a life well lived

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Our Own Academy 10/22/00

Well, another Charter Day has come and gone.  I managed to get to the Theta Alpha luncheon on Saturday - time very, very well spent - but that was all I was able to do.  Instead of going to activities, I spent a lot time thinking about wonderful Charter Days in the past.

As I recall, when I attended elementary school at Bryn Athyn back in 1920 and '21 - 5th and 6th grades, that would be - 3rd Grade through Theological School marched to the cathedral on Charter Day.  That is how I recall it.

When my own children were in elementary school, we always had a birthday celebration on Charter Day, complete with a birthday cake.  When Mim was taking care of Lach and Jean Pitcairn's children, we had them down on Charter Day.  I remember asking the children to make a wish for the school before we blew out the candles.  Brooke, who was probably around 10, looked up at me quizzically, like she wondered if she had heard me correctly, and said, "Kinda hard to make a birthday wish for a SCHOOL."

Unless the weather was nasty - which meant no procession - the Lockhart family always made its way up Alden Road to the "Black Path" then along Alnwick to the road that once connected Alnwick to the Pike.  We would wait in excited anticipation of seeing the procession from Benade Hall to the cathedral.  The children seemed to enjoy as much as I did watching all the class banners go by, carried by the Senior Class.  (As I have mentioned in an earlier posting, my banner from 1928 has a ship on it and the motto Semper Perge.

It still gives me a thrill, just thinking about watching the banners go by, and all the different classes, and the faculty, and the Corporation, with the Bishop and the President of the Academy completing the procession. 

This Charter Day, like every Charter Day, I thought about the football game and all the class reunions and all the activities that take place over those three days.  The most remarkable thing I thought about this Charter Day was my father, Benjamin Reynolds.

My father, as I have mentioned before, felt so strongly about the value of a New Church education that they kept two homes – a sometimes one in Bryn Athyn and our full-time home in Baltimore - so that we Reynolds kids could attend a New Church school.  

This year, it occurred to me for the first time that my father's devotion and determination to give us the advantage of a New Church education shortened his life.  

My Papa literally gave his life for that special, special blessing.  The stress of it all took its toll on his heart and he died the year after I graduated from ANC.  Betty was still at ANC when he passed away.  

That thought - that he loved the idea of NC education so dearly that it would have been worth the cost to him - just kept going through my mind all weekend.   

I love my Papa and I want to take this moment to tell him so.

To all you this Charter Day weekend ~ my love, my loyalty - Kay

(As I transcribed this posting with Mom sitting to my right & slightly behind me, in a chair in the doorway to the computer studio, next door to her bedroom, I became aware of quiet sobbing.  Startled, I looked at Mom.  Tears streamed down her downcast face as she choked out, between sobs, “I should have done more, I should have done more.”   Gently, I asked her, “Are you saying that you should have been able, at 19, to save your father from his deteriorating heart condition?”  Mom lifted her eyes  – the eyes of a 19-year old in torment – to mine and just repeated, “I should have done more.” ~elm~)

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