St Edward's University East Hall & Alice Kleberg East
Saturday, May 28, 2011
|Tom East Sr. & Alice Kleberg East|
Guest Blog by Dr. Raymond Fleck
This blog is a variation of a speech that Dr. Raymond Fleck will be giving today at an all classes reunion at St. Edward's University of the former students of St. Edward's High School which closed its doors in 1967. Raymond Fleck will be finally revealing to us all why East Hall at St. Edward’s University is called East Hall.
When I first saw Raymond Fleck back in 1959 he was a tall, thin and seemingly remote young man who went by the name of Brother Raymond Fleck, C.S.C. He was a Brother of Holy Cross and at his young age he was the President of St. Edward’s University. I sort of feared him and I suspected that in his walks the tall man considered the paths of neutrinos and how they might be affected by solar flares. I would have never suspected that the man had it in him to plead, and successfully at that, for money which was something the small university in a then lazy provincial town clearly needed. It took all these years for me to find out the real story. It also taught me that time tempers our initial assessments. Raymond Fleck isn’t so tall, he is still thin, but he is about as friendly and warm as can be! I know I will be sitting with Raymond Fleck today. We will have Mike East with us who will proudly present the picture of his grandmother and grandfather to the university.
|Brother Raymond Fleck, C.S.C.|
Fifty years ago, St. Edward’s University was engaged in an ambitious building program. Six new buildings were built along the western portion of the hilltop campus near South Congress Avenue. One of these was a Dining Hall (now the Fine Arts Center), which was designed to have a second phase of construction, with the addition of an auditorium complex.
Early in the 1960s, Bert Maloney, a banker in Austin, secured a substantial pledge of funds to our building program from the Moody Foundation in Galveston. We intended to apply this Moody gift to build the auditorium, but when our plan was presented to our Advisory Board, Bernard Johnson, an engineer from Houston, objected. He said it was time to develop a new master plan for the campus before we built any more. The University administration agreed, on condition that three questions were answered before the planning process would get underway: (1) Was the University going to admit women as regular students? (2) Was St. Edward’s High School to remain on campus? (3) Was the University going to offer graduate programs beyond the bachelor’s degree?
At that time, St. Edward’s was under the ultimate control of the South-West Province of the Brothers of Holy Cross. The matter was relayed to them and in a short time we received a reply, saying: (1) It was up to the University to decide for itself whether to admit women students. (2) We should proceed with our planning on the basis that the High School would eventually not be on campus. (3) Whether the University would begin graduate programs would probably not have much effect on the development of a new master plan.
St. Edward’s High School was doing very well at the time, under the leadership of its principal, Brother Peter Celestine Maranto. The decision about its future location arrived like a bombshell for them. Strenuous efforts were made to find or build new facilities for the High School elsewhere in Austin but, unfortunately, those efforts proved fruitless and the High School eventually closed.
|Brother Peter Maranto (his name in later years)|
The question of admitting women as regular students had been simmering at the University for five years. The administration now put forth a plan for them to be admitted. The renowned Houston firm of Caudill Rowlett Scott was engaged to develop a new campus master plan. The first two buildings were to be an instructional facility and a women’s residence hall. In further negotiations with the Moody Foundation, it was agreed to apply their pledge to the new instructional building, and to increase the amount to $250,000. To get an idea of the significance of this gift, one would have to consider that it would be about ten times as much in today’s dollars. The instructional building, which would be named Moody Hall, cost one million dollars fifty years ago, and would probably cost ten million to build today.
Turning our attention to the needed women’s residence hall, we reviewed possible donors, and decided to contact the East family in South Texas. St. Edward’s owned a 7000 acre ranch, called the Casa Verde, which had been left to the Brothers of Holy Cross in the will of Mary Premont. The Casa Verde was adjacent to the East Family’s San Antonio de Viejo Ranch, and for many years we had been leasing our ranch to them for grazing. I had visited the East family once or twice, and two Brothers from St. Ed’s went there each year during hunting season. During these visits, we would be welcomed to stay at the East family’s home on their San Antonio de Viejo ranch. Alice Kleberg East was the granddaughter of Captain King, founder of the King Ranch. She was a widow, and two of her children, Lica and Robert, lived with her. Her other son, Tom East, Jr., managed her ranching operations, but he lived on their Santa Fe ranch with his wife and children. His son, Mike, attended St. Edward’s High School.
