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Rachael L. }effeis

Apiil 1, 2u12

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Sitting at the laige woouen uesk in the uaikening stuuy, }ohn lay his fingeis atop the cool
black keys of his typewiitei. ! #$$% &'()'*&$', he thought, foi though he enjoyeu the
senuing anu ieceiving of letteis immensely, the wiiting of them was a bit of a choie
sometimes. Be wisheu, that ueai Pauline was heie to gieet him upon his ietuin, so that he
coulu tell hei the events of the uay iathei than type them. Bettei still, if his beloveu Susan,
uou iest hei, weie still heie he might enumeiate the uay's activities to hei, but alas, the
house was quiet. At least foi now.

Medford, Mass.,
September 17, 1936.

Sister Mary Pauline, O.P.
St. Catharine Convent,
St. Catharine, Kentucky.

Dear Pauline:

Since my letter of Saturday last, I have had scarcely a thought but of you. Were it
not that I so dread the physical drudgery of writing, I should have written you daily. As it
is, I am taking the comfortable way out, and hence use the typewriter.

}ohn was tiieu fiom his long uay of meetings in the city, but theie was an uigent feeling in
the pit of his stomach. Be hau to convey these thoughts to his youngest uaughtei, but was
stiuggling to finu the woius. Aftei iaising anu pioviuing foi such a laige family, it was so
stiange foi his little giil to be so fai afielu. She hau, he supposeu, +,$-' *.) /0$()01&2, ')3*
though, anu so }ohn knew in his heait he must uo his best to suppoit hei.

While I do not wish to disturb you, I cannot help but describe the almost
irresistible impulse I had after leaving Cincinnati, to get off at one of the stations and go
back to St. Catharine, just to see you once more, if only for a moment. Then, I would brace
up, if I may use the vernacular, and try to be sensible, well knowing that you were all
right and in good hands. But really my dear Pauline, my heart was at St. Catharines with

Pauline was a goou, ueai uaughtei anu }ohn hopeu as he sat back in his leathei chaii, that
being so honest on the page woulu not cause the chilu any pangs of homesickness. Allowing
a moment to become lost in his memoiies, }ohn thought back on the biisk Novembei uay
when he anu Susan hau piomiseu theii lives to each othei. 423 &* 0)2,,5 $()0 +$0*5 5)203 2#$6
7832'9 They coulu not have imagineu in theii young minus the family they woulu builu
!"#$%&' #) *#+& ,- ./01/&2 34 5&))&$' S
togethei oi the tiials anu tiiumphs that family woulu face as the new centuiy began. With
his beloveu Susan gone, }ohn felt a iesponsibility to uo his utmost to holu the ieins of the
family close anu tight. With Pauline off hunuieus of miles fiom home, }ohn felt to his coie, a
iesponsibility that he shoulu keep hei appiiseu of all the happenings 'at home,' though he
hopeu all the stoiies woulu not impeue hei stuuies anu woik.

Conditions at home persue [sic] the even tenor of their way. Esther, Charlie,
Virginia, James, Fred and Helen and others are well, and I see them every day or two.
Adele telephoned the other night, having just returned from a visit to Sister Mary Alfred
at Charlestown.

So long as the news was light anu enteitaining, Pauline woulu be happy to have news of hei
siblings anu fiienus. 7/)2:&'# $+ ,&#.* 2'% )'*)0*2&'&'#, news of this giowing family woulu
not be complete without some tale of little Susanne, anu Pauline woulu be happy to ieau of
hei favoiite niece's latest tiicks.

Susanne is just as cute as ever, and then some. She insists on talking to me while I
am trying to shave, and this morning I said to her, look out you dont bump into me, or I
might cut myself with this razor whereupon she quickly replied, Oh, you are running a
lawn mower over your face. Then she said to me, Are you going to see Aunty Pauline
today, and I said No, Aunty Pauline is away off and it is a long train ride. Then she said,
Im going to be a sister like Aunty Pauline when Im a big girl.

The wiinkles aiounu the coineis of }ohn's eyes ciinkleu as he smileu at the thought of how
uncannily similai these two giils of his aie. Both with goluen cuils anu Iiish-blue eyes,
Suzanne was a constant, chatteiing ieminuei of his beloveu uaughtei. Be wonueieu
-.)*.)0 %)20 7832', whom he fiimly believeu watcheu ovei them all fiom the Beavens,
%),&#.*)% 2* *.)3) 32;) 0);&'%)03 $+ *.) +2;&,5 <$'')<*&$' *.0$8#. *.) #)')02*&$'39 Suiely
she shaieu his joy in seeing theii youngest giil ueuicating heiself to such noble woik. !.6
18* 12<: *$ *.) *23: 2* .2'%6 at this iate it woulu take ages to complete the iepoit of family
anu fiienus.

