Not that it was likely to happen anyway, but as the picture above shows, now there’s no chance of it happening.
My son and I were in Bridgeport, PA today, to pick up some donuts from the famous Suzy Jo Donuts (where I used to get my donuts 50 years ago), and decided to drive around the town a bit so I could relive some old memories.
First, we drove past the house of my best friend at the time (I’ve lost touch with him; Joe, if you’re reading this (even more unlikely than me giving the commencement speech), it would great to hear from you)!
Next, we stopped at Wawa (which was not in Bridgeport while I went to grade school, but sometimes you just gotta have a Wawa…).
We then drove up to check out the view from Bridgeport Memorial Park, which is situated at the top of a hill and offers great panoramic views of the surrounding area. The Park has made major improvements over the past 50 years.
We then made our way towards my old grade school, St. Augustine’s. I loved grade school. As I vaguely recall, I think we started first grade with 90 kids (in one classroom, with one nun), and by the time we got to eighth grade we were down to 13 students. Suffice it to say, we got to know each other pretty well.
There were eight classrooms, for grades 1-8; there was s small library and a cafeteria. I don’t think there was a gym, but there was a concrete playground.
Here’s what the school looked like then:
I’m sure it was at St. Augustine that the teachers helped develop my love of learning, and in particular, my love for math. I had nuns for many of my teachers, so I guess in hindsight, they did a great job.
The woman behind the counter at Suzy Jo’s told me that the church will be demolished as well.
Here’s a picture of the church:
and here’s what I saw today:
It looked like they were emptying it out before the wrecking ball arrives.
I had a lot of great memories at both the church and the school. I remember going to confession, getting first communion, confirmation (for which I created my own song, “I Just Can’t Wait ‘Til May 3rd, ‘Til May 3rd, ‘Til May 3rd”, sung to the tune of “The More We Get Together, Together, Together”), the Parvuli Dei award, several midnight masses on Christmas Eve, being a school safety, an altar boy, the morning bell and flag guy, the class clown, and riding the same bus for eight years.
And while it was a bit sad looking at the empty lot where my school used to be, I realized that even though the school is gone, the great memories will live on forever.
So thank you to all the teachers, priests, and parishioners of St. Augustine for the positive impact you have had on me and all the other students who were fortunate enough to have walked your hallways.