the college library closed during supper hour? Which I thought was so odd but that’s the way Father Fidalas did it. Of course, it didn’t stay open as long as it does now. No need to. But that closing during supper time…I found that hard to take.

And then there was this little piece…oh yeah…did anybody tell you about the “daily say so”? Well now we have Monday news bites and e-mail and whatever. But in my very early years here, we’re talking about 1965 forward, I don’t remember exactly what year it was started, but there were concerns that nobody knew what was happening. So, this one lady, I’ll think of her name as we go along, offered to help do something. She offered to produce a “say so”. Other words a here’s a list of what’s happening. It took immediately, and everybody loved that. She did it daily. She did it on a typewriter. After it really caught on it was called the Daily Say So. And if there was something your department was doing and wanted other people to know about, you had to have the information in by, I forgot what time the day before, but she would have it out first thing in the morning. Hazel Whitman, that’s her name, and I don’t remember what her position was, but she was really a great lady. So, I don’t remember how long the Daily Say So went on. Probably until the computer programs picked up and we went from there. That’s a big deal, That’s a big thing. At least it was then.

 A piece of that, which I didn’t know until one of the Alums paid a few visits, and I had known a little bit about this practice, but I didn’t know the whole story. Daily events, you know big time events, one of the students acted as the announcer. I never understood that, so from Peter, I got the rest of the story. During lunch hour…everybody had lunch at the same time. Ok, if there was anything going on that day, or whenever, say within 24 hours, then his job was to get up and announce what was going to be happening that afternoon and the next day. [That was the Saint Leo College Days? So, there was a period of time when there were no classes?] Yep, you got it. Yep. That was a long time ago. That didn’t last long. I never quite understood by what do you mean announcer. So, this one day when Peter was up I got him to explain what that was. So, that’s the story on that.

Oh, somebody told you about the first commencement in the mall? [No] 1967 was the first four-year commencement. Ok, it took place in the mall. [ Where’s the mall?] The space between Saint Edward and Saint Francis Hall. [I saw pictures of that.] Yes. Very romantic. You could really get a sunburn. Right out here. Lots of things happened out there too. Between Saint Eds and Saint Francis. Those were things that, they didn’t last forever, and it’s probably a good thing they didn’t. [laughing]

In the early years of the college the emphasis was on teaching not degrees. Masters were…Masters were acceptable, and they were probably the majority. Until things caught up, but the emphasis was on good teaching. And I don’t remember details as to how that was promoted. Well eventually, you know, it’s going to be a transition.

Ok, I’m just quickly going through anything that…oh, general seminar. Did anyone tell you about General Seminars? [No] Ok, early years again. Let’s say 65’ forward. And I don’t remember the frequency, um, but periodically, everybody came together. I mean everybody. The faculty and all the students. And there was some topic that everybody was concentrating on, breaking into groups, and it was called the General Seminar. Sometimes there were invited speakers, and sometimes those invited speakers were very prominent people. Off the top of my head I don’t remember some of the names. [I was looking through the newspapers and I saw that at one point they had Betty Ferdan here, and some other big authors.] Yep. Ok, some place I jotted some of those people down. Ok, here we go. Oh no, the first person I wrote down wasn’t here. There was a period when the development people, there was a fellow in charge of development, he had a yen for really attracting VIP people to the campus. I think he, well I guess he was trying, you know, to get the college known. People such as Gerald Ford. Ok, I don’t remember the name of the Pope’s Androy. Um, Melvin Leard. Do you know that story? Ok, I think it would be…I can send you a copy of that. Cause that got to be national. USF whatever. There was a big protest. Ok, um, Charles Curin, who was a very well-known Catholic Theologian, who was not really appreciated all over. Pons Coon was one of these important people who was right here on this campus. The Abbott Primate. And I probably don’t have it all, but they were all…this fellow who was in development, he had a yen for attracting very influential people. Big names. Of course, that perked everybody up, but also made a name for the college.

Co-ed dorms, I don’t remember when we started that. The first go around on dorms we had girls on one campus and boys on the other. [So, the girls were up at Holy Name and the boys were down here?] uh huh. Yep. The Monastery got involved with housing for the women because the Abby did not want to have women’s residence on their campus. They wanted to have the students, but they wanted the women to have their own residence. And so, when there were more women students than local homes could help out with, the sisters were asked to help. And when I came home from Chicago, Rosary College, I didn’t have room in the Monastery building. And neither did some other people, because the women students were using our rooms. Which was about the time that the sister then built first Marmian, and that relieved some of that, but we retained in the Monastery building, the top floor was college students. For a while, the top floor and part of the second floor. But giving us back space for the sisters. That kept going on, but when Marmian was completed, then we added Snyder because Marmian was not enough. Eventually we added Villa, which by the way the folks here liked to call it the Villas. It’s not. We didn’t call it Villas. We call it Villa. But people don’t seem to understand it’s not plural, it’s singular. Ok, so gradually the idea that there could be, the same building could house both men and women, that took a long time to come into being and be accepted. And I guess you know the rest of the story. [Which was?] Well, one floor…on both sides could be men and women in the same building but not on the same floor. A far cry from, ok, couldn’t meet down at the bottom of the hill. [laughing] It’s another full circle. Yah, well there was a fence line down there. And if you got caught going across you were in trouble. [laughing] [Do you remember anybody getting caught going across?] I remember hearing about it, but I wasn’t involved with it. [still laughing]

[Print jobs?] The Abby had a print shop, the Abby Press, and they did print jobs. Their own stuff, of course the prep school, and then as the college got going, if we needed something printed or the department, that’s where you took it. The Abby Press. They didn’t do duplicating as we have duplicating right now. That was done elsewhere, but a real print job, it was the Abby Press. I do not remember when they stopped doing that. Seems to me the place that is now the Abby gift shop was originally the print shop, but I could be mixed up on that. Someplace in that line. Father Andrew was the, was in charge. He was quite good. I remember doing a booklet I wanted for the library. I was in Europe at the time and I was putting it together, and got back and I gave it to him, and he admired what I had done, and he did a very good job. [I wonder when that started.] Well, the Abby Press was working all the way…I don’t know how far back, I just remember it as a child. But as the tears went on it grew to be a more important operation. And mostly they did their own printing, but as the college got going they did most of the good print for the college.



Pat Reilly Interview. Perspective from a Benedictine Brother. He was Brother Francis OSB at Saint Leo Abbey from 1960-1974 and provides detailed recollections about the monks who nurtured him.

Community Memory Project

File 001 Patrick Reilly

(also known in the past as Br. Francis)

Oral Interview Transcription of interview of Reilly by Heather Parker

September 16, 2014



PR:      When I came to Saint Leo’s in 1960, I wanted to see Fr. Abbot Marion Bowman because I thought I had a vocation to the Brotherhood, but when I saw him, I told him that I was not a Holy Joe like “you guys,” and Fr. Marion Bowman looked at me almost as if he wanted to punch me in the face because he didn’t take that lightly, and he didn’t like that implication.  And I said, “Look, I am here to have you tell me that I shouldn’t be a Brother because I am a hell raiser, I am a trouble maker, I am a problem, and I probably won’t change; this is the way I am.  And he said, “Well come to class tomorrow.” So the next day we came to class, and he said, “Who would you pick to start a religion?” And we named off a whole bunch of theological and philosophical and psychological and human virtues, and he said, “Okay, so God did it all wrong.” And we said, “Wait a minute, God doesn’t do it wrong.”  He said, “Oh yes. According to you guys He does it wrong because He picked Moses after he committed murder.  He picked a condemned murder to start the operation.”  And then we had to do our homework and read scripture and find out that Moses committed murder and then he was called by God when he was running away from Egypt, and God said, “Go back to Egypt.”  And the message behind that was that God will take the broken, bent, twisted, second-rate tool, and if that tool cooperates with God, God can get a lot of work done through a broke, bent, twisted, second-rate tool like yourself.  So that was a pretty good punch in the nose, and a pretty good message that he gave; and he was a football coach, so he was very down to Earth, very practical.  And so I said, “Well, I’ll apply to be a Brother expecting that I would be thrown out real quickly because of my problems of being a hell raiser, a trouble maker, and a problem.  And so I think I thought I would not be able to fit in, but Fr. Damien DeQuiznay at Saint Leo’s Abbey was the Novice Master, and he is extremely kind and understanding and patient; and Fr. Marion Bowman, with his down to Earth approach, was very, very helpful and probably forgiving and patient and understanding.  And then the different opportunities that I was given at Saint Leo’s Abbey was I was given the opportunity to help the old Monks by taking a the sick trays into them, into their cell, and that was a wonderful opportunity because I would ask them, “How did they get here?”, and “Why are they here?”, and “What did they do?”  And they would tell me. 

And so I accidentally got the history of many of the old Monks that were some of the founders of the Monastery in their elder years.  And some of them were Fr. Eric Gale Bead, who was the one who did the Heraldry for the college and the university’s Coat of Arms.  Br. Paul Tennis was artist that did the artwork.  Now, I also had the opportunity meeting Br. Christopher, who only had one arm.   Asked him how did he end up coming here?  And he said, “Well,”…he was up North.  I think he was working in a steel mill, and he lost one of his arms.  So Fr. Abbot Francis came and talked to the people up there about the possibility of vocation.  And so he raised his one arm and he said, “Look it; I don’t think you can use me because I only have one arm.  Yet he was a very good workman.  And the Abbot said to him, “You know what the qualifying vocations are to becoming a Brother?”  And Br. Christopher said, “No, what are they?”  And he said, “Can you pray?”  That’s the whole qualifications according to Br. Christopher, and that was what Fr. Abbot Francis said to him.  So that was quite an interesting thing to have the opportunity of working with him.  Now this Monk only had one arm, but he made the candlesticks that are in the Abbey Church, which is pretty fantastic.  He also did the iron grillwork that is in the Abbey Church.  He also did the iron grillwork that is down in the grotto.  So as far as admiring a person, Br. Christopher was fantastic (crying). 

I also met other Monks.  One of them was Br. Aloysius, and he was, in essence, the farmer.  And the interesting thing about Br. Aloysius was I could pick an orange on the Abbey grounds, I could bring it back to him, and about 90% of the time, he could tell me what tree the orange came from because he was the guy who really, you know, worked on that agricultural stuff, and he knew what types of oranges were growing in every area.  And he was just terrific.  He had diabetes, and he had wounds; and sometimes they didn’t heal very well.  I tried to put a number of bandages – up to the number of 26 different bandages a day – on his wounds, and then I told the infirmarian that we got to have a doctor see this guy and take care of him because what I am doing isn’t working.  And so the doctor analyzed the situation, and he said, “Well, of course it isn’t working; you’re doing the wrong thing.  Instead of putting all of these bandages on him, let that wound be exposed to air and sunshine.”  And it cleared up.  You know?  So sometimes your best efforts, you know, are in the wrong direction sometimes, you know?  But thanks to God for the opportunity to know Br. Christopher who, as a young man, had a horrible temper, and as an old man, was super kind (crying). 

Some of the other individuals that I got to know was a Fr. John Schlict, and he was a real little guy.  It broke his heart when he was no longer aloud to say mass, but he was offered the opportunity to be the Bishop in Cuba, I think, of the Isle of Pines, and his Abbot said, “No, I need you more, and I can’t spare you.”  So he turned down that opportunity to be a Bishop, which shows his emoda (?).  Great little guy.  He might only have weighed about 80 pounds. 

