MEMORY LANE

List

Father Kelly

He came to St. Agatha in the 1940's, a young priest who was to make a big change in the way we attended Mass on Sunday. Forming lines was a way of life back then. We formed lines when we went to the dining room, the dorms, the washroom, the church etc. This was to keep order and to prevent chaos, as there were hundreds of kids to look after.

Father Kelly thought differently when it came to the church. He considered that he was head of this church and was going to make some changes. He wanted this church to operate like other churches on the outside.

One Sunday he stood up in front of us and said, when you come up for Communion I do not want you to come to the altar row by row and in line. I want you to come out of the pews when you are ready to come. He guided us and showed us how he wanted it done. I looked at the nunís faces and they were in shock.

The next Sunday we were told by the nuns to proceed to the altar the same way we had done for years When we started to leave the pews row by row and in line, Father Kelly stopped the Mass and was so furious he was red in the face. This was his church and it was going to be run the way he said. From then on we went to the altar the way he wanted. I felt like we had gained a little bit of freedom and felt less institutionalized that day.

I also remember we did not have to go to Confession all the time. Living under such strictness what could we possible do that was so wrong? Many times I would make up a sin like "I stole a pencil" simply because I had no sins to confess.

Father Kelly was a big Irishman and very good-looking. We always hoped he would be the one saying Mass that Sunday. Just by these little changes he made in the church he brought some of the outside world into my life where people were free and someday I would know that freedom.

I still think of Father Kelly and how I felt that day and still get the same feeling I had that day. Thanks to Father Kelly he showed me there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

By Marjorie Lafrican
November 19, 2003

Church of
Assumption and Immaculate Conception
Tuckahoe, New York 10707
March 8, 2002

Dear Nancy

My recollection of St. Agatha days are many. I cherish every moment of my six years, assigned by Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York, as chaplain in June 1957. I took the assignment seriously while admitting I hardly knew what to expect. There were then about 600 boys and girls, ranging in age from 2 to 18. They lived in groups of thirty (more or less) with a Sister and her assistant.

I was their Priest and they were my children. I enjoyed them thoroughly. The "them" were the boys and girls from 1 to 18. The little ones (2-6), I visited regularly in their groups, but not as often as the older children.

My time during school hours was usually in the school (1st - 8th grades on the grounds - Sister Ignatius was Principal. Sr. Charles - 8th Grade; Sr. Paula - 7th Grade; Sr. Goretti - 6th Grade); visiting every grade (1st - 8th) weekly; spending about one-half hour per visit.

I was demanding of those preparing to receive Sacraments. I wanted them to know the matter very well. I rejected the sentiment that they could not "do it." I insisted and even 2nd Graders memorized certain catechism areas. They were so happy that they passed.

After, I actually played with them dividing my time equally among the boys and girls. With the boys, it was hand ball, basketball, races, ring-o-livio (a chasing game), stick ball, or just talking, laughing. They were so happy those children. With the girls, it was jump rope, hide and seek, soft ball, just talking, teasing, laughing. My Priest friends often asked me when was I going to get out of the "play pen," and do Priest work.

The kids loved to come to my house. It was not 30 kids like their house, they got away from all that. I always had cookies and milk.

Winter time meant "snowball fights." Gee, how they loved that, especially the girls, for I was bringing over the boys. I would get a gang of boys (20 or so) and tell them to make three or four snowballs. With "ammunition" set, we would charge the girls area. They would see us coming; they would run in every direction. Snowballs would fly all over the place. Screaming, yelling, laughing. The noise decibel was equal to heavy bombing. I would yell retreat and we would go running back to the Boy's side. Reload and attack again. Face washing in the snow was also the order of the day. I would reverse it. I would get a gang of girls (bigger girls) load up and charge the boys. The boys could hear us coming. They didn't run. They would quickly load up and fire away. The boys would get a big charge out of hitting me. It was such fun.

Nights I would visit the cottages and play pool, cards, or tell them spooky stories or watch TV. It was such fun. I knew the kids needed money, so on Sundays, I would have water drinking contests. Anyone could enter, 1st place - 25 cents; 2nd place - 10 cents; 3rd place 5 cents. The boys drank water until it came out of their noses. I think Hector Morreno once drank 12-13 glasses (8 ounces) of water.

