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VOLUME 24 • CHAPTER 2 • April 2024


Memoirs

The first Campionette, the student newsletter, was published 106 years ago, on November 11, 1917. The first editor of the Campionette was Tom O'Connor, class of 1920. The last official issue was the one announcing the closing of the school in May 1975. Over the years, various classes have published special editions for their class reunions, some of which have been pretty extravagant.

The Campion Forever Newsletter was first published by Aaron Huguenard, class of 1947, in 2000 as a means for alumni and faculty to keep in touch and share life experiences.

We've been trying to get memoirs from retired and not-so-retired Campion Jebbies for our newsletter for quite some time. We don't care if the memoirs are about when they went to Campion, taught at Campion, or just what they've done since leaving Campion. We just want to hear something from our mentors in the first person; perhaps words of wisdom learned while IHS; typically, we only get third-person accounts post mortem. Not to lay all the blame on the Jebbies, but why can't we get memoirs from more alumni, or what they've done since leaving Campion? Where are all those other authors and editors of the old 'ette"?

While it has been a task getting people to submit articles, there are a few dedicated alumni and Jebbies who do regularly provide ideas for articles. This is a good thing; otherwise, I would have to conjure the 'Ghost of Joe Campion' for ideas more than I care to.


From Bob Listecki '58

Bob Listecki is here. I grew up on the NW side of Chicago's St. Bartholomew’s parish with two cousins who also attended Keith and Kenneth Oakes. Fr. Dutch (Dutkevich), my chemistry mentor, prepped me for eventual success in pharmacy at UW Madison. Besides the IM sports, I played on the varsity football and track and field teams with success in the discus, where I went on to throw in Madison. John Powers was a star on our team and played in the NFL. I moved to Des Plaines, where my dad had Des Plaines Pharmacy, and I entered the UW. While there, I joined the ROTC and Chi Psi fraternity, met Lyn from Waukesha, Wisconsin, and got married in 1963. We ran ski trips to Aspen Co. during spring break for a Rose Bowl game and had two good musicians as brothers: Steve Miller and Bos Skaggs. It did not take long for the campus to discover where the good music was. Well, they came in droves and drank all our beer, but we did not chase away the pretty girls.

Upon graduation, we married, spent a month in Hawaii, and started active duty U.S. Army Pharmacy Officer Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo., for 2 years. While there, I got my pilot's license and could fly up to Chicago for visits. While in summer camp at Ft. Riley, Ks crossed paths with Ed Gormley and Tiny Gill (football) Campion.

Back from the Army, we settled in Oak Brook, Illinois, and Glen Ellyn Pharmacy, where we are still practicing specialty compounding and alternative medicine. We developed the Listecki-Snyder protocol for t4 and t3 dosing for thyroid disorders with Scott, a student. It was published in the International Journal of Pharmacy Compounding. Many of our Pharm Doc candidate papers are posted at Glenellynpharmacy.com. I was awarded several national pharmacy awards for teaching and innovation, served on our village planning commission and village board, and got involved in off-shore yacht racing and winter ice sailing racing. I did 37 years of Chicago Mackinac Island races, winning overall in 2004. I raced for 66 hours and won by 2 minutes. This was my 25th race, and I joined the Island Goat Sailing Society. We vacation up to our home on Glen Lake, Michigan.

Our daughter Kristin with Kelsey 12 lives in Superior, Co., and our son Rob and Tricia live in Vancouver with Robbie III 10 and Ciara 7.

We have hosted many reunions in Oak Brook on a 5-year cycle, but the 55th was the last. Fr. Dutch and Eagan attended, and it was much fun. Coach Peterson on occasion.

While Kristin was at Kansas University, we visited Fr. Frank Cary (Rockhurst), our Campion visitor in Kansas City, to get some Jebbie wisdom.

We have continued to have contact with classmates from grade school, high school, and Wisconsin U., with Lyn for 60 years.



From the desk of John Duskey '63

The Church today is troubled by a number of problems, some of which we have seen ever since our days at Campion. There are fewer vocations. Fewer students attend Catholic schools, and many parishes and many schools, including Campion, have closed. As we look at the situation, we can gain some valuable insight from some of our bishops. We recall our fellow alumni, Bishops Roman Atkielski H.S.’21 of Milwaukee (1947-1969) and Thomas Doran ‘54 of Rockford (1994-2016). They are no longer with us. There are other bishops whose good work can help.