There are some other light weights.  Fr. Jerome (crying), who was one of the state’s top historians.  He was also; I am saying that he was under 90 pounds.  There was also a Fr. Benedict, who was a scripture scholar and a very forward-looking person.  And he was also, I’ telling you, he was under 90 pounds --all three of those guys.  But once for ounce, they were probably the best priests in the Diocese for getting things done.  Now, there were other individuals that were kind of outstanding that I had the fun of trying to work with a bit, and Br. John and Br. Placidis were two elderly Monks from Bavaria, and then when I came to Saint Leo’s Abbey, they were praying in German for the German Monks, in English for the American Brothers, and in Latin for the – they call them Frotters – for people who are studying for the priesthood.  So they are praying in three different languages, and Br. John and Br. Placidis were biologically brothers; but the interesting thing is the oldest one entered after the youngest one and so they switched places: the oldest one always considered himself the younger and the younger always considered himself older because they entered the order in that order.  And it was pretty fantastic.  And they were carpenters, and they fixed furniture.  I’m telling you that some of these chairs were fixed almost every year for 30 years, and they were unbelievably re-constructed.  So God bless Br. John and Br. Placidis. 

When Saint Leo’s had its own carpentry shop, they had its own upholstery shop, and it has its own ceramics studio and its own art studio and it had its own dairy; its own bee apry, you know, that’s bees.  So across the street was the land of milk and honey and now it’s the golf course.  And the golf club house was actually the barn.  And where those people have booths are really cow stalls.  I had the fun of painting that building.  I also had the fun of moving manure over there, and they say I’m still moving manure in some ways.  But it was a very interesting thing.  And Br. George was the agricultural expert.  Br. Eugene was also working in agriculture, and so was Br. Willy and Br. Luke Schmidt; Br. Peter was for a short time.  But it was very interesting that Saint Leo’s produced its own oranges, produced its own milk, produced its own beef and had its own brand.  And it produced its own honey.  The bakery at Saint Leo’s was done by Pop Herman.  That’s Fr. Stevens’s father.  So I hope I’m correct on that.  And he had a charming little wife, and he called her “little momma.”  And what happens is they were, I’m saying they were only five feet tall if they were that.  They might have been under five feet tall.  So these were two little people.  And they…as a baker, Mr. Herman was super fantastic, terrific, but he would never let anybody know his full recipe.  So if you were helping him, he would send you out of the room to get something, and then he’d put in whatever it was that was the secret ingredients.  And so then his baking was just fantastic.  That’s all there was to it.  Another baker on the other side of the campus was Sr. Irma whose cookies were so good that some people said that she converted people by the quality of her cookies.  Now that might not be accurate, but it’s pretty close to truth.  The next thing here is this Pop and Mom Herman were living across the street from the prep school and then the junior college and then the college.  And they were so short, my job was to help shepherd them across the street safely so they would not get run over by a car.  And so that was a wonderful opportunity for me to get to know Fr. Stevens’ father and mother.  And now there was Joe Herman of San Antonio, who was a monument in his own right.  He was the one that started safety gas and other things like the credit union, and he helped tremendously on the San Antonio festival.  And he gets the credit for putting the San Antonio festival together with his fantastic wife Patti.  And Patti was so good and so fantastic and so helpful that the San Antonio JCs – they said that Patti has to be a full-fledged member because she is so fantastic and so helpful.  And the national institution would not allow women in at that time, so the entire group said, “Well, let’s forget the San Antonio JCs, and we will just be our own group.”  So they were unanimous in saying that if Patty is not a part of this thing, then we are not a part of this thing.  So that was Patti Herman, Eddy’s wife. 

Some other interesting dimensions of reality is the opportunity to saint Leo’s Abbey gave its Monks.  I was blessed by Fr. Damian giving me the job of helping the old Monks.  And I was also blessed in the sense that he let me be in charge of the ceramics shop, and we made a whole bunch of stuff.  And that was an opportunity to work with Br, Paul, who was a tremendous artist.  And Br. Bernard was an artist in his own right in photography and poetry.  And Fr. Thomas McCarthy was a tremendous artist also in his own right, which was quite interesting with opportunities such as Br. Paul.  He did the stained glass windows in the Abbey church when they needed to be done and added to.  Now what happens is there is an artist and there is a flunky.  And the artist is really the one that does the magnificent work, and the flunky is the one who does the, I’ll call it very easy work.  And so he taught me how to edge the glass and he taught me how to heat the glass, and he taught me how to put the glass together and this type of stuff.  So I had the fun of being in on the stained glass windows in the church.  I’m not the artist in any way, shape, or form.  I was the flunky, but it was great to have the opportunity.  One of the disadvantages of that opportunity was there’s obedience in the Benedictine realm, and they had these beautiful medallions of the sacred heart and immaculate heart of Mary and all this other kind of stuff, and Br. Paul wanted to recycle that glass.  So he told me to go over there and take these and smash them.  And I did obey but it was obedience with resistance.  “No Br., don’t have these things smashed.”  But I did what I was supposed to do. 

Also part of this doing what you’re supposed to do is a situation where you are not going to be popular.  There was one Monk who was a diabetic.  And Fr. Damian, being very health conscious, wanted to have us, meaning me, raid his room and get rid of all the sugar in the room.  And this guy was pretty good at hiding sugar and candy and that kind of stuff. And so they took him on a trip and showed him a good time on a picnic or something, and my job was to steal all of his candy while uh.  My name was not necessarily top on his list.  I was definitely on the bottom of his list for the rest of my life, I think. That was an interesting interlude.

With monastic living, you are working together, and if you get stuff done, it is usually by team work rather than what you do by yourself.  I had the opportunity after working in the ceramic shop to decent to be a prefect in the dorm for the freshmen.  I hated that word because it sounded too close to perfect, and I knew I wasn’t that in any way, shape, or form.  So I was the freshmen advisor instead of a prefect.  And in the dorm, it was a great opportunity both to get to work with the kids and also I was given the opportunity, because I had pre-med, to teach biology in the high school under Br. Phillip.  So I was team teaching with Br. Phillip biology in the high school.

Well I also had the opportunity being the basketball coach for the freshmen.  We snuck away and snuck into the gym during football season and secretly we practiced like crazy.  And so as soon as basketball season came, I got up and I said, “The freshmen challenge the sophomores to a basketball game.”  And we beat them.  The next day, I got up and said, “The freshmen challenge the juniors to a basketball game.”  And we beat them.  The next day I got up and said, “The freshmen challenge the seniors to a basketball game.”  And they beat us by two points, but the students still walked around campus saying, “Two points, man, two points, that’s two points.”  And so it was quite a victory but it shows that team work can beat better players.  Were the other players taller than us, yes, were they actually better than us, yeah.  But working together our team did pretty good.  So the freshmen year, Fr. Abbot called me in and said, “Well, how did your year go.”  And I said, “Well, every day I kind of wake up the kids and wish them well and say, ‘God bless you for your school day.’  And they go off, and the end of every day, I visit every room and wish the kids, you know, God bless them, and I hope they have a good’s night sleep.”  Well, I talked to the Abbot, and I said…he said, “How did your year go.”  And I said, “Well, I think I didn’t get through o a couple of them.”  And he said, “You don’t know what you are talking about.”  And I said, “Okay.  What don’t I know that I should know?”  He says, “If you go through to one of them you are lucky.”  So it was a different ball game.  So I am glad that I had the opportunity of working Fr. Robert in the prep school and Br. Peter and Fr., well, with the whole operation, it was fun working with the prep school.  The next year was the final year of the prep school. So that was 1964, I think.  And the prep school went on for about, it lasted for about 73 years or something like that.  You have to check me on the facts.

The next thing is, during that summer, Fr. Steven Herman became in charge and the new president.  First was Dr. Joh Lenard, who was super fantastic.  And Fr. Steven, because I was a barber in the monastery, I was cutting his hear, and he said, “Well, what are you going to do this summer?”  And I said, “My brother Tim and I are going to write a textbook in logic.”  He said, “You are?”  And I said, “Yeah.”  He said, “Good.  You are teaching logic next year.”  I said, “No, I am not.  I haven’t even applied for the job.”  He says, “Tough, I am the president and you are going to do the job.”  So that is how that accident happened.  So I said, “Well, I would like to use our book.” He says, “You can use any book you want.  You know, that is your freedom.”  So he was very nice and let me have the opportunity of teaching logic.  Fr. Peter Fleischgood taught it before.  He was a tall blonde athlete, much like an Olympian.  He later on did wonderful work up in New York with alcoholics.

Now at Saint Leo’s college, it was a situation where, thanks to Fr. Stevens’s approach, he said, “Everybody in the monastery is part of this team because the monastery were the originators,” and things, so he gave everybody an opportunity to be part of the helping and the starting and the cooperation of building the college. 

I mentioned Br. Pat in passing previously.  He was in charge of the Pink Elephant in the high school.  At the Pink Elephant, it was a drug store, in essence.  And it was down in the bottom of Saint Edwards Hall.  Br. Pat was an unbelievably kind and understanding and compassionate and helpful and tolerant.  And if he ever saw a kid walk in to the Pink Elephant who he could tell immediately was discouraged or down or sad, he would go over and put his arm around him (crying) and tell the kid, “I will go to mass for you every day this next month.”  The kid, then he would go back and make his banana splits or whatever behind the counter.  The kid would come to him later and say, “Br. Pat, I’m really angry because my folks are getting a divorce.”  Or something, you know.  And he would say, “Look, I’m just a little brother, I can’t do much, but I promise I will go to mass for you every day.”  (crying)

Around 1963, and I’m not sure that this is the accurate date; there was the bombing of Birmingham.  At the bombing of Birmingham, it was a situation where it was so aggravating and so horrible that if affected me.  So I went to church at the Abbey church and the Monks prayed up front.  And I looked in the back and there was a guy in the back and he was Afro-American.  And I said to myself, I said, you know, “That guy could be praying here about the same thing I’m praying about, the kids that got hurt in Birmingham and about the mess.  So I said, “God can hear my prayers in the back of the church as well as He can in the front.”  So I went back and I was next to this individual.  And I said my prayers and after prayers, I talked to him and his name was Robert Cummings.  His name was Emmanuel Revas.  I got the name wrong.  Emmanuel Revas was from Panama and he was a track wonder in a sense and he was a number two man in the Pan Am games in some event.  I don’t know exactly what event.  But the interesting this is I said, “Is there anything here at Saint Leo’s that we could do that would be a help to you?”  And he said, “Well, yes.  I have a big favor to ask of you.”  I said to him, “I’m not a big deal individual here.  I am a low man on the totem pole, so I might not be able to help you.”  So I said, “What do you want?”  He says, “Well, I would like to come out here and use your track to get in shape and stay in shape.  And I also helped the people at More Mickens (?) in track.”  I said, “Well, to run around the track and use the track, there is nothing that I think takes a lot of permission for this, so yeah, come on out here and run track and we’ll see how it goes.”  So, ah, Emmanuel Revas ran track and it was, he was kind of behind Roderick Hall at that time.  There was a track.  Some, I was up there on a kind of a balcony overlooking the track.  Some kids walked up and these kids were from New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut, or something like this, and they were aggravated and saying, “How did this black guy get out there and use our track?”  And I said, “I beg your pardon, this guy is my guest, and he was the number one man – the number two man – in some Pan Am races.”  So the kids went from being prejudiced to being his students within about three minutes.  They said, “Well, we are getting on our shoes, and we are going to learn from this guy.”  So that was an interesting interlude.  And then his friend was Robert Cummings. 

