School Schedule, Colorado 1890’s

Boys 1890Colorado’s College of the Sacred Heart, located West of Denver, was a boarding school that accepted younger boys than its name implies. Students lived by a strict schedule. Here is the “Order of Daily Exercises” in the 1890’s.

On Class days:
5:30 A.M. Rising, Toilet
6:00 Mass, Morning Prayers
6:30 Study
7:30 Breakfast and recreation
8:30 Mental Philosophy, Latin, English
10:00 Recess
10:15 Mathematics, Astronomy, Physics
11:15 Recess
11:30 Study. Optional Branches
12:00 Dinner, Recreation
1:30 P.M. Study
2:00 Moral Philosophy, Greek, English
3:00 Recess
3:15 Christian Doctrine, Evidences of Religion,
Chemistry, Elocution
3:45 Penmanship
4:15 Recreation, Lunch, Calistthenics
5:15 Study
6:30 Supper, Recess, Night Prayers
7:30 Study
8:30 Dormitory
9:00 Retire

On Sunday:
6:00 A.M. Rising, Toilet
6:30 Sodality Mass, Morning Prayers
7:30 Breakfast, Recreation
9:15 Mass, Catechetical Instruction, Recreation
10:45 Reading of Marks, Instruction on Politeness
11:45 Toilet
12:00 Dinner, Recreation
5:15 Study, etc.

Families could visit a student between 1:00 and 5:00 p.m. on Sundays.

See previous post for more information about the school.

Private School, Colorado 1890s

College Sacred heartResearching a new biography led me to the collection of pre-1900 records from the College of the Sacred Heart in Colorado. The school was chartered by the Colorado legislature in 1887. This school for boys was located on 50 acres in Clear Creek Valley west of Denver. It was operated by the Fathers of the Society of Jesus. The school later became part of what is now Regis University.
          In the mid 1890s, tuition and board at the College of the Sacred Heart cost $100 per five month term. There was a $10 fee per term for “Washing and Mending of Linens (clothing).”
          Here is the list of “necessary articles” a student was expected to bring on entering the school each term:
3 changes of underwear
6 shirts
3 night shirts
6 collars
4 cravats
12 handkerchiefs
3 suits of clothes
6 pair socks or stockings
3 pair shoes
1 pair overshoes
6 table napkins
8 towels
combs and other toilet articles
Note to parents: “The student’s number should be marked on each item.”

Penguin Lessons

UE Back to school time always reminds me of teachers. Let me introduce one of my favorites.
          The first college class of my freshman year, Honors English, met on the third floor of the massive old stone administration building. I climbed the well worn stairs with trepidation.
          The classroom door stood open. Coming from a sleek, modern high school, I was shocked when I peeked inside. The room was tiny! A battered desk faced rows of wooden seats with attached writing plates. The last row of chairs touched the back wall and the front row pressed against the professor’s desk.
          The one redeeming feature in the tiny room was the bank of tall windows that filled the far wall. The well-worn wood floor squeaked and groaned as I stepped inside. The chair creaked when I sat down. Other students arrived, but no one spoke.
          The professor arrived right on time. He was short and compact. He wore a shapeless black suit with a white shirt and plain tie. He walked with a Chaplinesque waddle. I stifled a laugh when I saw his bulbous-toed shoes that looked like small versions of circus clown footwear. His bald head was shiny as the capital dome. Wire-rimmed spectacles perched on his beak nose. He looked like a penguin!
          Placing his black briefcase on the battered desk, he continued across the room to raise the sash of the forward window. Fresh air filled the room. Returning to the desk, he carefully centered a small lectern and stepped into position squarely behind it. He surveyed the class. Slowly. Solemnly. Silently.
          “Hello,” he said at last. “My name is Archie.”
          Okay. I expected college to be different from high school. Maybe college professors liked their students to address them by first names.
          He continued. “I am a cockroach.”
          Whoa! I hit the weirdo jackpot in my first class. Frozen in place, I lowered my eyelids and shifted my eyes to the right. The student beside me sat wide-eyed and sphinx-like.
          Without a hint of a smirk, The Penguin proceeded to recite the full opening poem from Archie & Mehitabel, Don Marquis’ book about a little cockroach who lived in a newsroom and hopped from key to key writing poems and messages to the editor. One by one, we let go our held breath as we realized this professor did not really think he was a cockroach.
          Honors English turned out to be a writing class. Three mornings a week, with windows open, we watched the seasons change from our tiny aerie as the Penguin and a fictional insect trained our minds.
          He used no overhead slides, no video presentations, and no handouts. Thought-stimulating quotes from Archie the cockroach looped across the blackboard in the Penguin’s neat handwriting. We simply wrote. We wrote in class. We wrote in the library, in the shade of campus trees, on busses, and in dormitory rooms to complete our assignments.
          The Penguin critiqued our work with a red pen and read selected papers aloud to the class. We discussed structure, word use, and overall effect. While some of our papers came back looking bloodied, the Penguin never failed to write notes of encouragement on each paper. The exercise opened mental windows to the diversity of thoughts and writing styles among class members and the value of divergent ideas and expressions.
Most class members returned for a second term with the Penguin. A sign on our third floor doorway informed us that Honors English had been moved to the much touted—and very expensive—new academic and theater complex. It had kept the campus in mud and construction fences most of the fall.
          We trouped down the stairs together, tiptoed over slick sidewalks and found our room in the center of the new building. It was spacious, freshly painted, and brightly lighted. Polished metal desk-chairs faced a sleek professor’s desk with a formidable lectern positioned beside it.
          The Penguin arrived right on time. The floor did not make a sound as he entered. He set his black briefcase on the desk and surveyed the room from side to side.
          “Well, what do you think of this room?” he asked.
          In unison we replied, “It has no windows!”
          He nodded in agreement. “I’ll see what I can do about that.”
When we met again two days later, we were back in our cramped third floor room with open windows and creaky floor.
          The Penguin taught me that brand new bricks and mortar, fancy equipment, and the latest textbooks are not the essentials of an exceptional learning experience.
          The teacher makes the difference!

