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VOLUME 5 • CHAPTER 4 • October 2005

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COWCHIPS

We are getting a lot of undeliverable e-mails.  Apparently the server ATTBI is out of business.  If you have a computer and are receiving this in the USPS box, pls let us know your new e-mail addy…we can save a bit of printing and postage cost.  Thanks….Only about 60 of y’all have ordered the 2006 Directory as of this issue.  Please remember that we would like to see all orders in by October 15th….Our resident oaf, Bubba Kincaid recently said, “I was up in Illinois the other day doing some investigation.  The court records say that the young Senator, Barrack Obama has legally changed his given name…used to be Al”.  Bub adds: “These golden years are for the birds. The only friend I have left is my back-brush.  And I have found that it is very useful in scrubbing my feet — I’m less likely to slip and fall in the shower.”  I retorted, “We are not interested in your bathing habits, Bub” and pointed to the door.  As he left, he was heard to mutter “Just like Rodney, I get no respect.”  Mike McErlean ’60 is looking for classmates Nick Perry and Wally McKeown.  Anybody out there able to help Mike?.... The Fort Crawford museum has opened an exhibit re Campion and St. Mary's.  I donated an original student classroom desk (1960) and am loaning them a complete set (mine) of student textbooks, notes, etc. from 1964 - 1968.    Best wishes,  Bob Smith ’68.   Are there any alumni brothers practicing law in the Fort Lauderdale area?  I need some help and my local sources are both on vacation.  Chuck Conrad '56.   And, finally, speaking of those who practice law:  A guy in a bar stood up and shouted, "Lawyers are assholes!"   A guy at the other end of the bar shouted back "I resent that."   The first guy asked "Are you a lawyer?"  The second guy responded "No, I'm a certified asshole."


 Dear Aaron,

      It's interesting to note that before my article in the January issue was one by Jim Radde, S.J.  He was a scholastic teaching Spanish at Campion for a while when I was there.  Our paths didn't cross too many times except during Spanish class, which I took.          

     From what I remember all these years later he was pretty quiet.  One thing I do remember is the time he required all of us to roll up sleeves and pant legs before a quiz. He then proceeded up and down the aisles and checked for answers written on our arms and legs.

     In the October issue, after my article, is Bob Smith's article.  Bob and I were roommates during our Junior and Senior years.  I haven't seen or heard anything about him since the day we graduated.  His article brought many memories back to me that I had forgotten and all of them are good ones.  For me the best part of Intramural leagues was baseball in the Spring.  Our team consisted of members of the class of '68 and '69 and we won the championship in C league two years in a row.  The best field to play on was just south of the quadrangle where we would lounge under the trees and talk between innings.

     The fall colors that Bob speaks of bring back the same memories for me.  In fact, fall is still my favorite season.  If you go back to Prairie today during the fall it can be as colorful as before except part of the bluffs to the east is marred by a gravel pit which can be seen for miles.

     Bob talks about the gloomy days before Christmas vacation.  The only thing that saved me during the time were the Christmas carols blaring from the giant speakers atop of Kostka Hall.  I would day-dream about how many days left to the start of vacation and whom I would visit plus what I would do.

     Then there was the flood of '65.  For some reason I remember being taken down to the Spit and Whistle bar with a bunch of others by one of the Jesuits.  He showed us the floating floor which allowed the bar to remain open during the flood. Ah! The memories!

     While meandering down memory lane I happened to remember one unpleasant event which occurred our Freshman year but I'll leave that until next time. 

Sincerely,

(signed)

Chris Westendorf '68

 ……………………………………………

From Chris:

A new faculty member that year (1966 – 67) was Brother Larry Gillick.   He quickly became one of the most popular members of the faculty.  We called him "Bro."  In part out of respect.  Even though he was blind he taught English and participated fully in the day to day life of Campion.  During a discussion someone wanted to know how he knew where he was going since he didn't use a white cane or seeing eye dog.  He replied that he knew how many steps to take to each building on campus.  Whether he had been blind since birth or this had occurred gradually I can't remember.  He did say that he could remember watching cars using the Marquette Interchange and thinking it was an engineering and artistic marvel.  Bro. was one of Campion's biggest cheerleaders.  He was at every sporting event with someone at his side describing what was going on.  This was also true in the classroom where a Scholastic shared and helped with the teaching duties.  One part of English class my Senior year was to keep a Journal and record everything we saw, heard, smelled and what things felt like.  I remember that part of this project entailed Brother Gillick and a scholastic driving a car with students into the middle of nowhere, dropping us off one by one about a mile apart.  We were to record everything and then write a paper on it.  By the way, the scholastic always drove the car.  Bro. was trying to teach us that there is more to life than just what you see. You must use all of your senses to the fullest.  It is one of the best lessons I ever learned and it is engrained in me today.

