Chalk Dust Memories
Alfred Pace (1974)
In order to attend SI, it was necessary for me to take a series of buses and the L Taraval from Forest Hill Station. Upon arriving at Forest Hill Station, I was confused about which direction and which car I should take. Within moments, I observed several students wearing red and blue SI jackets … clearly juniors or seniors. Thus it was that I got onto that car, presuming we would arrive at SI in short order. Wrong. The students had just completed photo day and were going downtown. I found myself on Market Street “dazed and confused.” A Muni driver provided the correct info and I took the L back to the Forest Hill Station Tunnel. At that point, I was told we had to disembark as the car was no longer “in service.” As the time was now approaching 9 a.m., I decided to run from the station to SI, a distance of about 28 city blocks.
Of course, this resulted in my first encounter with J.B. Murphy and Br. Draper, whose quote rings in my head to this day: “Mr. Pace, this is not the way to begin your 4-year career at St. Ignatius Prep. JUG for five days.” But because of that lengthy run (my first, ever), I decided to go out for the cross country team.
From time to time during the 4th and 5th period lunch breaks, the doors of Carlin Commons would abruptly and simultaneously close, virtually trapping the students inside with the teachers and faculty standing guard. Swiftly, Br. Draper would enter, black book in hand and with an air of élan, plug in a microphone and announce, “Gentlemen, this is a grooming inspection!” Brother would then make the rounds, entering into his black book those students whose hair was too long and those who were showing the first signs of facial hair. Of course, this became a bit of an event and a number of students would begin to chant the names of those they thought warranted the attention of Br. Draper.
Such it was one day the doors of Carlin Commons closed and the faculty stood guard. It was not long before some students began to chant “Pace, Pace, Pace!” Brother wandered over and suggested, “Get a haircut by Monday.”
I failed to get the haircut. Monday arrived and at the end of second period, Br. Draper made his usual intercom announcements of the day and then asked those who had been asked to get a haircut or shave to come down to his office. Yikes!
Upon arrival, Brother correctly observed that I had not complied with his request. Accordingly, he asked me to enter his office and sit down, at which time he proceeded to cut off a portion of my dangling locks. Frankly, this is an area where Brother has little talent. The result was a clearly lopsided, partial haircut. Brother then said, “Mr. Pace, I suggest you get the rest done by a professional.”
I also remember the following miscellaneous events: Aldo Congi ’72 and the SI Juke Box dancing to “Rock around the Clock” during lunch in Carlin Commons; Mark (now Father) Taheny ’74 climbing the exterior corner of the gymnasium, using only his hands and feet; Stan Raggio ’73, several other students and I in Stan’s yellow Plymouth hemi-head Duster listening to Led Zeppelin's “Whole Lotta Love” blaring out of the 8-track; the Circle; races at Brotherhood Way; my first fistfight on the second floor of the school building; and Mr. Kennedy’s biology class where we launched a boat and deployed a seine net in Middle Lake at Golden Gate Park. The police arrived shortly thereafter urging us to bring the boat and net ashore.
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