The Church is aware of decreasing numbers of people who are present at Mass every Sunday. Cardinal Dolan of New York made some observations on this in an article in Our Sunday Visitor last September 30. He surveyed Catholics in his diocese and found that the most frequently mentioned reasons for not attending Mass were (1) because they couldn’t understand the priest; (2) their parish had been closed; and (3) Mass was too long!

He centered his attention on the third of these reasons, and quoted the statement of one priest that the Eucharistic Prayer now seems like an afterthought, i.e. that “everything after the Liturgy of the Word is second class.” Cardinal Dolan stated that some priests ignore Pope Francis’ admonition to keep homilies at 8 -10 minutes. He also stated that, to those correspondents who weighed in, “an hour-and-a-half Mass — not just on solemnities, but every Sunday, has become normal, and they candidly propose that this is one of the factors driving people away.”

In his conclusion, Cardinal Dolan acknowledged that some people can’t understand the priest. But that is not the main reason to be present at Mass. Cardinal Dolan stated: “I do know that the late, great Pope Saint John Paul II had a point: “Silence must be part of the Eucharist.” Speaking as a celebrant, the Cardinal noted that “verbosity at Mass, our compulsion as celebrants to comment constantly….and the tendency of choirs, who do great jobs, to fill every free moment with another verse, is grating on the people.” People should appreciate the opportunity that silence brings us; they should know how to fill that time with profound prayer for their own intentions. We might consider praying for the Church and her clergy, our friends, relatives and acquaintances, living and dead, for our own salvation, and our own particular needs. This should all be explained to the people.

Most of us will remember that our daily student Masses at Campion were about a half hour and Sunday Masses rarely exceeded one hour. We always had some time of silence during Mass to include prayers for our personal intentions. (This may have changed later in the 1960s.) It’s not just a matter of the time it takes for Mass. The apparent devaluation of the Eucharistic Prayer, which is the central, essential part of the Mass, is a bigger problem.

In 2019 there was a survey from Pew Research indicating that 69% of Catholics believe the bread and wine at Mass are merely a symbol, i.e., that Jesus Christ is not really present. The Catholic belief is well stated in Ist Corinthians chapter 11, verse 27: Whoever receives Communion unworthily “is guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” This is such an important problem that Bishop Robert Barron, of Winona-Rochester,Minnesota, brought the conclusions of the Pew study to the attention of the administrative committee of the American Bishops (the USCCB), and the bishops responded by establishing a three-year Eucharistic Revival program. Bishop Barron was interviewed on the Word On Fire program.

Jesus Christ’s presence is what changes the Mass from a mere gathering of people to a real and true sacrifice, as we, lay people, join our prayers, works, joys and sufferings to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. The priest offers this sacrifice in the person of Jesus Christ., that is, he speaks in the first person, using words that Jesus Christ Himself said. When Jesus Christ becomes present in this sacramental form, He enables us to be present as He offers Himself to God the Father for our benefit and for the benefit of the entire Church. As Jesus Christ is consumed at communion time, the sacrificial action is completed.

Bishop Barron pointed out the importance of using the correct words to convey Catholic beliefs. Christianity is a doctrinal religion, and doctrine must be clearly expressed in words that cannot lead to wrong belief. He used the word “consubstantial” in the Nicene Creed as an example: the change of one letter in the Greek could lead to a translation alien to Catholic belief.

Translations can help us understand what is being said, but they present a serious problem if the words allow for misinterpretation. I am aware of a problem that goes back to years before we were born. The first prayer of the offertory states what the Mass is, and the reason why we have gathered together, that is, to offer “This Immaculate Victim.” The Latin text “hanc Immaculatam Hostiam” is properly translated “This Immaculate Victim.” The Victim is Jesus Christ. But, many years ago, the English translation in our missals was “this spotless host,” which is easily misunderstood to be a piece of bread that has no spots. The Vatican II document on Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Consilium (S.C.) regularly uses the expression “Immaculate Victim.”

We all had some background in the Latin Language from our years at Campion. We knew the Latin words of the hymn “O Salutaris Hostia, quae Caeli pandis ostium.” The English translation is “O Saving Victim, who opened the gates of heaven.” Hostia means Victim. The Victim of the sacrifice of the Mass is Jesus Christ, who sacrificed Himself on the cross. We are assembled to offer ourselves along with that Victim. This translation problem generates confusion about the very nature of the Mass and the role of the priest.