Ann and her four boys reached the South Station Saturday when you left, just as
the train was leaving the station. She and the boys were greatly disappointed. Ann had
made a box of fudge and other sweets for you to take along with you on the train. As I told
you in my last letter, I have been up there and spent the day.

The boys hau been so unhappy to miss senuing theii Aunty Pauline off, but }ohn suspecteu
pait of theii uisappointment came fiom having misseu the chugging, hissing, anu giinuing
!"#$%&' #) *#+& ,- ./01/&2 34 5&))&$' 4
of geais as the tiain pulleu away fiom the station. That woulu have been the height of
excitement foi the young iascals. }ohn supposeu that was all the news fiom home woith
telling. As he thought of what moie shoulu be conveyeu acioss these hunuieus of miles,
}ohn's minu wonueieu to the immensity of the uecision his uaughtei hau maue to spenu
hei life in uevotion to theii Loiu. As a bubbly young thing, goluen cuils bouncing just as
Susanne's uo each moining, anu a twinkle in hei eyes, this hau not been his fiist guess at
how she woulu choose to live hei life. =' +2<*6 he thought, 3.) ;25 3*&,, <.2'#) .)0 ;&'%>

In tiue New Englanu fashion, the next moining a cool Septembei iain hau begun to fall,
soaking the stieet out in fiont of the house. Bonning his oveicoat as he ieacheu foi the
uooiknob, little Susanne came buisting uown the hall with an envelope in hanu, hei mothei
Esthei following close behinu. "uianupa, uianupa! Aunty Pauline's lettei!" Susanne
exclaimeu, neaily tiipping ovei the hall iug. }ohn's eye's cieaseu with his smile as he bent
uown to take the cieam coloieu envelope fiom the tot. "We uiun't want it to be uelayeu,"
Esthei saiu giabbing an umbiella fiom the iack anu giving hei fathei's aim a loving
squeeze. "You'll neeu this too," she saiu as she hookeu the umbiella it ovei his left aim.
}ohn gave hei iosy cheek a pat anu openeu the fiont uooi. 4.2* #$$% #&0,3 -) .2() 7832',
}ohn thought as he steppeu out into the cool, uamp aii anu staiteu out on anothei uay.

A few uays latei, }ohn felt compelleu to visit Susan. It was aftei all, neaiing hei anniveisaiy.
0n his way home fiom a coffee meeting, he stoppeu in at Nis. Keegan's flowei shop anu
pickeu up a small bunch of ieu ioses anu a single white lily. Susan woulu not like anything
too laige, so he askeu Nis. Keegan to keep the wiapping simple. Then, hailing the bus at the
stop just outsiue the flowei shop, }ohn paiu his five-cent faie foi the tiip fiom the centei of
town out to the cemeteiy.

The iain fiom the pievious uays hau biought in a colu snap, anu the afteinoon was biight
anu blusteiy. Winuing his way along the path past the gianite heaustones, }ohn founu
himself 'talking' to Susan befoie he even ieacheu theii spot.

!"#$%&' #) *#+& ,- ./01/&2 34 5&))&$' S
=*?3 5$80 +2($0&*) 3$0* $+ 28*8;' -)2*.)0 *$%25 %)206 10&#.* 2'% <$$, 2'% <,)20> @$* 2 <,$8% &'
*.) 3:5> = 38//$3) 5$8 :'$- *.2* *.$8#.6 %$'?* 5$89 A$80 %)20 #&0,3 20) 2,, -),,> = $',5 .)20
+0$; B28,&') -.)' 3.) &3 21,) *$ -0&*)6 )()05 *-$ -)):3 $0 3$6 18* 3.) 3));3 *$ 1) #)**&'# $'
C83* +&') %$-' &' D)'*8<:5>

Reaching Susan's place, }ohn gently placeu his hanu on the cool, stiong stone to biace
himself as he bent to cleai a few newly fallen leaves fiom the base. 4.$ -$8,% .2() *.$8#.*
$80 %)20 1215 #&0, -$8,% #$ 3$ +20 +0$; .$;)9 }ohn knelt on the giass, just beginning to
show signs of the season anu still a bit uamp. Thinking of the stiong faith Susan hau
woikeu so uiligently to instill in theii chiluien, }ohn continueu; 18* 3.) &3 /0)/20&'# +$0 2 ,&+)
&' 3)0(&<) *$ $80 E$0%6 3$ = 38//$3) '$ 32<0&+&<) &3 *$$ #0)2*> =* -$8,% 1) %&3.$')3* $+ ;) *$ '$*
<,2&; .$- %))/,5 = ;&33 .)0 3;&,) *.$8#.6 3$ = -&,, *),, 5$86 *.$8#. =?; 380) 5$8 2,0)2%5 :'$-
2,, $+ *.&3 23 5$8 -2*<. $()0 83 +0$; F)2()'>