Robert Cummings was an English professor at Moore Mickens school, [Moore Mickens was the colored school ]Moore Mickens in Dade City, and he also taught in the prison to, you know, adult education and GED and stuff like this.  So I, after I met him, I said that I would love to have the opportunity to be with you and help the inmates on GED and that kind of stuff.  He said, “Good.”  I said, “Could you pick me up at the parking lot?”  Now Robert Cummings was a little guy, so I was expecting a little guy.  So I ran to the parking lot to meet this little guy, and instead of that, out of this car emerged a man who was about 6’6” and maybe 300 pounds of muscle.  And I said, “Woops.  I am looking for a little guy.”  This was intimidating and scary to me.  And it was actually Melvin Denard.  And Melvin Denard, he was a football coach and he played for Bethune Cookman.  So he was a pretty strong athlete and this type of thing. But the interesting thing is he was kind and understanding and we became fantastic friends.  So I had the opportunity of visiting the prison and working with Mr. Denard at the Zephyrhills Road Camp prison.  So that was quite an opportunity.

The other opportunity I wanted to get back to was Br. Pat, he was so kind with so many and that was just his way of doing it that when they stopped the prep school, he was in charge of the mailroom for the college.  In the mailroom he had couches so that people could sit down and relax and take it easy and he had three cups of coffee that students could have a cup of coffee, you know, and that type of thing.  So the interesting thing is that college students would sometimes help him run the mail to different areas of the campus and pick up mail.  So Br. Pat did so many kindnesses and this type of thing and when Br. Pat had an accident in October, he was totally unable to do him job.  He was laid up.  He was in truly bad shape.  And college students took over and did his job perfectly for the whole year.  (crying)  There was a wow.  When Br. Pat was about an old man in front of the Abbey church, he was in a wheelchair.  And I watch what happened.  He’d be there and within a half hour somebody would come up and say, “Br. Pat, you are so helpful (crying).”  And I’d go, “Br. Pat, who is that?”  And he’d say, “I don’t know.”  But happens is that he did it so often, so it was so fantastic.  (crying) 

So some of the individuals that I had the opportunity of working with, you know Fr. Marion Bowman, when he got old, he would be sitting on a bench out here at the campus wall area and he would be talking to students.  And I would tease him and I would say, “Fr. Marion, I remember when you were good with a pool cue and not a cane.”  And he’s say, “Yeah, come on.”  And we would go down to the Abbey pool room, and so we went down to the Abbey pool room, and he beat me five out of seven games.  And I was amazed at that.  So I saw him the next day, and I said, “Fr. Marion Bowman, I am a little bit aggravated and ticked off that you beat me five out of seven games in pool yesterday.”  And he said, “Well, I was a little ticked off, too.”  So I said, “What were you ticked off about?”  He said, “I hated to lose two to you.”  So this – his attitude and his  spirit and his perspective was just unbelievable.  He was really Catholicay open and caring.

Some of the other individuals that were extremely helpful were Br. James Schalfhausen, who was very interested in being a clown.  So he was sent off to clown college in Bradenton, and he actually became and clown and he learned magic tricks and this type of thing.  But he actually needed to have a straight man, so he came to me and said would I be his straight man.  He was Bobo and I was JoJo and we were both, he gave me clown paraphernalia and I was his straight man.  He would go to old folks’ homes or nursing homes or prisons or whatever.  And he went to a couple prisons or jails and he founds kids in there, and that really bothered him. So he said, “This is not right.  These kids are not being helped and they are not being led in the right direction.”  So he wanted to start a boys’ village.  Now, what happened here was this man was extremely organized, he was a good businessman.  He was terrific at public relations.  He had a heart and spirit and soul for the whole thing.  And I accidentally had some academic paper that, you know, implied that I knew something about the area.  And the truth was I knew almost nothing about the area, except for the fact that I was probably at the length of myself and was helped by another person.  And with Br. Par and with r. James, he went to the Abbot and he said he would like to start a boys’ village for delinquent kids, and the Abbot said that we are not in that business, and then he looked the Abbot in the eye and he said, “You mean to tell me that none of those kids that you work with in high school were delinquents?”  And the Abbot said, “You got me there.  Okay, I’ll give you a chance to try this out on a small basis with only six kids, and you have to have somebody in the Monastery who is willing to help you.”  And I had some of this academic nonsense paper that looked like I knew what I was talking about, you know, masters’ work and guidance and counseling and criminology and juvenile delinquency and this stuff that looked good on paper, okay.  But he reality was I knew I didn’t know much about so.  Br. James said, “Would you help me at least the first year?”  So I said, “Okay, I will.  I promise.”  And I did.  And I was the assistant director, and he was the director.  But he was the heart, soul, spirit, and just fantastic.  So my job was really get behind him and really be a cheerleader.

HP:      Do you know about what year this was?

PR:      This was about ’73, ’71, ’72, ’73.  Something like that.  So, I had the opportunity of being Br. James’s cheerleader for the first year.  And he asked me to help him the second year, and I said, “Okay.”  And he asked me to help him the third year, and I said, “Okay.”  And he asked me to help his the fourth year, and I said, “Look, I am interested in sanity not sanctity.  You are up the wrong tree in that neighborhood.”  So that was something. 

But at the college, I had the opportunity with working with starting the international club on campus and that was terrific.  And one thing leads to another.  So I was working with University of South Florida.  I got my degree there, and there was a professor and we put together a international organization down there.  And put one up at Saint Leo’s and we also worked together with Dr. Tennyson, Dr. Chan at Eckerd College while it was Florida Presbyterian at that time and then it became Eckerd.  So I had the opportunity in doing that. 

And there was a human relations organization I also started on campus, which was the beginning of SERVE and that type of thing.  So I thank god I had the chance there and with Eddy Herman I had the chance of working with starting the San Antonio festival.  So, you know, at one time, I was Br. Francis, O.S.B.  That means Order of Saint Benedict.  Now I am Pat Reilly, S.O.B.  I think that means Son of Benedict.

HP:      Okay, so, um, let me stop this for a minute.

PR:      You can be a ??? at the Volunteers in Service of America and be a Monk at the exact same time.  You know?  And he said, “Give me the paperwork.”  So I gave him the paperwork.  He read the paperwork.  He said, he came back the next day, he said, “I as Abbot have the power to give you this as a mission.”  So I said, “Okay, I’ll apply.”  So I applied, and I was accepted, you know, within 10 days or something like this.  And he said, “Boy, you pulled that sucker off quick.”  So then I was sent to Chicago, Jane Adams Hull House Training Center. 

HP:      Oh, wow.

PR:      And, inner city situation.  Saint Malachi’s Parrish.  I was living right across the street from it, and there was a lot of need in that area.  And this was I think 1963, Keep a Cool Summer Program, and we were trying to help out between the riots; and it was a situation where we helped build Miles Square Health Organization and Miles Square Employment Opportunity Organization, and we helped get a pot luck into the area.  And I was working out of a store front.  And some things would be like helping children; they cut their feet because there is too much broken glass in that area, get the help they need so that things don’t get infected and turn out to be super serious.  So that was a wonderful opportunity in inner city Chicago.  And after the training, I was moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and I worked with the Chippewa and Sioux Indians in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  So, in Minneapolis, it was right near the university in a sense, it was Weight House.  It was an Indian day camp, and I told them that my boss said that I am too impatient working with Indians.  And the reason for that was that they kept us kind of hung up when we first got there; it was something like a Wednesday, and they just showed us around the neighborhood. And Thursday we didn’t do nothing, and Friday we were at the YMCA all this time.  And then Saturday and Sunday, so what happens is I called up the head of the office opportunity and I asked them, you know, “what’s going on?  My brother’s congressman, then being campaign manager, and I don’t know what is going on, but by God I will have my brother get the Congressman and find out what is going on.”   Well, I didn’t realize that that was causing a problem.  Within five minutes, the supervisor came over and said we got an emergency meeting.  So I said, “Okay.”  And we went to an emergency meeting.  And they said that the emergency meeting is that Glenn Davis might have an investigation on what we are doing, why we are doing it, and how we are doing it.  So I raised my hand and said, “Well, I was the guy that caused that problem.”  And that was not a smart thing to do, and so they put me down as this guy’s a trouble maker and try to figure out how to get rid of him.  Find out what he likes and have him do it.  Find out what he doesn’t like and have him do it.  So at Saint Leo’s I was pretty good at sociological surveys, so they asked me, “You want to do that?”  And I said, “No, I don’t’ want to do that.”  So they put that down, and that was my job description:  sociological surveys.  So I said that I wanted to work with Sabathany’s Center, which is Afro-American, or American Indians.  They said, “Well, you are too impatient.  You can’t do that.”  So I was not allowed to work with Afro-Americans or Indians officially.  So what happens is I had to whip up these surveys with no, you know, in a few minutes.  The name of the game was that I went to an Indian daycare center, I looked at it, I walked around, and I talked to people, and I said, “My God, you are doing wonderful stuff here.  You are really developing and appreciating your skills, and talents and abilities and developing them.  So they said, “Well, why don’t you help us?”  And I said, “I can’t because I am not allowed to because my boss says that I am too impatient to work with Indians.”  And they said, “Forget your boss.  Just do it.”  I said, “Well, if I do it, I have to do it behind the scenes.”  I was a band aide, a lemonade, and a cool aide, that’s what they called me.  So I was behind the scenes; I had no title.  So I told them, I said, “Have you seen the movie Jim Thorpe: All American?”  And they said, “No, why should we see that?”  And I said, “Because he was a great Olympic athlete.”  They said, “Well, so what.”  And I said, “Wait a minute, he was American Indian.”  So now they were interested, so they really got interested and they saw the movie, and they almost drooled while they were watching the movie in appreciation of their own culture itself.  So they took flat rocks and used them as discus and heavy rocks for shot puts, sticks for javelins.  They were jumping over obstacles like Olympics.  They set up their own and really went nuts.  So that was great.  So the next thing was I said, “Did you ever go to the museum of national ethnology, which was only a block away and you can see that thing from here.”  And they said it was a white man’s institution so they didn’t go there and it probably costs a lot of money.  So I went there and talked to the curator, and the curator said that this was an educational instruction; and he is aggravated that they think it’s just for white people.  So he writes a letter:

” Dear Indian Day Camp, will you please be my special guest?  Thank you, Curator.” Boom, boom, boom, you know, this type of thing. 

So I take the letter back to the Indians, and they look at it and say, “How in God’s name did you get this?”  And I said, “I asked.”  And they said, “It can’t be that simple.”  But it was.  So there is this whole day camp of Indians who walk just two blocks away and they see a big statue in front of it and that’s Chief Big Bear; and half the kids in this day camp are Bear, that’s the last name.  That was their great, great, great grandfather that they held in legend.  And so they go up to touch this bronze statue to get in touch with the spirit of their grandfather, and a guard yells at them, “Kids, get away from that statue.”  And I lost my temper; I yelled back at the guard, “Everybody has a right to touch this statue.  It’s these children who are biologically representative of who this statue represents, and here is the letter from the curator that says that these are special guests.  Do you have any trouble with this?”  Well, once he saw here’s a letter from the curator that these are special guests, he said, “No, I don’t have any trouble whatsoever.”

With a time frame 1963-64, there was a situation where the acting munical movement had started and the Pope had talked about us going above and beyond and outside of our parameters and working with others.  So I asked Fr. Marion Bowman if I could work with people in Moore-Mickens, which was the black school at that time, and he said, “You know you really don’t belong there.”  And I said, “Yeah, but they might learn something that we know or help us and we might be able to help them -- teamwork.  So I went to the school Moore-Mickens where I knew Melvin Menard and Emmanuel Revas and Robert Cummings and others, and I had a sociological survey.  I wanted to know what the kids thought were their number one need.  It turned out that the number one need for those kids at that time was to have a safe place to learn how to swim.  So I figures Saint Leo’s has a lake and that is a possibility, but the problem was at least 165 kids signed up to learn how to swim; and I was a life guard, but I didn’t think I was man enough to do the job. So I went to a student who (my mother dies and she wanted a very simple casket and a very simple funeral and she wanted me to put the money into people).  So I went to this kid and I said, “I have a horrible problem that I don’t think I am man enough to teach 165 kids how to swim.  I think I am getting in over my head this time.”  She said, “Well, you are lucky that I am a qualified water friends instructor by the Red Cross, and I have the ability to do that.  And because you got me a scholarship, I don’t have to do anything this summer, so I’ll devote my summer to teaching these kids.”  So Cheryl Brubano Bush, well her name was Cheryl Bush, was the one who stepped up and did the job.  Woman power.  She busted them up into groups of 10 and she had every one of them practicing on different stuff.  And believe it or not, 15 out of those 165 became lifeguards that summer.