The words “We have this bread to offer…..We have this wine to offer” were inserted in the 1969 revised missal. No doubt the offertory prayers needed to be improved, to clarify their meaning. But we have not gathered to offer bread and wine. Thus, the confusion has increased. S.C. #23 states “care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing.” Organic growth could be accomplished by adding the words “Your Son, Jesus Christ” after the words “Immaculate Victim” so that it will be clear to all who the sacrificial Victim is.

The sacrifice of the Mass is the same sacrifice as the sacrifice of the cross, presented for us in an unbloody manner. The Priest is the same, and the Victim is the same. The sacrifice is presented for us so that we can join in the offering. There is a prayer “In humble spirit and contrite heart, may we be accepted by you…” This prayer is based on the prayer of the three young men in Daniel Chapter 3, who were forced to walk into a fire and sacrifice their lives. The word “suscipiamur” in the Latin text indicates the first person plural, passive voice, i.e., a prayer said by a group of people. This prayer is still included, is still said only by the priest, but in recent years it is optional, and rarely said. Ideally, all the people should say that prayer aloud, together.

At the end of the offertory, the priest is supposed to say “Pray that my sacrifice and yours will be acceptable to God the Father Almighty.” Unfortunately some priests use the expression “our sacrifice” or, worse yet, “these gifts” as though we were presenting bread and wine as an offering, as gifts. Cardinal Cupich says it correctly on ABC7 Chicago. So does Archbishop Listecki when he is the celebrant on the Heart of the Nation national telecast. Priests should follow their example. This understatement of the sacrificial nature of the Mass undermines the laity's belief in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist. This is the problem that is expressed by the Pew survey. 

Keep in mind that the people who responded to the Pew Survey are only a portion of the people who are present at Mass. An even larger number of people grew up Catholic, and came to believe that they were attending a celebration that was only symbolic. They were primarily listening to the lector and the priest proclaim the readings, listening to the priest’s homily, listening to the priest say some prayers, and listening to the choir sing. This passive participation can lead to apathy. The Church intends for us to engage in active prayer. Priests should be in contact with parishioners personally, as they suffer, so that they will know the joy of offering up themselves and their suffering, along with Jesus Christ at Mass.

During my years of service in the Diocese of Joliet, I was pleased to speak with Bishop Daniel Conlon a few times. It was a relationship of mutual respect. In a September 2016 article about parishes and pastors in Christ Is Our Hope, the diocesan magazine, he stated “every parish must teach the authentic Catholic Faith.” He also stated “Parishes are not intended to be just comfortable gathering places.” He later added “The pastor is definitely not the lord and master of the parish; he is the servant. But an especially important part of his service is to assure that the community is being faithful to its mission.” That is, its mission “to proclaim the Gospel to all people and draw them to salvation in Christ.”

Bishops and priests don’t always speak with infallibility. This is particularly true when they fail to teach the authentic Catholic Faith. If every parish were doing so, there shouldn’t be such a large percentage of Catholics who believe that they are offering bread and wine at Mass. The parish must be a community that actively shares authentic Catholic beliefs by praying together, guided by our common Faith.

Within any parish community, it is possible, even likely, that some disagreements arise. Issues could be as small as what food items will be served with coffee after Mass, or as large as the parish building program. A sensitive pastor must deal with these concerns,and that can be a difficult job. Unfortunately there are some pastors who try to assume the role of lord and master, and, in doing so, alienate some people.

Priests usually receive positive feedback from those who are present at Mass, yet the decreasing numbers who are present might indicate something else: Some priests aren’t always as popular as they think they are. The experience of having people kneeling down facing them might have an adverse effect on them. Though “Mass facing the people” has been accepted in nearly every place, it may have some negative effects on both priests and people, including people who came to Mass to address their prayers to God and experience this orientation as a distraction.

Yet, those who raise some of the objections pointed out here, and objections to communion in the hand*, often receive the response that they must accept Vatican II. A careful examination of the Vatican II document on the liturgy will not show these to be commands of the Council.

In the face of this confusion, it should not be surprising that there are so many people who no longer attend mass. Clergy have an important leadership role in the Church. This should be exercised with a greater sensitivity towards all the people. One person who gave us a good example of this kind of sensitivity was Pope Saint John Paul II.

I really want to see the effort of the bishops of the USA, that is, the USCCB, to be successful, so that everyone will be on the same page as regards the Mass and the Catholic Faith. It will be impossible to do this without recognizing that the Mass is a sacrifice in an unbloody manner. It is Jesus Christ offering up Himself, suffering His death on the cross, in reparation for our sins, transgressions and failings, thus opening the gates of heaven for us. If there is no sacrifice, then we have skipped over the most important part of our salvation history. It is as if we go from Palm Sunday to Ascension Thursday. That’s not the way it happened.