Laying the iichly coloieu floweis at the base of Susan's stone, }ohn saiu a piayei anu then
useu the soliu stone to suppoit him as he iose fiom his knees. Be knew Susan woulu not
want him to uwell in the past oi place any blame. GH$<83 $' *.) %)20 +2;&,5 -.$ &3 3*&,, *.)0)
-&*. 5$8 I$.'6J that's what Susan woulu say.

Piepaiing foi the enu of his bieak fiom the office, }ohn consiueieu the example he hau set
foi his chiluien that they shoulu commit fully to theii life's woik. This was absolutely an
impoitant value, but he wonueieu as he settleu into the leathei uesk chaii, .2% .) /83.)%
*.); *$$ .20%9
Medford, Mass.,
September 22, 1936.
Sister Mary Pauline, O.P.
St. Catharines Convent
St. Catharine, Kentucky.

Dear Pauline:
Now that you have written me, I feel better. I am glad to learn that you may write
home twice a month. I have feared that you would be limited to once a month.
!"#$%&' #) *#+& ,- ./01/&2 34 5&))&$' 6

It does not seem that you are away. We all talk of you each day and Susanne
rattles on about you with lips and eyes in the most amusing way, just as though you were
here and she was talking directly to you. She was seated in my lap the other day and I
entertained her at great length with a description of your paper doll days. How you would
sit, hour after hour, and cut them out, and then cut out their dresses, hats, coast, shoes,
and all their fancy costumes, and in the process ruin your Mas best cutting scissors.
How your industry and enthusiasm tickled Ma, (God rest her soul!) and how you played
school teacher, with your dolls as pupils, and how entertained we were to hear you
propound the questions to them and reprove them for not knowing their lessons.
It seems but yesterday, my dear, when we enjoyed your childish actions. I cannot
ever forget those happy days.
I do not wish to convey the idea that these are not happy days too, for they are. To
me you are yet at home your glad joyous spirit is all around me, and all over the house,
and it shall always be so.

I return to my office on the 28
having been away since the 4
. Since you know
something of the pressure of my daily detail, you can imagine what I shall have to contend
with for the next several weeks. Everyone will have deferred action on important cases,
and questions until Mr. Reynolds returns. It is neither businesslike, nor fair, to do this,
but then there is so much in this word that is unfair, that I accept it all as part of the days
Speaking of returning to the office, leads to the thought that having now attained
an age (70 years my next birthday) beyond which the laws of nature seldom suffer life to
be very greatly extended, otherwise than by a future state, I am turning over in my mind
the idea of taking my pension in a year or two, if God spares me that long, and retire. Since
I now have no obligations, other than to my Maker, there is no sound reason why I should
not do so, if I finally so decide. I may then hope to have what I have often wished for, the
power of passing the day in contemplative tranquility, and the quiet enjoyment of my
beloved books.

Should I decide to do this, I hope that my future may prove the exception to the
general rule, that busy men seldom live long in the state of quiet.

Do you not feel, with me, that your Daddy is entitled to a rest, and a little
pleasure, before shuffling off this mortal coil?

!"#$%&' #) *#+& ,- ./01/&2 34 5&))&$' 7
It all may turn out to be just one of my day dreams, and that I shall go on working
indefinitely. In any event, whatever may be Times verdict on my own performances, I
have the satisfaction of knowing that I at least will live in Railway History, and I will have
the further satisfaction, too, of knowing that I have earnestly tried always to retain the
faculty of self-criticism, and have not stiffened into a gelatinuous mold of complacency.
If in this rambling letter you may feel that I have indulged in unnecessary
repetition, my excuse is that repetition is often necessary for emphasis. I am so anxious to
pour out my heart to you, that I am fearful that I have done it but feebly, hence my reason
to emphasize.
You know, my dear Pauline, that I love you most dearly, and that naturally I am
greatly concerned with your religious future. I wish you, and have tried, to encourage you,
in my poor way, as much as possible. You must not forget that to me you are yet my
Baby. Dont forget it.

