Monday, May 31, 2010

North Catholic Alma Mater

See post below, please!

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Spent a bittersweet morning at North Catholic. When I was young, my father took me every year to the Memorial Day Mass and service there. Mass was in the Faculty House chapel followed by a ceremony/wreath laying at the Shrine of Our Lady Of Fatima on the front lawn- the site of the large stone memorial to those from North who had died in WWII. I learned the Alma Mater way back then.

This morning I took my Mother to the ceremony. Mass was a collection, mostly men, of ages from approaching (if not in) their 90s to young men who are recent grads, and families with young children. The Shrine now has two large memorials, including on the second one names from Korea and Viet Nam.

I was happy to see one of my father's classmates there- he was someone my Dad remained close to all his life, and he and Mom had a joyous reunion. I met people who knew, or were related to, some of the priests I had known as patients in my father's office, and who were later patients of mine. I got a chance to finally meet Fr. Vince Smith, the President of North, who has done such a wonderful job of focusing this year on the incredible history and tradition of North, and made this year a mix of sorrow and great celebration.

I spent a lot of time when I was younger at North. Rode the buses to the Sunday football games. Spent a lot of Friday nights in North's iconic gym, "The Pit". Saw a lot of shows in the auditorium. And, those Memorial Day mornings with Dad.

Like my beloved Cardinal Dougherty, North is being closed in a few weeks. My family has sent 4 generations of young men there, from my Great-Uncle Leo who was in the first 4 year graduating class of 1930 to my nephew, who is in the un-graduated class of 2011. In between those two, my father, his brothers, my mother's brothers, and my brothers went to North. My family includes the classes of 1930, 1934, 1936 (two grads), 1940, 1942, 1946, 1972, 1975, 1978 and 2011.

Today was the last time this Memorial Day service will be held at North Catholic. The singing of the Alma Mater after Mass was particularly difficult. The words I've known all my conscious life, but getting them out today was not easy. Looking around at men of all ages struggling to sing, many getting somber and some openly crying, was heartbreaking.

I am very glad I went, even with all the sadness. It gave me a chance to say goodbye to North Catholic, which, although not *my* Alma Mater, was an integral part of my life and my family's life for its entire history. It gave me a chance to look around one last time at the place that I remember so well. I was able to do this in company where I felt comfortable- with people who understood that my grief was real even though I never attended North as a student. I am especially glad that I got to say goodbye in a way that brought back happy memories of special times with my father.

Hail Alma Mater of North Catholic High.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Just a short interruption:


Now back to the Operation Write Home Memorial Day Blog Hop- please see the post below!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Operation Write Home Memorial Day Blog Hop!

Welcome to my stop on the Blog Hop! My card is made with Close To My Heart stamps from several different sets including Vintage USA and Childhood Portrait.

I am offering blog candy for anyone who pledges to send at least 10 cards to Operation Write Home. It is the "Mini-Masterpiece" ATC set from Artistic Outpost. The set is already mounted and pre-cut for you and can be seen HERE. Please leave a comment with your pledge to be entered.

Last year for this Memorial Day blog hop I wrote about my father's experience in World War II and the importance of Mail Call to those serving overseas. Today I want to tell you about what I have seen from mail that arrives from those overseas.

I often write here about my darling Auntie. She is a beautiful and amazing woman who is now 85 according to the calendar, but so young at heart that no one would believe her age. She met her beloved husband as a 16 year old, married him at 21 and lived an incredible life with him until his death 15 years ago. For the first 30 years of their marriage, he was an active-duty naval officer and served in posts around the world.

One of her great treasures are his letters. She has 35 years worth of letters and they are kept, just like one sees in a movie, in a box tied with ribbons. When she is particularly missing him, as she still does every day, she will take out her box, gently untie a ribbon, and read a few letters from long ago.

She was too young to be "involved" with a sailor the first time he went away. He told her he wanted to write to her but that she should date while he was gone. Their love was built through those letters and they married not long after he came home from World War II. Their great love for one another was sustained through his sea duty assignments by more letters.

Today her house is full of reminders of him- pictures, mementos of foreign postings, naval memorabilia, the flag that covered his casket at Arlington. The box of letters is kept private. They are for no eyes but hers. She will tell me that they are full of his love for her, but I have never read them, nor do I want to. Whenever she wishes, she can once again experience the voice of her beloved, telling her how much he loves her. Even as they did 40 or 50 or 60 years ago, these letters sustain her today.

Through Operation Write Home we can assist and encourage today's active duty service men and women to share their thoughts in a tangible form with those waiting for them at home. When a man in Iraq sees a card and thinks "My wife would love that" or an overseas Mom knows "that would make my son smile", we are helping, in a small way, to keep families together during a most difficult time.

I hope you will join with Operation Write Home in this wonderful effort. I know of no better way this Memorial Day weekend to honor those who have already made the ultimate sacrifice than to support those who are now in harm's way in service to us.

Your next stop on the Blog Hop is at Samantha's blog, More Paper Please. If you get "lost" due to any broken links, you can always start at the beginning by going back to the Stars and Stamps blog. You can also visit OWH's home page- this is the place for you to learn more about Operation Write Home and how you can help, even if you are not a card maker. And, if you Facebook, you can join the OWH page at FB!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!

Memorial Day Weekend Blog Hop

Just to remind everyone- the Operation Write Home Blog Hop starts tomorrow morning at 10 AM EDT. Start here and visit over 100 blogs which will be showing cards made for our heroes overseas. Learn more about OWH and maybe be inspired to join the effort. There will be tutorials, blog candy and wonderful stories all along the way. The Blog Hop will continue all weekend so there will be plenty of time for checking everything out. Take some time during this Memorial Day weekend and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country by thinking about those who now serve. Hope to "See you" tomorrow!

Monday, May 10, 2010

More Physics Day!

Had a terrible, hectic, stress-filled day. Oh, well.

Here's a few more pages from Physics Day on Saturday- we had such a wonderful time!

All these pages were done with Creative Memories Storybook Creator Plus- check my sidebar for links to CM's website and some blogs about the program!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Physics Day, Part 1

Yesterday, I spent the day with my students at Dorney Park, celebrating Physics Day!

We had a TERRIFIC time- and they even learned!

More pages from my pictures later.

Janey Cutler - Britain's Got Talent 2010 - Auditions Week 4