We have seen in our own lives how suffering can draw people together. Brothers and sisters visit their mother in the hospital. Family, friends and acquaintances gather together at a wake and funeral. Friends have their friendship confirmed and strengthened when they share the experience of suffering. Jesus Christ allows us to be with Him as He sacrifices His life in unbloody manner at Mass. We should recognize this as we pray and offer ourselves at Mass.

The Church can be revived, but it will take courageous action by all the clergy, and a clear understanding of the Catholic Faith by the laity.

*I do not pretend to give medical advice here, but I can share with you what I have learned about avoiding a virus from reading statements of medical doctors: You can take vitamins and minerals, use mouthwash and toothpaste, and do not handle food which you are about to eat unless you have washed your hands first.



From Keith Szarabajka '70

The Paddle

Keith Szarabajka '70

Bahhnnnp. Bahhnnnp.

Bahhnnnnp.

The distant buzz in other rooms far down the hall summoned their occupants out of the dark and led them down the long stairs to the Dean of the Dorm’s office on the first floor. One for the first occupant of each room, two for the second. A secret code , that really wasn’t very secret. They all knew what it meant.

The boy lay on his back on his bed on the third floor in the dark, clad in pajamas and a bathrobe, slippers on his feet, as the Jesuit / Jebusite/ Jebbie/Jeb prefects instructed him earlier that day, waiting for the double buzz in his own room that would be the signal for his own long walk down the hall, down the stairs and into the darkness. His roommate feigned sleep in the bed across the room. He wasn’t invited to the evening’s festivities, and wanted no part of it.

It was paddle night. Long dreaded, now here. The culmination of the two and half years thus far spent in the hallowed halls in which he lived and on the frozen tundra on which he walked daily at the juncture of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers. 500 foot high bluffs overlooked the flood plain, majestic in their own domain, not quite the Rockies, but for a boy from an industrial suburb of Chicago that clung to the edge of the Sanitary and Ship Canal as it cut from Lake Michigan to the Illinois River through the northern Illinois prairie, it would do till the real Rockies came along.

The bluffs became the Mountains of the Moon in Ithilien in the Numenorean world of his daydreams. He was the lost prince, Faramir, battling the hordes of Mordor with his valiant band of Rangers in the wild borderlands between Mordor and Gondor in that lost paradise of Ithilien, hoping against hope for the Return of the King, though realizing in his heart that their struggle was hopeless.

He even bore the scars of battle, from the time he tried to cut across a farmer’s field and slipped climbing the cattle fence, ripping the back of his right calf open on the single strand of barbed wire that ran across its top. The farmer, obviously a cursed minion of Sauron, refused him first aid or a ride, only allowing him to quickly rinse his wound off with a hose in the garden. He walked back the mile and half to Ma’s Café on his own, leaving a trail of bloody right footprints on the road back to campus. Faramir could do nothing less.

Bawwwmmpppp. Bawwwmmpppp. Bawwwmmpppp.

The late night Burlington Northern freight train signaled its approach from the north on the tracks that lay not one hundred yards east of his bed. He always treasured the approach of the train, its horn heralding the train’s passage through the deep blue of the Wisconsin winter night, declaring the existence of life in places far, far from here. An existence he wished was his. An existence far from his room, his school, his angst, his pain. A place far from the fear of the punishment that awaited him this night.

For punishment was indeed his destiny tonight. A punishment he felt he richly deserved. And yet… didn’t.

How he got to this point was really very easy to understand. He could never find the rationale for why he was here. He never wanted to be here. He was only here because others, supposedly older and wiser, talked him into coming here.

Oh, sure, he had a scholarship… the Blessed Whatever Hump-me Scholarship… the top prize awarded to the boy who most exemplified the values that the school in which he now lay awaiting punishment most cherished.… Athleticism, scholarship, humility, piousness….charm?…brown-nosing ? … And whose family had the least amount of money… A scholarship not lightly bestowed, by the way…And a scholarship of which somehow he now most exemplified its betrayal.

He wanted to be a saint until he was fourteen, when puberty arrived in a most overwhelming way…wiping out all hope of a feast day that would name him virgin and martyr… and preserve forever his name in the canon of the most holy. Unless that canon prized masturbation and Tolkien fantasy…

Bahhnnnp.