Nancy, that's enough for now. How I wish I could go back to those days. I close my eyes and I see them. They were always so happy when they were with each other.

I trained the alter boys. I had about 50 of them. In those days they had to know Latin. I trained them and they learned. For Christmas and Easter, Sr, Charles and Sr. Paula would dress them for those special masses. I was a bit of a nut. I wanted military precision. We practiced the procession lines in the Chapel until they got it perfect. Often the Srs. (about 40) would be in Chapel for prayers and I would carry on giving them a laugh.

It was just great!

God bless you, Nancy.

Much love

The Home Priest
Rev, Msgr. Francis E. Oliverio
Pastor

Chocolate Cake

My sister Joan and I were two of the girls who did not receive visitors very often on Sundays, which was visiting day. Therefore we were afforded certain privileges that the other girls were not. I waited tables in the nun’s dining room and Joan worked in the prefect’s dining room.

The girls who did have visitors were allowed to receive all kinds of goodies and I remember one girl once got a whole chicken. I don't ever remember having chicken for dinner in St. Agatha, The home. Once, another girl got this whole big chocolate cake. I also remember never having cake in The home. For safekeeping she put the cake in her locker not knowing that my sister had her eye on that cake.

When the girls were lining up to go to the dorm Joan hung back at the end of the line and when she was alone she made a mad dash for that locker, threw it open and stuck her hand in and grabbed a great big chunk out of the cake. She was terrified that she would get caught but she shoved the whole piece of cake in her mouth and nearly choked on it.

The next day the owner of the cake went to her locker and was furious. She wanted to know who took the big chunk out of the cake. After an investigation into who the culprit was, eventually the investigation ended. They never found out my sister was the one that raided the locker.

Usually on Sunday we got a large cookie for dessert and if you had visitors that day, and came back with special treats, everyone begged you for your cookie. Since my sister and I did not receive visitors, we were among the girls who begged the more fortunate girls for their cookies. Because we were less fortunate, I believe we enjoyed eating our begged for cookies more than they enjoyed their special treats from their visitors.

Of cause, the sight of my sister Joan stuffing her mouth and choking on that big piece of cake will always be one of my more memorable moments at St. Agatha.

By Marjorie Lafrican
November 19, 2003

From: Tommy Dunphy
Sent: Thursday, March 02, 2006
To: Nancy
Subject: Sister Leo

Hi Nancy,

It's me again. [Tommy Dunphy]

Just a small story about a Saint at St. Agatha's, Sister Marie Leo [O'Brien].

I was one, along with my class, to be so fortunate to have had her to teach me in three different grades, the 2nd, 4th and the 6th. At the end of each day she would read to us the story of Pinnochio. By the time we had reached 6th grade we finally figured her out. Sister Leo held the book but told the story from memory. We loved her stories and we loved Sister Leo. Never had anyone ever heard her raise her voice to anyone in all the eight years that I was there. Everyone said that Sister Leo was a Saint on earth, sent to St. Agatha's to bring a little joy to us kids.

Sister Leo and Sister Raymond arrived at St. Agatha on the same day and those two Irish gals promptly took control. Sister Raymond would say that Sr. Leo was a softy. To us she was a Saint. Sr. Leo was buried in the St. Agatha cemetery some time after the 100th anniversary maybe in 1985. the anniversary of St. Agatha's opening was in 1984.

Nancy, my wife has heard this a thousand times, HA! Did I ever tell you about the little boy sitting on the wall one Christmas eve while all the children were going home for Christmas and everyone had to take someone else who wasn't going home with them. The buses were really full. Anyway, the buses left for the city and guess who was left behind! They just forgot I was there. I just finished serving Mass at the Villa. I couldn't understand why I was left behind. So when I got hungry I went to the Sister's dining hall and told them what had happened. They felt so bad for me that I got to eat with them. Boy, did they ever eat good. A few of the nuns would reach down into their habit pockets and, let me tell you, they had some deep pockets and they would come up with a dollar or two for me. WOW!!!

