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St. Joseph's College

Class of 1957 - Daily Life

May 17, 2010: This page --in fact this website -- has been inactive since shortly after our 2007 reunion. But, one of us whom we could not find then has check in!! Pete Henneberry sends the following question:
"I wrote an article for the BLOW for Alumni Day 1954(1955?) where I wrote about a usual day at St Pat's before SJC opened or in the early days of SJC. One line was: "St Pat's [or SJC] was a great storehouse of knowledge. The students entered knowing so much and left knowing so little. It must have been stored there." Another line was about there being a study period after morning Mass but before breakfast. I wrote something about the students "roaring into the study hall" for a half hour of study before breakfast. Does anyone have a copy of that edition of the BLOW?" Peter Henneberry E-Mail: peterhenneberry --a-t--"

During our years at St. Joe's, we followed a fairly uniform set of daily routines. With the opening of the new wing, there were a few significant changes -- such as studying in our rooms and a later "lights out," but the overall pattern remained largely the same for the entire six years. Here is my attempt to reconstruct the daily routines. Please add your own recollections (and corrections) in the comment box. I will incorporate them into this page as I receive them.

5:55 AM. The bell rings. Time to get up. If the bell is not enough, there will shortly be a knock on the door and the sound of "Benedicamus Domino" from the fellow student assigned the task of overseeing the rooms in that particular corridor. He was supposed to await our response of "Deo Gratias" to be sure we were up. [Was there a title for this job? I think so but can't remember it. Was the same person assigned the other corridor tasks: locking up the rooms after breakfast and unlocking them before night prayers?]

Bill Wall (Rhet '63) has a very detailed account of a day in the life of a seminarian at St. Joseph's at the "memoirs" page at

In the next 15 minutes, we dressed, took our morning trip to the "Jakes", and got ourselves downstairs to the "temporary" chapel.

6:15 AM. Morning prayers in the chapel followed by Mass and the beginings of a second ("thanksgiving") Mass.

7:15 AMOff to breakfast in the refectory. Until the new wing opened, the entire student body ate in a single dining hall (refectory). There was a separate faculty dining room between the chapel and the refectory, and the kitchen was also located between the chapel and refectory. At breakfast, however, the prefect of discipline--Fr. Dillion when we first arrived and later Fr. Canfield presided over the meal. My best recollection is that, once grace had been pronounced, we were generally allowed to talk during breakfast -- breaking the "great silence" that had begun after night prayers on the previous evening. Unlike the dinner and supper meals, I don't think there were any readings before or after breakfast. (During retreats and Holy Week--or was it all of lent?--we had breakfast in silence during which we listened to--or were supposed to listen to--a spiritual reading.)

During our high school years, there were 9 places at each table. With some variation because of class sizes, the table setup was as follows: A student from the Rhet class presided as table head. His word during meal times was law. A Poet sat to his right and served as "right hand man". There was also a "left hand man" opposite the Poet and generally from fourth high. Either the right hand or left hand man (perhpas they alternated) had the responsibility of dishing out the desert (called "mystery") at the end of the meal. Next, on either side of the table, came 2 individuals from 3rd High. There were the left-hand and right-hand butter cutters. They alternated the responsibility at each meal for dividing up the "butter", which was actually margarine at the time we arrived at St. Joe's but later the school got supplies of surplus butter. Whether butter or margarine, the term we used for it was "grease" (although the dividers were still called "butter cutters"). Next in line were the 2 second-high positions. There job was that of pouring the pitcher of milk into the rounded milk glasses for the table. Finally, at the far end of the table sat 2 6th-Latiners who had the exalted title of "Pilers". As each course of the meal was finished, used plates and utensils were sent down to the pilers who scraped any unused food into the bottom of two trays, piled up the dishes, and placed the utensils into the top tray.

7:35 AM (approx) When the Fr. Dillion or Fr. Canfield decided that the breakfast was done, we would be dismissed from the refectory. During the next 25 minutes or so, we went up to our rooms, made our beds, and had a few minutes left over to take a short walk or just hang around and chat.

John O'Brien recalls:
How well I remember the rhythmic head-pounding and the exclamation "Yoicks!Can't you get it right?" And I now remember - "Amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant." Joe's teaching method left an indelible impression. He is memorable.

8:00 AM Next came a half hour study period during which we were required to study Latin.

8:30AM-9:20 The first class of the day was Latin - for all 6 years. In our first and second years, there were 2 divisions to our class. In first high my division had Fr. Joseph Riddlemoser for Latin. He, rather literally, beat the declensions and conjugations into our heads. I can't remember who taught our division Latin (featuring Julius Caeser and his wars) in second high nor, in general, who were the profs handling the classes for the other division. We had Fr. Giguere for Latin (Cicero) in third high. Again a bit of memory loss about who taught us Virgil in Fourth High.

Denis Ryken fills in some of my memory blanks with this comment: "Joe! What a fantatic memory. I believe Fr. Campbell taught us Latin in 4th High. I seem to recall Jerry Distefano (in Geometry class?) surprising Fr. Krumpelmann with an expression in Chinese that sounded phonetically like "shon-tai-pow" Jerry got a real "yoiks" out of Fr. Krumpelmann for that. Keep priming our memory pumps, Joe. I'm beginning to realize how much info I've "lost" in the deeep recesses of my mind."

Fr. Ed Krumpelmann, MM

9:30 AM I'm having a bit of trouble recalling the exact sequence of the rest of the class schedule. I think we had English and Math in the morning .In first high, we had "Doc" Connor for English, Fr. Ed Krumpelmann from Maryknoll taught us Algebra. [I did a web search an learned that Fr. Krumpelmann went back to Hong Kong in 1958 and worked there until his death in 1975. I vividly remember his animated teaching style, his stories of China, and his use of expressive Chinese phrases. A group of us at one point got to go up the hill to visit his amateur radio setup at the Maryknoll Sem.] I think Fr. "Pepper" Martin tought the B division English.
My best recollection is that we had another, hour long study hall followed by a class, the lunch period, another study hall and 2 afternoon classes and then the long recreation. From about October through April or so, the long recreation took place after the first class and then we had a class at 5 pm.

Mail Call

At Noon, I seem to remember a chapel event before lunch but I can't quite remember what it was. In any case the noon meal featured, if I remember correctly, a short scripture reading before the meal and a reading from the martyrology at the end. During the meal on weekdays, we generally ate in silence (apart from the clanking of dinnerware and some furtive whispering) while we listened to a reading. I recall a couple of books from the "Little Britches" series and a book by J.Y. Cousteau about diving. Perhaps, we can get some others listed in the comments section. At the head table, the College President (Frs. "Pop" Rock and later "Beans" Campbell) presided. Fr. Dillion and then Fr. Canfield were also there as was Fr. Connor who supervised -- and sometimes rang the bell to correct--the reader. I remember one reader who suffered multiple corrections because he simply could not say "electoral" -- it kept coming out "electrical". Once we moved into the new wing, the faculty as a whole took lunch in the main dining rooms (oops! --refectories) and the college and high school each had their own eating places.

During the brief after lunch recreation period, we first congregated on the steps for the daily mail call ritual. Those of us lucky enough to get a letter then went off to read it while the rest of us took a short walk. (On rainy days, we spent this recreation in the study hall and, I believe, mail call took place there.)

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This page was last modified Monday, 17-May-2010 03:56:35 PDT.