Bahhnnnp. Bahhnnnp.

The buzzer worked its way closer down the hall. There was no point in trying to sleep, or even trying to feign sleep. The buzzer was inexorable. The buzzer was real. The buzzer was now god. But not God. The Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus existed to teach him the difference.

Bahnnnp.

Bawwwmmpppp. Bawwwmmpppp. Bawwmmmpppp.

The wail of the BN’s horn as it flew on its way to and from the world at large trumped everything else, at least for the moment. The taste of the swirl of life beyond the school prompted by the train transfixed him.

His father was in court daily. Federal court. They weren’t fucking around. This was business, with a capital “B”. It seemed to the boy that this was his father’s job now. The daily trudge down to the federal courthouse downtown. The daily pieces in the local papers.. “SAVINGS AND LOAN UNDER FEDERAL SCRUTINY”… “LOCAL POLITICIANS MOBBED UP”… It hung on him like the scent of smoke after a fire.

He felt that he should somehow be with his father as his dad went through his travail. That somehow, if he was there… it would make things better for his dad. That somehow his father would prevail… if only the boy was there… But he wasn’t. He was lying here in his bed in his dorm room under the dark blue Wisconsin winter sky. Waiting to be beaten.

By the Jebusites. Who, while he felt they were not direct minions of Sauron, their loyalty to Gondor and Numenor was suspect. Maybe they were Elves. And weren’t Orcs just degenerated elves? Unless of course they were Uruk-hai, in which case they were manufactured by Saruman, Sauron’s treacherous wizard ally.

His mother, working by day as a teacher and by night as a waitress, while caring for three other younger brothers and two younger sisters, would be so proud…

Bahnnnpp. Bahnnpp.

Bawwwwmmpppp. Bawmmmpppp. Bawwwmmmpppp.

Fifteen swats. Fifteen whacks with a paddleball paddle, drilled with holes to cut down wind resistance and deliver a surer, swifter blow. He heard that it hurt like nothing else ever experienced by teenaged man, but everyone said that it still could be survived.

A friend told him of his own encounter with “swats”, as they called it in his friend’s school, a different school. Catholic as well, but not boarding. His friend said he held the record for the most swats ever there, thirty-four. Someone his friend knew got thirty-six, but that boy attended the school two months longer, so thirty-four remained the most within the shortest time.

Thirty-six…geezus. Runaway slaves didn’t get that many lashes.

But then his friend told him he only got them one or two at a time, though if he laughed while they hit him, he received two more. His friend said he laughed a lot.

Here the Jesuits gave fifteen. One at a time, in sequence. In terrible, terrifying sequence. All given in the same session. The session he lay in bed now awaiting.

The boy thought his friend was crazy. He vowed not to laugh, as fifteen seemed like a lot, quite enough.

How would he survive it? The Jebs wouldn’t give it to you if you couldn’t handle it, right?....Right? No one so far as he knew died from being paddled…thus far. And there were boys he knew here who were paddling veterans. Proudly they showed off their badges of courage… or stupidity. Huge deep purple welts, one on each cheek bottom. A source of giggles and holy shits! And the ultimate question… did it hurt?

Fuck yeah, it hurt…. But nothing I couldn’t take….

The quick glance away betrayed the sting of memory. Literally.

Bahhnnnp.

Bahhnnnp. Bahhnnp.

Bawmmmpppp. Bawwwmmmppp. Bawwmmmmpppp.

Fifteen swats with the paddle, one for each of the fifteen demerits he accrued during the past quarter. Demerits added up slowly, one for an unmade bed, three for being late for class. One, maybe two, for a swear word overheard by a prefect, depending on the swear word. At five, you got jug. An hour and a half to three hour enforced study hall in which the Jesuits expected you to reflect on the reason you were there, often helping that reflection along by assigning an essay illustrating just why the reason you were there writing the essay was justified.

At ten, more jug, more essay, maybe a work detail. Perhaps a loss of town visitation privileges. Though the visit each Tuesday night of town girls from the local Catholic girls’ school for a guitar mass/hootenanny/social with real bread and wine eased the edge of such a ban. Nothing like a good flirtation with a pretty girl to pierce the cloud of adolescence that descended upon him most days, even if she really wasn’t interested in him but in the groovy upperclassman smoking in the shadows.