This was in 1947, the blizzard of "1947". Snow was everywhere. The kids in New York City were snowed in. They loved it, a couple of extra days in the Big City. What they didn't know was what was waiting for them when they came back to St. Agatha's; a big spoon full of Castor Oil to clean out all the candy and goodies the had eaten while away. Guess who didn't have to take any of that? Me! 'Cause I didn't go anywhere. HA! It was funny watching about 50 kids running for the toilets. Every one was shouting hurry up, hurry up. That went on for about two days then things were back to normal.

Anyway, Nancy, I just thought you'd like a little laughter today at our expense.

Always your friend,
Tommy Dunphy

Got the Point?

We were having lunch one day and I was one of the monitors that would be taking the girls to the movie theatre in Nanuet. For some reason Sr. Josita kept giving me the evil eye and I couldn't understand why. I later found out that she wanted us to hurry along with our lunch because she had something to do. Everyone else was allowed to leave the table except Mary Donnelly and me. They all went to the movies and Mary and I were left behind for no reason.

We were living on the hill by then so we were both hiding in one of the buildings peeking out to see where the nuns were. Finally Mary said, I am going down to the main building and see what is going on and why we were punished.

Mary happened to meet Sister Superior and she wanted to know why Mary was not at the movie. Mary told her she did not know why, and that we were punished for no reason.

Sr. Josita was from Brooklyn as most of the nuns were. They used to say erle for oil and terlet for Toilet. So, the next day Sr. Josita called us into the room and tried to explain why we were punished. Sr. Josita said to us, "do you get my ‘pernt’". Well, Mary and I cracked up and could not stop laughing so hard, almost in her face. Then she said, "Alright, laugh, just as long as you get my ‘pernt’". And we laughed all the harder. And I mean we were practically on the floor.

By Marjorie Lafrican
November 19, 2003

From: Peter Feliciano
To: Eugene Malito
Sent: Saturday, April 29, 2006 10:30 PM
Subject: I DO remember you

Hi Gene

Odd thing, when building the Malito album (2nd page), I was too busy to take more than a glancing look at individual photos themselves. I was more concerned with the size, how to crop it, and how to make a thumbnail version where the individual persons would still be recognizable. I remember, though, looking at the 3rd to last photo and thinking, "Gee, that's such a familiar face!" But then I must have chalked it up to just a look-alike coincidence and thought nothing more of it. Now, looking at it again I can conjure up scenes of us on the Drop Zones on a sunny weekend, sky diving; jumping over and over again. I DO remember you.

I remember one particular day on the Sicily DZ. You were probably there. It was a real scorcher! The sun was beating down on us like nobody's business. I had just made a parachute jump. I had sand in my mouth, my hair, under my clothes, everywhere! My tongue was practically dragging on the ground from thirst. I couldn't wait to get back to the Viewing Stands where we repacked our chutes but, more importantly, where a huge pot of freezing cold clear water was waiting for us. There was a young civilian standing by the pot of water looking like he was standing guard over it. I took the big dipper that always hung on the side of the pot and started to scoop me out a big dipper full. The civilian spoke up," 'scuse me, there's a spider in the water." Sure enough, there was a daddy-long-legs at the bottom. I said, "your right! Don't worry about it, he won't drink too much!" and proceeded to get my belly full! As I walked away, I looked back and the civilian practically dove into the water head first. The poor guy was dying of thirst and was just waiting for someone to say, "go ahead and drink, it won't kill you!" Believe my, I didn't need such encouragement. I wasn't about to let a puny little ole spider stop me from quenching my thirst. I could whup a spider's butt any day of the week and twice on Sundays!

If I saw a photo of Lee Guilfoyle, I'm sure I could place him too. It seems to me that Lee spent as much, if not more time than I did on the DZs, not to mentions the evenings in the club house sopping suds.

