That's QuigleyMonday, May 30, 2011
|Maurice Quigley, Class of 1950|
At our 2011 St. Ed’s Reunion in Austin,Texas, we had breakfast in Le Mans Hall (the Order of Holy Cross was founded in Le Mans, France). Some of the alumni were invited to tell their stories. I was sitting by Mike East (Class of 1962) and I whispered in his ear, “This is going to be tedious and boring.” I was absolutely wrong. I was instructed by Mike East’s partner, Letty García to take him out for a photo with his nephew Justis but East looked at me and said, “I want to listen to these stories.” We did.
The best story came from deadpan faced (with a wonderful equally deadpan delivery) Maurice (to be pronounced Morris as he is of Irish extraction) Quigley. Just for effect let me repeat his name, Morris Quigley, class of 1950.
It was 1946 and Quigley was a freshman at St. Ed’s High School. He was in a classroom in what we call Old Main, which is a Gothic Revival structure built around 1885. Quigley was a good boy sitting in the back of a Spanish class being taught by Brother Innocence. There was a disturbance and Brother Innocence found Quigley guilty even though the boy said,” I would never cause a disturbance.” Brother Innocence commanded Quigley to leave the room and to stand outside until the bell rang. This was tough punishment had this happened in spring as the Texas heat would have been overpowering.
Quigley heard the voice of the principal, Brother Bonaventure Foley, C.S.C. The man was coming his way with a family. He was showing them the school as they might have been thinking of sending their boy to experience a Roman Catholic education at St. Ed’s which was a boarding school that also accepted day students.
Young Quigley was not keen on explaining to Brother Bonaventure why he was standing at attention outside the classroom so he moved behind a statue of St Edward the Confessor, the St. Edward whose name was the school’s.
Brother Bonaventure was looking out, through the high and narrow Gothic windows, onto the east side of the school where the Brothers of Holy Cross had a farm where they grew vegetables. The family looked at St Edward and noticed something that moved behind. They looked closely and saw a terrified young boy.
“Who’s is that?” they asked Brother Bonaventure.
Brother Bonaventure simply answered, “That’s Quigley.” For years when those parents told people about their visit to St. Ed's, they would say: "And they keep a Quigley behind this statue."
I wrote to Maurice Quigley so that he would verify some of the facts that I might have forgotten from his Saturday speech as I had been too busy laughing. Here is what he wrote and I rest my case that Maurice Quigley should now at age 79 pursue a career in comedy.
I'm sorry for taking so long to answer. Business has been very good, though somewhat hectic, but I won't complain about that.
The Principal of St. Edward's University High School (that's the way it is shown on my diploma) was Brother Bonaventure Foley, CSC. It was he who said "This is Quigley."
The Spanish language teacher, who mistakenly (?) thought I had caused a disturbance in the back of the classroom, was Brother Innocence. I don't remember his last name. Of course I would never cause a disturbance, you understand.
I was a 14 year old freshman in 1946. I had actually entered the ninth grade at the age of 13 in 1945. That was in a public school in Austin, and it was a very poor experience. In those years it was bad enough to be Irish, but if you were Irish Catholic you were really not accepted by everyone, especially if you had no permanent home. That was OK with me, but that's part of a story much longer than you would care to hear. On the first day of school after the Christmas Holidays I was told to leave and not return.
Therefore, I finally accumulated enough money to at least get started to SEUHS [in those days it was called St Edward’s University High School], so I just entered as a 14 year old Freshman in '46.
Yes, I was in the class of '50, and a year later, while the Korean War was raging I enlisted in the US Army, thinking that was war I was supposed to attend. However, the Army figured it had all the trouble it could handle in Korea, so I was sent to Europe. Therefore I did not get to fight in Korea. Wanting to keep myself available in case something, such as what is going on now came along, upon my release from active duty I enlisted in the Army National Guard.
Counting my active duty time I spent eight and a half years as an enlisted man, qualified for a commission, became airborne qualified, and was fortunate to have had several excellent commands, the most enjoyable of which were my more than six years in the 71st Airborne Brigade which was a round out to the 82nd.
I wish I were 78, but I am 79 since last March 6th.
Brother Bonaventure and the parents were looking east at the farm, approximately where I-35 is now.
The most important part of this is that I met a little girl from St. Mary's Academy at the end of my sophomore year and four years later hitch hiked home from my station in California with $65.00 in my pocket to marry her, and that was beyond doubt the very best thing that ever happened to me.
Hope this answers your questions. Probably far more than you wanted.
Good things have continued to happen to me, and one of them was meeting you. God bless and keep you and your family, and I look forward to seeing you at the next reunion.