He once made out with a girl from town in the local disco. She wasn’t a beauty. She had bleached blond hair, heavy black mascara and sky blue eye shadow. While he wore no makeup, neither was he. Their lips opened for each other. Their tongues entwined warmly… and he did touch a small bit of her fifteen year old breast. And the memory of that kept him warm on these cold winter nights alone in his dorm. He never saw her again, but he sometimes pulled out the memory to polish it.

He also had his letters from Debbie back home. Every letter he received from her was like winning at poker, even if sometimes the letters were far and few apart, as winning at poker in the back room at Ma’s often was. He felt a bit of a hormonal rush thinking about her now. It helped him feel connected . It helped him feel wanted. It helped him feel alive.

Bahhnnnp.

The buzzer crept closer.

The rush of hormones actually made his mind clearer at times, so clear that things seemed to move in slow motion as he observed them. At other times though, the images became a kaleidoscope, almost impossible to sort out. He thought of the time that he wanted to smoke marijuana for the first time, and several of his classmates… the more obviously arty ones …the very cool ones…said they would get him some.

One night, not long ago, within the last quarter, they summoned him from the rec room to come with them. It was time. The time to taste the forbidden fruit. The time to smoke marijuana.

When he first came to the school, from the military boarding school for boys run by nuns back in Chicago, he was a Goldwater Republican. In sixth grade he actually ran a campaign within his class in which Barry Goldwater won the straw vote there, despite losing the real election at large.

After two and half years here, he was a member of the Wisconsin Draft Resistance Union. Almost a full-fledged hippie, sans the hair…But also the platoon sergeant of the elite military drill team from the school, which won practically every meet it entered. Kind of a dichotomy, kind of a split in his personality. Kind of like being an adolescent. The parades were fun though. At least they got him out of school. And out into the country.

The cool boys brought him outside, back of the dorm, between the dorm and the train tracks….and gathered themselves into a clandestine circle.

They pulled him into it, and giggled among themselves as they lit a joint. He couldn’t believe it was happening. It was the coolest thing he ever experienced. He felt accepted finally. He felt like he was one of them.

They smoked for a couple of minutes passing the joint around the circle. Then, a couple of the boys started to run like crazy, circling each other, whooping and shouting, “ Isn’t this great!”… “Woo-hoo!”

He had a headache, that only grew worse as the boys ran around.

“Hey, isn’t this cool… ?” They gathered around him, asking him with eyes wild with adrenalin. All of the boys gathered round him and stared, mouths agape with mirth.

“No,” he said, squinting in the glare of the light over the door to the dorm, “ I’ve got a terrible headache.” And shook his head. And turned away.

Bawwmmmppph. Bawwmmpph. Bawwmmhhp.

He wandered back into the dorm, feeling nothing but the pain between his eyes. He was delighted however that the cool kids finally accepted him as one of them.

Two days later, the leader of the pack came to him and told him how sorry he was for the joke they all played on him. There was no marijuana, only green tea and pipe tobacco in the joint they smoked. And he felt bad that all the boy got was a headache.

Maybe he was crazy too. Or maybe just being a teenager meant you were crazy, at least from an adult perspective, at least for a while.

BAwwmmppp. Bahhnnp. BAWMMMPPP. Bahhnnp. BAWWMMMPPP.

The train rushed past the school. The clack of its wheels became one loud roar, a steady baseline beneath the soaring coloratura of its horn. BahhNNNP. BAHHNNP.

The buzzer came closer, much closer. It was now just down the hall. He heard the door next to his open and close. The sound of slippers slapping the linoleum of the hallway as their owner marched reluctantly, but bravely to his fate downstairs. Would he be so brave? Would he have a choice? The speed of accrual after the tenth demerit quickened until it was no time at all before he was at the dreaded fifteen.

Bawwmmmppp. Bawwmmmppp. Bawwwmmppp.

The Doppler effect kicked in as the train passed by the dorm, rising higher in tone as it passed, rising higher still as it moved toward Wyalusing, ten miles away. The bluffs beetling brow there held all in its gaze under sway. Gondor should put a tower of guard there. Minas Tirith. Or maybe Osgiliath. Maybe Sauron already held it.

Some of his classmates swore that they hopped the trains and rode them the ten miles down to the bridge over the Wisconsin at the foot of the Wyalusing bluffs. The train did slow down a lot as it passed through town, not really gaining speed again until it passed the golf course on the edge of the school’s southern border. He ran alongside the train once, as it pushed forward at less than ten miles per hour, but he didn’t jump on. That was a little too real.

