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

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but not poor enough to accept help in rearing his own family. He came of a good family and he always kept his family pride. My mother told me that when I was baptized my godfather wished to make an offering to the priest but my father objected saying “I will not allow anyone to pay for the baptism of my children.” Evidently he was not familiar with the custom of many sponsors of making a small offering of their own to the priest.

          He did not like the idea of being in debt, and he looked ahead like the prudent man of the gospel to see if he could finish what he began. Of course he sometimes missed his calculations, as I remembered it once happened in his school calculations. Compulsory attendance at school was not then a law, and in our district, as I suppose in others [,] the salary of the teacher was paid from “public money” as far as that fund would reach, and then the deficit was made up by a pro rata assessment for each child in attendance. One summer it was reported that the public fund was low, and a school tax would be levied to pay the teacher. There were five of us children of school age, and in a school of only about thirty children the anticipated tax was considerable. Only three of us were sent that summer, and when the term was over it was found that the public fund was in a better way condition than had been anticipated, and my father’s tax was only fifteen cents! If we lived near Notre Dame I would have been sent there to school, and I might have ended by joining the Order.

          About 1856 my brother Martin established himself in the grocery business at Niles and I spent considerable time with him. That gave me the chance of attending the Catholic school for a time at odd whiles. It was not much, but it was the only Catholic schooling I got in my younger days. The rest of my limited education I got at the schools already spoken of. I read a good deal for a small boy, and my reading was not unprofitable. I liked history and I was scolded once for my alleged lack of judgment in the selection of reading matter for the family at the public library.

          It happened this way: I was sent to the library to return some books and bring back others. I chose four volumes that I thought suitable, two of which were “Washington and his Generals”, - the other two being along similar lines, but I had forgotten the titles. When I got home my brothers gave me a good talking to for not bringing something in the way of good stories, and they said they would send someone who knew books the next time. But I guess they read the books anyway.
          However, all my reading was not all of this kind. Beadle’s Dime Novels were on the market then and I used to sneak one away from my brother and revel in the company of pirates, Indians and hunters and trappers in the Rocky Mountains, but anything like a love story was made a matter of confession.

          Of our home games I do not remember much, but I know there was a deck of cards in the house, but this was religiously put aside during lent and every night we were gathered together for the Rosary and the Litany of the Blessed Virgin with a good addition of trimmings for various intentions. In the Rosary different ones were given the

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