There was a Sergeants that comes to mind and also a very friendly MSG (Master Sergeant) assigned as the club NCO (Noncommissioned Officer). I think he was getting ready to retire and the command MSG worked him into a cushy job. I was a Spec 4. At any rate, we three used to hang together. Once a week, we took turns buying and cooking dinner. The MSG would cook up 1 1/2 Inch steaks. I wasn't that rich on my Sp4 salary. My steaks were maybe 3/4 inchers. Serg would go low budget but he did make a great spaghetti meal! We were satisfied and enjoyed our dinners. Who knows, maybe he was paying alimony to three girl friends and was broke! He never would buy the beer either. I remember MSG and I was sitting in the living room and he motioned to me to listen for sounds in the kitchen. If you listened hard you could barely hear the fridge opening and shutting. Then we'd hear the muffled sound of a can of beer carefully being opened, f-sh-uf!. MSG would shake his head, roll his eyes and smile. But we would never embarrass Serg by letting him know we knew! After all, he went to a considerable amount of trouble trying to hide his actions from us!

Serg had a bike and I would ride with him sometimes but I wouldn't think of driving it. That was too dangerous for my taste. MSG had a nice car. He would let me borrow it anytime I wanted. No questions asked. I remember driving that thing down the DZ road at maybe 90 miles an hour. I'd take it back. He would look at the windshield filled with dead bugs and he would say, matter-of-factly, OH, you were speeding! No complaints, no recriminations, nothing. The next day I'd ask to borrow the car and he'd give it up without hesitation! Great guy! I don't even remember his name!

Anyway, those were the days!

Pete Feliciano

I remember

As I look back to when I left The Home, I remember the high fences with three (or was it four) strands of barb wire and the lights atop the band room. I don't see as a place of confinement anymore. It was a safe haven to keep the kids safe from outside predators.I now look back on it as the most character forming years of my life. (though I didn't know it at the time and I wasn't the best pupil). However, I retained the lessons taught and was guided throughout my life by them. Life in the military reinforced those tenets.

By Joe Pacheco
December 13, 2003

From: Anna Inlanda
Sent: Friday, March 10, 2006 2:59 PM
To: Nancy Canfield
Subject: embarrassing moment

Some of the girls might remember the time we got this new red headed priest named Father Fitzpatrick. He came over to meet the girls when I was in sixth grade. It was in the evening and we didn't see much of men on our side, so when he came, we were all so excited to talk to him and he seemed so nice, but later, Sister Joseph started yelling at us saying we were distracting him from his priesthood by swarming up to him. Shows where her mind was, not ours.

Anyhow the first time he held confessions the girls were passing rumors around saying he yells a lot when you confess to him so when it was my turn to go in, I couldn't even think of a sin so I told him I lied. I was so scared that I had to tell him I had to go to the bathroom, and he kept saying he needed to say the extremunction or what ever that was they used to say. I told him I couldn't hold it, I had to leave so I stepped out of the confessional and I was peeing my pants all the way down the isle and he yells out , " that will be 10 hail Mary's". I left the chapel and went straight to the bathroom. There was an older girl there and she was laughing because of what happened. I was so humiliated.

There are so many stories I can tell but I'll control myself for now.

Anna Irlanda (Surace)

From: Ronald Lugo
Dates at St Agatha: 1959 - 1974
Comments

Hey All, I just wanted to thank Robert for his heads-up on the upcoming event he referenced below. For those of you having trouble locating the website or article, here is a brief summary excerpt as written; St. Agatha's property renovation about 6 weeks from completion. Centennial Celebration: The Nanuet school district is celebrating its 100th year with a parade and gala festival on the grounds of the newly renovated St. Agatha's property. When: June 1. Parade from firehouse up Prospect Street to the property at 10:30 a.m., event ends at 6:30 p.m. Open: Anybody Cost: Free to get in, food vendors available on the grounds, end summary. For those of you willing and able to attend, it should be quite an interesting day, to say the least. I'm sure for many, the term "Celebration" understandably undermines the sensitivity of a great loss, and may be somewhat difficult to appreciate or digest. My hope is that this occasion (on location) will not only Celebrate a harvest of new beginnings, but offer a platform that communicates and commemorates the totality of our forever “Hallowed” grounds, St. Agatha!. I hope a worthy representative is speaking on behalf of the whole in preserving the memory of our Home; anything less in my opinion would be irresponsible and a dishonor to us all! Robert thanks again for your vigilance!