When I told Mrs. East I would like to come for a weekend visit, she welcomed me. On Saturday, Tom East and I toured the Casa Verde and he gave me an update on conditions there. I told Mrs. East that I had brought some pictures of St. Edward’s and I would like to show them to her. She wanted her children to see them too, and she said that after Sunday dinner would be good. When the time came, we gathered in a small parlor, and I brought out a view book that had been prepared for such presentations.
I gave a commentary as I worked my way through the various pictures. Eventually, I came to the new master plan, and told them of our need for financial assistance to build the women’s residence hall. At that point, Tom East took charge of the gathering. Up until then, his only comment had been that he was pleased with the education his son, Mike, received at St. Ed’s. Now that I had reached the point of asking for a contribution, he said, “Mr. Floyd knows what we can do. Go see him at the Alice National Bank. He will advise us.”
|Michael East & Grammercy Flow|
The little town of Alice, Texas was named for Mrs. East’s mother, Alice King Kleberg. The most important building in town was the Alice National Bank, of which Tom East and Jake Floyd were Board members. Jake Floyd was a lawyer and a powerful figure in Texas politics. I had met him previously, when renewing our grazing lease with the East family. On Monday morning, I met him at his office at the bank. He had been told the purpose of my visit. I gave him a brief explanation of the need for a substantial contribution towards the construction of the women’s residence hall. He asked how much we needed.
“The building will cost $300,000.” I replied (about three million in today’s dollars).
“For years, I’ve been trying to get the East family to contribute to charitable causes,“ he said, “but so far I’ve only gotten them to give ten dollars to the Red Cross. They’re not going to contribute the whole building --- how about half that amount … $150,000.”
That sounded good to me. Then Mr. Floyd added, “They won’t give it all at once. How about $30,000 per year for five years.... We can add a sixth year to cover the interest.”
And so it was that we received $180,000 from the East family over the next six years. In appreciation, we named the building in honor of Alice Kleberg East. Her grandson, Mike East is here today for this St. Edward’s High School reunion, and I ask him to come forward now.
Raymond Fleck, May 2011
Dolores, Cesar Costa & The Red Jaguar XKE
Friday, May 27, 2011
My three days, one evening and one morning in Austin are going to compress a lot of stuff. For one I will see guys who I haven’t seen since 1961. At least I will not have to go through the mutual shock of running into a former girlfriend, but a shadow of her former beauty, since St. Ed’s was a boarding school for young men. The women we occasionally saw were from a nun’s school on the other side of the Capitol, called St. Mary’s. My former girlfriend is happily running a cheerleading equipment business in San Antonio and will not make the effort to meet this shadow.
But there is one beautiful woman that I will see. She used to be called María de los Dolores Tow Humphrey but now she is Dolores Ploszay. Dolores, as we always called her is one of my Argentine cousins on my mother’s side. She inherited her mother’s (Dolores) beauty but in contrast. If her mother was the Audrey Hepburn of the family the younger Dolores has always been our very own Marilyn but with a Latin touch. She has a mezzo voice and eyes that kill.
In the picture here Dolores is on the left. Behind her is a distant cousin of ours called Louie Miranda. In the middle are her half brother and sister Shelley and David. The young man on the right is her full brother Robin. I am the boy in the back with my two doors wide open. Somebody took this picture in my house on Sierra Madre Street in Mexico City around 1954.
In 1962 Dolores stayed with us for a few weeks in an apartment that my mother and grandmother were renting on Avenida Insurgentes. We were next to a gun shop owned by a Basque jai-alai friend of hours and next door there was a handsome residential home. One late evening, a drunken man rang our door bell. My abuelita opened the door. The man said, “Mi querida Mamá, dejame entrar.” (My dear mother let me in.) My grandmother was indignant and slammed the door on the man. Dolores and I could have told her what was afoot. Some evenings Dolores and I would go to the roof with my four inch reflector telescope. My grandmother would smile in approval at her young grandkids’ interest in astronomy. She did not know that once on the roof we would point the scope down to the house next door and peek through the window at lightly clad women who were drinking with fat moustachioed men. As soon as stuff started happening in some other window we would immediately swing around. But to our chagrin, whenever stuff did happen the blinds were invariably closed.