HP:      Where were they taking these swimming lessons?

PR:      On the lake.

HP:      Well, that’s the part that you left out, so tell us about that.

PR:      Okay, we were using the lake front as our swimming training area and that was quite nice.  So15 of those guys became lifeguards which is pretty terrific and that was a wonderful summer.

HP:      Now, did you need permission to use the lake for all of these black kids coming on campus?  Did you have to ask anybody?

PR:      No, Fr. Marion Bowman gave me the permission to do it.  Another thing is that Fr. Marion Bowman said it’s better to take permission and do something and then do a penance for doing it, then to go through all of the permission stuff.

HP:      So nobody mind those kids being here?

PR:      Well the Monks were the only ones here.

HP:      During the summer?

PR:      There was Holy Name and the other side of the lake were the Kieffers, and the Kieffers are fantastic folks and nothings to-sometimes you gotta do what is right and take it, take it on the chin.  My name was not necessarily a great name in some circle in this community.  I was working with migrants and, you know, some people didn’t like that; and I was working with Afro-Americans and some people didn’t like that; and I was working with Eckerd College, which was Florida Presbyterian and some people didn’t like that.  Tough, that’s where the ball bounces.

HP:      And you found that Fr. Bowman, Fr. Marion Bowman, he seemed to, if not vocally support, he didn’t try to stop people from doing these types of things?

PR:      Oh, no Fr. Marion Bowman was really fantastic and so was Fr., well actually the amount of support I got at the Abbey was ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous.  Br. Paul Tennyson was outstanding in this regard of working together with others.  Br. Patrick was. Br. Bernard was.  Br. Bernard was a Monk who was very kind and very helpful but he liked to do all his good secretly.

HP:      OK

PR:      And I was dumb and I advertised how much wonderful stuff he was doing, and that made him mad as hell, so what happened is he wanted to fix my wagon.  And in all honesty, Br. Bernard and I almost came to blows.  And it was a situation where after we had our difference, we became best friends, but we had to go through that process;s and that was absolutely horrible from my point of view; but it was very interesting and Br. Bernard was truly one of the great photo artists if you look at the early annuals, you realize those are his work when you get down to it.

HP:      OK, you want to show me some of this here?


Gordon Winslow. Interview. Saint Leo Prep Alumna 1959. Perspective from a student who boarded at Saint Leo Prep. He provides many humorous accounts of life for boys boarding and attending classes at Saint Leo Prep.

Community Memory Project

File 004 Gordon Winslow

Notes from Interview  9/25/14


Gordon Winslow started a website for Saint Leo Prep because the Saint Leo Alumni website run by the university had incorrect information. Some class members were listed in incorrect classes. He built this website to list things as they were. He included only graduates, not people who just attended for a time. On the website each graduate has their own page with their name and graduation photo. Also there is a current photo and contact information or an obituary if relevant.

The website has a collection of most of the yearbooks, some newspapers, and information from both Saint Leo Prep and Holy Name Academy. The largest yearbook from Saint Leo Prep was from 1959. In it are photos of all of the buildings in the complex.

The website has lists of all of the teachers with short biographies of what each taught. Mostly monks taught at the prep school. At the academy the girls had nuns, monks, and lay people as teachers.


  • Winslow graduated from Saint Leo Prep in 1959. He attended for the 4 years of high school.
  • Much later Winslow married a Cuban refugee. This is interesting because he had Cuban roommates at Saint Leo Prep (also one Nicaraguan roommate who is now very wealthy in Nicaragua).


  • Gordon Winslow has a history degree and served as the Historian and Archivist for the Clerk of the Court of Dade City until he retired.



  • As a child he spent summers in Nantucket and winters in Hollywood, FL. When he got older he had to attend high school so his parents gave him the choice of boarding school in New England or Saint Leo in Florida. He chose Florida because he had never experienced snow. Many of the other boarders were sent to Saint Leo due to divorce or because they had been in trouble. Others were from South America and were in boarding school to learn English and experience America. Several of the girls from Holy Name were there because their mothers had remarried and then sent them away.


  • Some little known incidents with the teachers and/or monks:


  • A math teacher nicknamed “Chrome Dome” committed suicide in Dade City
  • In December of 1958 a monk was dismissed for molesting little boys off campus. Caught by local police and dismissed by monastery.
  • The monastery paid expenses and education costs for its monks but if they were dismissed they were responsible for repaying these expenses.
  • Many of the monks were alcoholics. There were stills on campus. One was located in the basement of St. Edward Hall.
  • During the Second World War the monks were accused of collaborating with Hitler. If I filed a Freedom of Information request with the FBI I would get access to this investigation.
  • In 1945 the chemistry building was burned by locals who believed the monks were German sympathizers.


  • Memories about life at Saint Leo Prep from 1955-1959
    • 40% of the student body was from Latin America. They would come to the United States in June and take English classes until school began after Labor Day in September.
    • There was a student who published a serial irregularly. One of the issues was focused on a girl from Holy Name. All of these issues were confiscated. Winslow has one of these which I would be interested to see. (Ask him if he can locate this)
    • 2 students were expelled for stealing a car so they did not graduate.
    • Students could work off demerits by taking whacks with a paddle or by doing “Jug” (mandatory study hall)
    • Winslow’s little brother came to Saint Leo Prep. He was freshman when Winslow was a senior. Little brother kept getting demerits for infractions related to hygiene and other minor issues. He got so many demerits that he was in “Jug” every evening and on Saturdays. “Jug” was mandatory study hall. Some of the demerits came from not showering. So Winslow told his brother that he would have to start taking showers with him. But his brother still managed to avoid showers. He did not return to Saint Leo the next year.
    • It cost $5.00 to get a taxi into Dade City so the students would pool their money and share taxis into town to see movies and get haircuts, etc.
    • School dances were with Holy Name. Had to be a sophomore to attend the dances. It was hard to get the guys to ask the girls to dance so lots of time people were all just standing around. One of the monks said something needed to be done to facilitate dancing so a committee was formed that created a plan for the dance. Winslow was one of these committee members. The committee wore white jackets and were called ushers. They stipulated that no guy could dance with the same girl more than 3 times. Also Winslow would ask a girl to dance after telling other boys to cut in. The other students appreciated these efforts because it caused everyone to start dancing.


Dr. Jack McTague Interview. Perspective from a Saint Leo History Professor who came to Saint Leo College in 1976.

Community Memory Project

File 002 Jack McTague, Ph.D.

Oral Interview Transcription of interview of McTague by Heather Parker

September 18, 2014


JM:        So, I was working with the University of Buffalo where I had gotten a Ph.D., and I was an academic advisor for the history department.  But the job was a year-to-year job, so it didn’t have any long term stability.  So I was always applying for jobs, and I saw Saint Leo job a,dvertised in the Chronical of Higher Education, so I applied for it.

HP:        What year was that?

JM:        That was “76.  Spring of “76, and so one day when I was in the office in Buffalo, Jim Horgan, who was the chair of the social science department, called me up and said they liked my application and asked me a few questions and asked me if I was interested in coming down for an interview. So I said “yeah.”  And so we arranged the interview for right after Memorial Day weekend.  And I came down; he met me at the airport.  Came up here, spent a day interviewing with a variety of different people, and at the end of the day he offered me the job.  And I said, “I would like a little time to think it over,” which he wasn’t too pleased with it; But anyway so I said, “Give me a couple of days and talk to people and so when he called me back a couple of days later, I took the job.  And so that’s how I wound up coming here, basically.

HP:        And what did he say that you’d be teaching?

JM:        Oh, he said, “Well you’re going to be teaching Western Civ, Far Eastern History, and I would have to teach Middle Eastern History in the spring; History of Ideas was the fall course, and then he told me… He didn’t tell me that until I was here that I was going to have to teach Racial and Ethnic (?)History  in America.  And I said, “Well, gee, I haven’t taken any American history in graduate school.”  I said, “Europe, Middle East, Asia, I haven’t done any American history.”  And he said, “Well, if you want the job, this is part of it.”  So, he said, “Either take it or leave it.”  So obviously I agreed to do it, so over that summer, I did a real quick study of the American history and I talked to these American history specialists at the University of Buffalo, and I started writing up notes for the class so that I would be prepared for the fall.  I wound up teaching it almost every semester for 30 years until you came and took it over.  So it turned out to be one of my favorite classes because it gave me a whole new way of looking at history from a new point of view.  So it turned out to be a real positive experience.

HP:        So what are some of your other early memories of being here?

JM:        Um, well I tell you coming from a big university, even though I had gone to a small private college as an undergrad, coming from a big university, and being really inculcated in the idea that research was important and part of your, you know as a historian, I was really kind of stunned when I came here and found nobody was doing any research.  And a lot of people didn’t have Ph.D.’s,  in fact less than half the faculty had Ph.D.’s at the time.  And the academic atmosphere was not very strong.  The students, who were mostly party kids from up North, very few were real serious, serious students.  And that was kind of a shock because I expected that I was going to be in a research community, and I shouldn’t have; it was a small kind of college but that’s what I had been in.  And so it was a shock getting back to that atmosphere where teaching was everything and research was not --not considered really important.  Obviously that changed enormously.  Saint Leo now, but back then, it was all teaching, and nobody, hardly anybody was doing any kind of research at all.  When I told people that I was going to turn my dissertation into a book, I mean people were like, “Gee, I never thought of that.”  (laughing)  Nobody else was doing that kind of thing, and eventually I did.  So it took, it was a long time, really until Art Kirk came that we started to, well, he changed the name from college to university.  We started to add more graduate programs, and we started getting a higher quality of faculty and started emphasizing more serious, serious research and becoming a real university.  But it was, he didn’t come I was here, well…I was here over 20 years before Dr. kirk came, so the first 20 years, it was a very different place than you’ve experienced since you’ve been here.  It was fun, I mean, the kids are always fun to be with, but there were not a lot of really serious kids here.

HP:        So tell me about some of the activities you became involved in here.

JM:        Well let’s see, what were some of the…I’ve been on a lot of different committees.

HP:        You can talk about Time Warp here.

JM:        Yeah, okay.  Well, in 1984, actually we started a couple years earlier when I had played in a rock band when I was in college for a while,  And then I totally forgot, totally just abandoned it.  I couldn’t take my drums as I was traveling around; I was a drummer back then, and I couldn’t take my drums around.  They were just too bulky to carry around.  So I sold them and gave up playing music, until one day I was having a conversation at Ralph’s with a guy that was one of the music teachers here back when we had a full music major, and I was telling him how I had played drums in college and low and behold a couple of months later, he looked me up and he says, “We’re going to be doing Grease for the school musical.  How would you like to be the drummer?”  And I said, “Oh my God.”  I said, “I haven’t played drums in years.”  And I said, “I don’t even own a set anymore.”  And he said, “Well, we have a school set that you can use.”  And I said, “Well, I don’t read music.”  And he said, “Well, this is the kind of show that you could learn, and you wouldn’t need to read music to be able to play.”  And I said, “Well, I mean, I’ve told you all these things, these reasons why I shouldn’t do it.  If you still want me to do it, I’ll give it a try.”  And so I did.  I wound up playing drums for the school production of Grease, which turned out to be the biggest hit musical we’ve ever done at Saint Leo.  It ran for two weeks and sold out every single night.  Of course, the movie had been out, and everybody was real familiar with it.  And so that got me back into music.  And then I wound up doing; the guy who had played the John Travolta role in our production of Grease, you know the male lead, he was a theater major and he was doing some one-man vaudeville shows here on campus and around at different places, and he needed a backup band to do and he asked me if, you know I had been in the show with them, he asked me if I would play drums with him, with his backup band.  So I did that.  We did four or five different shows.  Some of them on campus, some of them off campus.  So I was getting back into playing, and I was really kind of enjoying it again.  And the next fall I saw an ad where we used to have a daily bulletin that came out here on campus of things that were happening.  There was some student who wanted to put together a rock band.  So I went and talked with him and we got together.  He had a couple other guys,  This is fall of 1984.  And that turned out to be the first edition of Time Warp.  In the fall of ’84, and

HP:        And how did you guys come up with the name?