Then of course there was always the question of how you got back from Wyalusing. Hop another train back? It probably didn’t slow down as it crossed the river at Wyalusing. Hitch-hike? Maybe so, maybe no. Maybe it was all just teenage bravado. In the push of hormonal drives against the truth, the truth always lost.

Of course, if the Jebbies caught you hopping the trains, forget the paddle… you were gone.

Of course, if you fell off the train and it crushed you under its wheels, slicing you in half, none of that would matter. Would it? Or did they have the paddle in heaven?

Did Jesus see all? Did He keep record in his big black book of all human trials and tribulations, especially of adolescent boys? Just like the Jebusites?

If He did, He really was one hell of a god.

BAHHNNNP! BAHHNNPP!

The buzzer filled his room. It pulsed through his body as he lay in his bed. His intestines turned.

It was time.

He arose slowly, unsteadily, and planted his slippered feet on the floor. His roommate across the room turned away towards the wall, happy the buzzer wasn’t for him. The boy opened the door to the hallway, and set off into the dark down the hall.

*     *     *     *     *     *

He stood at the Dean’s door on the first floor. The door was open and Sarge, the nickname of the Head Jebusite, a priest, leaned back in his chair at his desk, smoking a cigar. Sarge was the boy’s mentor. His main spiritual and psychological support in this world on the tundra. He was Gandalf, only without the peaked cap or long gray beard. And he smoked a cigar, not a pipe. But he could still blow smoke rings.

The boy stood in the doorway. Sarge didn’t look at him, but drew back on his cigar, looking not at the boy but at the wall separating his office from his bedroom, and merely pointed towards the bedroom door. He blew out the cigar smoke in a steady stream, punctuated at the end by a smoke ring. He didn’t say a word. Neither did the boy.

The boy tentatively entered the bedroom. Two Jebusite prefects, both scholastics, maybe ten years each older than him, stood in the room. The first, an athletic, tough- looking, wiry man, was the Head Prefect, the First Mate to Sarge’s Dean. The other scholastic was huge, his bespectacled visage belying his rather bookish nature. He was there to assist.

The first scholastic told the boy to lift his bathrobe over his waist, bend over the bed that lay under the window in the room, and grab his ankles.

BAhhhmmmmppp. Bahhhhmmmmppp. Bahhhmmmppp.

The train faded into the south. And with it all hope of escape.

The boy did as he was told, but he could feel the bile rising in his gorge. He managed to hold it down and keep from vomiting all over Sarge’s bed. He arranged the bathrobe so it hung just above his waist, then grabbed his ankles, his head hovering a few inches over the bed.

He waited.

Nothing. Except a faint whiff of cigar smoke in the air.

Huh…Maybe it wasn’t going to happen after all. Maybe the whole thing was a pantomime to teach him a lesson.

Then he detected a movement out of the corner of his eye. The first scholastic’s right arm rose straight up and behind him. He heard the whistle of the holes in the paddleball paddle as it came swiftly, and surely, down towards his backside.

A blinding flash exploded inside him. He went flying across the bed, landing just beneath the window. His ass cheeks burned like someone set them on fire. His legs lost their ability to stand.

HOLY FUCK!!! THAT HURT!!!

The second, huge scholastic grabbed him firmly by the shoulders and picked him up off the bed. He let go of the boy, but the boy just fell back and sat on the bed, his legs useless as weasel shit, his bottom ablaze. He rolled a bit toward the window to ease the pressure on his burning backside, away from the Jesuit scholastics waiting to continue his ordeal.

The boy blinked through the autonomic tears that arose in his eyes, and through the window saw a lone Jesuit under the streetlights dotting the darkened quadrangle with pools of light as he walked towards the Jesuit residence on the other side.

It seemed somewhat incongruous to the boy that anyone should be walking so calmly when he was in such pain. The Jebbie’s cassock blowing about his legs in the crisp winter wind under a corsair’s moon, made him look like a Nazgul.

“Stand up.”

The first scholastic’s voice commanded him, cutting through the tears in his eyes and the heat on his bottom. He somehow found his sea legs again.

“Bend over, grab your ankles and resume the position.”

He did as he was told, however reluctantly. Just as Faramir would have.

The whistle again, then the WHACK.

He didn’t fall over this time, but rocked with the force of the blow, barely keeping his balance. The tears streamed out his eyes, despite his efforts to contain them.

The whistle then WHACK.

The fucker hurt even more. He thought he might collapse, but didn’t.