From: Robert Wagner "Wags"
To: Nancy Canfield

Hi Nancy! As always, it is great to hear from you ... I can vividly recall "slipping into" Camp Shanks on a Saturday afternoon with another St Agnes' boy to "scavenge" the Army "landfill dump" for anything we thought we'd like to posess. Most of the "dumped" items were personal affects which the Army mandated the overseas-bound soldiers to discard as hindrances to their combat-ready status.

We recovered personal items such as electric razors, flashlights, Ronson, and Zippo lighters, chromed and silver-plated cigarette cases, personal size stainless steel shaving mirrors and other items with reflective surfaces which would be banned in battlefield zones.

We also uncovered bunches of "Unit Insigna" removed from uniforms by edict to obscure unit identity; and uniform parts non-essential to a combat zone, such as dress uniforms, belts, neckties, etc, as well. An unexpected revelation regarding some off-duty precautions of some of the soldiers came to light when we came across scores of intact, unopened, packages of Trojans which we "girl-deprived", if not innocent, high school boys left on the heap because any opportunity for putting them to proper use had not yet been foreseen by us. TMI !! Blessings .. and Peace.

Robert


Postscript: I noticed the name "Marino" at the top of the Camp Shanks' e-mail distribution. I remember a "Marino" from St Agatha' who was a year ahead of me. I never knew his given first name because we only knew and addressed each other by last name. I doubt that "Marino" would remember me although "Marino" and I were friendly toward each other. He was what we would call "a nice guy".

The e-mail distribution also includes David Kee's name, the younger brother of my classmate and fellow honor student at St Agatha, Louis. I would be happy to hear from Louis if he cares to e-mail me; I would understand if grade schoolmates are not as highly valued as friendships bonded during one's teenage highschool years; and bonds formed immediately preceding military service.

My sincere thanks again, Nancy, for the memories of a time that was long ago, yet not forgotten. We are what we have experienced and have endured... and life has been good to many of us. Thanks.

"Wags"

Subject: Guest book entry Date: 9/26/07
From: Fernando Seminario
To: Peter2469

To whom it may concern,

My brother and I were at St. Agatha. We lived at 71 Duryea Lane.

We both got there on the 5 July 1973. My brothers name is Oscar Seminario and he now lives just down the street from me in Hampton ,Virginia. My name is Fernando Seminario We both attended Nanuet HS and went on to live in a group home in Haverstraw NY . We graduated from North Rockland HS. I went on to serve in the military (United States Air Force) for 22 years. Were 're both in our 40's

Sister Katherine's name was Sister James back in the 70's. She took great care of me
She was or is like my mom.

Hope to hear from you again,

P. S. I played football for My buddy Jim Bryant. I started QB for Jim (SAINTS) . I also Played for the Nanuet HS Knights and from there Played and Started QB in Europe. LIFE IS GOOD THANK YOU ST AGATHA

Fernando

Subject: RE: Guest book entry
Date: 8/30/07
From: Velez01
To: Peter2469

Hi Pete:

I was trying to post something I put together back in 2005 concerning the Reunion of 2005.

The Final Reunion

In pondering the pros and cons on whether to attend what might be the final reunion of our former home on October 15, 2005, I needed to look up the word “reunion”. Reunion is defined as a gathering of the members of a group who have been separated.

We were brought together not by choice. We lived together not by choice. Then we were scattered not by choice. And now the place we called our temporary home is no more.

Yet, some of us like migratory birds choose to return to the place that for most of us holds mixed memories. To relive those faded events that no longer holds true to the actual experiences. And yet, we return from year to year to recall those very memories.

We greet each other only after quickly glancing over the assigned name tab. We do this to assure ourselves that we were and will continue to be friends. Like the name tags that were sewed to our clothes. So we could separate them. Once they were returned from the main laundry room.

What hurts about reunions are those who do not attend. For whatever reasons that prevent them from attending, they continue to be missed by us who will call them friends and those we will continue to love and admire from afar.

