Redwood House, St. Pat's, Silverstream

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.

Dearest Bruce,

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.

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