Holy Trinity High School, Class of 1958
I sent out an e-mail request for stories and pictures and I posted them here. I started a Centennial website with more Holy Trinity History.
Brother John remembers Smitty the Stunt Man.
Tom Mach Remembers Brothers Fergus, Leon, James and Theophilus and mostly Ron Pietruska.
Chester Galiga Remembers Brother Joseph Walter the practical joker.
Carolyn Steck tells us how Holy Trinity got cheerleaders They were put on probation before they even started!
Click here to see the 50th Reunion Name Tags
Brother Vince with the 1958 Class Officers and Dates.
Chester Lis and his wife Arlene
Chester Lis and Bob Grygiel leave with their diplomas under the watchful eye of Brother Joseph Walter.
Chester in 1956, before Brother Joseph Dudek installed face protecting bars on our helmets.
Thanks to Chester Lis for sharing these photos.
Stories from the 50s!
I recall that James Schmidt had the unusual talent (?) of being able to drop to his knees at the top of the stairs and then roll all of the way down...and then stand up, unhurt. He especially liked to perform this trick when there was a faculty member around who saw this and thought that James had broken his neck. And then, tah dah, James miraculously stood up, ready to take a bow. Can James still do this? Could you go to the school and have him prove it to you and record the moment on video?
Jim never went on to be a stunt man
I received the following from Tom Mach:
I recall a couple of interesting episodes at Holy Trinity. One was a class taught by Brother Fergus. When someone would talk behind his back in class, Bro. Fergus would whip around and fling an eraser supposedly at the talker. But you had to be on your toes in your class because you never knew when one of Brother Fergus's missals would be sailing past your nose.*
I remember Brother Theophilus teaching Religion. He'd be giving me 100s on my tests and one day he took me aside as asked if I wanted to be a priest. I had to think quickly because if I said "no" I thought my grades would take a nose-dive. So I told him I'd think about it.
I also remember I had a Brother in English II (might have been Brother Leon, but I'm not sure. Anyway, I was bored out of my mind and one day he talked to me after class and asked what the problem was. I told him I knew all this stuff already and was really bored. The following day, they gave me a battery of tests and soon I was in another English class where Brother James taught English and American Literature. Some of us ended up meeting on Saturdays to discuss Shakespeare. Boy, I loved that class so much I wrote a novel when I was a Junior at school. (The novel is crap, but I managed to type 360 pages on a old portable where the keys stuck and I had to use carbon paper).
Anyway, those are some top-of-mind memories from me.. Oops. I almost forgot about the time I was in the Glee Club singing. I was next to Ron Pietruska. All of a sudden I heard this horrible sound and the next thing I knew, Ron and thrown up his lunch on me. Whew!
* I remember Brother upgrading to tennis balls, because they improved his accuracy. G.L.
Someone put itching powder in Don Pilch's football pads. The powder kicked in when he worked up a good sweat. Ron Sowizrol 57 chimed in with the story about "'Atomic Analgesic Balm" that was placed in someone's jock. Chet asked if we knew where he could buy that, he said he could use it now that our age group is cursed with more aches and pains than our football coaches gave us.
Greg Lopatka's first week at Holy Trinity
My English education got off to a bad start in my first week of High School. I came back from the playground on a nice fall evening and remembered that I had a composition due for Brother John in the morning. My brother, who was a senior, asked me what I had to write about. When I told him my composition title was, "My First Impression of Holy Trinity", He said, "Give me a pen." He wrote the funniest story I ever heard, so I went with it. I copied it over of course in my own handwriting, because those Brothers of Holy Cross were sharp and always on the look out for cheats. I turned it in and forgot all about until the following day when Brother John stepped to the front of the class, with my paper in his hand and a disgusted look on his face and said, "This gentlemen, is an example of what not to do. It is written with a leaky speedball pen with barely legible handwriting." He went on to read my paper, while everybody in the class, except for me and Brother John, was laughing hysterically at every sentence that my witty brother composed. Herb started the composition with, "When I went to my locker on the first day, I had to remove a moldy old jock strap with a pencil that I later washed." (We didn't throw anything away that was still usable) The composition went on to make fun of the teachers and principal. He talked about the disgusting food in the lunch room. I was finished in the first week of school, everything I did was unsatisfactory, so I flunked my first year of English and had to get up every morning at 5:30, catch a bus, then transfer to another bus, so that I could be in English Summer School at St Mel High School. 40 years later, I went to a golf outing and a guy that was called cream puff when he was a little underdeveloped, freshman. Spotted me in the parking lot, He came in from Colorado and I hadn't seen him since graduation in 1958. He was yelling, "Moldy old Jock strap" My brother's literary gem made a life time impression on him. In High school, average sized guys picked on him, because they could. I was one of the bigger freshmen, so I felt sorry for him and I was able to get those guy to leave him alone. That turned out to be a good thing in more than one way, because I stopped growing and Bob Everett, no longer a Cream Puff graduated at 6 feet 3 inches and He was always nice to me, but he paid back some lumps to the guys that picked on him in his freshman year. When I told this story at our 40th reunion, our former principal, Brother Joseph Walter, told me he used to get a bottle of fine brandy from the principal of St. Mel for sending him summer school students.