WHACK. Oh my God… where are you?

By the fifth time, his ass was numb, his body in shock.

His mind went to his safe place. He was high in a glen above Minas Morgul , The Tower of Sorcery, formerly Minas Ithil, The Tower of The Moon. Orcs ambushed him and his Rangers, and were now dragging him back to their lair. But he knew of a way to escape.

WHACK.

WHACK.

WHACK.

WHACK.

WHACK.

WHACK.

WHACK.

WHACK.

WHACK.

WHACK.

He didn’t remember if he cried out loud or collapsed any further. He just stumbled out of the bedroom doorway and into Sarge’s office. Sarge snuck a peek at him as he drew in another draught of cigar smoke, but quickly turned away without saying a word.

bahhhmmmppp.bahhhhhmmp. bahhmmmppp.

The last vestige of the night train’s horn faded into the Prussian Blue Wisconsin night.

*     *     *     *     *     *

By the time he staggered back into his dorm room up on the third floor, the tears dried up. His ass felt like it was on fire though. He went to the sink in the room and ran the cold water. He dipped his facecloth in the sink, soaking it in the stream of cold.

His roommate stirred on the other side of the room, sitting up in his bed.

“So… how was it?”

The boy said nothing, but pulled his pajama bottoms down, so he could soak his tenderized cheeks with the cool damp cloth.

His roommate caught sight of his ass cheeks, two huge reddish, purpling orbs, the purple growing deeper by the second.

“Holy, shit! You’re the Purple Haze!”

Cue: Jimi Hendrix…

The End

Keith Szarabajka
Studio City, CA.
December 16, 2013





RIPObituaries:

nameclass_ofdeceaseddatecity_grad
C. Patrick Wagner19562024-01-12Chicago
Theodore R. Glaser19642024-01-14Chicago
G. Jeffrey George19652024-01-22Dyersville
John M. McGinnis19642024-01-24Chicago
Fr. James J. King, S.J.19472024-01-30Akron
Francis Balcaen19702024-02-21Coal Valley
Robert T. McNamara19702024-03-05Toledo
James Peter Helldorfer19702024-03-19Dayton
John G. Riley19672024-03-29Munster
Bill P. Small19722024-03-31Prairie du Chien
James B. Morrow19572024-04-00Highland Park
George L. West19762024-04-21Darlington
Stephen F. Graver19692024-04-27Chicago
Stephen C. Miller19682024-05-27Rock Island
Frederick E. Gellerup19502024-06-05Milwaukee
Alumni who have passed in...
2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, All known by class.

Faculty who have passed:
  • Mr. Theodore Kalamaja, S.J, 2024-05-08, Teacher of Latin 1963-64.
  • Mr. Cyril (AKA Zeke) Des Rocher 2024-02-27, Baseball and Swimming Coarch, Drivers Ed 1970-74.
  • Mr. Michael C. Drake, 2023-11-24, Teacher of French 1968-75.
  • Clem J. Steele, 2023-06-09, Teacher of Math, Asst. Coach Basketball, JV Football Coach 1968-1973.
  • Rev. Joseph F. Eagan, S.J., 2022-12-20, Teacher of English, Religion 1955-1962.
  • Lawrence R. Reuter, 2022-10-23, Scholastic, Teacher of Latin, Speech, 1952-1955
  • Coach Clem Massey 2022-08-07. Teacher of History and Social Studies. Basketball and Wrestling Coach. 1966-69
  • Fr. Patrick L. Murphy, S.J., 2022-05-24, Scholastic: Teacher of English and Social Studies 1966 and 1972-74.
  • Fr. Gregory F. Lucey, S.J., 2021-09-30, Scholastic: Teacher of Latin, Sodality 1959-61; Priest: Principal 1969-70, President 1970-75, Rector 1973-75.
  • Lieselotte "Lu" Patnode, 2021-09-09.
    She married Donald Kenneth Patnode in Manheim, Germany on April 11, 1947. She followed Don to Prairie du Chien for his position at Campion Jesuit High School as the head of the ROTC program. Together they raised their family in the Prairie du Chien...
  • Fr. Philip Dreckman, S.J., 2021-03-25, Teacher of History 1966-1975
  • Doris M. Buening, 2021-02-10, Secretary 19??-19??
  • Fr. Eugene Dutkiewicz, S.J., 2021-01-24, Scholastic: Teacher of Chemistry 1957-58; Priest: Teacher of Math 1963-69, Asst. Principal 1965-69