}ohn put the lettei in the post anu went about piepaiing foi his ietuin to the office. Peihaps
one uay he ieally woulu ietiie, anu spenu his uays ieauing anu ie-ieauing his favoiite
books, jostling the gianuchiluien on his knee, anu watching as they exploieu the woilu
with new eyes anu gieat wonueiment. Foi now howevei, it was back to the office, no uoubt
with piles of case woik waiting on his laige uesk.

Aftei weeks of typing anu posting letteis to Kentucky, }ohn wonueieu if his letteis, so full of
auvice without the benefit of conveying his caie anu concein in peison, might be taken out
of context by his young uaughtei who was piepaiing heiself foi a life so veiy uiffeient fiom
that of hei fiienus, who weie all setting up houses anu beginning families of theii own. }ohn
was not anticipating that his ueai giil woulu shiik hei chosen iesponsibilities. But Susan's
soothing voice ieminueu him, GA$8 ;83* '$* .$8'% .)0 I$.'6 ,)* .)0 <$;) *$ .)0 ,&+) &' .)0
$-' -25>J With Susan's voice echoing in his minu, }ohn woke eaily one cool 0ctobei
moining to the sounu of iain pouiing uown on the ioof - it hau been uumping buckets
since sometime aiounu miunight. Pulling on his blue anu gieen stiipeu iobe anu waim
slippeis, }ohn shuffleu uown the staiis to his stuuy. Peicheu on the euge of his chaii, }ohn
loaueu a fiesh sheet of papei into the olu machine, anu began anothei lettei.

!"#$%&' #) *#+& ,- ./01/&2 34 5&))&$' 8

Medford, Massachusetts
October 17, 1936
Sister Mary Pauline, O.P.

My dear Pauline: Although I wrote you yesterday, I cannot resist the
temptation of doing so again today, even though it be but little.
Yesterday, as I stated in my letter, we had a delightful summer day. Today,
however, is just the reverse; we have had almost torrential rain since early morning, with
reports from the weather bureau that it will not clear until late tonight or tomorrow. So
much for our celebrated New England climate.

I hope you may not feel that my letters are too PREACHY. I fear that if I dont
desist, you will be thinking of me as Father John, O.P. That you know they are written
with the sole thought of encouraging and helping you, goes without saying. Then too, it
seems quite natural that my real thought should be expressed to you.

No matter what may disturb you, no matter what may weigh you down, God is in
your midst, and therefore do not be discouraged.
As you know, your status as a Postulant is merely that of a candidate for
membership in your Order, and for you, therefore, it represent as period preparatory to
your admission into the Novitiate. You also know that you may withdraw at any time for
reasons wholly your own.
Naturally, of course, I do not wish you to do this for any capricious reason, and I
know you too well to even hazard a thought that you might do so, and so it is, my dear,
that it all comes to this: If you feel that you should come home, your reasons or motives
shall not be inquired into, but you will be received with open arms and true fatherly
devotion. Therefore, my dear Pauline, do not worry. Never forget that your joy is mine,

This life Pauline hau chosen woulu not be easy anu he felt she must be ieminueu that this
eaithly family of heis woulu welcome hei home, no questions askeu, shoulu she change hei

As Novembei came upon them, the leaves tuineu fiom theii biight, gay colois to the
buinisheu tones of late autumn. Retuning fiom the city each night on the tiain anu bus,
!"#$%&' #) *#+& ,- ./01/&2 34 5&))&$' 9
}ohn noticeu the chill in the aii anu knew that wintei was neaiing. This time of yeai joggeu
his memoiies of Susan, anu of the joy they hau felt as paients when theii biave, quiet son
Fieueiick hau ietuineu fiom his uuties in Fiance. Though not scaieu in any visible way,
Susan hau always wonueieu if peihaps Fieu caiiieu some memoiies fiom the uieat Wai,
which he hau nevei uaieu to shaie with those who loveu him most. }ohn iecalleu how
Susan hau laiu awake at night foi months aftei his ietuin, not saying a woiu. When he hau
askeu hei what was wiong, Susan always ieplieu, "'$*.&'#6 =?; C83* ,&3*)'&'#> I83* -2&*&'#>"
Pauline hau only been a young giil when hei biothei ietuineu a heio, so }ohn woulu be
suie to ieminu hei of the momentous anniveisaiy in his next lettei.
Medford, Massachusetts
November 10, 1936
Dear Pauline:
Greetings! I trust this finds you yet able to play ball. The weather here
today is cloudy and looks as though we might have rain. Tomorrow is a holiday, as you
know; really, a great day in the history of the world remember when your brother Fred
returned from the 22 months service in France, how tickled we all were to see him back
without injury.

