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In Another Century captures the life of a boy who who spent his adolescence—my high-school years (1960-1964)—at the Oblate Seminary in Bucksport, Maine.

The memoir portrays a way of life that few in his generation lived.

An historical response

Why would a boy choose to do this?

There was of course a religious impulse, but underlying this impulse was a long standing historical foundation.

After the Conquest in 1760, the English were in some quandary about how to best secure their new territory against the Americans to the south. They had to know the American colonists would be soon be in revolt. Opposition to the Stamp Act, the Boston “Massacre” the Boston Tea party all pointed to a revolt in the making.

Consequently, in 1774, in the Act of Quebec which returned Canada to civilian government (albeit English civilian government), the British granted the French religious freedom—the first time in the history of imperialism that such a right had ever been granted. While the British point to this as a product of liberalism on their part, it does not take a cynic to remark that the First Continental Congress was being held concurrently in Philadelphia.

While under the Act of Québec the French were not allowed to have their own secular educational institutions, the Act of Québec granted seminaries the right to exist. Seminaries thus became  the avenue for ambitious Francophone boys to receive an education.

While by 1960, there were many Québecois schools, the tradition of sending boys to the seminary remained. In remained especially strong among the Franco-Americans of New England,

In conclusion

As an active Memoir Professional, I continue to write my own lifestories and to publish them in these pages.

I hope you enjoy these excerpts from In Another Century.

__________

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Another Bucksport Story—An Ice Holiday

One morning, when the sun promised to be bright and the sky clear, as we sat down to breakfast at refectory tables, on a day that seemed to be a day just like every other day in January, Father Guy would announce, “Aujourd’hui, c’est un congé de glace [Today, we are having an ice holiday].”

Point of View in a Memoir

Feedback on “Collect Memories at My Fiftieth Class Reunion”

Collect memories at my fiftieth class reunion

Last weekend—and a warm sunny three days it turned out to be—I spent, as I had written that I would in the last newsletter, with those of my high school classmates who could attend our fiftieth high-school reunion. Some of us had not seen each other in 30 years—not since our 20th class reunion—while one had not been with us in 50 years. Needless to say…

We had changed. The skinny boys we had been had become older white-haired men—except for on man who was mysteriously still dark-haired. Through the wrinkles and the few extra pounds (we were actually quite a fit group), it was uncanny how it seemed to me we had kept some essence of identity intact. The boys I had spent so many years with were there once again with me. I recognize the boys I had known transformed into thoughtful and kind men that I felt so much affection for. We spoke about our years in the seminary high school, our now-grown-up children, our life’s work which had occupied the middle decades of our lives, our goals and aspirations for the years that remained. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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Point of View in a Memoir

Collecting Memories at My Class Reunion

This weekend of September 26-28, 2014, I am reuniting with my high school classmates. We have not seen each other in 30 years—not since our 20th class reunion. Back then, we developed an intimacy and an affection for each other that someone attending a regular high school cannot have experienced with classmates they saw for […]

Point of View in a Memoir

My First Morning Away

The is an excerpt from a yet-unnamed memoir of my high school years spent in a seminary continues to chronicle my first days there. The school is in Bucksport Maine, and the year is 1960. In this vignette, I write about my first morning. The memoir is in progress.

At 5:45, it was still dark outside, night really. Except for an occasional mumble, the regular breathing of boys in deep sleep was the only noise punctuating the quiet of the dormitory. Perhaps we were all back home in our dreams, with our families once again.

Suddenly—Brrr!

The “bell”— an electric ringer really,  resounded loud and insistent in the silence.

Laus tibi, Christe,” shouted the head Fourth-Form admonitor from his bed in the center of the dorm.
Only from the deep-voices of the other two admonitors at the opposite ends of the room was there an answering “Deo gratias!”<!–more–> [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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Point of View in a Memoir

Discovering My New Home

This is an excerpt from a memoir I am thinking of calling either In Another Century or A Very Catholic Boy. I am 13, and in the previous excerpt, I have just arrived at the seminary high school where I will be living. The excerpt starts as I have brought my trunk up to the […]

Point of View in a Memoir

When I Arrived at the Seminary

An excerpt from my high school memoir. It wasn’t until my father turned onto Middle Street and drove the 1955 red Ford station wagon up the hill towards the seminary that I gave in to the looming presence of doubt. Was this really what I wanted?

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The Summer Before I Left

At 13, as I moved tremulously into adolescence, I knew that, whatever I did, I was leaving childhood and my life would soon be different from what it had been, but I could not appreciate how the difference would be marked not in age but in culture.

Lewiston, Maine, 1960

Preparing to Leave Home

In the summer of 1960 when I was thirteen, my mother drove me into Lewiston to Vincent & Leblanc’s on Lisbon Street at Ash Street. There, in a shopping spree that was unprecedented, she bought me more new clothes than I’d ever had at any one time.

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