Back in 1967 you could become what ever you wanted. You rarely worried about the future. You could dream what ever dreams you wished. I was going to become a marine biologist.
Studies would begin at Victoria University. I had pre-enrolled. Board with a family was arranged at Miramar. Everything was fine, except...
I was bothered inside. I was restless. There was a gnawing dissatisfaction in the heart.
One day I was going up the stairs, or it may have been down, of Redwood House. Redwood House was a dormitory-classroom block used by Seniors. The staircase floor is covered with lino; the walls are pink-and-black flecked concrete. There's a window half way up the stairs on a landing that looks out over the dining room extension, across the swimming baths onto the clothes-line lawn. I stopped at the window. Grey shirts on the line flapped in the early summer wind.
"This is pissing round", I thought.
That was my moment of truth; a flicker of insight; the end of a gnawing heart.
"This is pissing round".
So I went up the stairs and knocked on Father Mills' door.
"Come in", he said.
"Yes", I said. "I've decided to go to Greenmeadows Seminary next year. To study for the priesthood".
Father Mills looked unexcited. "Have you told your parents?" he asked.
"No", I said.
"Well do that", he said.
So that was it. If there was a call it came to me with the words "This is pissing round". It came with a conviction and with a peace of mind.
I wrote home. Mum wrote back.
I'm sure you have made a good decision, dear. Dad is really pleased. Francie is thrilled. The boys and Sue are proud of you. As for me, I will be praying harder than ever that you will be given the grace from God and all the help possible from Our Lady to persevere. I do not want to be happier than on the day you will be ordained. However, Bruce, if you have a change of heart, do not hesitate to say.
Love for now
It could be eight years study. A real decision need not be made just yet. But it was a road taken, as in Robert Frost's poem:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood...
And I, I took the one less travelled by
And that has made all the difference.
It was the end of my boyhood.
A staircase to somewhere else.
Return to the Previous Chapter