A few years after graduation I received an invitation to attend his first Mass in Milwaukee and I attended.  The church was packed to the rafters with me and many other students in the choir loft. Today he is at Creighton University as part of the Jesuit community there.


Pierre de St. J. (aka Scot, for obvious reasons) Macbeth ’47, was interviewed last April by a newspaper in the Carmel California area thusly:

     Mountaineer Scot Macbeth greets me dressed in the barest of clothes: a red parka unzipped to reveal a forest of white chest hair and a small Buddha belly.  He's wearing no shoes.  We enter his Carmel home, dubbed “Bad Manors", through the garage where hard hats, ropes, ice picks and ski poles hang by the door.      

     It's a chilly day, yet all his windows and doors are flung open.  He shows me some 3,000 books he says he has read, yellowing on his bookshelves.  On his bed he keeps a huge book of Tibetan scrolls.  "I don't sleep in here," he says.  He sleeps on a hemp mat on the floor.

     "Climbing teaches us our insignificance," he says.  Some of the world's greatest Sherpas and mountaineers visit him and most prefer to pitch tents on the lawn beneath small Tibetan flags hanging on a clothesline.  In the foreground is Clint Eastwood's Mission Ranch and, behind that, Point Lobos glistens across the waves. "I'm waiting for Clint to run me out of the neighborhood," jokes the man with degrees in economics and geology, surveying his overgrown lawn and well-worn truck.  My teeth chatter as I sip blueberry tea while he sips whiskey.  To be in his company is to hear threads of Whitman and Thoreau.  His reverence for nature is awe inspiring.


This mountain docent isn't home much.  He prefers to keep company with the mountains of Tibet and the charismatic people who live there.  His passion for their culture led him to help found The American Himalayan Foundation, which provides health care, education and a better life for those who live on the shoulders of Mount Everest.

     Macbeth is a minimalist yet he does have a few prized possessions, such as the rugs at our feet, woven by the wives of his Sherpa friends.

Q: Describe the greatest spectacle you've witnessed while trekking.

1947

A: The sight of Tibetan plains and all the surrounding mountains.  You're in a jungle, with a sea of  peaks all around.  And when you climb them you get to the point of euphoria, some of which is lack of oxygen, where you say, "Hey, mate, if this is all she wrote — I'm ready to go!  It's not because of glory but the sense of remote beauty and you have to work your butt off to get there, too.  I had 30 years of joy.”.

Q: Most thrilling trek?

A: Being on the east face of Everest with 16 climbers in '81.  Nobody had ever tried the east   

face. We were 16 climbers but my job was hauling loads.  I was a turnip porter, a Sherpa.  I 

got to 20,000 Feet.  In '83, the best — climbers from that group —  not me,  came back and  

climbed the whole damn thing (29,035 feet) .

Q: What's the most risky thing you've done?

A:  I sailed on the boat that won the world renowned Sydney to Hobart race.  That was one  

(expletive) tough race.  Waves were 20 - 40 feet high.  I fell in the Tasman Sea, and Thunder, Raw Meat and Twinkle Toes pulled me out. (laughs)   My nickname was Yank.  Also, I led the first commercial trip in Northwest India and I've never done it again because it was too risky.  The trick of good adventure travel is to avoid risks at all cost.   

Q: Greatest challenge?

A: I've been lost with three clients out in Western Tibet.  I've led 30 treks, mostly 200 miles and 31 days long, and crossed over half a dozen passes over 16,000 feet.  You’re dependent on the weather, avalanches, etc.  I've done 72 river crossings in glacier water over my ankles.

