Saturday, 6 November 2010

Circular No 470

Newsletter for the alumni of The Abbey School, Mt. St. Benedict, Trinidad and Tobago, W.I.  
Caracas, 6 of November 2010 No.470
Dear Friends, 
Here is another video to watch from the year 1957-1959. video taken about 1957, when the main church access road was being contained with a wall, thanks to Bro. Gabriel.
Dear Cornel and Nigel, 
I was so touched by this story, these connections and events, that we all shared together in our own circles, of the time we spent on that mountain will never be forgotten,
Thank you for including me in your email,
God bless you both, with all my love
The Mango Tree
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 2010 14:23:28 -0400 
Dear Nigel:
You and your story are nothing short of amazing!!!
... and thank you for corroborating my story about those mango trees....
They were the Best!!!
"Mozart" was known by that name because he only pumped "Classical" music through the speakers on the school grounds during 'Baths', right? 
Here is one for you, a group of boys got together and convinced him (Father Eugene) to permit us to play a tape with rock and roll sounds of that era, and the Beatles, Wooden Heart, "Put you head on my shoulder", a variety of Elvis etc. on Saturday afternoon before dinner, and then our Saturday movie.
Those were the days!
So sorry to hear it was the way for you to remember the death of your dad.
But I am sure he had a laugh in Heaven when he knew you were up in a mango tree enjoying life.
You were at the Abbey school during my time good Sir!!!
Again I am amazed, but I was a little boy then 'Form I'. 
Geeze! I would have loved to have made 'you' my 'Big Brother' as I was to Patrick Deveaux.
I never told you, but last year I had a telephone conversation with him, and he was talking to me about this older boy.  
That whenever he came back to school after a holiday in St. Lucia, he would seek out that boy and sit with him. 
That this boy would put his arm around his shoulder and comfort him when he would cry. 
He said to me all he could remember about that boy is that he wore thick glasses and came from Aruba
I said to him (while the tears were rolling down my cheeks) I said to him: "Patrick, you are speaking to him now."  It was me, Cornel. 
Our conversation continued on a much more jovial and happy way, and we were so very happy to be "reunited", in a manner of speaking.
Thank you for your speedy response.
GOD bless you and yours, as Always your loyal friend and brother!!!
Don't forget about the "MSB" ring I mentioned ....?
Opinions??? Someone brought it up in the #461 (I believe) CIRCULAR
Cornel A. de Freitas
MSB 1959-1964 
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 2010 13:04:51 -0400 
I know that particular mango tree extremely well. 
While the construction of St. Benet's Hall was taking place in 1960, we, the Form 5 boys, decided to do some construction of our own.
We "borrowed" some odd bits of planking, some nails that "happened to be lying about", found some hammers and saws that "a workman must have left on the ground", and proceeded to build a magnificent tree house in said tree.
I believe that there were 3 'floors" in it, and we even found, unbelievably, that we could run an extension wire from the construction site downhill to the mango tree which subsequently enjoyed continuous illumination at the flick of a switch. 
Fr, Eugene (we called him "Mozart") came walking down one evening to investigate the source of our lighting up.
Some wise crack ensued, the nature of which was that we claimed to be able to generate electricity from the tiny stream which flowed alongside the tree on the roadway.
If you can throw your mind back, you might recall that this "stream" must have been about 1" wide, momentarily, whenever someone peed on the side of the hill, and probably 6" wide during a good rainfall.
Be that as it may, he swallowed our story and left us in peace. 
On one other occasion, Bro. Swa, the "Keeper of the Mangoes" caught me up the same tree at the end of a flimsy branch.
Everyone else had fled. "Come down", said he. "No way", said I.
And the battle began, he throwing stuff at me, and I pelting green mangoes at him.
The school bell eventually rang and I had to drop to the ground and run for my life. 
Oh yes, I do know that mango tree - only too well. 
Actually, I was in the tree house on November 24, 1960, when I heard my brother's car coming up the hill.
His car, a Prefect, had an unmistakeable "Prefect" sound.
He met me at the base of the tree, and told me to get in.
Then he drove to the Monastery and we walked to Abbot van Duin's office / bedroom.
Leaving me outside in the hall, he went in, and I was invited to enter the room a few minutes later, only to be told by Fr. Abbot that my father had died that day in New York.  
What memories that mango tree holds for me!! I'll never forget it.
On 2010-09-22, at 11:37 AM, Cornel de Freitas wrote: 
Dear Nigel, 
Many thanks, for being the kind and considerate guy that you are.
I knew Miss. Marcus was already at the Abbey School when I attended and I do also remember her quite well, as I am sure every single boy that was a 'Mount Boy' remembers her.
You could not avoid that if you wanted to, she was always part of our lives.
It was always a 'nice thing' to walk by her whenever you did. 
You were always greeted with a warm smile, and a little question, which question would always remind you, that she was very 'aware' of you.
(She 'knows' about you - when you've been good, when you've been naughty or nice ... as though she had the inside track.)  
That would always give you that feeling of 'belonging'.
I am sorry I went on a bit in my letter/comments, but I think what I was trying to do was revisit and bring back to mind some of the images that we all had and were so very familiar with, but -kind of- don't think about anymore?
But whenever I do, it's a pleasant memory, and you wish you could go back into your past and just be there for a few 'remembering' moments.
Some time ago I saw some photographs of the path we used to take (almost) every day.
(I believe it was in one of the circulars???)  
The path that led behind the guest house and down to the sports field.
Going up and down this path every day was quite a 'workout' in itself!
