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Brother Tom in High School | Cast of Characters | Go Directly to 1968

Theme Book (brown)
Mohawk C-1049
10 1/2" X 8" 49¢

PERIOD 1

ENGLISH

 October 18, 1967

Today is the first day of this diary. The whole English class has to write one. I see the point of it, but it's going to be nothing but a big pain. I don't do anything of any importance so this is going to have to be mostly about my thoughts. The idea of writing down just my thoughts doesn't appeal to me because I often become revolting in my attempt to be creative. I know because I've tried it before. Speaking of creativity, the only way I can really express myself is through the poetry I write. It isn't very good, it breaks just about all rules pertaining to poetry, but its just about the only way I can say what I really want to say. I was just thinking that I could solve the problem that this diary presents by following the pattern of Louis XVI in his diary. Whenever he had nothing to say he simply wrote, "rien", but I guess that won't do for this diary because I'm being graded on it. If I wrote only the things that I did during the day, this book would be filled with three hundred and sixty-five pages of "rien". I don't have much more to say right now, and besides, I have a trig test tommorrow.

October 19, 1967

This day has been boring. I woke up, went to school, went to work, came home, studied, and here I am. Nothing happened, no one died, and everything is in the proper groove. When I mentioned yesterday that I write poetry I didn't intend to brag or impress anyone. Come to think of it, it isn't even worth mentioning, but it will undoubtably come up again. In English class, when we talked about style, we were discussing the style of J.D. Salinger and Poe and a few other writers. It was then and there that I decided that I would do everything but sell my soul if I could write in a style similar to Salinger's. His, and Mark Twain's, style is, in my mind, the greatest ever. I also like Nikos Kazantzakis (Zorba the Greek), but thats another story. My family is composed of one father, one mother, five brothers, four sisters, and a great (stupendous) grandfather. This bit of trivia may come in handy in the future. I only wrote it as a contribution to the readers general knowledge. Big Deal. That's all for today.

October 20, 1967

How am I supposed to write and be the real me at the same time? It may sound corny but that's been bothering me all day. I find that whenever it comes time for me to say something I get hung up on words. When I think in words I feel stupid; and when I speak my mind dies on me. This isn't a confessional so I think I'll drop the subject. The trig test that I took the other day was a magnificant success I got an 89 on it. That might not sound so great but last year at this time I was pulling 50's and 60's in math. There was some trouble at West today. That's all I can say for sure because there's so many rumors floating around. Apparently the Negroes are pushing for more acceptance from the white students, but they aren't going to get it through sit-downs and disorder. They look like a bunch of fools.

I'm planning on going to Niagra Falls with Fr. William and some more kids. I had never thought about being a priest before junior year, but now I'm at least willing to admit it's a possibility. This day has been nothing. I made no momentous, or even earth shaking, open decisions today. The time went by neither quickly nor slowly. It was an ordinary day.

October 21, 1967

I spent most of the day working at the library. We threw a microscopic party for Linda, a page at the library, because she had her birthday yesterday. She was really surprised. That's the biggest thing that happened all day. I finally started a book that I have to read for history. Its five hundred pages long and has to be finished by at least Monday. I have to write an abstract on it, and another book, that's due on Wednesday. Lewis College's open house is tommorrow. I'm going to look around. I'd like to go somewhere else but it would save a lot of money if I went there. The only big problem is that I'm not sure that the History department is very good. I'm trying to restrain myself when I'm writng this diary. I've been using mediocre sentences and all the rest because when I get too involved with two bit words I find it hard to keep my head above water. Every now and then, after stumbling around in educated words, I trip up on a halfway decent sentence; but it's sheer luck, no talent involved. If I'm beginning to sound as if I don't care about the diary, its not that. I'm just very tired. Tired of everything. I'm beginning to feel like a misanthrope, or whatever. To tell the truth, I'm tired because it's midnight.

October 22, 1967

Today I went to the open house at Lewis College. It's pretty small and I don't think it's what I'm looking for, but it was still interesting. It seems to me that college is the biggest thing going today. A person is nothing if he hasn't finished at least two or three years in one. That's my biggest gripe about education; everything is so objective. The entire educational atmosphere is one of cramming and scoring high on tests. When you finally finish school you walk outside those ivy covered halls and ask yourself what you're going to do, or better yet, how you're going to do it. It's not that the system should change completely in order to provide more practical, vocational courses, I just think that it should become more subjective in its outlooks.

October 23, 1967

This has been a completely symetric, average day; to school, to work, and home again to prepare for tommorrow. I've begun to read The Medium is the Massage by Marshall McLuhan. I sure can see why he has caused controversy throughout the continent. It's hard to decide whether or not he is really serious because he speaks as though he were the oracle of electric circuitry. Up to where I am now reading he has produced an extremely persuasive case through the layout of the book alone. Aside from the fact that it lays between two covers there is little to compare it with a traditional book. I don't want to say too much about it because it's really a different type of literature. I guess it's part of the "now group". This is really a ho-hum existence.

October 24, 1967

This has to be short because its going to take me all night to finish two book reports for history. "Rien". Nothing has happened today.

October 25, 1967

I was up until two o'clock this morning, but I finally finished the book reports. I did a pretty lousy job and I'll be the first person to admit it, but I'm still glad that it's over. (For another three weeks, anyway.) Creativity is seeping into me tonight, I might even attempt a little poetry. I agree with Fr. Rock that the poem in the new book which goes like this, "Out", is just about as weird as you can get. But on the other hand the use of one word as poetry can be fairly effective in when used in the right context. Who can tell of what great passions and deep surging emotions could have produced this one word bombshell of a poem. Although I sometimes "dig" this type of happening I can also see that whatever the depth of expression was projected there is little art involved in writing one word on a piece of paper. I would never attempt to have such one word poems published, for obvious reasons of self-respect, but the world is a variety of oddities. to quote one ancient philosopher, "It takes all kinds."

