The Man That Was Brother Edwin Charles Reggio, CSCWednesday, April 24, 2013
Once Mike O’Connell, HS Class of 67, found out this morning that Brother Edwin Reggio, CSC had died today in South Bend Indiana he decided he best tell me in person via the telephone.
I can still remember Brother Edwin’s last words in March when I visited St. Ed’s and stayed at the St. Joseph Hilton (St. Joseph Hall). I had asked him if he were going to miss Texas as he was headed for a 24/7 facility in South Bend, Indiana. He looked at me and with that half smile of his he said, "To miss Texas I will first have to remember it.”
For a person who was slowly losing his mind and memory, that was pretty epistemological. It left me astounded.
Not too long ago I mentioned to a friend that we humans could scan situations just like a computer. As a photographer when someone comes into my studio I quickly know what I can do or not do. Is the face too narrow? Is it too broad? – that kind of thing. My friend startled me by saying, “Not like a computer but the very opposite, computers mimic our human ability to scan.”
That was the kind of person who Brother Edwin was. What a jolt, to write, Brother Edwin was!
When my fave tenor saxophonist, Stan Getz died in 1991, Verve issued his last recording, Stan Getz/Kenny Barron – People Time which is one of the most exquisite jazz recordings in my collection. Inside in the notes by French jazz columnist and author Alain Gerber I found this: ”So this is the first record by the man whose name was Stanley Getz. The first time that the silence has been defeated since a certain June 6, 1991.”
I feel that jolt, as I look beyond my monitor onto my spring garden in a rare Vancouver sunny day. I cannot cry and I was too saddened to even tell my Rosemary.
The one lasting memory (of so many memories that I have from one of the most hermetic men I have ever met) is of asking Brother Edwin, when he took me on a tour of the Congregation of Holy Cross section of the Assumption Memorial Cemetery, “Where are you going to be buried?” He looked at all the crosses, most of brothers who had been my teachers. I looked at the crosses as if all those brothers, all friends and mentors, suddenly, in one instant , had all been lined up against a wall and shot down in one swoop.
“It depends when I die. If in the next few years, it will be here and if later over there.” He looked at me with that half smile of his all with a grain of salt as something inevitable and like Epicurus something with no reason to fear.
In some respects in that moment I grieved for that death that was to come.
My only hope is that wherever he is he will recall where he was from (Texas so much of his life) and perhaps only then we might be just lucky enough to be remembered and be doubly blessed by Brother Edwin Charles Reggio, CSC.