We made it to Seattle on Sunday Night and on Monday we flew to Houston. Howard was waiting for us at the airport in San Antonio. It was a special thrill to to hug someone I had not seen for 46 years. It was odd to listen to Howard's Texan accent. It seemed to me that special effort had to be made to talk like that. I am sure he thought the same about my Canadian accent. It was also odd to drive with Howard on a the highway to his house in Buchanan Dam, Texas. The scenery was familiar. In my memory the conifers and the mountains of my Vancouver were the ones that seemed alien. Having lived four years of my life when I was a teenager in Texas I was really home.
Howard, his wife Lynne, Rosemary, Rebecca and I headed in Howard's white 1994 Lincoln ("It has seating room to accomodate Brother Edwin, " he told me.)to Austin. The red roof tower of the main building of St. Ed's was more thrilling to see than the tall (the tallest of any state capitol or the one in DC) Texas State Capitol. The main building was as imposing (if not bigger) than I imagined it in my memory. And there was Brother Edwin much shorter that I remembered him. Rosemary is five three so she calculates he must be five ft at the most. Brother Edwin gave us a tour of the completly modified and re-furbished building. I could not see the high ceilings of the dorms where I slept when I was in grade nine and grade ten. My room in grade eleven was converted to a men's and a woman's batrhoom and my grade 12 space was the elevator.
After taking panoramic pictures of the building with the almost anachronistic presence of Rebecca we told Brother Edwin we would return in the afternoon to take him to the County Line for a Texas barbecue.
Of my experience with Albert Einstein at the H Ransom Center at the University of Texas and of eating liver and onions at Furr's Cafeteria I will write some other post.
Brother Edwin confirmed in spades the excellence of the education I obtained at St. Edward's High School. At 75 Brother Edwin is enthusiastic and fit. I did not remember him laughing as much or giggling as he did yesterday. He explained to Rebecca through the example of fractions being converted into decimals how people as they age get closer to people who are much older than they are. I asked Rebecca what she thought of Brother Edwin. The first word she uttered was, "Cute."
In another blog I mentioned how the compact Brother Edwin lifted one of my classmates with his left hand and pushed him to a wall and told him to be quiet. At long last we found out how this was possible. Brother Edwin's father and uncle excelled in olympic rings. Brother Edwin inherited this ability. He was very athletic. Being made temporarily in charge of a reformatory, Brother Edwin had no problems with discipline. One day he went into the weight room and quietly lifted more weight than anybody there.
They say one cannot go home again. I did. I found home better than ever and Brother Edwin was so much more than I knew. Back then I was too shy or perhaps it was not proper to ask questions about this personal life. Lynne put it best, " He is comfortable in his own skin." Best of all I was not alone in realizing all this. I was able to share it with Howard. It is my hope that Rebecca never forgets this lesson.
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