St. Francis Alumni Mass – 2015

Peter Kuhn’s name on the list of remembrances is the second surprise. The class of 1964 shared four years with Peter. He came daily by bus from the Springville area as a ‘day-hop’. My memory of him is a gentle person with a great smile. Based on the book of condolences attached to this obituary http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/buffalonews/obituary.aspx?pid=174179754 he lived his life the same way. Sadly we didn’t hear from him during last year’s 50th reunion.

The first surprise comes a few days earlier with Facebook posting the passing of John Moldoch, a seminary colleague for several years and a lay teacher at SFHS for thirty-three. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.10152991673099854&type=1

Fr. Michael warmly weaves alumni, family and benefactors into his homily. Several return here each year to honour and remember those who passed. Throughout  the years this chapel remains the heart and centre of St. Francis. Current students and returning alum drop in to gaze at the altar and windows. We share the pews in prayer and memory with each student, teacher, and visitor. Past and present.

Going into the cafeteria afterwards, my friend John Macmillan from Toronto and I join a table with Mark Gillen ’79 and Anthony Antek (pen name) ’59 and Lynn his wife. In no time we are in a lively discussion about the local and national economy. Mark is a commercial banker and Anthony is a retired educator.  Clearly both have different perspectives about the causes for the financial losses of 2008. What is remarkable is the polite and sincere reciprocal
acknowledgement of each other’s points. If their approach could transfer to opposing political parties, it would advance both solutions and respect for government.

Anthony is the author of Bipolar Buffalo. This is my third surprise. The book is on a personal reading list. What a delight to find the author sitting across the table and to learn that he is an SFHS alumni. He invites us to visit his home in Lakeview. Anthony is also a collector of antique toys, especially the first toys made by the Fisher-Price company started in nearby East Aurora, NY. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fisher-Price.

Early little people toys Fischer-Price original Rail layout First Donald Duck

Besides restoring old toys this author applies his creative skills to beautiful original creations from Lake Erie driftwood. He invites us to visit the nearby Graycliff home designed by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright where he used to volunteer http://graycliffestate.org/  and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graycliff.

John, two surprised college students, Anthony Greycliffe front Greycliffe lake view

Closed for winter we cross over the chain. Anthony invites two foreign college students to join us. They have come to view this signature building and are ready to leave in disappointment. All of us enjoy his in depth explanations of the house, its features, and  especially of the relationship between the architect and Darwin Martin who commissioned both this summer home and his regular residence to Wright  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwin_D._Martin_House).

I share the idea raised at our 50th reunion of a bi-annual get together of SFHS alumni in the Western NY / Ontario region. Anthony organized the 50th  reunion of the class of ’59 and invites us to consider his vast outdoor garden overlooking the lake as a possible location.

We leave with autographed copies of Bipolar Buffalo and priceless memories of a remarkable day.

Next stop – the Red Top. John and I enjoy our annual visit and conversation with the crew of the Red Top. I will post our experience on the ‘I ate at the
Red Top’ group page on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/groups/GBOlmaRedTopHots/

John and I enjoying the works. Executive dining lounge at the Red Top

Starting back to Toronto we take the city route along South Park. Earlier in the day we’d stopped in at Daisies Cafe for a great breakfast.Sandy's smile is warm and delightful like the breakfast.

Ahead is VFW Post 898 – I remember that Ray Pulinski is a past commander. Dropping in for a surprise visit we find that Ray and his wife Karen are in Florida. Sharon the
bartender says, “Wait a minute. I’ll call him in Florida.” “Ray there’s two guys here says you owe them a drink.” We chat about Florida, Pete Kuhn and the endless winter. Facing the drive home, we pass on the drink offer and promise to get together during a warmer time.

Before crossing the border, John and I enjoy wings at Buzzy’s in Niagara Falls http://buzzyspizza.com/ and order take out for Sue and Mary back home. It’s been a day of surprises.

Bipolar Buffalo cover.

Note: Bipolar Buffalo, which includes many SFHS stories, is available through the website of the same name – http://www.bipolarbuffalo.com.

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About mielniczuk

Community, systems, design, collaboration, change, evidence, Intelligent Accountability(c)
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