JM:        I came up with it.  Because we had older guys like me and Terry Danner and students, so I felt Time Warp would be kind of an appropriate name.  And obviously it stuck.  So that was the first of many, many different versions of the band.  And we constantly had turn over of personnel.  WE always managed to find replacements for them

HP:        What did Terry Danner play?

JM:        He plays harmonica.

HP:        Okay.  And you were playing the drums still?

JM:        I was playing the drums back then, yeah.

HP:        And you also, were you all singing?

JM:        Yeah, yeah.

HP:        And were there any other faculty over the years?

JM:        Over the years, yeah, but not originally.  Well, right now, for example, we have Tommy Humphries and Chuck Fisk, of course Chuck Fisk retired now, but everybody knows Chuck Fisk.  So Tommy Humphries and Chuck Fisk.

HP:        And Chuck plays what?

JM:        Percussion, like tambourine, maracas, and Tommy plays guitar.  Janet Franks, the librarian, she’s a guitar player.

HP:        And now in the interim, between the time period that, you know, between the beginning with you and Terry being the faculty and now with Chuck, Tommy,

(Change media files)

              This is a continuation.

So concerning Time Warp, you started off with you and Terry Danner being the faculty.

JM:        Mm hmm.

HP:        And then now, you’ve got Chuck Fisk, Tommy Humphries, Janet Franks, and you as the faculty.  In the interim, in the meantime, in between years, what other faculty served and played in Time Warp.

JM:        Well, they are people that are no longer here.  Do you want their names?

HP:        Sure.

JM:        Okay, Dean Moore, he was a drummer for us.

HP:        And he was in what department?

JM:        Psychology.  Rebecca Thomas, she was a science and math.  She was a guitar player for us.  I’m not sure if there are any others.

HP:        And the rest were students, community people?

JM:        Students and some area local people.  We’ve had, I mean our turnover has been huge.  I’ve got photos here.

HP:        Okay, so

JM:        Time Warp down through the ages, you can see the personnel change.

HP:        First, before I look at those so I can…

What would you say have been some of your most memorable performances?

JM:        Alumni Weekend, we would play Alumni weekend for probably about  a decade, and that’s always fun because we always get a big crowd.  And it’s nice to see alumni who come back for that weekend, many of whom you haven’t seen in years and years.  Senior Night, we always played during Senior Week.  We’ve done that for many years.  We didn’t get to do it last year because they decided that they didn’t want to sponsor alcohol, any alcohol-related events.  But we had done that for over a decade.  Those are also at Ralph’s.  And

HP:        Now when you say that it was also at Ralph’s, would you say

JM:        Ralph’s Bar.

HP:        Okay

JM:        San Antonio, it’s called the San Ann Restaurant.

HP:        Okay, go ahead.

JM:        We’ll be doing that again this coming spring, I think, because the Eddie Kinney, the alumni director, he found out we weren’t doing it this past spring, he said, “That’s ridiculous; I’ll sponsor it next year.”  Student Affairs’ lawyer told them if they sponsor an alcohol-related event off campus, if anything happens, they are liable.  So they swore off all that.  Eddie in alumni affairs isn’t worried about it.  So he said he’ll sponsor it next year.  So those two events, we’ve don’t those two events for years and years, and we normally have huge crowds.  Senior Week is two or three nights before seniors are going to graduate so they are always in a good mood.  And alumni weekend is always fun.  There aren’t any other events that we’ve done year after year after year; those are the two that we’ve done consistently over the past decade or so.

HP:        Have you made any recordings with the band?

JM:        We have one, yes, we have on CD we made about 7 or 8 years ago.

HP:        Do you have any copies of that?

JM:        I think I may have the only copy left.  I have a copy, yeah.

HP:        So I’d like to see the copy, and we can make a copy of it over in media services.

JM:        I have it in my car, but my car is over in the garage.  I’ll go get it today.  We also have a website.

HP:        Okay.

JM:        Time Warp Saint Leo.  If you just type in Time Warp, you’ll get a million different things.  And I have some photos, different photos than the ones I have here.

HP:        Okay so let’s take a look at these pictures.






Gloria Billings Roberts. Saint Leo College from a local African American student and staff member perspective

Community Memory Project

File 009

Audio Recording Transcription

Gloria Billings Roberts 10/23/14 (DOB 2/10/52)

Interviewer:  Heather Parker, Saint Leo University

At Piney Grove Missionary Baptist Church


HP:      When did you start there [working at Saint Leo]?

GR:     Well, I started working at Holy Name Priory in high school.

HP:      …In about what year was that?

GR:     About ’67. Caught the school bus up there and I worked for Sister Imelda in the girl’s cafeteria until I graduated high school until I went to college there.

HP:      Went to college where?

GR:     At Saint Leo. At the time, Father Marion Bowman was the President and my grandfather used to be grove-keeper of the birch grove that’s behind Saint Leo and so he and Fr. Marion were real close and so he told him when the girl gets old enough she can go to college. So my first year of college all I paid was fifty dollars, just for my books because father Marion said, this is the way we’re going to do it. And I did one year there and started the second year and then my husband and I, I quit school because we got married and we had children. In fact, children came before marriage [one child] but neither here nor there, then after the first child was born I stayed home for a couple of years. In 1971…I started Saint Leo in 1970. In ’73 I went back to Saint Leo and was working part time at the Activity Center and then I went from the Activity Center from part time to full time in Science and Math because someone was on maternity leave and then afterwards I left there again and then I went back and I don’t know the year. When I went back I went back to work in Educational Services and stayed there for at least 4 or 5 years. Usually that’s my tendency because I get bored real easy with jobs. Educational services was going to different locations with the police and nurses offering them for graduation. And we had classes in St. Pete, Clearwater, new Port Richey and Lakeland Tampa. So we would go out and do the continuing ed registration. After that I went home and stayed and then the Priory needed a substitute in their Montessori school because my mother worked there.

HP:      Ok. So your mother worked for the Montessori School?

GR:     So they needed someone to come in and so they would call me for substitute and volunteer so I started doing that with them. So they decided to put me there full time so I worked in the office for 2 years at the Montessori school and then I went in the classroom for 2 years. Then once I left there I went back to the college [laughs] to the Activity Center and stayed there until they moved me to the Vice President of Institutional Advancement and I left there in 1990 something and that was my tenure there.

But as far as my relationship with everybody there, it was like a family. I mean, during those times they had the Christian values. Everybody knew everybody there. My children know everybody else’s children, especially when I was at Institutional Advancement where the bowl is, we called it the bowl between St. Eds and St. Francis. And if the children were off of school we didn’t have babysitters and I would bring my children and the other people in the offices would bring their children so we would just throw them all out there in the bowl and that’s the way the closeness was, all the children would go out there in the bowl and play and somebody would have snacks for them and whatever and it was just like one big family that we were. Even when I was at the Activity Center and I was down there with [unintelligible] and his wife, she ran the summer camp at that time so I worked with her at the summer camp when I was down there and she taught the boys to swim…and they were life guards so all of our kids during that era that we worked at Saint Leo they all came up together and they still keep in touch with each other even now. Because of the closeness they had during those years.

The latter part of my years there, it was vanishing because it was more [unintellible] so it wasn’t all that…the closeness was just kind of disappeared. You knew this person, that person, but as far as if I had a problem, I couldn’t go and say, “I have a problem, and I need something, this or that” – it wasn’t happening. I mean there were times that if we needed a pay advance for something you could go to the Business Office and say “I need an advance because I’m running short on this that or the other” and they were there – no problem, how much you need, let me cut you a check and they wouldn’t try to take it all back from you, “how much do you want me to take out of each check each week until you get it paid. And that’s the type of atmosphere that was there that everybody cared for everybody and everybody wanted everybody to be successful and make it. But later on it was just everybody for themselves and it was time to go. [laughter]

HP:      Now, you said, there was a couple of things here. When you started at Saint Leo as a student, in 1970, how many other black kids were enrolled as students do you think?

GR:     Wasn’t many. Not many of us there. In fact, I’m trying to think did I know anybody. If there were they were on the athletic team and I didn’t have them…all my friends were white because at that time there wasn’t that many.

HP:      But you made friends just fine, they accepted you?

GR:     They accepted me just fine. Because we had the orientation, we got to meet each other whatever the case may be and there were classes. That group just jelled because that group was from the North anyway and they were more open.

HP:      What was your maiden name?

GR:     Billings.

HP:      So you mentioned your grandfather who was the grove keeper

GR:     for Burkes and Burkes. His name was Frank McCoy.

HP:      So Frank McCoy was your grandfather and he worked for the burkes

GR:     He was there grove keeper – or their foreman as they call it. In fact, we lived on the property there, right behind the college.

HP:      So the Burkes owned that grove – so it wasn’t the groves the monks kept. But he got to know father Marion and Father Marion said you have this granddaughter.

GR:     Well, his daughter. I was raised by him

HP:      And Father Marion said when your daughter is ready she can come to college and he let you come basically for a song. For whatever you could pay.

GR:     Books. That’s all I paid was for books

HP:      And that’s an important story, it’s what I needed to hear because  we wanted to find out the connections between the college (and whatever its forms) and the community. And your mother worked for the Montessori school with the nuns. And when did that start? Was this your Grandmother?

GR:     No, this was my mother. My grandmother [laughter] my grandmother worked for the Abbey. She was a cook for the Abbey.

HP:      For the girls, or the nuns?

GR:     No, not for the nuns, for the monks.

HP:      And that was while you were growing up?

GR:     Yeah, because she was there when I was in college. [and her mother] also worked as a cook with my grandmother there at the Abbey. She worked there for a while as a cook but then the nuns needed a cook so my grandma sent her over there with the nuns. So she was a cook over at the nuns and then they needed someone to go over to the daycare so they sent her to the daycare.

HP:      You were right, these connections run deep and everywhere.

GR:     Basically we’ve been around our family has been pretty much around with the college because of the fact that we lived right there. There was a house back in there we used to live in so that connection was there so whenever they needed something we were there so the Father Marion would tell Daddy and Daddy would come home and say they need this or that or whatever the case may be and that’s what would happen.

HP:      When did the your family come to this area? Do you know? Just as long as you can remember?

GR:     I was born here. I have no idea, I can’t tell you. My mom went to public school here.

HP:      And you went to Mickens?

GR:     I went to Moore Elementary then I went to Mickens and then I graduated Pasco.But I wasn’t made to go. Well I was made to go – Momma said I had to go

HP:      Family’s choice, not the districts choice [referring to mandatory integration]

GR:     Momma said I had to go…and that’s where I went. My brother went the year before I went and then the next year she said, you don’t have a choice. I went in 68.

HP:      Did you have children?

GR:     We have two boys

HP:      Did either of your sons consider going to Saint Leo?