Q: So in '98 you retired your trekking business and came down from the mountain?

A: I'm 74 and have an immature attitude.  I lived a sheltered life in the hills.  I haven't had the stress of civilization for 30 years.  I'm a sucker now, for real estate people, bankers, etc.

Q: What’s your history?

 A: I'm from Missouri. My distant relative, Pierre Laclede, fur trader, founded the city of  St Louis.  Dad was a photographer and investor.  We eventually moved to California where my uncle had property in Carmel.

Q: How about your Steinbeck encounters?

A: My uncle had all the freeloaders in town — John Steinbeck, Doc Ricketts, etc. —  over for parties once a year. I used to sit on Steinbeck's knees. He was a nice man, always drunk and telling tales. The men would all play this disgusting game of spit on the ceiling.

Q: Advantages of being an only child?

A: There was a hell of a lot of tactile love and inclusions, which arms you for a lot of things later on.  My Sherpas show  that.  There's a lot of hugging and singing and, as a  result, they go into the world able to face anything.  You've gotta have a Sherpa in your life.

Q: What is your focus now?  

A: Fund raising and bringing awareness to The American Himalayan Foundation ... I serve on the board with Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to reach the summit of Mount Everest (with Tenzing Norkay).  We meet in San Francisco and New York. There are a number of luminaries on the board, such as actor Sharon Stone.  She's Buddhist. The chairman is Dick Blum, Sen. (Dianne) Feinstein's husband.  Dick and I and another chap went to Nepal in1968. We fell in love with our Sherpas and Dick offered to send the head Sherpa's children to school.  Later on we set up a nonprofit.  Then we got linked up with Hillary and he came on board. Our mission is to build schools and hospitals for the kids in Nepal, and the expelled Tibetans who live in India.  We give His Holiness Dalai Lama a certain amount of money a year. We help to refurbish some of the monasteries over there.

Q: Why do you climb?

A: When somebody asked George Mallory that question, he said the famous, "Because it’s   there."  But I'd say, "Because I can't help it, pal" ... The solitude .... I've heard the dead silence of Himalayan poppies brushing against each other.  You feel quite sure there is another being.  I call God “The Boss"…. "I’ve been stuck on a ledge with a few thousand feet under me and I’d pray, "Help me out, boss!"  It worked.

Q: And you still climb.

A: My friend David Breashears, who directed IMAX's "Everest," said it isn’t conquest of the mountains, it’s the people that draw us back there constantly,

Q: When will you return?

A: As soon as possible.

(Scot is working on a bio for us, and has been for 100 years. We are excited about this, because to him this might have been a ho-hum life, but to us it is quite remarkable. Come on, Scotty!!)


The Class of 1970’s 35th Reunion is to be held at the Union League Club in Chicago Friday to Sunday October 28th to 30th, 2005.

Forty classmates are committed to attend; forty classmates are "missing"; the remaining forty odd classmates are still mulling over the event.  Scheduled activities are being developed.

Please contact Marty Schultz at MASA2@SBCGLOBAL.NET; 312- 606-9098 or

Ed Abderholden at EABDERHOLDEN@MOLTZENLAW.COM or 312-279-1901 or Steve Bowers at STEVE.BOWERS@PROPVAL.NET

Thanks for your help.

Ed Abderholden / Paul McCollough


WORTH A THOUSAND PICTURES

Richard Rawe ’48   (edited just a tad)

The dawning of verbal ability comes to infants only after many months of listening to the daily dialogue of its family. They say the embryonic ability to begin to speak intelligibly comes only after the child has heard perhaps a million spoken words that initially have no meaning in the infant’s wordless world.

At that instant of recognition of the power of a word, a child discovers there is a connection between a thing, a sound, and a means of conveying an idea to another human being.  I’m not talking about how a nine-month old looks in the direction of his father when his mother says, “Da-da.”  That’s a step in the right direction, perhaps.  What I’m talking about is the exquisite moment in time when the child may exclaim to himself, “Hey!  There’s a sound I can make that has a special meaning.  It relates to something out there to which I’m directing my attention and when I make this sound somebody else’s attention is directed to that thing as well, and they understand exactly what I mean!  Holy cow!  This is really great!”