The other hurts are those who do attend only to bring back those dark experiences that we have put away deep in our minds but never forgotten. And then the final hurt is not having anyone there to remember you at all.

Joseph (Chino) Velez
September 7, 2005
Joseph Francis Velez

Name: Robert Garcia
State: Texas
Date: June 5 2012
Dates at St Agatha, Nanuet NY: '71-'74

Comments:

Does anyone know the history of Mt. Carmel? I know it's still at St. Agatha and believe its the oldest building in St. Agatha.

My first morning at DePaul I remember eating eight small boxes of Frosted Flakes. The counselor showed me what a trash compacter was. Never seen one in my life. She finally told me to go outside and play until lunch.

From: Ronald (Ron) Lugo
To: Peter Feliciano (peter2469@aol.com)
Date: 7/25/07
Subject: Answer to your question:...

Hi Peter

It's funny you should ask about my recollection of all those names from my past at St. Agatha... My wife ask me the same exact question after going over my lists, prompting me to ask myself the same!...

After getting the confirmation email from you for my initial guestbook sign in, you asked "if there are kids that you can remember who are not listed yet, we would appreciate it if you could send us a list, even if you don't remember the exact dates they were there". That open a world in hibernation for over 30 years... I went to a few reunions since, but just reflected back with those brothers & sisters in attendance... Your website along with Nancy's book "Home Kids" actually stimulated a nerve that till now lie dormant, so I acted on it!... What a reward!

After signing in over the past weekend I just sat down and started coming up with names ... Names in association with friends, classmates, teammates, notable "tough guys & sweetheart" amongst others... I never had a prior data list of any sort... It just started coming to me, naturally at first... After recalling the names that came off the top of my head, I just started going though the alphabet A-Z... Time consuming but very effective!... I probably should note that my history rich tenureship at St. Agatha(1959-75,one of the longest) has a lot to do with my data recollection... I instinctively Embraced the institution as my surrogate parents, Not surprisingly, the data gathering process seemed natural and instinctive as well...

... answer to your question, ...

...."Not easy to ever forget, a playground of siblings"
...and never will!

Thanks Again Peter,
Ron

BTW, it is not MY website! Its YOURS, (the Alumni). I only maintain it.
Pete

From: Robert Wagner
Sent: Friday, June 22, 2007
To: Peter2469@aol.com
Subject: re: Your enquiry.

Hail Fellow Sparkillian

! Yes... I am one of the boys who transferred from St Agatha, Nanuet, Class of 1944, to St Agnes, Sparkill, in July/ August of 1944. Started TZHS with the Class of '48 although I was sent to public school in Queens, NYC before the summer of '45. Some of my St Agnes residiency classmates at TZHS were Tom Quinn (John was his older brother), Malachy Murphy, Louie Kee (David was his younger brother), Hugh McAvinue, the Masterson brothers (Walter & Eddie); all of them went through all eight grades with me at St Agatha. Other classmates at Sparkill/Piermont were "Red" Rooney, Joe Antonacci , and Favre who grew up at St Agnes. Also several boys in my class of '48 who were transferred to St Agnes from St Dominic, Blauvelt, including my good friend, John Mueller, with whom I walked to Dumont, NJ, to visit his aunt several times. Another classmate who came from St Dom's was Jerry Merna. Sister William Vincent, O.P., affectionately referred to as "Sister Willie Vin" was our housemother up in the "garrett". Father Nash was our priest in residience. Coach Faulk headed up the football program while I was on the team in Fall '44 season. One of the rare regrets in my life is the fact that I was separated from my class of '48 classmates when I was transferred to live with a "boarding family" in Queens. I envy (gently) that my St Agnes classmates got to bond through the high school years while I was set adrift among "strangers" in Queens where I was sensitive about my convent/home background.