GR:     My youngest one did. My youngest one went to Saint Leo.

HP:      What was his name?

GR:     Christopher. And he did. He went for a year and started the second year. He worked in the cafeteria and became the student manager there at the cafeteria and his major was hotel management. He received his license to be a chef from them and he worked the special events. And he went a year and a half. One of the benefits was that if you work there your children got to go free. That was the last reason I went back to Saint Leo so they could go for free. He did a year and a half and then he went to the military. He is a chef there and he is doing the parachute thing.

Both boys attended the Montessori school there.

HP: What was your grandmother’s name? I have Frank McCoy and I have your mother as Viola Harris.

GR:     Grandmother’s name was LillieMae McCoy

Maggie Beaumont

Community Memorial Project

File 006

Audio Recording Transcript

Maggie Beaumont 10/9/2014

Interviewer: Heather Parker

M.B.: I started as a freshman at Holy Name in 1953. The fall of 1953. When I was a junior, and my uncle, Father Steven Herman was the head master at the time, he and Mother Mary Grace at Holy Name, I guess, got together and decided that the girls should start coming over here for some classes. So as a junior I had Chemistry, Algebra 2, and Religion 3 over here. Sister Mara drove us over here in this 57’, no it wasn’t a 57’, it couldn’t have been. She drove us over in this black Chevy station wagon, and she’d come back and pick us up after class. When I was a senior I had only Senior Religion over here. We had graduation the same day but not the same time so, I think we graduated first over there and then came over here to graduation. My cousin Tony Orrick was in the same class over here, so we didn’t miss each other’s graduations, but they were the same day.

HP: So, it’s interesting. As I’m going through the old records I found references to the boys in their Saint Leo Prep newspaper had a whole article about what it was like to have the first group of girls going to their classes.

MB: What did they think?

HP: So, they were saying that some of them where a little distracted by the girls. [laughing] But, all in all, it was a very positive.

MB: Well that’s good. I still have friends from, in one of the, in my Algebra class, Bo O’Neil, Bernard O’Neil, he used to be on the board over here. He’s still my close friend. And he was also in my Chemistry class, so was Mike Paholick from the class ahead of us, and I’m still in touch with both of them. Still good friends.

HP: So, tell me what reaction did you get from the boys when you all came into their classroom.

MB: I don’t recall getting a reaction from them. I just recall us being nervous because, you know, the two whole years before that it had just been girls in the class, and we only associated with them at the dances or maybe at the basketball games and we’d watch football games. So, we really only knew them socially at the dances at either school. So, I feel it was a feeling of nervousness. Not knowing how to act. But um, those two that I mentioned, Mike Paholick and Bo, I still don’t know which one was guilty of this, I’ve talked to both of them. I was in front of them in Chemistry class, and all of a sudden, I felt something running down my leg. One of them had a squirt gun, but I couldn’t see which one, and I didn’t know what was happening. All I knew was something was running down my leg. It was embarrassing because I didn’t know what was happening. But neither one will admit to having done it. It was either Mike Paholick or Bo O’Neil. [laughing]

HP: You started at Holy Name Academy as a freshman?

MB: Yeah, as a day student.

HP: that’s right, you were a day student. What was the relationship between the day students at the Academy and the boarders?

MB: Ordinarily, it was the day students were one big clique, and the boarders were one big clique. Not with me. I used to go to school early and go upstairs to the private rooms so that I could visit my friends. The boarders. And honestly, when I was a junior, and we were getting ready to chose who was going to be the Valentine Queen, which was essentially like the prom queen, and we would vote for a senior, we were juniors they were seniors, I remember [laughing] the day students talking about it while the boarders were at lunch, “hey lets nominate a couple different boarders, so that all of us can vote for Kathline Keefer, a day student, and she can get it.” So, that’s what we did. We nominated a couple boarders and one day student, and the day student got it. So, we conspired. But honestly, I, myself was friends with the boarders and the day students. That was just one, and one only, event where I remember it was the boarders against the day students, or the day students against the boarders to get Kathline elected. It was fun. It was fun really.

But I still have my very best friend from high school. She came in the middle of her junior year, like right after Christmas, and we’ve always been just like this. I mean anytime we see each other it’s just like it was yesterday. He lives in St. Augustine. She grew up n Jacksonville, so that’s where she was from when she came here. And I’m as close to her as a sister.

I actually, used to write to lots of the kids who were boarders. I grew up in St. Ann and we had nobody. I was the only girl in my class in St. Ann that was, you know, that was in St. Ann. I had, Kathline Keefer was ahead of me. Lucille Yates was ahead of me. Oh no, I take that back. Arlene Narret was another day student that was in my class for a couple of elementary years. But, since third grade, third or fourth grade, I have, my best friends, my best friends were boarders that… You know Holy Name used to have elementary school boarders. The kindergarten kids were taught by Sister Rita at Holy Name, but all the rest of the elementary kids walked down the hill and went to Saint Anthony’s, where I went. So, I still have those two girls who were my closest boarder friends, which is Valery Ward and Lolita Leal. They were boarders. One from third, fourth, and fifth grade. And one from fifth, six, and seventh grade. And I just got to see Valery recently. I couldn’t find her for years because I didn’t know if she ever got married, or if she did, what her name was. My brother Eddie and I both tried finding her. You know, the operators used to help you with addresses. Well, that’s long gone now. Anyway, so 2006 -2007 I was real active up here helping with reunions. I was in Francis Curchiota’s office and I told him about Eddie and I not being able to find my friend Valerie Ward, and I didn’t know what her married name was, if she ever got married, so Francis found her. I said “Francis, I don’t know what her name is, but her birthday was July 11th.” I didn’t know what year. I said it could be 37, 38, or 39. And, just with knowing Valerie Ward was the name, he found her. He found her. So, I reconnected that year. And he gave me two possible addresses, one in Maryland and one in New Jersey, and they were both hers. Because she has a summer home and a winter home. So I recently saw her. For the first time since 1959.

HP: So your brother was telling me about the fact that you had the Hermans and the Oricks, both sides of your family, represented in this area, and represented as faculty or as priests.

MB: Do he already told you about Father Felix.

HP: Yes, we talked about Father Felix. I did ask him what it was like interacting with the people who were here that knew your family so well, as a student.

MB: Well, you know what? We had, the priests were our friends. Abbot Mariam was our friend. We had known him all our lives. Uncle Steve was our uncle, but he was my friend at least. I hope he was Eddie’s.

[Showing Dr. Heather Parker a picture.] Anyway, ok, there’s Valerie, and we’re standing by the…yeah. By helping out with the 2006 and 2007 reunions, I’ve reconnected with so many people. Some who I only knew who they were, now I know them.  You know, and now I’m in touch with them. I’ve learned a lot of people from way back, like 1947, that I never knew before. But, that was all from helping out with those two reunions. I never thought that I would want a computer. Never. It was a surprise gift from my son-in-law, and now I’m addicted. I don’t know enough about it, but I’m addicted.

HP: So, tell me. If you were just telling me about what you want to tell me about your experience here, what would you want people to know about your experiences here?

MB: That all those people I Knew back then are still my friends after all these years. And I love being in touch with them. I love going to reunions. Of coarse it’s easy because I live right down the street. But, if I lived like in Orlando, or Tampa, or somewhere else I would still come to the reunions because I love it. I love staying in touch, and I have so many friends that don’t care. I mean I have so many acquaintances that don’t care. I have a lot of friends that do care. There was another local girl, Arleen, that I mentioned. She wouldn’t walk across the street to get to a reunion. It just doesn’t interest her. She’s a nice person. She’s friendly if you see her face to face, but she’s just not the kind that makes close bonds I guess. I don’t know.

HP: Now there’s two things I want to ask you about the girls at Holy Name Academy. One was, several people mentioned that some of the people that came as boarders, both to Saint Leo Prep and Holy Name, were coming from situations such as their families may have been like situations of divorce, or situations like that. Do you recall that?

MB: A lot of them. A lot. Then there were a lot who came just because they grew up in a family where they were taught if you were a Catholic you go to a Catholic school if you had the means. My Olrick cousins came from Wauchula, and my uncle could afford to send them to Catholic school, and there was no Catholic schools anywhere near them. So, Barbara, she boarded at Holy Name. She’s Eddie’s age. And Tony and Jack, who are mine and Paul’s age, boarded over here. Jacky doesn’t have good memories for some reason, but as far as I know Tony had no problems. And Barbara has no problems. I don’t know what happened with Jacky. I hope he comes to the reunion. We’re trying to talk him into it.

HP: But he didn’t have as good an experience?

MB: Yeah. He doesn’t have as good of memories as we do about it. But that was a case of, you’re supposed to get a Catholic education if you are able to. But my friend Diana, she came from a broken home. She begged. She came down here with her uncle to visit a cousin who was a Saint Leo Prep kid. And she fell in love with the area. She was from Jacksonville. She begged her uncle, Mr. Thornton, to loan her the money to go to Holy Name. So, that’s why she started in January, it was mid-year. So as soon as she graduated from high school she got a job right away so that she could pay her uncle back, and she payed him every dime back that he had loaned her to go to school. So, she never ever got to go to college. She made it well. I mean, she did well in life. She ended up in… the last things she did were in real estate.

 But I have other friends who came from ok homes, not broken that I know of, who ended up being married three times. Well even Diana was married three times. I know a lot of boys who came here from good Catholic families, who came here just like my cousins did, because they were Catholic, and this was a Catholic school. I have a lot of friends like that. I think I knew more boys who came here for that reason. I do know some who came here from troubled families or were even brought here not even knowing they were coming.

HP: They had gotten in trouble?

MB: Well, one of them, um a couple of them, like ended up here not knowing that when their dad took them away from home that this is where they were going to end up. But they ended up falling in love with it. And I honestly think that there was a better rate among the boys than the girls about being from a good home and staying with their religion through the years. I don’t know why. I think it’s a coincidence. I don’t think it’s…I don’t think I can point to any particular thing. Both schools were the same in that every morning those boarders went to mass. You know?

HP: Did you get the impression that any of the girls didn’t want to be there?

MB: No. They liked it. They liked it. I don’t remember anybody not liking it. Oh, you know what? I had an advantage. I lived upstairs over the barber shop, so I got to see Saint Leo guys often because my friend was the barber. [laughing]

HP: Your brother Eddie talked about the house you guys grew up in, which was called the Jovita Building. Can you tell me a little bit about what that was like?

MB: Oh, I loved it! We all loved it. My grandpa built that house, I think it was 1926, for overnight rooms. So, there’s a whole floor of bedrooms, and every bedroom had a sink. We only had one toilet, one shower room, one bathtub room with a sink. But we all had our own sink in the bedroom so if we finished in the bathroom we could quick run to our bedroom to wash our hands. And f not there were two emergency bathrooms downstairs. There’s a women’s on one side and a men’s on the other. So, even though there were nine of us kids, we weren’t all nine in the house at the same time. By the time Eddie, I mean by the ninth kid was born Eddie was already married and had two kids. And after I was already in nursing school. So, he kinda grew up like an only child. A spoiled little only child. Because he didn’t have to learn to live with the whole big family. So, he’s like noises… he didn’t grow up in a noisy house. But it was fun living in that house. It was really fun. And downstairs were the businesses. And when we were really young, my mom use to make hot lunches downstairs to sell. Like a little tiny restaurant. So, we had no kitchen upstairs when we were really little we went downstairs to eat. Well, my mom also, I don’t know if this was the same time period or different, I really can’t tell you because that was when I was little, but my mother used to drive the gas truck and deliver gas. And we kids, all the kids at that time, we were the kids, not the older ones, we were the kids, used to ride with her in the truck and we’d get out and open and shut gates and stuff like that. And when we went downstairs to eat breakfast this one morning we said where’s mom mom, and dad told us mom mom’s in the hospital, she just had Rose Mary, she just had a baby girl. My mother never told us kids when she was pregnant when we were little. I remember she had a grey dress that had some eyelet in it. And she would take it in when she was pregnant, and she would take it out when she wasn’t. And the same thing happened when the next kid was born. Joseph was next. And we went down to breakfast and said where’s mom, she’s in the hospital, she had a boy.