I could not believe my eyes when I saw what had happened to it over the years, because of lack of use, it was completely over-grown!!! 
To me it was a horrible thing to see that it was permitted to fall in such horrible state!
I am speaking specifically of the path behind the Guest House behind the guest house!
I remember that I actually used to run down all the way to the Sports Field.  
(I'd like to remind you that running down 'that' hill was taking a risk), and on the way back up in the afternoon, believe it or not, we would have races running up, to see who would get to the top first!  ...
Just a silly thing that young boys would do....
.... We all forgot about all of "those little things"...
But, that was Incredible feat! ... as I now that I think of it again.
Like when it was mango season and we would sneak down to the last corner of the road, the one that drove straight up to that 'Entrance Arch' of the school. 
We would go down climb up into those trees and "raid" those 'Julie' mango trees. 
That was considered being "Out Of Bounds!" 
That was like breaking a 'commandment of "The Abbey School" rules.
I do not know if you ever had the distinguished pleasure of knowing Fr. Eugene, and him introducing you to any one of his many "Pessy" punishing sticks.  
Boy, did that hurt when you got a caning.
He must have lined up about a dozen boys that night for a caning.
Do you know what this "priest" the "Dean Of Discipline" did that afternoon?
He called a few boys down to the corner , where the cars did that last 360 degree turn to enter the school grounds, and had them pick up all of the "washi cons" – 
I do not know what the correct spelling is, but it translates to 'tennis shoes', and takes them up to his Office.  
That afternoon at baths, he announced on the grounds loudspeaker system that any boy that was missing his tennis shoes could pick them up at his office.
Man, you had to be the stupidest kid on the block to go and claim those shoes, because if you did, he had you!
You were out of bounds - and - stealing mangoes!!!
But they were really good mangoes too, real juicy!
--- and boys will be boys - even when they put their 'ass' in jeopardy - literally!!!
Then the countless times I would pass by that building on the way to the sports field, just before you reach the 'Guest House' (I can't remember the name of it) but I would go in there and use the extra money(US$) my dad  would send me, and treat yourself and your friends.
Those very indulging 'large chocolate ice-cream' - for fifteen cents! 
You suddenly had a lot of friends too...
Dinner mints with those cute little sayings in the wrapper. 
One of my favourites, the peanut brittle/butter nut candies that would flake and melt in your mouth, paradise two coloured candy.
Every afternoon lining up to get your sandwich and a bottle of 'pop' that came in such a variety of colours.
Do they still have the 'English' currency?   'One' cent; Xtra Large 'Penny'; twelve cents; shilling etc? 
I remember the "Six pence had a specific shape - am I correct?
Nigel the good times far, far outweigh the bad times.
I never knew that father Bernard gave out 'licks' (caning) and I did not know he became the Abbot once.
I do remember serving mass with the then Abbot in his little chapel. 
I believe his name was 'van Duin' (?), please correct me if I am wrong. 
I used to have to set my alarm watch to get up really early, get dressed and walk over to the monastery - in the dark - the sun would not be up yet. 
I was an 'acolyte' (spelling may be wrong, again please correct me). 
I became the 'Sacristan' in charge of the 'Sacristy' at the school Chapel.
I was responsible every morning to set up the vestments for the next day and prepare the gifts, and make sure the altar was prepared. 
I would often go and "steal" flowers to put on the altar for special feast days so the Alter looked special, and make sure the "Eternal flame" was always burning. 
There were times when Fr. Bernard or someone would come into the study hall to let me know to go and fix /replenish the eternal lamp, that it was about to go out.
Once again, I am sorry about the long letter.
Miss Marcus's passing conjured up a lot of dormant memories.
I'll Stop here, I know you are a very busy man, my apologies.
May GOD Grant her eternal rest.
Take care of yourself, and say "Hi" to Jackie for me.
Forever your Loyal friend and Brother,
Do you know any one that has a "copy" of our school crest? 
I never got to get my school ring, paid for it, never got it.
I read the articles about coming up with a "Ring", I believe it's a "Fantastic" idea, I cannot imagine any 'Old Boy' that wouldn't want to have one, even if to hand down as a "Family heirloom"
Thanks for your continued patience.
Cornel A. de Freitas 
Subject: Re: HOMILY GIVEN BY ABBOT JOHN PEREIRA at the Funeral Mass of Kitty Marcus on Friday 17 September 2010
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 2010 07:26:53 -0400 
Dear Fr. Abbot,  
Thank you for sending me a copy of the homily to be given this morning at the funeral of our dear Kitty Marcus.
I had no idea that she had been at the Mount since 1938.
That's 5 years before I was even born!
It's also a revelation to me that her mother is also buried at the Monastery's Cemetery.
I wonder, did her father, if he were alive at the time, also migrate / escape from Austria? Whatever happened to him? 
Kitty seems to have lost touch with her entire family, as a result of the War, and the fact that her mother was buried at the Mount must have provided her with some consolation and support day by day, as she passed by her grave. 
Kitty has left us now, but she has also left us an example of courage and conviction and of service which those of us who were privileged to have met her will never forget. 
May she rest in peace.
Nigel P. Boos 
On 2010-09-17, at 1:20 AM, John Pereira wrote: 
Dear Nigel,
See attached for the homily given at the Funeral Mass of Kitty Marcus on Friday 17 September 2010 at the Mount.
Fr Abbot
Now to the photos. 
Ladislao Kertesz at,
10LK3409VAN, The new Van being used to ferry worshipers from Tunapuna.
10LK0001GCHKRO, Gerard Christian, Kerry Romain, class 1983?
10LK3404EDIMSB, Old seminary building, where the yogurt factory is installed.
10EL0001ELAWFE, Esmond Lange and wife

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