Some three years later my grandmother and mother had moved again to a nicer apartment on Avenida Tamaulipas, a block away from the house the Edward Weston had occupied with Tina Modotti in the 20s.
Dolores came for another extended stay. She had grown up in all the right places. Wherever I went with her the piropos came flying loud and often. I felt sort of macho making believe that the stunning woman was not my first cousin. She had all kinds of young men come to take her on a date. My grandmother would make sure she was there to approve the young man.
One man my grandmother did not like was a slightly older man called Brito. He was tall, dark and very handsome. If the man overstayed his welcome my grandmother would pass by holding a broom in her hand and then going to the kitchen and loudly placing it behind the door. Placing a broom behind the door usually makes guests leave (especially if they see you doing it!).
But there was another young man who came to pick up Dolores. He was Cesar Costa who at the time was as famous as Elvis in Mexico (but not as good or perhaps I have always thought that “hey, baby!” simply does not translate well into Cervantes Spanish.
Cesar Costa arrived in a beautiful bright red Jaguar XKE convertible.
When I contacted Dolores a few day ago to tell her of my visit to Austin I asked her about Cesar Costa and his Jag. Would you believe that this woman has no recollection?
Breakfast In Carcassonne On My Way To Austin
Thursday, May 26, 2011
|San Jerónimo, Mexico, 1968|
In 2008 I read Julian Barnes’ Nothing to be Afraid Of
and I became a fan of the author. His latest, Pulse
, is a book of short stories with one common theme, that of the relationships between people. A paragraph with a killer sentence in Christopher Benfeys’ review in last week's NY Times Book Review
caught my eye. As I write this Wednesday evening before I fly to Austin to attend my 50th anniversary high school graduation that sentence makes me happy but melancholy, too. That sentence is all about why I have been married since 1968 and why these last 15 or so years have been the best. The sentence?
For Barnes, Carcassonne
[one of the stories] turns out to be code for coupledom. “I just wanted to marry her,” says a character in Ford Maddox Ford’s “ Good Soldier
,” quoted by Barnes, “as some people want to go to Carcassonne.” If Garibaldi’s grandiose passion is partly the invention of historians messaging the facts, so, in its way, is Carcassonne, the fortified cathedral in town in southern France that looks so “solid and enduring” but is mostly a 19th century reconstruction.” Hapiness in coupledom, Barnes’ narrator concludes, consists of more mundane achievements: “ A couple’s first task, it has always seemed to me, is to solve the problem of breakfast; if this can be worked out amicably, most other difficulaties can too.”
Tomorrow I have to set the alarm radio/clock for five if I am to make it to the airport two hours before the plane takes off at 7:40. This means that Rosemary and I will have to skip our usual (and decidedly daily!) breakfast in bed with the NY Times
, the Vancouver Sun
, coffee, tea, toast, orange juice, V-8 and some sort of fruit like watermelon, papaya or mango. Five O’clock means I will shave tonight, drink a hurried tea when I wake up, brush my teeth and drive to the airport with Rosemary. She will drop me off and return to our bed where she will find our much more practical cats asleep. She might even snooze, and who knows, perhaps have a proper breakfast afterward.
The squirrels had nothing to be afraid of
A post literate moment with a ghost
A Cure for all diseases- Paul St. Pierre
The horror of being born- the philosopher opines
A Charm Invests Her Face
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
A Charm invests her face
Imperfectly beheld -
The Lady dare not lift her Vail
For fear it be dispelled –
But peers beyond her mesh –
And wishes - and denies –
Lest Interview – annul a want
That Image – satisfies –
Forward To The Past Reprised
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Today has been a strange day. I had coffee with a Anita, a model I photographed last year and of whom I photographed in the original blog called Forward to the Past.