Did you know every other one of us was a boy?

HP: Yes. Eddie told me.

MB: Yeah. Started with a boy, ended with a boy. So, we didn’t have any same sex sibling that we were close to. So, I didn’t get to know my sisters until I was an adult. Because one is four years younger than me. That was enough so that I was like the bossy kid. I could decide when I was doing dishes and when she was doing dishes and stuff like that. And my next sister down was ten years younger than me, and I really didn’t know her. She was only twelve when I got married. So, I honestly didn’t know that sister until I got married. Well, till actually till my husband died. Because Barbara was twelve and I was twenty-two when I got married. And then I was thirty-five when my husband died of a heart attack, and I was eight weeks pregnant and Barbara was barely pregnant also. And I moved back here, had to live with mama for a while till my house could get ready. And, um, Barbara would come every day and say ok we’re going to go do this or do that. Because my husband had gutted the kitchen. I couldn’t move into the house. We were planning to move there, and he was going to commute to McDill for the last five months of his service. He was going to retire, but he died of a heart attack, and I was eight weeks pregnant. So anyway, if it hadn’t had been for Barbara I don’t know what I would have done because I couldn’t make decisions. It was all, you know? I was in a fog. But anyway, that’s when I got to know Barbara. Isn’t that weird? I was 35 years old. She was 25 years old.

HP: You were talking about your nursing career, so, I wanted to know how your teachers and Holy name academy, how they stressed continuing your education after.

MB: I don’t think I got it from them. My Godmother was a nurse, and I think it was because of her that I wanted to go to nursing school. But a lot of people that I knew had gone to the same school, Saint Vincent’s in Jacksonville, so I never even thought of going any place else. So, that’s where I went. I honestly, they may have encouraged going on. I know Saint Leo was a college prep school and they did emphasize that, but I don’t remember specifically that kind of stuff. I remember lots of stuff from them about proper behavior. Something they taught my mom when she was in school. And they taught me, and my mom taught me, was don’t ever date someone you’re not free to marry. Because you never know when you are going to fall in love with them. That came from my mother, but it also came from the nuns to my mother, but it also came from the nuns to me. That doesn’t have anything to do with education, but that’s something I remember.

HP: I’m just trying to understand what you thought they were preparing you for, the nuns.

MB: They did their best to make us grow up into nice young ladies. We always had to wear stockings that you’ll notice, I couldn’t put on a pair of stockings now if I had to, I can’t reach them. But, we always had to wear stockings. We couldn’t wear sleeveless cloths. Well, we could wear a sleeveless formal gown, but we couldn’t wear a strapless one. But ordinary cloths we could never wear sleeveless. And of coarse we wore uniforms to school. That was pretty easy really because then you don’t have to think about what you’re going to wear.

HP: One of the boys, Charley Tuchton, was saying that at the dances the nuns would really come and be a physical barrier if anyone was dancing to close. That they would kind of put a huddle around the girls.

MB: Yeah. We had those lectures. Yeah. You gotta leave room for your guardian angel in between. Yeah, I’ve known Charley forever, and I got to see his brother Tommy recently for the first time since we were all young. And he’s the same age as me. But he wasn’t a Saint Leo student, he graduated from Pasco.

HP: I believe that Charley said he was a Saint Leo student for a minute.

MB: Maybe. I didn’t realize that. He graduated in 56’ in Dade City. I knew their sister Judy. She was in the same dance class. My mother made me take dance, and I hated it. I used to complain about what a klutz I was, and she would say well just think about what a klutz you would have been if you hadn’t taken dace.

HP: Now, did your mother go to Holy Name Academy?

MB: Yes, she did but she quit when she was sixteen, and I don’t know what year in school she was. My, her mother died when she was twelve. And her older sister had already left home to go up north to work. And momma was, um, fifth or so down the line. I don’t remember, but she was the second oldest daughter. So, momma became the head of household, you know, the cook. Eventually grandpa went back to Germany and married again, and when he brought grandma Mina over here, my mother felt displaced. She lost her job. So, momma quit school and she ended up going to Jacksonville, and living with daddy’s family, and working in the bakery. And I don’t know how that happened.

HP: So, Eddie told me about the bakery and Jacksonville.

MB: Yeah, but he… Grandpa took over that bakery because grandpa’s half- brother, Paul Hermann died in a wreck and his wife asked daddy, I mean grandpa, if he’d be interested in coming and run the bakery. So, that’s how he ended up there. But I honestly, you know, you forget to, you don’t know to ask the questions. And then it’s too late. So, I don’t know how it came about that momma ended up going up there to work.

Hp: And so now your father, did he graduate from Saint Leo Also?

MB: Yeah, you know, have you heard that one of the buildings burnt down?

HP: The chemistry building?

MB: I don’t know which one it was. Daddy had gone home for lunch, and when he came back that building had burned.

HP: So, your father’s name was Joe?

MB: Joe. Joseph John, and he was…

Hp: You mothers name was?

MB: Rose Emilia Olrick.

HP: Ok, before we move on, I forgot to ask you about the international students at Holy Name Academy.

MB: We did have some, mostly from Panama that I recall. And, at the same time we had some from Panama, I remember Pax Chang and Johnny Chu being over here from China. [at Saint Leo] Yeah. They were older. But I don’t remember anyone from China being among the girls, but I do remember some girls from Panama. One was Catita, and one was Carmina Porez. They were sisters. I still keep in touch with them, but they don’t write, Carmina doesn’t write as often as some others. But, um, I know there were other younger Latinos. Ignatius Ebor over here in the class of 57’, he probably came from Cuba. From Havana. And there was a girl who graduated in 52’ name Rosario Veagus. She came from Cuba. I keep in touch with them to some degree. I remember the names of some of the others, but they weren’t necessarily people I knew very well, so I can’t say exactly where they came from. But from some Latin country.

HP:  I have found… I know their names and all that just from going through the three archives. But I wanted to know your impressions. How did they seem to adjust to living in America, going to boarding school?

MB: Carmina was the one in my class and she was, except you could tell she had an accent, she and her sister, they both seemed as American as we did. But they grew up in Panama. I remember there was a younger girl named Martha Malina. I don’t know what country she came from. And Erma Okinya. I think they all adapted well.

You know we went to Cuba once? I went to Cuba once with my mother and daddy for a convention. And we were stepping out of a sight seeing boat to go over to Marrow Castle when we saw this guy, I don’t remember what his name was, but he saw our name tag that said San Antonio Florida, and he said, “I know where that is.” And we said, “No you don’t.” And he said, “Yes I do, I went to Saint Leo.” But we failed to pay attention to what his name was. So, I don’t know what his name was. [ That’s a great story!] I was either a freshman or a sophomore at the time. Momma and daddy surprised me, and made arrangements for me to go, because we, momma’s aunt and uncle lived on the Alepines, which is south of Cuba, but it was part of Cuba. And they new I loved Aunt Maddah, so they asked Sister Mary Grace if I could go. And they got all my cloths ready and everything. But I regret that we didn’t find out who that was. We were just, you know, we were really surprised that he knew where San Antonio was.

HP: Wow, that’s a great story! Now your husband, he went to Saint Leo. So, tell me about this.

MB: He was one of Eddie’s best friends. And he was four years older than me. He was a 53’ grad. [ What was his name?] David George Beaumont. And his mom was born in Saint Ann too. So, both our mothers were born in Saint Ann. [So, you knew him from childhood?] I knew him, yeah, I knew him. After Madaline got married, they moved up to Sewickley, Pennsylvania, which is where her husband was from. And after she had five kids, well six but the first one didn’t live, she couldn’t stand it up there anymore and she wanted to come back to Florida. Then, Dave was the youngest of those first five kids that she had, and then eleven years later she had three more. So, it’s like she had a big family, but separated by eleven years. Same parents.

HP: So, when you were at Holy Name he was ready to graduate?

MB: Oh, he had already graduated. He and Eddie graduated from here when I graduated from Saint Anthony’s.

HP: So, they had already graduated when you started Holy Name.

MB: Yeah. So, listen, this is how I got treated. I was only two years younger than Eddie, four years younger than Dave. But Eddie could drive the car, and Eddie would have to take me to the dances or games. But then Eddie and Dave, or whoever was hanging around with Eddie, they would drop me off at the house and then they would go do their thing. So, I was just this kid sister that didn’t get to join in what they did. And he was the obligatory driver. So, it wasn’t until, I think I was a senior in high school, and Dave had somehow met my friend June Murphy, who was only here our senior year, and then she went to nursing school with me. She came from North Dakota. He asked if I would go on a double date, a blind date, with a friend he brought home from Tennessee, where he was stationed. And it was Holy Week, and my dad let me do it. Holy Week my dad let me go out on this date. We went to the movies in Dade City. But anyway, I became friends with him, but I didn’t start dating him until I was a junior in nursing school, and my friend June had broken-up with him. I was so mad at her for doing it the way she did. He forfeited, he didn’t have any money. He forfeited a free ride back to Tennessee to spend one more vacation day with her. And on that day she broke-up with him because she thought there was no future in marrying an enlisted man in the Air Force. So, I was really mad at her. I mean for a long time I was so disappointed that she would treat him like that.

 And then, that was in August, and in December I got invited by the Sub Debs Club, which was this hottie totty girls club at Pasco High School that rich girls belonged to. I was already out of school a whole year, but these girls that I knew from dancing class sent me an invitation to a winter dance for the Sub Debs Club, and I had nobody to ask to go. And I used to come home for the weekends and spend the weekends talking to Eddie and Patsy. And he would come home from Orlando Air Force base and spend the weekend helping his daddy in the daytime and then with Eddie and Patsy at night at their house. So, our dates really were so weird. Eddie, patsy, and Dave would be watching these horror movies on tv on Saturday nights, while I took a nap on the couch at Eddie’s house. And that’s how are dates began. Oh, but I asked Dave to that dance because I didn’t have anybody else to ask. There was nobody here. They’d either gotten married, moved away, or gone to college or something. I didn’t know anybody to ask, and I thought, I wonder if Dave could get away with wearing his military dress uniform and take me to the dance. So, I asked him in December. Then in January he asked me out on a double date with somebody else that he and Eddie grew up with. Then I went away for three months, and the whole time I was away we were writing. After that, he met me at the plane, and the rest is history. We dated a couple of years.

I’ll tell you exactly were he proposed. My grandson is sick of hearing me say that. You know where the light is, the next light after you pass Lake Gevida? [Happy Hill Road?] Yes. You go up the hill and around the curve. Well, we were coming home from Dade City and just barely came around that curve at the top of the hill, and I remember saying to Dave “penny for your thoughts” because he was so quiet, which was really unusual. He said “Oh, I’m just wondering how I could talk you into marrying me”. That was the fancy proposal! He didn’t have to talk me into it.

HP: So, you were in nursing school at that time?

MB: I had graduated.

HP: So, you didn’t really get practice as a nurse?

MB: I graduated in August of 1960, and I started working at Saint Vincent’s in the emergency room in September, which was the earliest they would let me start. And I worked up there until February. Then I came home and worked for Dr. Stanfield, in his little clinic in Dade City, from February until the end of May. And I got married in June, and Dave was in the Air Force, so we moved away. So, I really didn’t. I didn’t even get to work all year. And then I had five kids before he died and was pregnant with the sixth one. So, I didn’t go back to work until, when my kids went off their social security that meant I no longer got it either, then I had to go to work.

