Recollections of My Life and Reflections on Times and Events During It: A Memoir by Father W. J. Howlett

Page 14

met. She is a nice motherly woman, a good talker, and I like her very much.” (Mrs. Lake was a Catholic)

          “I lived west twenty-four years and still own a farm in Western Kansas five miles from Russell Springs in Logan County. The West is so much alive and it tends to broaden men and make them more liberal. On church matters I no longer say I am right and everybody else is at fault, for they are as likely to be right as I am.

          “My sister Sarah, who now lives in Ohio, has been visiting us and left last Saturday. She used to be a playmate of your sisters Joanna and Catherine; her age is I think between the two, as she is fifty-two this month. I showed her your book and letter. She recognized your looks of old after looking at the picture a little while. A good many of the old scholars turned out well, but you have the distinction of climbing higher than any of the rest. Should I ever visit town in which you reside I will certainly look you up.

          “But few of the old settlers remain. You would scarcely know any of our old schoolmates - so many changes. Emory and Herbert Dloaney both very bald; Sarah Shaw and sister Mary very large women; Thomas Manix lost his wife. She was Maggie Ryan and used to go to school with me. They have a nice family of children. Dennis Bunbury begins to look old, but jolly as ever and quite bald.

          “I wrote some reminiscences of the legislature of Michigan that I was in a good many years ago, but in the shuffle of moving last spring they were lost. If I had them I would send them to you. They contained some of the laughable things we come in contact with sometimes. The editor of the Dowagiac Herald requested me to write up Barron Lake of a long time ago. If I do I will send you the paper, as it will take in a good many who used to live in that vicinity.”

          I never received the article he was going to send me, for in the next letter he wrote me he told me he had a slight stroke of paralysis, and not long afterwards I heard that he was dead.

          In matters of religion we were somewhat better situated in our home, altho [although] we were miles from a chapel and that chapel was attended irregularly. It was different when Father DeNeve came as permanent pastor, for then we felt we were in a parish and six or seven miles were not considered a sufficient excuse to remain away from mass. Most of the farmers and horses had wagons, and the father and mother and at least one half of the children were always at Sunday mass. Those who stayed at home to take care of the place or who did not find room in the conveyance went the next Sunday.

          Father DeNeve was not long at Niles before he organized a class for First Holy Communion and Confirmation. He found a large number of both classes, and appointed regular days for the children to come for instructions. This was all right for those who lived near by, but for those out in the country, it was different. We had to study our lessons just the same, and on Sunday we recited and listened to the instructions. Our mother saw that we studied our

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