Most of us don’t remember that instant when we each found that wonderful connection ourselves.  But one may have the opportunity to watch that precious moment of first discovery happen to a child, and, if one is extremely lucky, know that it happened, for it is a unique moment that occurs literally only once in a lifetime.

When that moment happened to my grandson, Shae, at the age of nine months, I was there to bear witness and even play a role.  And I had no doubt that the full experience had happened to him.

It was President’s weekend in 1996.  I was in Death Valley, California, with members of my family for our annual outing with scorpions  and vast acres of sand.  We had set up tents in a barren campground across the road from the tiny village of Furnace Creek. Among the campers were my daughters, Susie and Julie, and Susie’s son, nine-month old Shae.

One evening we needed to pick up some things from the store in the village, so Susie, Julie, my grandson and I volunteered and the four of us piled in Susie’s Explorer and drove over to the store.  I sat in the rear seat behind the driver and Shae was buckled in his child’s seat next to me.  When we arrived at the store, Susie and Julie left me to watch Shae and went in to buy our supplies.  Susie had not closed her door tightly and the dome lights in the Explorer remained on.

It was my practice to speak to infants as if they were adults — which may be an insult to some infants — but anyway, I proceeded to talk to Shae as if he could fully understand me.  I said things like,

“So, partner, what do you think of the desert?  Lots of sand, huh?”

Shae would look at me when I spoke and would smile and sometimes answer, “Wa-wa-ba-ba,” and then look away, and I would continue with my discourse.

At one point in the one-sided “conversation” Shae took notice of the lit dome light over the front seat.  He stared at the glowing fixture then looked at me then back at the fixture.  “Light,” I said.  “That’s the light.” Shae looked at me then back at the light.  “Light,” I said again.  “That’s the light.”  My grandson pointed his finger and said, “’ight!” then he looked at me.  At first I wasn’t sure he was actually using a word. “Yeah, that’s it.  Light.”  “’ight!” he repeated with enthusiasm, stretching his arm out at the fixture above. “’ight! ’ight!”

His delight was evident in his face.  I would say “light” and he would look at the light and he would say “’ight,” and look back at me and suddenly I was having a two-way conversation with a nine-month old child.  He spoke only one word but that word was worth a thousand pictures.

I wondered if I was witness to his first word or whether he was simply repeating sounds he heard me utter, sounds with no more meaning than ga-ga or goo-goo.  But my wondering vanished when in his excitement, Shae half turned and took notice of the other dome light in the rear of the Explorer.  He pointed his finger at it and cried,  “’ight, ’ight!”  And with this, I knew with certainty that he knew.  Shae had connected with the world of communication.  And with my acknowledgement—“Yes, that’s a light, too”—he knew that I knew that he knew.  “’ight, ’ight!!”

Shae repeated his performance over and over to the great enjoyment of my daughters when they returned from shopping.  In the days to follow, adults would point to a lamp and say to Shae, “Wazzat?”  Shae would dutifully respond, “’ight!”  After about a week of this, Shae’s second word became “Wazzat?”

When we arrived back at the campsite, I unbuckled Shae and we stepped out of the Explorer into the vast moonlit darkness of the desert.  I wondered what was going through the little child’s mind after all the excitement outside the store.  I was carrying him to the tent when he pointed his finger up in the air.

“’ight! ’ight!”  he cried.  Shae had taken note of the moon.


Below…Father Joe Eagan ’40 got a group of his classmates together in the Chicago area in June.  This may be a record for reunion longevity.



CLASS OF 1940• • • 65th REUNION• • • CHICAGO 6/2/2005

Top row - John Clennon; Frank Wehrheim; Al Fink; Les Sentz; Jim Whalen;.    Lower row - interloper from the class of 1939, Ken Fink, Dick Bodie, Joe Eagan, Charlie Welling and Jay Franklin.


Usually, in October, we submit our recent fiscal year financial statement.  As this newsletter is quite busy, we are postponing that report until January when we will present the report for out first five years.


Fellas,

     Is it OK for the distaff side to make herself known?  I feel like I know a good number of you already.  I'm Kathy Martinotti, widow of Bob (’58).  He died, like a good Italian, on the Ides of March, 2004. 