Relaying moie news fiom home of all hei siblings, nieces, nephews, anu fiienus, }ohn then
moveu on to encouiage Pauline's continueu stuuy anu piepaiation foi becoming the kinu of
wonueiful teachei that the woilu so neeueu.

After your four years at Emanuel [sic], I need not tell you that knowledge is not
gained by mere entrance into a Teaching Sisterhood. There are very few, if any, who
enter such a community who do not need instruction. And I venture to say, many of them
require much instruction. And so it is that by the methods of instruction employed at St.
Catharines, its teachers will be as wise as their knowledge is perfect.

Your success as a teacher, then, must depend upon the breadth and depth of your
knowledge, and your ability to impart it to others. Thus equipped, you will not fail as a
teacher, and I am sure, too, that those whom you may instruct will recognize your angelic
nature and delight in giving you their thanks and affection.

!"#$%&' #) *#+& ,- ./01/&2 34 5&))&$' 1u
Although I have for more than fifty years dealt almost daily with all sorts of people
good, bad and indifferent the hard, the dishonest, the hypocritical and the greedy, I yet
retain my confidence in mankind as a whole, and believe that most people are honest,
although not equally so. I know that there are real human beings, with human hearts
throbbing with human desires, with intellects thirsting for truth, with affections
hungering for love, with passions stimulating them to intense activity - and I know also,
that there would be a very much larger number of such people than there is at present,
had they been taught correct principles early in life.
Therefore, my dear Pauline, strive to do your work here well, knowing it is the best
preparation you can make for the largest blessings hereafter.
I am sensible that this has been that theme of much eloquent discourse. I am also
sensible that you know it. Surely, however, no harm will follow its repetition by me.
Write when you can, and be sure and let me know whether or not there is anything
I can do for you.
With love and prayers.

The holiuays without Pauline's infectious smile woulu be uifficult to beai. Esthei was uoing
hei veiy best, with the help of Nis. Kenneuy, to keep up the tiauitions hei mothei hau
seemeu to uo so effoitlessly foi uecaues. Each night when he ietuineu fiom the office, }ohn
founu the house uecoiateu with moie holiuay fineiy, a gieat eveigieen wieath on the fiont
uooi with a ciimson bow, a light in each winuow exuuing waimth anu welcome.

Susanne manageu to fight off a bau sickness; leaining peihaps foi the fiist time, what a
special thing is was to be healthy. Following on the heels of hei uaughtei's illness, Esthei
too caught colu which quickly tuineu to pneumonia. }ohn spent many a sleepless night
wonueiing if he woulu have to saciifice yet anothei loveu one, but aftei weeks of
unceitainty, Esthei finally tuineu a coinei anu hei fevei bioke. A)* 2'$*.)0 K.0&3*;23

By the eve of that holiest of nights, all who weie able to gathei uescenueu on numbei 1u
Beaiboin Stieet in Neufoiu. The uining ioom table was extenueu to its full length anu filleu
with family anu close fiienus. Piesiuing ovei the heau of the table, anu leauing a piayei of
thanks foi all the blessings they hau ieceiveu fiom theii Loiu ovei the past yeai, }ohn coulu
!"#$%&' #) *#+& ,- ./01/&2 34 5&))&$' 11
not help but feel a slight tinge of longing. This was the fiist Chiistmas uinnei in twenty-
thiee yeais that his youngest giil was not these with them all. K.2'#), he thought, -23 #$$%
2'% 2 /20* $+ ,&+)6 18* '$* 2,-253 )235 *$ 3-2,,$-> uoing togethei as a family to the miunight
mass, }ohn saiu a silent piayei foi all those he loveu who weie not by his siue anu he hopeu
uou woulu not see fault in his missing them when he still hau such a wonueifully ueai
family seateu all aiounu him in the chuich pews.

As wintei soluieieu on, }ohn continueu his uaily tiips to the office, went to mass on
Sunuays, wiote his letteis to Pauline, the Nothei ueneial, anu some of the othei nuns so
that he might keep up with life in that sacieu place of woiship anu leaining so fai fiom

Pauline sent letteis when she coulu, uetailing hei woik, stuuies, anu life at the convent anu
asking foi news fiom home. }ohn uiu not always compiehenu hei meaning, anu so
iequesteu claiification of hei woiuing to ensuie he neeu not woiiy about hei health oi
wellbeing. She stiuggleu at times with homesickness anu woiiieu if she weie equal to the
tasks befoie hei, but even in these moments of uoubt, }ohn still iecognizeu the loving spiiit
of his beloveu uaughtei thiough the woius she wiote.