In many ways the events of today made me go back to read the post and to realize that not much has changed in what I had written. But there was one very definite change and this was in that 2010 model Anita. She showed up at my favourite downtown coffee bar, the Starbucks inside of Sears on Granville and Georgia. Before I even got there I ran into Jim Cummins and when Anita appeared I introduced them to each other. Not much later I spotted my friend Ian Bateson crossing Granville. I called him (I certainly did not shout at him) on the phone and he, too, met Anita and sat down for a chat.
Anita had told me on the phone that she had a bag full of film that I might want to use. The bag contained about 25 rolls of a no name 24 exposure ISO 800 colour negative film. I am sure I will find use for it. She had also told me that I was to bring my camera as she had something to show me that she could not give me. I suspected this to be some sort of tattoo. But the tattoo was not to be. Jim Cummins looked at her and said, “You seem to be just about 7 months pregnant.” And she was and is!
At the bottom of the original Forward to the Past
there is a picture of Anita wearing what looks like a high school letter sweater. My idea when I photographed her was to make her look like a high school student.
This time around she also brought the sweater and told me, “You have to reprise those pictures you took back then.”
If there is anything I really dislike is to photograph pregnant women and particularly when they are nude and hold their enlarged stomach with their hands. It is a cliché I avoid like the plague. But I had an idea and I brought along my Nikon FM-2 with two useful lenses. One was a 35mm F-2 and the other a wider 24mm F-2.8. After drinks in Starbucks (no caffeine for either of us) I drove Anita to Stanley Park and in an parking lot I took equivalent pictures (sort of like these
) of her in the driver’s seat and only in the bitter end after a longish sequence would viewers understand that the woman in a high school letter sweater is 7 months pregnant.
Forward to the Past
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Every couple of days as I watch the present rush past me like a hummingbird on amphetamines I find a need to reflect and exchange thoughts with three friends in particular. They are writer and novelist John Lekich, designer Ian Bateson and freelance writer and English eccentric Mark Budgen
. It is with the latter that I spend many minutes per day discussing the state of journalism. Of late it has been all about pay walls on the internet.
, a once avid television (John would never utter that as TV) viewer restricts himself to the Turner Classics Channel and even that one is losing some of its luster as Lekich finds he has seen most of those films. He does not indulge on Twitter as Twitter would ban his beloved adjective, syntax and good writing.
, who has a small but efficient design firm called Baseline Type & Graphics
has a deep interest in social change. Of late Bateson has been exploring new ways to do business. One of these has been in navigating the business social networks like Linkdin and social networks like Facebook. He has been communicating with like-minded designers but finds that most comments are very short and mostly banal.
Mark Budgen, somehow went from sound recordings on records and bypassed everything that happened in-between and incorporated the iPod and podcasts to his life. He listens to esoteric classical music stations from Norway and reads the Guardian and the NY Times on line with great detail. Budgen is very informed on trends even though he has never driven a car or had a driver’s license. It was in the 80s that he got rid of his credit cards.
I have another friend writer Les Wiseman
, who ever since I met him back in the late 70s always knew who was the latest very good but obscure rock singer or the finest up-and-coming porn star. It is no surprise to me that he now has Facebook friends that number in the three digits and that some of his e-mail messages to me have this at the bottom:
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network
Many of his friends are reformed and aging punk rockers who spat on the stage while performing but now have developed fine manners. I looked at some of the profiles of these people and it occurred to me that most of us see the world as a past/present/future continuum and in that order. Some others live in the past. But using lateral thinking I do believe that Les Wiseman and his friends have simply changed the past/present/future configuration to future/present/past and look, paradoxically ahead to the past.
I am not too sure that what follows has any relevance to the above.
It was in October, 1981 that Les Wiseman and I spent most of a late afternoon and long evening at Gary Taylor’s Rock Room trying to secure an interview and photo session with ex-New York Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders
who was in town to play with his band. His band included one Rat Scabies on drums. Until Thunders finally did himself in on a drug overdose in 1991 many who went to his performances where like the Vancouver Sun photographers who used to collect at the hairpin curve in Westwood waiting for some racing car driver to crash and kill himself. Johnny Thunders concerts were full of those waiting to see death on stage.