HP: Did you work as a nurse at that time?

MB: I worked as a nurse, but I had been away from it for so long that I couldn’t work as a skilled nurse. So, I worked as a supervisor of home health aids in a home health thing. So, I didn’t have to do… I had to go visit the patients ever sixty days when the home health aid was in there to make sure they were doing the right things, and to check their vital signs, and blood pressure, and medications, and once in awhile I had to call their doctors if I was concerned about something. But I think in the whole time I was working I maybe only had to make two skilled visits and that’s only because the nurse that would have made them was on vacation. So, she had taken me with her to show me what to do. So, I really have no, not much nursing. Except taking care of my kids.

HP: And that’s a lot. [laughing] So, would you say then, that the girls in your class… what were their ambitions?

MB: Another girl from my class became a nurse. She went to Berry University. She lives in California now, and she’s still doing nursing as far as I know. And she’s as old as I am. Oh, I gotta tell you a funny story about that! Just before I graduated there was the National Student Nurses Convention in Miami. And I didn’t decide I was going until the last minute, and it was too late to make a reservation at the hotel. So, I called that same girl, who I had gone four years at Holy Name with and asked her if I could stay with her if I came down to the convention. She said yes. So I told my momma the address I was going to, and momma said “Oh my goodness! That’s the house we spent our honeymoon in.” 9600 Biscang Blvd., I never forgot the address. Some friends of my mother and dad owned the place at the time momma got married. And that’s exactly where they stayed for their honeymoon. And it was the same place my friend from high school lived. [ I wonder if there was a connection.] No, not a thing. Cause momma had gotten married, you know, eons before that. But, momma was shocked. She was like Oh my goodness. That’s were we were on our honeymoon.

HP: That’s amazing! So, most of the girls either got married…

MB: Did something. Either got married a few times or they um… Now I know at least one never married. And there is another one we haven’t been able to locate, so, I don’t know about her.

HP: But nobody decided to become a sister?

MB: Actually yeah! Sister Roberta is the Prioress. She was in my class. [Sister Roberta was in your class? Really?] Yeah. Her name was Mary Margaret Bailey. She was one of the smart ones. Actually, there were a couple that were really smart and one of them was from Saint Joe. The Saint Joe girls did not go on to college for some reason.

HP: what was Sister Roberta’s name you said?

MB: Mary Margaret Bailey. You know, come to think of it, not many of our classmates did go to college. I really can’t say about some of them. I know the three from Saint Joe did not. I know Arleen Mahrt did not. Um, Diana didn’t. I don’t know if Nancy did, but Nancy did not marry. She lives in Denver, Colorado. And she never married. I never thought about that before, how few actually went on.

HP: Cause when I’m reading through the Holy Name Newspapers, so they are profiling the girls who are graduating, and they are talking about the girls who are graduating, I wanted to ask you about that because when asked about what they were going to do or what their plans were, almost all of them said that they wanted to continue their education in some kind of way. Usually nursing. But I thought I’m going to ask Maggie because I’m sure most of them probably got married.

MB: Yeah, some got married real young. Virginia Bartle got married young. Lucille Goody got married young. Virginia is widowed now. Lucille is still in a good marriage. Diana’s been married three times. Joe’s been married three time. Married and divorced three times, each of them. And I sort of lost track of Joe lately, I’m worried about her, cause I know in the past she’s had cancer, so I don’t know where she is now. I need to try her old phone number, it’s probably a cell phone, and see if I can get her because she’s not responding to any emails. But I’m not getting them rejected either. I don’t know. I don’t know.

HP: Now when you all were at Holy Name, and you wanted to go into Dade City, the boys were telling me…so far, I’ve only interviewed Saint Leo Prep people, you’re my first Holy Name. So, when you guys wanted to go into Dade City, either to go to the movies or get a hamburger o something, were there arrangements made for you guys to go into town?

MB: The boarders never got to do any of that. [the boarders weren’t allowed to leave to go into town?] No. Not that I know of. I mean, it’s a possibility that maybe they took them shopping, but I don’t know of it. We, as a day student, and as the niece of uncle Steve, we used to come up here and watch movies in the gym on Sunday nights if we wanted to. [So, there was an advantage of being the niece?] Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah. He was good to me. [Steve Herman?] Yeah, he was very good to me. He was… I loved him. One of my kids is named after him. And that kid lives in Alabama. He works for Mather Angelica’s EWTN in the Catholic cable tv station.

HP: So, I noticed that a lot of your children are in media.

MB: Yeah. It’s funny.

HP: I mean a whole bunch of them.

MB: Yes. Three of them majored in it. Three of them majored it.

HP: Now, did you have music lessons in Holy Name Academy? Because your children had a band.

MB: Ok, they all play by ear. The don’t get a bit of it from me because I am so not talented. I took music lessons from Sister Mildred, who’s still alive, and she can tell you I was not a good student. I mean, I just wasn’t. I could play really simple things. When my kids were little, if it was storming and we turned off the tv, we’d go play name that tune, and I’d play these really simple songs. And they still remember that. But I’m not a musician. My kids all play by ear. Really nicely. Ad my little grandson that’s almost nine, he’s been playing by ear since he was just a toddler, and now he takes violin lessons. And um, he, he picks it up really easy. I have seen him play ukulele, guitar, and violin. He will pick up anything that makes music and he will get music out of it. His momma says she has heard him play the mandolin. I haven’t personal heard him play it, but he says he can. And I don’t doubt it because I’ve heard from my kids say that a mandolin is strung the same way a fiddle is. So. And I saw him, he was begging his daddy to play the ukulele. And one day, Davie dropped him off and he was looking all over the house for something, and I said what are you trying to find, and he said I’m looking for the ukulele. And pretty soon he came out with one and I said where’d you find it, and he said it was on the top shelf of the boy’s bedroom. I said, I hadn’t seen it, and he said that because you can’t reach the top shelf. [giggling] Anyway, I saw him show Nathan, eight years old, a few cords this past summer. And then Davie went on to work, and the rest of that week I saw Nathan playing.

HP: So, David is named after your husband?

MB: Yeah, David Junior. And then all the boys are middle named David. The other three boys. But anyway, I saw how few minutes Davie showed him a couple of cords, and then Davie left, and Nathan played a whole bunch of songs. [It’s in your family from somewhere.] Yeah, it’s in the Beaumont side. My daddy used to resent that I said that because daddy’s dad could play the piano. Uncle Steve could play the piano. Grandma Herman could play the piano. Every song I ever heard grandma play was the same song. It was very pretty. A soft…I don’t know what it was. It was always the same song. Every time grandpa played, it was one of the same very few things, and he played it very well. My daddy thought that he was playing it by ear and I said “Daddy, the reason I know he wasn’t playing by ear is because he always played the same songs.” If you play by ear, every time you sit down you play something different. My daddy used to get mad at me because I wouldn’t give grandpa Herman credit for playing by ear. He played by memory. He’d learned the song and memorized it. My mother’s daddy played the harmonica by ear. Because I’ve heard him play the harmonica. But I know my kids got their music from that side, not from our side. Not from me.

HP: So, your husband David…oh that’s right, he grew up here.

MB: Yeah, He moved down here when he was eleven. His mom moved back down when he was eleven. So, he was born here…no wait, no he was born in Sewickley. He was born in Sewickley. It’s Sister Mary, I think, was born here. Most of those older five kids were born up in Sewickley.

HP: One last thing and then you can tell me anything that you think that we need to cover. Were you aware of any of the girls at Holy Name Academy not being Catholic?

MB: Uh, yeah. I do think though, even if they weren’t Catholic, they still had to go to mass with the kids in the morning, because they had a routine. Go to mass in the morning, go to breakfast, and go to school. But most of them I would probably say were Catholic. I can’t right off think of any that weren’t Catholic, but there had to have been. I don’t know.

HP: Because we talked about that at Saint Leo Prep there were some boys who weren’t.

MB: Yeah. Yeah. But I think even at Saint Leo Prep they all had to go to mass. [They did.] I know when we were at Saint Anthony’s we all had to go to mass everyday when we were kids. Now they go on Wednesdays. But um, I guess they probably weren’t forced to go to religion class. Since I don’t recall which ones might not have been Catholic, I don’t recall about that. Oh, I was going to tell you a funny story about religion class. When I was a junior, it was Father Marion, he was Abbott Marion then, and I remember our books were green. And he had such an aim behind his head, if he was up at the chalkboard and something was going on in the back of the class, he could throw his book backwards and hit the person that he wanted to hit. Or, flick a piece of chalk backwards and hit them. I never saw anything like it! It was like out of the blue, and it was perfect aim. It was weird. I had Father Damion for senior religion.

HP: So now the boys had corporal punishment, did the girls have anything like that?

MB: Not that I remember. We got called on the carpet sometimes. [What does that mean?] It means you got called into Sister Mary Grace’s office and got made to feel like a fool. You know? But I don’t think they had corporal punishment. And I don’t think they did it at Saint Anthony’s. If we got in trouble at Saint Anthony’s though, we also got in trouble when we got home. It’s not like it is today, where if you got in trouble at school you go give trouble to the school. I hate uh, I hate that parents… My parents, uh, there’s only one time I remember my parents sticking up for me in something that happened when I was young. But I hate the spirit of when a kid gets in trouble at school, then their family going and making trouble for that teacher that punished the kid, because it was probably deserved. I don’t know. [Yep, different times.] Yep, it certainly is.

HP: So, now is there anything that you want to bring up?

MB: I don’t know. I just wonder. [The good news is you live so close by…] You can call me anytime. I’d be glad to do it. I loved going to Holy Name. And I loved going to classes at Saint Leo. I think it was a really good idea when they did that because, you know, I came from such a small town. I felt really backwards when I went to school up in Jacksonville because I was really small townish, and at least those last two years of high school gave me a little bit of interaction with the rest of the world. I wasn’t so isolated. You know, Saint Ann was awfully small. I loved growing up here. I think it’s a wonderful place to raise your kids, but you almost have to go away to make a living afterwards. And I wouldn’t change anything. My younger siblings who graduated from Pasco, they know more people because they graduated from the big school and were co-ed all their life. [Because Holy name had closed by then.] Yeah. That’s why the younger kids, from Barbara, Johnny, Mary Sue, and Gregory, the younger four, all went to Pasco. And graduated from Pasco. So, they had a different experience, and they know a lot of people that I don’t know. But I love living in Saint Ann. I love living in Pasco County. I can’t even imagine not living here. Any time I have to go to Orlando, or Saint Augustine, or anywhere, I’m thanking God the whole way home, that I live here and don’t have to fight all that kind of traffic and stuff.

Virginia Gordon was in my class. She was from Saint Joe, one of the three girls from Saint Joe. And she was real young. She was sixteen when she was a senior. At lunch time her boyfriend would come, I think he had maybe a 1954 dark blue… he’d pick her up and take her somewhere for lunch and bring her back. And we all used to get a big kick out of that. [She was allowed to leave?] She wasn’t a boarder. She was a day student. We could go down, we used to walk downtown and eat. But he would come and pick her up in his car and take her away and bring her back. She got to see him quite often at lunch time cause he’d come. I don’t know how in the world he was free at lunch, but anyway, he was. He eventually became the police chief at Saint Leo, years and years ago. [Was he a student at Saint Leo Prep?] No, no, he was a Dade City. He lived in Saint Ann, but he was not a Catholic and he went to Dade City. His sister went to school here. She wasn’t a Catholic either, but she quit to get married. I still keep in touch with her.

HP: She’d be someone interesting to talk to.

MB: Virginia, Virginia lives out at Saint Joe. And she’s my brother’s sister-in-law.