Out.

October 26, 1967

I've just finished writing a paragraph on style. After I read it over once it sounded as perfect as infinity. I read it over again, and once more just to be sure. Each time I read it the terms became harder and less melodious. It was as though the sap was slowly leaking from some hidden wound. Thus, I rewrote it once, twice, three times; but the sap continued to drip into the air and disappear. On the level of activity, nothing happened today. So that's that. I'm beginning to become fascinated with words, not just their meanings but the sounds too. For example, in my reading I stumbled upon the word "lugubrious". This simple adjective completely captured me; I became a slave to its every command. I felt like putting it to music, but I don't know an F major from a B flat. At the time I didn't even know what it meant. It simply was the most enthralling combination of syllables that I've ever come across. All of this may sound petty and trivial, but for some weird reason I went crazy over it.

October 27, 1967

I've been very busy today doing nothing very special. I'm going to Niagara Falls on Sunday with Fr. Bill and about ten other kids. It's going to be very interesting. I'm not sure, that is, I haven't made any decisions about being or not being a priest. I'm going into this with an open mind, a grumbling stomach, and two sore feet. (That statement doesn't mean much; its just some weird abstraction I pulled out of nowhere) My real interest in the priesthood began after or during the senior retreat. I really got a lot out of it. It might sound phony, but I'd pay fifty dollars for an experience like that again. It's now about ten-thirty at night everyone is asleep except me and my father, who's telling me to turn of the light and go to sleep.

October 28, 1967

I worked all day. We were short handed at the library so we they had to call a former employee and ask him to work for the day. Even with him we were working much harder than usual. I'm leaving for Niagara Falls tommorrow at eight in the morning. I'm very busy. If I sound uninspired tonight it's because that's just how I feel. I've got things to do.

October 29, 1967

This morning was cold and damp. After seven o'clock mass at St. Pauls I went down to Catholic High. My bags were packed and I was ready for God knows what. It wasn't until I had arrived that I learned any of the details of the trip. 1) five kids were going, one other was sick at home. 2) Fr. Gerry and Fr. Bill were driving. 3) The trip would take all day. I threw my suitcase into the trunk of one car, along with Larry Lindholm's and Fr. Gerry's. The other three kids went with Fr. Bill. The trip was very interesting. We drove through Indiana, Michigan, and Ontario to reach Niagara Falls. The greatest sight was the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor; the rest was mostly fields and forests and houses but it was still nice. I could say more about the trip, but the end result is more important. We arrived at Mt. Carmel College at eight o'clock. I was very tired and had a headache, but I couldn't sleep yet. I must have shaken at least three million hands and heard as many names introduced. I walked in a painful haze, but Frater Ed Ward found me and I spent the rest of the night with him. He's great; I've known him for about ten years. We talked about "The City of Champions", people, places, and a few thoughts. My headache soon disappeared. This brings me up to right now. I'm quickly seeing the wonderfullness of this place. At first glance it looks like some ancient and gabled fortress, but the people inside override the dirt in the corners. There is a very strong something connecting everyone here. I've never seen anything like it in my life. They're turning out the lights now.

October 30, 1967

Today I attended two of the freshmen classes, both of them almost put me to sleep. They were good but I wasn't very interested. There's a pool table here. We spend a lot of time playing it and trying to hustle the seminarians but they're broke most of the time anyway. (Just kidding. The sems usually end up hustling us.) Bob Petrusa took us on a tour of the Falls and the river. We were smashed into the car like sardines. Our party consisted of Bob, John Staeger, Ashley Badel, G. Kezele, J. Quigley, L. Lindholm, M. McHugh, and myself. When we were at the Gorge some of the kids climbed down a cliff onto some rocks. The river was smashing around like it needed a Peptol Bismol or something. We lost Kezele and Quigley. After searching for half an hour we were going to call the police or something, but then they showed up. Our little searching party has been tramping through bushes, over hills, leaves, stones and each other. We were not the happiest peole in the world when Gary and Joe showed up laughing. Bob was really mad, but within three hours it was forgiven. After night prayers Fr. Phil took us out for a hamburger. It's perfectly evident that he misses Joliet. He's a real nice guy. I'm sitting in the freshman rec room now and its time to go to bed.

October 31, 1967

I didn't do much today except wander around the building. Larry Lindholm and I went for a walk into Niagara Falls, but nothing really happened until the Hate-in tonight. The Hate-in was a contrast of a love-in, instead of loving everyone hated. It was wild; sometimes stupid, sometimes really funny. The bond between everyone here is unbelievable. The students really care about what happens to each other. In the things that really count, I can see no selfishness and very little egotism. These kids are the greatest in the world. A lot has happened in these past days. Something is happening to me, but I don't dare to guess at what it is. I could fill a book about everything that's happened but it's time to go to sleep now. We leave tommorrow.

November 1 1967

The trip home wasn't too boring and I'm back in Joliet. I'd I would have liked to write more than I did but I haven't had enough time. I've got so much to say. What I've written is not even the highlights of the trip, just some things that happened. I've been trying to catch up on some of my homework tonight and it's very late. Goodnight.

2 NOV A+

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