In 1981 I still subscribed to the idea that a camera recorded an event, exactly as it was and that the only personal interpretation to be gleaned from a photograph was the accidental or random fact that the photographer chose to press the shutter now as opposed to then or in a bit.
I snapped pictures of Thunders throughout the night mostly backstage. He would disappear to the bathroom for long half hours where he probably pierced with a needle whatever little patch of skin that was left that was intact. You can see here Les Wiseman’s account (part of it) on this Vancouver Magazine tear sheet. I know of many who think this is one of the pest snaps I ever took.
By 1986 Annie Leibovitz
had changed the world of photography. It was New York City photographer Gregory Heisler who said for the record (American Photographer) something like, “Before Annie we could photograph people as they were and we took the best portrait we could. Now because of her we have to photograph people doing something.”
By 1986 my rock shoots for Vancouver Magazine had gotten ever more elaborate. We had enough clout that we would reject to photograph The Cramps
while performing and insisted and demanded (and got our wish) to photograph them back stage, exclusively without any other journalists or photographers. By 1986 we had the custom of featuring a local rocker in a Christmas spread. In December 1986 Les Wiseman decided on heavy metal singer Darby Mills.
Out of the blue I decided to photograph her, dressed in a white teddy) with 100 white teddy bears. I filled my wife’s very large Audi with the bears which I obtained from the owner of a West Vancouver store called Bears Toy Store. The picture is slick and I used a complex lighting setup.
John Lekich would appreciate the Darby Mills shot. He would appreciate and probably count to see if indeed there are 100 teddy bears in there. Lekich might not understand the on-the-fly virtuosity of Johnny Thunders who might play brilliantly for 5 minutes and then crash for an hour with a cocktail of Courvoisier and heroin. In some ways many would say that my incidental grab shot of Thunders represents that momentary brilliance of the doomed man.
In a similar way I have approached nude portraits with elaborate lighting, large cameras and exotic locations. Even when I used my more neutral studio the cameras were still big and the lights powerful. I took some pictures on Monday of Anita a new model I have discovered who hails from Prince George. She has an easy smile (she had a bit of time following my instructions not to). She looks very young yet she is 35. I look at her pictures and see no connection to Darby Mills and all those bears. I see a solidarity to my images of Johnny Thunders.
Is simple more authentic? Is more elaborate less honest? As I pressed the shutter of my Nikon FM-2 (not much different than the Pentax MX I used to photograph Thunders) to photograph Anita in my living room, I felt a rush of youth as if, indeed the past were in front of me and all I had to do was to reach and find all that I thought I had lost, right there.
Ale, Banjo & The Malibu Takes The Curves
Monday, May 23, 2011
|Ale and Banjo|
A couple of weeks ago I got some water in my ears and I became quite deaf. I went to my doctor for an ear flush. He inserted a big syringe with warm water into my ear and pushed the plunger. You would think this would have hurt or that my doctor might damage my ear drums. I asked him and he replied, “Certainly not because I am doing it!”
I left hearing very well but the water sprayed my doctor with enough ear wax to polish a Camaro. That evening I was hearing something in my ear and I became worried. I cupped my ears with my hands to see if the buzzing was inside. I am quite paranoid about this as my mother had a terrible case of Ménière's disease and she became deaf when a constant buzzing destroyed her hearing nerve.
The sound was not there when I cupped my ears but it was there when I didn't. I opened the bedroom window and the sound was intensified. It was only then that I understood that the noise was the Granville Street traffic and even though it was late at night the sound did not stop.
It had been my eldest daughter Ale who weeks before had told me that she could never live in Vancouver because of the constant noise of traffic. She said,” It never stops.”
On Sunday Rosemary and I drove our Malibu to Lillooet to visit Ale. We returned Monday afternoon.
The trip was uneventful even though we went and came by the ultra curvy Whistler/Pemberton highway to Lillooet. In fact not once was I able to get any sliding or skidding noise out of the Malibu’s tires.