     By your reminisces in the general e-mail, I'm filling in the blanks of what he told me of your "wonderful" experiences back in the good old days.

     When we were first married, we used to take a day trip, every so often, and drive up to Campion and Wyalusing.  We would have been married 40 years, about 2 1/2 months after he died. So he had ample time to slowly relate the Campion story.

      I think his old yearbooks are around here somewhere.  When I find them, I'll be able to put a young, handsome face to the names I see.  The only one I know personally is Ted Lownik, who's been a very good friend thru Bob's last years and even before that.

      In case you have a problem remembering the jolly green giant, I'm embedding a photo of the two of us from about 10 years ago.  I'm the one in the wheel chair.

      I'd love to hear from his old friends.

 Kathy


From Jim Behrendt ‘72

7-8-05

Gentlemen,

      Life is fine in Denver and my wife is still tolerating me so …..but my golf game is in big trouble (ask O’Brien).  It is kind of funny that one of Don Gosz’s kids lives in Denver and I ran into him at of all places a soccer field in the fall.  My daughters were playing at the same time as his son.  I wish you could have heard him say to me, he sounded just like his father,  “Topper, I just don’t get this damn game, do you?”  It’s probably a you-had-be-there type story.  But he sounded just like the old man and just how he would have said it.  Anyway he pulled his cell out and called his dad on the spot and I talked to Don for about 15 minutes.  Fellas, it was great to talk to him and we actually have talked more than a few times over the years.

      Hope all of you are well.   Give me a call to say hi if you have a moment and nothing better to do.

      Topper 

      PS…. It’s been 33 years, kind of mind boggling

 

From Jim Glenn ’48:
      A woman drifting in a hot air balloon realized she was lost.   She lowered altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him, excuse me, can you help me?  I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am.
      The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, You're in a hot air balloon approximately 30 feet above a ground elevation of 2346 feet above sea level..  You are 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.
      She rolled her eyes and said, You must be a Republican.
       I am, replied the man. How did you know?
      Well, answered the balloonist, everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and I'm still lost.  Frankly, you've not been much help to me.
The man smiled and responded, You must be a Democrat.
  I am, replied the balloonist. How did you know?
     Well, said the man, you don't know where you are or where you're going.  You've risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise that you have no idea how to keep, and you expect ME to solve your problem.  You're in EXACTLY the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it’s my fault.


Dear Aaron,

What a splendid newsletter and gallery of photos!!!!!  I am truly sorry I could not participate in the All Class reunion.  But at that time I was in the very middle of my annual teaching of our first year medical students here at Hopkins.  And immediately after that I was on my way to Japan for  international conferences where I was to present two papers of research findings, neither of which had received an appropriate amount of preparation.  So I really had to burn the midnight oil (like in our closets of Marquette Hall on returning from basketball trips to Menasha or wherever on Sunday nights) to get the data in presentable form.  Next year I shall surely try to make it.  I was delighted to see my old friend and football buddy, Jerry Adler, and John Beringer too.  Speaking of old football buddies, I enjoyed seeing Charlie Pechous and reading Miller Bransfield’s letter.  They were a year ahead of me, but the real inspiration of our ’47 team along with Paul Fatum…as I remember with the greatest fondness.