Oooops... I've gone adrift from your original question. Perhaps, my age of 78-1/2 yrs may justify some forgiveness (?). BTW, "Red" Rooney was born just five days after my birth. I don't know who might remember me from St Agnes, aside from Joe Antonacci, and the boys who were my classmates for eight years at St Agatha. John Mueller who was into boxing may remember if he is alive; or maybe Favre if he is alive, or Jerry Merna? Who knows, after being out of high school for almost sixty years ! Thanks for your enquiry and your invitation to share some semblance of memories from days of youthful "yesterdays".

Robert "Wags" Wagner.

I thought some of our viewers to the website might like some memories from the 80's to 90's. He gave permission to share this. (Nancy)

Thanks For The Memories

From: kenpauladams@juno.com [mailto:kenpauladams@juno.com]
Sent: Sunday, September 10, 2006
To: ncanf@san.rr.com
Subject:St Agatha Home

You have done much for the institution that was St. Agatha. Thank you.

Richard Royster was more of a legend than an individual when I worked there. It was he who took my photo for an ID badge. I cannot recall all the places

I also recall others who had their start there many years ago. Pearl Still was a woman I worked with at 71 Duryea. She started there in the 60's and didn't bat an eye to swat a kid with the soft end of a broom, to instill motivation. She was a very loving woman who gave over 35 years to the institution. She suffered a severe stroke and died in approximately 1993. She was a large Black woman with a thin scar down one side of her face, slicing into her chin. We went on many trips into the City with the kids, and she participated with great enthusiasm in any event enjoined.

Another woman who had been there easily that long was Pearl Morris. She lived down the street, just by where the NY State Thruway connected with the NY extension of the Garden State Parkway. She was another really nice Black woman who very kind hearted and loving. She did overnight shifts.

Sr. Katherine King was the nun who interviewed me for my job. I had been ill that day but did not want to cancel such an important appointment. I arrived and she called me in. We talked and she continued to ask if I was alright. I could never be certain if she was looking to ascertain if I was truly OK or if I was up to the responsibilities of the job. We arranged to go into the City with Sr.Katherine and she accompanied us with the kids to the performance of "Cats."

There was recognition of a multi-cultural day one year and I helped the children prepare for a play we presented. The kids enacted roles of different persons who had arrived on the shores of America and I 'interviewed' each one to determine who they were and why they came to America. There was Mr. Datsun Nissan, Mr. Won Ton Soup, and Ms Inga Swenson, to name a few, representatives from Japan, China, and Scandinavia. It was a riot for the audience to see Black and Latino children who had memorized lines acting like individuals from other ethnic origins. I recall rehearssing for the play in the weeks before it was to be produced, and I would query the children on their lines in the oddest places - on the play ground, before dinner, as they rode bikes.

I provided the children a number of refurbished bicycles and helped (with Richard Royster!) keep them in a state of repair. We also built an ecologically sound playground, with the help of the greater community, from old tires, 6 X 6's and 12 X 12's, and old telephone poles. It stood between 71 Duryea and the old in-ground pool.

Thanks again for the memories.

Ken Adams

Beverly Sellers-Robinson

From: Sellers-Robinson, Beverly
Sent: Saturday, August 12, 2006
To: Nancy Canfield
Subject: St. Agatha's Home for Children - 1975

Dear Nancy,

Everytime I go to the Saint Agatha's website, I always hope to see someone that I knew while I was there and recognize a name. The one name that really seems familiar to me is Melinda Reyes. If this is the Melinda that I think it is, then she lived in the house with me.

It is funny that there is no mention of Cottage 150 that was on Convent Avenue. (I believe). There were approximately maybe 10 to 12 girls in that house and some of the names that I can remember are Michelle and Shiela Bobbit, Melinda Reyes, Myrna Betancourt, sisters named Dorea or Doreah and Grace, Nelly Rodgriguez, she had a sister named Vivian Rodgriguez and a girl name Cookie (I know that doesn't help much). The counselors there at that time that I can remember are James and Fred (They were brothers) Jim and Kevin, the cook was named Miss Virginia (A short woman who the girls loved so much...she was like our mother) a woman named Dee who actually took us to her home and taught us how to play backgammon. I know how to play today because of her.