In Lillooet I cooked but otherwise I did nothing. The town was getting ready for its May Parade to be held on Monday and the countryside was full of noises that I euphemistically called artisan noises. These were souped up domestic racers getting ready for the parade. There were noises of Harleys and Ale’s neighbour was tuning up a supercharged Pontiac. I made fun of the artisan noises but Ale again reminded me that at night there was no noise or the constant swishing of cars on Granville during our Vancouver rains.
Rosemary had a very good night’s sleep and I helped Ale hang some framed pictures on the wall and a mirror in her new fixed up bathroom. Rosemary helped Ale in the garden and both of us enjoyed the sun (while it lasted) as it was warmer than in Vancouver.
|Duffey Lake Near Lillooet|
It was so pleasant and comforting to see how happy Ale is in her pastoral life and her house is becoming more of a home as she slowly fixes it up. We left, after what seemed like it had been a week’s stay, refreshed and ready to take on the noises of Vancouver.
And I must stress again that it was so much fun to drive our Malibu through all those curves!
A Hairspray Rapprochement With Rebecca
Sunday, May 22, 2011
What follows is a very personal and roundabout review of the Arts Club Theatre Company production of Hairspray
playing at the Stanley until July 10.
A month ago I took Rebecca to see the Arts Club Theatre production of The Graduate
. She saw the poster for Hairspray
and told me,” I want to really see that!”
About three weeks ago I watched her gorge on bread, butter and jam and I mentioned that if she continued gravity would increase its hold on her. In fact, I was much more blatant and I used the antonym to thin. Rebecca became quite furious and hours later I received a sermon from her mother telling me that this was none of my business and I was to shut up. Then came the painful clincher. I was informed that Rebecca did not want to come over to our house anymore. The punishment was a double one as this would mean that Rosemary would not get to enjoy the company of our ever changing 13 year old.
A day before the opening performance (May 7) of Hairspray
(directed by Bill Millerd)
I asked my daughter if Rebecca was still game to go to Hairspray.
Rebecca had a terrible cough and cold so I knew what the excuse for the negative reply was going to be. I was surprised as I was told that Rebecca was still willing.
I went to pick her up determined to keep my mouth shut and not to mention anything related to food and the gaining of body mass. She came into the car and she said, “What do you think if I told that I want to visit you this coming Saturday?” My answer (I sort of hid my delight) was,” Well you have picked a good day as they are going to have the British car show at VanDusen which you like so much."
We went to Hairspray
. We sat down and a man next to Rebecca asked her, “Are you going to cough through this show? If that is the case fell free. I have a North Van cold but no cough yet. You can pass it on to me in solidarity.” Rebecca did cough a bit but it could not be heard with all the powerful singing on stage.
At this point I want to reiterate that this Buenos Aires born man likes his salty food salty and his sweet food sweet. I don’t like the sweet anywhere near the salty and for many years I could not abide with the concept of sweet and sour. What this translates to is that when people talk on stage I expect them to talk and not sing. When I go to opera I cannot stand the ones where singers talk. It has to be separate! And the less I say about Canadian hockey and that awful Hammond organ the better.
Well not really as thanks to the many excellent musical plays that I have attended at the Arts Club Theatre I am beginning to warm up to the concept of actors suddenly singing.
Hairspray was enjoyed by Rebecca and she kept asking me if I was having fun. I was. Her favourite moment, and mine, too was Motormouth Maybelle (played and sung by Alana Hibbert) powerful belting song in the second act. The whole cast was competent in every way but those of Afro/American heritage where especially so.
During the intermission I told my friend and lawyer Christopher Dafoe of my faux pas with Rebecca. I mentione her reaction. Dafoe (to my chagrin!) said, “Good for her!” We also discussed the imbroglio of the libel suit that our mutual friend, the Vancouver Sun's David Baines
had recently lost.
I took Rebecca home happy that thanks to Hairspray
we were friends again and I will no longer complain when actors after some silly pause suddenly begin to sing. After all, if they do so, it must be another excellent musical at my Arts Club Theatre.