            All goes quite well with me presently.  In August of 2003 I had a very serious bicycle accident.  I had to give up jogging because my knees were complaining.  But  still trying to get some cardiopulmonary challenges, I took up bicycling.  Anyway, I must have hit a pothole or something.  I was not wearing a helmet which I never did preferring a baseball cap.  I flew over the handle bars and landed on my head.  Was knocked unconscious, and once found in the gutter, was whisked off to the U of Maryland’s Shock Trauma Center where I remained in a coma for two weeks.  They had to remove the right half of my skull because I had a hematoma developing.  In doing so they found lacerations to other tissue in the brain.  I also tore the rotator cuffs in both shoulders.  At 72 years of age one does not want to do these things; healing and repairing processes take much longer.  But thanks to some excellent physical therapy I improved and was back to work full-time by mid-December.  They had put my demi-skull back in place in mid-November.  I ended up losing the vision in my left eye; the eye itself is fine meaning the damage is in the brain somewhere.  Recently I severely sprained the medial collateral ligament in my left knee and tore the meniscus.  Again at 74 healing processes move with the velocity of dirt.  But all is coming along.  I must keep up a fairly brisk pace because of my 18-year old son.  He has become a very successful soccer player, and was elected by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America to last year’s Youth All-America team.  He will start his senior year at Loyola High School here in Baltimore and has been All-City and All-State for the past two years.  He plays on the Region 1 (Maine to Virginia) Olympic Development Program Team; they have played in Italy, Austria, and England.  His high school team will play in Scotland and England in early August.  He was elected to the National Honor Society.  He has a First Honors GPA; so not all is soccer.  But he is being recruited by Michigan, Virginia, Clemson, Maryland, and some others to come and play soccer.  He’s a goalkeeper.  Well, I guess that about covers it for now.  I shall certainly send you the $7.50 for the Directory.  And keep up the great work!!!  You’re doing a wonderful service for all of us older and younger lovers of “Where the Mississippi and Wisconsin role their tides in one” .  Take care.

Sincerely,

Bob Fitzgerald, ‘49


Nick Wade and Tom Phillipp, Class of '53

Nick, a resident of Oslo, Norway, was a marvelous host for the day (May 23, '05 -- Nick's Birthday) to Tom and his wife Betty when they traveled through the area.
         Wow, we thought gas was expensive in the U.S.!  Nevertheless, we were very impressed with Oslo.

                                                    Tom P.



Aaron,

     We moved down here (Punta Gorda, FL) from Columbus in April.  We bought the house 2 years ago. (Hurricane) Charley made a direct hit on the house.  We lost roof shingles and a pool cage which we are still waiting to be installed. The house held up well though with no leaks and no window or door breakage.  Many of our neighbors did not fair as well.  Jeanne did blow some water into the attic which eventually found its way in to our master bath and soaking the bedroom carpet.  Our insurance company was great so we are getting a new tile roof and pool cage. Can’t wait to see the premium this year!!!!

      You may have heard from my brother Bob ’53. He got his reunion together for 2003. My brother Jim ‘56 died 9 years ago my dad, Bill ‘19 (?) passed away in 1999.

      I have been in touch with a few of my old class mates but haven’t seen most since graduation in 1962. I would really like to find out where they are located and would be willing to start a search if anyone can give me some help.

      More later and thanks for keeping the old school alive for us old “boarding school” folks.

 Don DuBrul Campion ‘62

204 Maracal Way

Punta Gorda, FL 33983

DJDUBRUL@COMCAST.NET


Some thoughts regarding Peter Carey's letter in the last issue of Campion Forever,

      In his fourth paragraph he said, "The Vietnamese, Jesuits, and others, have no hint of bitterness for the evils Americans inflicted on them".

     What about the feelings of 58,226 families of those American servicemen who were killed and the 153,303 who were wounded?

      All the killing does not result from selfishness and hatred in our hearts.  But, in the hearts and ideology of the people we fought – the Viet Cong.

      The far left, liberal/anti-war democrats should be blamed for our having cut and run and losing the War and the disastrous consequences afterward.

      Remember Pol Pot came in and killed over 2,000,000 of his own people and threw countless in prisons.

      Instead of bashing America, you should learn and study the facts:  The killings being done were by our enemies.  They killed innocent people —  women and children.

      In the last fifty or more years, the U.S.A. has freed more people from tyranny, oppression, and dictatorship than all other nations combined.

     The United States Armed Forces should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

     As a proud American Veteran and having served in Korea, I, along with my wife, disagree with Peter Carey's comments.

 Roger Williams '48

Pat (Beyer) Williams '50

St. Mary's Academy


It’s going to be a long, cold winter up there, guys.  Late February sounds like a great time to get out the sticks, polish them up and head for historic St. Augustine Florida for the annual all-class reunion.  You must remember to keep your head down, keep your spirits up and keep your ball in the fairway.  An invitation to the 2006 reunion is included with this newsletter and posted to our website.  As we have suggested, the classes of 1946, 56 and 66 will have significant anniversaries in 2006.  Come on down and join us for the party.  All the work is done for you so all you will have to do is enjoy. On the next page find interesting bits of St. Augustine history.  Hope to see y’all in February.