Sitting uown in the stuuy aftei a busy uay, }ohn iesponueu to Pauline's latest note:

Medford, Massachusetts
February 15, 1937
Sister Mary Pauline, O.P.
St. Catharines Convent
St. Catharine, Kentucky

Dearest Pauline:
Your joyous letter of Tuesday, the 9
, made us all happy because it sounded such a
cheerful note. When it arrived Saturday afternoon Fred, Helen and the boys, including
young David, were with us. Fred and Helen both read your letter with great interest and
greater pleasure.
!"#$%&' #) *#+& ,- ./01/&2 34 5&))&$' 12
I know that they would both like to go to Kentucky in April, and I regret that
neither of them will be able to do so. It is now definitely decided that Esther will not go. In
a year from now, or when you are Professed, perhaps we all can arrange to go. At least I
hope so. Wouldnt it be grand to have us all with you when you are Professed? How
happy we would all be.
Therefore, it now looks as if I alone of all you dear ones shall have the supreme joy
of witnessing that ceremony of human appeal and supernatural charm which shall clothe
you with your sacred dignity in the Dominican Order. I know that this is the object of your
aspirations. I do not feel that you overstated it when you say that it will be one of the
happiest days of my life. Indeed, you may be sure that it will be the happiest.

}ohn was soiiy he coulu not senu Pauline happiei news of the whole family coming to visit
hei in Apiil, but he knew she woulu beai the news well anu in stiiue. !,, *.) 32;), he
thought, 3.) ;83* ;&33 *.) %2&,5 &'*)02<*&$'3 $+ *.&3 ,20#) +2;&,5 2* *&;)3. Anu so }ohn
ueteimineu to ielay a stoiy, which he was suie woulu biing a smile to Pauline's face.

It rained proverbial pitchforks all day yesterday. Charlie was working, and your
precious niece would not let any of us alone, even for a moment. So, when I got ready for
the 11:30 mass, she most imploringly came out with: Grandpa, please take me to mass
with you will you, please Grandpa? I wont talk in church. Well, she was so sweetly
pleasing with almost tears in her voice, that none but one made of stone could resist her.
So I said, Well, come along. My, wasnt she delighted! Esther remonstrated, but to no
avail, for I sung out to Mrs. Kennedy, Please get her ready.
So off we went, Suzanne in her snowsuit. Esther was horrified. We got the bus and
I gave Suzanne the ticket. She paid the fare as proud as could be. In church I took her way
down front, in that seat next to the iron column, you know, it just holds three persons.
Placing Suzanne at the inner end next to the column so that she would be out of the way,
she kneeled down, blessed herself, and said her prayers. You should have seen her. The
top of her head reached just to the top of the seat in front of her. The first thing I know,
she was whispering, Grandpa, where is God? When I paid no attention to her, she would
reach up, pull my head down, and whisper her endless questions in my ear. When the alter
boy appeared to light the candles, she whispered to me, Grandpa, will you let me be an
alter boy someday? When she saw the people getting out their contribution money for the
offering, nothing would do her but she must have some money to put in the basket too.
Finally, to ease the tension, I gave her a nickel, which, after dropping it a dozen times or
!"#$%&' #) *#+& ,- ./01/&2 34 5&))&$' 1S
more on the seat and the floor, she managed to put it in the basket when it reached our
Considering everything, I must say that she behaved pretty good. Once, when
Father Ferris came on the alter she spoke right out loud, exclaiming in a voice that must
have been heard down to Medford Square, Oh, Grandpa, theres Father Ferris.

}ohn hopeu this ietelling of his latest auventuie with the goluen-haiieu giil woulu biing a
bit of 'home' to Pauline. It was ieally quiet iefieshing to come home to such happiness aftei
houis coopeu up in the office uowntown. As }ohn finisheu typing the last lines anu
auuiesseu the envelope to St. Cathaiine's, Susan's voice wafteu thiough his minu. "L08,5
I$.'6 .$- %$ 5$8 ;2'2#) *$ :))/ 2 3*02&#.* +2<) 20$8'% $80 ,&**,) 7832'')9 7.) .2% 38<. 2
<80&$3&*5 21$8* ,&+) 2'% *.) -$0,% 20$8'% .)0> A$8 ;83* <$'*&'8) *$ .),/ .)0 )M/,$0)>J

In Apiil, }ohn tiaveleu by tiain many hunuieus of miles to witness his young giil take hei
vows anu become a membei of the Bominican 0iuei. Be felt hei mothei's piesence with
him the whole while, smiling uown upon them both.

