Three Fathers

Observing the Fourth Commandment is a real challenge for someone born, as I was, to a verbally abusive alcoholic and a femme fatale whose chronic identity crisis rendered her incapable of distinguishing herself from, among others, Eva Peron. The setting of rural poverty in which we lived did little to improve our family’s situation. In fact, both the setting and the situation were depressing.

Recognizing what he called my “giftedness,” our elderly pastor announced that he had arranged a full scholarship for me with the sisters who ran the best high school in a large New England industrial town thirty miles away. This meant that from the age of thirteen I would get to live with Grandma “in town,” a blessed arrangement that ended only when that dear lady passed on nearly twenty years later.

Friendships with priests were among the more significant and memorable experiences of my high-school years. Fr. Roger and I drove into New York every few weeks for an evening of opera or ballet, and on the drive back he tried to get me to make intelligent observations on what we had seen and heard. At first I failed abjectly in this, but later Fr. Roger often expressed pleasure at my inchoate sense of aesthetic appreciation. Apart from his enjoyment of classy entertainment, Fr. Roger had a talent for boxing and spent several afternoons a week at an athletic club training and sparring with assorted wannabes, wonders,...

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About the Author

John Blake More taught French and Spanish before retiring to the Yucatan Peninsula in 1996.