Saint Augustine

A BIT OF HISTORY FROM OUR HOST, ED ROGERS:

     St. Augustine founded in 1565 is America's oldest permanently settled European city.  There are many attractions including Fort Matanzas National Museum, Ponce de Leon Fountain of Youth; and the Mission of Nombre de Dios/Shrine of Our Lady of Leche said to be the site of the original landing of Don Pedro Menendez in 1565 and the first Catholic Mass in the New World!   (This Church located 2 blocks from our Hotel).  The Cathedral - Basilica of St. Augustine is in the downtown Historical area.  This in the nations oldest Roman Catholic Church.  The sightseeing trams, stop at 19 points of interest, where you can exit to be picked up later, or continue on the tour.  Throughout its history, the story of Fort Matanzas has been closely intertwined with that of the city of St. Augustine and the Castillo de San Marcos. This Spanish outpost fort was built in 1740-1742 to guard the Matanzas Inlet and to warn St. Augustine of British or other enemies approaching from the south. Fort Matanzas now serves as a reminder of the early Spanish empire in the New World.

     In addition, the park, which is located on barrier islands along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and the Matanzas estuary, provides a natural habitat rich in wildlife with the salt marsh, scrub, and maritime hammock now protecting endangered and threatened species like the historic Fort Matanzas protected St. Augustine long ago.

     The mainland of the North American continent was first sighted by the Spanish explorer and treasure hunter Don Juan Ponce de Leon on Easter, March 27, 1513.  He claimed the land for Spain and named it La Florida, meaning "Land of Flowers".  Between 1513 and 1563 the government of Spain launched six expeditions to settle Florida, but all failed.  The French succeeded in establishing a fort and colony on the St. Johns River in 1564 and, in doing so, threatened Spain's treasure fleets which sailed along Florida's shoreline returning to Spain.  As a result of this incursion into Florida, King Phillip II named Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles, Spain's most experienced admiral, as governor of Florida, instructing him to explore and to colonize the territory.  Menendez was also instructed to drive out any pirates or settlers from other nations, should they be found there.

     When Menendez arrived off the coast of Florida, it was August 28, 1565, the Feast Day of St. Augustine.  Eleven days later, he and his 600 soldiers and settlers came ashore at the site of the Timucuan Indian village of Seloy with banners flying and trumpets sounding.  He hastily fortified the fledgling village and named it St. Augustine. Thus, St. Augustine was founded forty-two years before the English colony at Jamestown, Virginia, and fifty-five years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts - making it the oldest permanent European settlement on the North American continent.

     Maintaining St. Augustine became a mighty task over the next two hundred years.  In 1586, English corsair Sir Francis Drake attacked and burned the town.  Then in 1668, the pirate Captain John Davis plundered the town, killing sixty inhabitants.  Without the courage, perseverance and faith of its early settlers it is doubtful that St. Augustine would have survived.

     It was not until 1763 that Spain ceded Florida to England in order to regain the capital of Cuba, ushering in twenty years of British rule in Florida.  This period coincided with the American Revolution, during which Florida remained loyal to the Crown.  In 1783, under the Treaty of Paris, Florida was returned to Spanish rule for a period of thirty-seven years. The Spanish departed for the last time when Spain sold Florida to the United States of America.  At a colorful military ceremony on July 10, 1821, US troops took possession of the territory and Spain relinquished control of Florida forever.

     In 1845, Florida became the twenty-seventh state admitted to the Union. The Castillo de San Marcos was renamed Fort Marion in honor of a Revolutionary War hero, and the capital of East Florida was moved from St. Augustine to become part of the state capital in the new town of Tallahassee.

     Beginning in 1959, and continuing today, the state has an ongoing preservation effort, meticulously restoring many colonial structures to their original appearance, and historic St. Augustine has become a center of colonial Spanish culture and an important destination for travelers from all parts of the world.

A BIT OF FLUFF FROM HOSTESS, ANN ROGERS:

  For the Ladies....St. George's Street in St. Augustine is full of great/unusual shops.  Also there are two huge outlet malls at Hwy 95 where it exits on Hwy 16 and are great!

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