}ust a few months latei, }ohn ueciueu to take a shoit holiuay fiom the office to visit his ueai
giil one last time in Kentucky. She woulu be stationeu somewheie else soon on the fiist of
many missions anu theie was no telling when he woulu be able to visit hei next. It was
hoiiibly busy at woik howevei, so }ohn neeueu a way to tiavel the long uistance in a much-
shoiteneu timefiame. Placing all his faith in his Loiu, }ohn puichaseu a ticket aboaiu an
Ameiican Aiilines flagship plane anu took his chances.

As a man who iaiely founu it uifficult to expiess his thoughts, }ohn coulu baiely finu the
woius to uesciibe the oveiwhelming expeiience of his fiist flight the whole time he was at
St. Cathaiine's with Pauline. Exhausteu fiom his tiavels, when the taxi uioppeu him off in
fiont of numbei 1u Beaiboin Stieet, }ohn went in, kisseu Esthei anu little Susanne - who
was neaily busting at the seams to heai about the giant metal biiu. Be tiieu to uesciibe the
expeiience to them both, but founu he was only confusing pooi Susanne who wanteu to
know, "why the plane uiu not fall fiom the sky. Anu how coulu it go up so high anu not iun
!"#$%&' #) *#+& ,- ./01/&2 34 5&))&$' 14
into Beaven." The next moining, }ohn woke eaily anu tiieu his hanu at iecounting the full
expeiience to Pauline as he sippeu a steaming cup of coffee in his stuuy.

September 16, 1938
Sister Mary Pauline, O.P.
St. Catharine Novitiate,
St. Catharine, Kentucky.

Dear Pauline:
Last night I arrived home safe and sound, thank the Lord.
You may expect some account of my trip in the air and, though I am not well
qualified for such an undertaking, yet I shall try to satisfy some part of your expectations.
Therefore, so that you may have a record of my trip, I send the following brief account:
Of all the rides I ever took and they have been may the strangest and most
stupendously wonderful was mine in an American Airline giant plane, one of its great
flagships, from the East Boston Airport to Louisville, Kentucky, and return.
Imagine, if you will, a circuit of approximately 2400 miles of green earth below,
walled in by living green hills, passing over vineyards and forests and radiating streams,
seeing in the distance high peaks of vivid verdure on which the sun shone like burnished
gold, with deep inlets running into the hill lands, while above and far away and away
stretches the broad blue sky; and as one looks out at the sun journeying through the
heaven where the angels live, one finds his gaze arrested and one it following the flight of
a gray gull over the bay and wondering just what its goal is; while all the time the planes
propeller organ played an Oratorio before the Creator himself and rolled its Te Deums
around the world! If you can fancy all this, you may have some idea of the grandeur of my
airplane trip.

Auuing moie uetails of the tiip than he hau been able to convey to the loveu ones awaiting
his ietuin to Neufoiu the pievious evening, }ohn continueu to fill pages with the
uesciiptions of what it was like to soai high above the eaith. Eveiything he hau been taught
to believe woulu point to this as a state ieseiveu foi the angels, but }ohn coulu sweai he
hau felt theii piesence, especially Susan's, as he jouineyeu along that, "celestial ioau in the

!"#$%&' #) *#+& ,- ./01/&2 34 5&))&$' 1S
So much hau changeu just in the two yeais since Pauline hau fiist left home, let alone }ohn's
long lifetime. Taking a bieak fiom typing, }ohn settleu back in his uesk chaii, waim coffee
cup in hanu. Closing his eyes anu iesting foi a moment, }ohn thought of Susan. N)206 %&% 5$8
)()0 *.&': -.)'6 -.)' -) -)0) +&03* ;200&)% 2'% = -23 %0&(&'# .$03) <$2<.)3 2'% <$,,)<*&'#
+20)36 *.2* = -$8,% 3)) *.) %25 -.)' )20*.,5 ;$0*2,3 ;&#.* +,59 =* 3));3 &;/$33&1,)6 =?; 380)6
18* *.)' = ')()0 )M/)<*)% *.) *-$ $+ 83 -$8,% <0)2*) 38<. 2 ,&+) +$0 $803),()3 )&*.)0 O .$-
,8<:5 -) .2() 1))'P .$- *08,5 1,)33)%>

!"#$%&' #) *#+& ,- ./01/&2 34 5&))&$' 16
! '$*) +0$; *.) 28*.$0Q
This piece is an expeiiment in wiiting family histoiy using those uocuments that suivive
anu 'imagining' the ways that gaps might be filleu oi questions answeieu. In laige pait, this
is uone thiough imagineu flashbacks anu inteinal conveisations }ohn }. Reynolus has with
his wife Susan (Biake) Reynolus, anu with his own conscience. It was oiiginally wiitten in
Apiil 2u12 foi a giauuate level Bistoiy couise at Biown 0niveisity calleu Passion,
Bispassion, anu the Scholai foi an assignment focuseu on exploiing cieativity thiough
imaginative histoiy wiiting.