A factory summer job straightened me out:
When I was 16, my Dad got me job at the Birtman Electric Spaulding Ave. plant where we made Kenmore mixers and blenders. 10 weeks in a factory was the best education I ever received, because I went from a C student, who spend all of my spare time at Humboldt Park or Maplewood Playground playing any sport that was in season, to a B student that started reading required books and doing my assignments. I couldn't see myself working in a factory for 52 weeks, so when I graduated, I started thinking of a way I could play ball for 4 more years. The Chicago Teachers College had a basketball team and a baseball team, so I applied and took the test. The Guidance Counselor looked at my test results and suggested that I look for a job, because she gave me a 100 to 1 chance of graduating college with my English skills. My Math scores were good, but English would do me in. I thought about getting a job, but I had flash backs to my summer at Birtman Electric and said, "I'll take those odds, sign me up." I had one thing going for me, I was dating Carole, the women I married 3 years later, and She was an English wizard. Remember, there was no spell check in those days, and I was always the first guy out in the spelling bee. I misspelled the word even if I knew it, so I could go to my seat with the other goof balls and make funny sounds with my arm pit. When I was in College, I tried hard to get passing grades, so that I could play on the Basketball and Baseball teams. Carole was my savior, because I could hand her a sheet of scribbled misspelled notes and she would type a beautiful double spaced masterpiece. When I became a teacher, I had a good understanding of underachieving students, since I was one of the best.
To read more of my memories, go to: My Oden Days Page.
recall we were in our annual retreat and after Mass went back to our Home
Rooms for meditation.
another occasion some of us decided to have some fun in a Religion class
On another occasion some of us decided to have some fun in a Religion class taught by
that the gig was up and I remember we all were asked to get back to the
business of learning Religion.
more like .
*Jim Schmidt told me at the Golf
Outing that a punch from Lou Zielinski had a similar effect on him. G
*Jim Schmidt told me at the Golf Outing that a punch from Lou Zielinski had a similar effect on him. G.L
Thanks Jerry, that reminded me of a George Idzikowski story. I went to St. Mark grade school with George, Jim Schmidt, Phil Tazbier and Ron Bristen. I had a fight on the playground with George in 7th or 8th grade. The Nun looked the other way and let us settle it. Later she told me that she didn't interfere, because I looked like I was doing OK and George needed a beating.
I also have a Brother Joseph Chvala story. I invited him to the reunion by "snail mail" with the following letter:
I graduated from Holy Trinity in 1958.
We are having our 50th reunion on September 21, 2008 and we would
like to have you attend as our guest. (see attached sheet) Just call or
e-mail me if you can attend and I'll have a spot for you.
I remember you vividly, because you made me and some of my
classmates learn 2 years of French in 1 year.
You had us going to school on Saturdays to catch up.
My brother, who was a senior at the time, told me to take French,
because I could get a C from Brother Leonard without much work.
At that time, all I wanted to do was play ball.
(Football, Basketball and Baseball)
I needed at least a C to stay eligible, so I took his advice and
took Freshman French and got a C, when I built a nice model of a
Guillotine for Brother Leonard's collection of French items.
When you showed up, you were shocked that some of your 2nd year
French Students didn't know much French, so you made us catch up.
Thanks for that, I understood your efforts after I graduated and
became a Chicago Public School Teacher in 1962.
I retired after teaching elementary school for 39 years.
I have been married for 46 years and we have 4 children, 8
grandchildren and 1 great granddaughter.
my website for more information at: http:/www.lopatka.net/
hope you can make it. Maybe you can catch a ride from one of the following
brothers who are planning to attend:
Gregory F. Lopatka
From: George Job
I was in the class of 1960, but I will share two about Brother Raymond for you.
First was Wolfgang Werfel, the author. We were discussing Werfel in his class and Brother Ray, very young then, found the name humorous and suggested it must have inspired people to call out "Hey, Werfel." Several of us turned to each other and said "Hey, Pappenfuss" a bit too loud. We got Jug for our irreverence, which we thought pretty funny.
Brother Raymond viewed films at the Crown Theater on the southwest corner of Division and Ashland in what evidently were the last days of the theater. He told us that it was hard to tell if the crunching sound under his feet was popcorn or roaches.
