|Michael East, Raymond Fleck & Lee Lytton, Austin 2011|
Received from Raymond Fleck when I emailed him. My subject heading was, Perhaps you are no longer around.
Present! College presidents never die; they just lose their faculties. Thanks for checking up on me, Alex. —- Ray 30 July 2021
I went to the Roman Catholic St. Edward’s High School in Austin, Texas from 1958 to 1961 as a boarder. It was run by Brothers of Holy Cross, an order with nuns and priests, that perhaps is better known as it is in charge of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.
In those four years I cannot name one brother/teacher whom I
did not like. I feared a few, but every one of them prepared me for my life as
an adult (they may have made me a man). What I was not to know then, and I have
come to know, gradually through the years, is how important those teachers were
and how much they taught me. My mother said that perhaps the only thing I might
want to put on my tombstone is, “He died
The Brothers of Holy Cross taught me that in spades
I have written many blogs about my life at St. Edward’s and my relationship with the brothers and specifically with one, Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C. In one of those unlikely events that push time, I met him in 1957, and somehow, not too long ago, he not only socialized with my two granddaughters but with my wife Rosemary.
For those who might not know what C.S.C. represents there is this:
Congregatio a Sancta Cruce (CSC) is a Catholic congregation of missionary priests and brothers founded in 1837 by Blessed Basil Moreau, in Le Mans, France.
Another long time span event happened to me today. It involves a man, a former Holy Cross Brother. I first saw him walking to the Old Main Building at St. Ed’s perhaps at the end of 1957. He was tallish and gaunt. He wore glasses. He was handsome and elegant. He looked like a physicist (I was wrong he has a doctorate in chemistry). He seemed remote and cool, almost cold. This man, Brother Raymond Fleck, was 30 years old and he was the President of St. Edward’s University (adjacent and part of the high school complex on Congress Avenue). Not only that, he was also the Religious Superior of all the Brothers assigned to the high school and the university.
As far as I can tell I never had a spoken interaction with the man. That changed in 2011.
In 2011, at the 50th reunion of my Class of 6I, I sat at a table at a dinner next to a friendly looking man, wearing a plad shirt and glasses. He told me he was Raymond Fleck. He had left the order and had married. We became friends instantly.
This previously (remote to me) man had wangled funds from the very rich Sarita Kenedy East who owned a million acre ranch. I have no idea how this man could have done that. Could he have become a used car salesman? I am sure he could have. Fleck could do anything if he wanted to do it. With the money he was able to add a new building to the University called East Hall. Few knew that it was named after Sarita Kenedy East and not given the name for its location on the campus.
The story of how he managed to get the money is in this blog. This is when I saw him for the second time at a reunion. There is a fine connection here as Michael East, Class of 62 was a nephew of Kennedy East. In this blog you can see Fleck with East and with that other man, Lee Lytton (now diseased) who was also part of that King Ranch, etc. connection. In fact one of my most memorable memories of Lytton taking my wife and two granddaughters to what was the former main building of Kennedy East’s ranch in Sarita is in the link below.
Having spoken with Fleck today I was consumed by a rush of emotion realizing the span, 62 years of time from that one day I first saw him. I have no idea why memory plays so many tricks. Why was it that I remember that moment of seeing him walk by? Why is it that I remember so many words that those brothers of Holy Cross said to us in class?
What is patently obvious is that my previousl belief that Fleck was a remote man was firmly shattered when he told me on the phone, “Alex, I am going to have to go. My two grandsons are going to the swimming pool so I have lifeguard duties.”
This from a man who is now 94!
Somehow I believe that one can go home again.