I also remember there being a teen center and on Friday's we would go there and dance and have fun. This teen center was runned by a man named Donald Cooper. We had a talent show one evening where it was the girls of Cottage 150 against the girls at Depaul. I believe DePaul was a female cottage at that time. My first summer job was at St. Agatha's working with Donald Cooper. I am not remembering exactly what I did, but I remember receiving a paycheck. (Smile)

At night, we used to run around the grounds and have security chase us around campus. I know who Richard Royster is and he hasn't change much.

The school I went to was Nanuet High School, but I wasn't there for long before getting transfered to a group home in the Bronx in NYC.

I just wanted to pass my photo and some information along that I can remember. Maybe someone will remember those days.

Thanks,

Beverly Sellers-Robinson

Eloisa Soto

From: Blanca Frias
Date: Sunday, February 11, 2001
To: Nancy Canfield

To all my Nun's and home kids.
May God bless you all!

I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all your prayer's. I don't know if I can finish this Email because it is so hard for me to explain. Anyway, I think I owe this email to all of you.

So sorry to say that Lisa left us last night. I stayed with her for the last two nights so her daughter wouldn't be alone. But thank all of you for your prayers; and let me tell all of you that Lisa's death was so beautiful. She didn't suffer and wasn't alone. There were a lot of people from her church there with us and they were singing hymns. Then Lisa started to breath little by little until she stoped breathing and left us. When they were singing Lisa was trying to sing too but she didn't have the strenth to sing. Her tears came out and we knew she understood everything that was going on. She just stoped breathing and left us. I am telling you guys all this, crying my head off, but we all know that she is with God and looking down at all of us.

Also, I want you to know that, all the email that I received from all of you, I went to the hospital one day with Eddie (Lisa's brother) and I read them to her and, yes, that did cheer her up. Especilly the home kid that wrote to me that had the red hair in those days. I forgot who it was but who ever it is and is reading this email let me tell you that Lisa put a real big smile on her face and said that she DID remember that girl.

Again, I thank you all so much and remember, each of you, that you have a home sis here in PR [Puerto Rico] that loves you all so much. My home family is so special to me. Take care all of you and thanks AGAIN and AGAIN !

Your home sister forever,

Blanca

NOTE: Lou is a St. Agnes Alumni But St. Agnes and St. Agatha websites are interlinked as were the institutions.

From: Nancy Canfield
To: David T. Feliciano
Sent: Sunday, April 18, 2004
Subject: Question for you

Are there still children being cared for at St. Agnes? Lou DeBlasio wants to know.

I told you how he does not have a computer, and a friend looked up St. Agnes, and found my phone #, probably on the website. Anyway, he lives not far from me, and we met, and have talked on the Phone. He was very young when he went to St. Agnes in 29 or 30 (could you see if his name is on the census?).

Anyway, yesterday, he drove to my house to drop off some of his prized avocadoes for me. I was out, so he left them with a note that said, "enjoy the Avocadoes."

When I got home, hours later, no-one was there, but the note was on my chair, where my husband left it between outings. The phone was ringing. It was Lou, did I get the avos? They were nowhere to be found. While we were talking, my daughter came home and pleaded innocence. Likewise, my husband a little later. Lou hung up. We were all puzzled.

Then I looked at the note again. Below Lou's note, it said, "Nancy, thank you for the avocadoes." I carried it out and read it to my husband and daughter. The lightbulb popped on for all of us at once. The mailman mistook the avos, placed beneath the mailbox, as being for him. He is the one that wrote the thank you note, and is now enjoying the avos. After we got over that, the dilemma was, do we tell Lou the truth? I promised to call him with the solution to the mystery, but I thought the truth about his avos would be painful. I thought about fibbing, and telling him how great they were. Then decided the truth would be better.

He called a little later, and I told him. He was dismayed at first, then saw the humor in it. He promised to bring me the next batch, but call first!

He came back the next day with another bag of the biggest, best looking avos I've ever seen.

Nancy Canfield

FOOTNOTE: Monday, the mailman thanked me profusely for the avos. When I told my neighbor the story, she said she often leaves little treats for him when she bakes, with a note, urging him to enjoy them. Small wonder he thought the avos were his.

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