All lettei exceipts, wiitten in American Typewriter font weie wiitten by }ohn }. Reynolus anu
sent to his youngest uaughtei, Pauline Reynolus between Septembei 19S6 anu 19S8. They
come fiom a two-volume collection of oiiginal typewiitten copies of }ohn }. Reynolus'
coiiesponuence anu othei wiiting, entitleu 78'%05 R);$021&,&2. The letteis to Pauline
Reynolus can be founu on pages 1-96 of the volume focuseu on peisonal coiiesponuence
anu covei the peiiou of 19S6 - 194S. It is likely that following his wife Susan's ueath, }ohn's
uaughtei Esthei, hei husbanu Chailie anu theii uaughtei Susanne (also spelleu Suzanne)
moveu into the house in Neufoiu so that he woulu not have to live alone.
--- --- ---
}ohn }. Reynolus (b. August 2S, 1867, u. ~19SS-S4) began his caieei with the Bighlanu
Stieet Railway Company, Boston, Nassachusetts on }une 1S, 1884 at about age seventeen.
The Bighlanu Stieet Railway Company latei became The Consoliuateu, anu then latei the
West Enu Stieet Railway Company, anu finally the Boston Elevateu Railway Company.
Staiting as a "uiivei of hoise cais," }ohn woikeu his way up to being a claims attoiney, a
position he helu consecutively fiom 19u2. }ohn liveu thiough both Woilu Wais anu while
he nevei seiveu in the militaiy since he was ovei uiaft-age at the stait of Woilu Wai I anu a
fathei to a laige family, }ohn uiu woik as a legal auvisoi to the 0niteu States Selective
Seivice System beginning in 1917. In 1947, }ohn }. Reynolus ietiieu fiom the Boston
Elevateu Railway Company aftei sixty-thiee yeais of seivice; he was about eighty yeais olu.

Naiiieu on Novembei 22, 189S to Susan A. Biake, in Boston, Nassachusetts, the couple
maue theii home at 1u Beaiboin Stieet, Neufoiu Nassachusetts. They hau nine chiluien:
!"#$%&' #) *#+& ,- ./01/&2 34 5&))&$' 17
Fieueiick L., }ohn }., Naiy E., Esthei N., }ames B., Theouoie F., Susan viiginia, }oseph, anu
Pauline u., who hau a twin biothei Paul who uieu at biith.

Pauline giauuateu fiom Emmanuel College, Boston, Nassachusetts in }une 19S6 anu then
went to St. Cathaiine's Convent in St. Cathaiine, Kentucky to begin the piocess of becoming
a sistei in the Bominican 0iuei. Boin in 191S, Pauline liveu to the age of eighty-five, anu
though she tiaveleu to many places uuiing hei lifetime in the oiuei, she ietuineu to St.
Cathaiine's in 1998 befoie passing away.

Pauline's oluest biothei, Fieueiick, seiveu in The uieat Wai (Woilu Wai I) anu was
stationeu in Fiance anu Englanu. Befoie ietuining home in 1919, unscatheu, Fieueiick was
offeieu an oppoitunity to take couises at 0niveisity College of Wales, Abeiystwyth. Be
maiiieu Belen 0'Connoi in 192u, anu they maue a home in Ailington, Nassachusetts.
Fieueiick stuuieu law anu became a lawyei foi the Employeis Insuiance Company, wheie
he seiveu faithfully until his untimely ueath in 19Su at the age of fifty-six. Fieueiick anu
Belen hau five sons: Paul (who uieu as a chilu), }ohn } ("}ack"), Fieueiick, Aithui, anu Baviu
("Bave") who was boin Septembei 28, 19S6 - just a few uays aftei his 'Aunty Pauline' left
home foi St. Cathaiine's Convent.

Baviu Reynolus (b. Septembei 28, 19S6, u. Naich 4, 2uu7) was my mateinal gianufathei,
making his fathei Fieueiick my gieat gianufathei, anu his fathei }ohn } - the authoi of these
letteis - my gieat, gieat, gianufathei. This stoiy, pait tiuth anu pait imagineu 'fiction' is
ueuicateu to them anu to my uieat Aunt Pauline, foi whom my mothei, Pauline Reynolus
}effeis is nameu.