A month or so into our freshman year, Our Prefect of Discipline, Brother Charles, call Jim over and said, "What is your name son?" Jim told him and Brother Charles replied, "Your really good, or really sneaky, because I don't know you." Jim didn't know what to say, so he said nothing. We had a nice turn out of 1958 grads at the reunion. I had Bob Mulsoff in my 4 some, while Chester Lis and his wife were passing out goodies at the sign up and collecting money at the close of the Silent Auction. Chester Galiga took a lot of abuse for being the drink guy. At most golf outings they have a pretty girl making the rounds with a cooler full of beer. Jim Schmidt and Walt Welninski played early 4 somes, but they showed up at the Mutiny to share a beverage. I was disappointed that all of the guys that wrote that they love to golf didn't show up. Click here for Golf Outing Pictures
When "Smitty" was asked about his stunt man antics that Brother John wrote about, he admitted that it was all true, in fact he once jumped out of a moving car and did his roll, just for laughs.
Chester wondered out the smoking area when he was in his Junior year. Our Principal, Brother Joseph Walter called Chester over and offered him a cigarette. Seniors were allowed to smoke out there, but Juniors needed a note from their parents if they wanted to smoke, so Chester turned down the unusual offer. He was afraid that if he took the smoke, he might be headed for a smack with Brother Charles' paddle. Our Principal insisted that he light up and promised that he would not be punished. Chester reluctantly took the cigarette and lit it up. When he took a drag, the cigarette exploded in his face. Brother Joseph Walter and all of the seniors had a good laugh.
*Brother Joseph Walter just passed away on June 19, 2008, He will be missed.
I remember a bifocal joke that Brother Joseph Walter told us way back in 1958 when we didn't know what bifocals were. It goes like this:
A guy came into the room and his pants were all wet. When he was asked to explain, he blamed it on his new bifocal glasses. He said, "I went to the men's room to relieve myself and when I looked down, I saw 2 penises, so I put one away." He didn't get a big laugh right away, because the guys that understood the joke, were cautious like Chester was. After he explained how bifocal glasses can cause double vision, he got a few giggles.
Attending my first High School football game was quite an experience. No cheers, and no enthusiasm for the team, turned out to be very depressing. After all, my father graduated from Holy Trinity and my brother is attending Holy Trinity. I had to do something. I decided cheerleading was the answer.
So, two of us walked over to the Holy Trinity
office to meet with the Principal.
(Can you imagine my ignorance of that request?
Only a Freshman mentality…)
We were told Holy Trinity had a bad experience in the past with
cheerleaders and, therefore, never again. Brother
Joseph Walter was pretty firm on this.
With a little tap dance and fast talk (also agreeing to say the
Rosary to change his mind…hummm – threw that in for good luck), we
got a smirk from both Brother Walter and Brother Charles, who was asked
to join this conversation. They agreed to put the girls on probation for the rest of the
football season. Our
enthusiasm and determination did show that season.
Even the crowd started to react, to some degree, whether we won
or lost (mostly lost).
Recruiting girls from Holy Family Academy to cheer was not a problem. After all, new to the High School scene and the opportunity to mix with the boys across the street, why not.?
We earned those heavy sweaters for the basketball season. My Mom sewed all the skirts (which, by the way, had to pass muster), and individually made our own pompons. We met regularly creating all our routines, and gathering up the school cheers as we went along. Some of our routines are still being used by today’s cheerleaders, I’m happy to say.
So you see, 1954 was the beginning of something good. To-date, cheerleading has since continued on in the school. Hip Hip Hooray!
Carolyn Steck (Topper's Sister)
*My Mom graduated from Holy Family Academy (HFA) in 1932, she told me they called it the Hot Flappers Association. G.L.
you ever play Hookie?
There were days when I felt like skipping school, but I never had the guts to do that because I knew I would get caught and the punishment was not worth a day off. I tried to fake an illness some days, but my Mom insisted that you have a fever over 100. My brother taught me to rub the thermometer so that the friction would get the mercury to expand and give a false reading. I never was able to pull that off.
I usually walked to school, I never knew how far it was until I Googled it. 50 years later, I found out it is 1.8 miles from Rockwell Street and North Ave. to Holy Trinity. I walked east on North then southeast on Milwaukee Ave. As I got close to Division Street, I could see the sky line of the Chicago calling me to keep going straight and skip school. I never did, I always turned left on Division and went to school. Then one day when we had no school, I got up early like it was a school day, I walked toward school and when I got to Division Street, I kept walking toward the Loop. (about 5 miles) I walked around like a small town hick looking at the tall buildings. I went to Woolworths and had a BLT, a chocolate malt and a Banana Split for $1.14. I took the subway home and got home and went over to Humboldt Park and played baseball near the Kosciuszko Monument.
Here are some pages from the Power Point Presentation that will be shown at the Reunion.
The arrows point to the guys that we will see at the reunion
That Rabbit Board reminded me of a Camp Story.
Click here to See my Son's 57 Chevy
Name Tags for Our 50th Reunion
Click here to go to the 1955 and 1956 yearbooks
Click here to go to the 1957 and 1958 yearbooks
Click here to go to some of my "Olden Day Memories"
Click here to go to my Holy Trinity Links
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