The Penguin, aka Dr. George Klinger, died in 2010 at age 81.

Password Plague

whispersSecret passwords were a fun part of childhood. It felt special to have a secret shared by only a few friends.
          On the popular 1960s TV game show Password a contestant had ten chances to guess a secret word. Before the game began, the password was shared with viewers at home. In those days of low tech communication, there was little chance of the home audience slipping the secret word to a contestant.
          Lately, passwords have become an aggravation.
          For many years my husband and I had one password for the few places where a password was required. If one of us became incapacitated, the other could easily access bank and investment accounts. But cyber hackers have changed all that. Passwords have become complex. Our one word no longer fits.
          Today’s advice from the security experts: Create a password containing eight or more characters in a random combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Use a different password for every account. Then, change your passwords often.
          The number of my passwords now exceeds my age (remember, I was watching the original Password on TV) and fills two columns of a page!
          Yes, I can store them in The Cloud. Of course, I’ll need a new telephone with Internet access so I can look them up–assuming I can remember the password.

An Old Book Still Speaks

Old Books

I came across the following verses, excerpted from a slender collection of poems, The View From Pike’s Peak by Bernard L. Rice, published in 1898.


Silent friends are the books we read;
Yet they speak with note sublime,
Oft in the august voice of praise,
Oft in the sweeter tones of rhyme…

They tell us strange legends and stories old
Of the far-off days of the long-ago,
And we’re sitting beside the tavern gray
While the village clock strikes long and slow.

And often they tell us a merrier tale
Of revels and glittering banquet halls,
Bright glimpses we catch of faces gay
And a mirthful laugh to the pleasure calls…

There’s a world of wealth in the printed page,
There are hoarded treasures, rich thoughts of gold,
There are diamonds of wisdom from every age,
The well-gathered wages of labor untold.

Published in: on August 18, 2014 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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What We Write About

WCWhile browsing the many bookshelves in our house, I came across a little brown volume titled Water-Closets. The inside cover is signed by author Glenn Brown, an architect. A little tab of paper bound in front of the Preface page notes, “Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1884, by John Phin, In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington, D.C.”
          Yes, this intriguing little book is about toilets. It begins with history and includes many illustrations drawn by the author.
          The ancient Romans had four types of toilets. “Close stools (lasana) in which rich ancients used gold or silver bowls; vases (gastra) which were stationed on the roadways; public privies (cloacina) [Mr. Brown says there were 142 in the city of Rome]; and privies (latrina).” Mr. Brown concludes that the cloacina and the latrina were water-closets, or private rooms with water for drainage. He offers details of various designs and construction through history.
          According to Mr. Brown, one of the earliest mentions of a water-closet is found in a poem. “Metamorphosis of Ajax,” by Sir John Harrington, published in 1596, is about a water-closet that the poet invented for his house.
          I suppose this simply reminds us that anything can be the subject of a book.

Naming Characters

Dian Guest Post
by Dian Curtis Regan

My first published book was a young adult novel called I’ve Got Your Number, published by Avon Flare/McMillan.

A few months after the novel was released, I received a letter from a person in Flint, Michigan. Apparently, I had used the names of many of her relatives in the story. It was a coincidence on my part, but I could see how this person might have wondered why so many of my characters were named after people she was related to. Even the minister in my book shared the same name as a relative of hers who was also a minister.

The person had read my bio and noticed that I’d attended the University of Colorado in Boulder. Since another one of her relatives had gone to the same college, she wanted to know if I’d somehow met him in Boulder, gotten to know him, then “borrowed” names of his relatives.

It was all very unusual, but I assured her that I’d never met anyone from her family and had not borrowed anyone’s name to use in the book. I guess this incident could be classified under “stranger than fiction.”

Dian Curtis Regan is the author of more than 60 books.

Green Writing

gecko-book_articleSeems like anybody, or, um, any critter, can write a book these days! While You’re Only Human: A Guide to Life is a creative bit of company promotion, it is more welcome than most television advertising.

          Reviews posted on call the little book “deliciously entertaining,” “uncommonly delightful,” “quite a hoot.” One person admited “I found myself laughing outloud.”

          I am thoroughly entertained by the idea. After all, for several years I have referred to the Geico Gecko as “my favorite television personality.” Ever since an ad showed him driving his gecko-size red sports car to work, I have been totally charmed by the little green guy with the down-under accent. So much so that my husband gave me a Geico Gecko bobble-head figure for Christmas. It sits on my computer table offering an encouraging thumbs up when I sit down to write.


Child’s Eye View of Religion

SDC10398          When my husband processes an order for our used book business, I always ask, “What did this person buy?”
         Recently, the book purchased was Faith, Hope and Hilarity: The Child’s Eye View of Religion, a 1970 work by Dick Van Dyke. Yes, TV’s funny man.
          I delayed shipment for half a day while I sat on the patio and read this slim volume.  Here are a few of the stories that kept me laughing:

          The children’s Sunday School teacher was explaining the concept of the Trinity, three persons in one. She used an egg to demonstrate how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost could be one entity. God is the yolk. Jesus is the white of the egg. The Holy Ghost is the shell. Then she cracked open the egg to show the three parts. Wouldn’t you know, that egg had a double yolk!

          A New York City Sunday School Teacher asked a boy, “Who defeated the Philistines?”
          The boy replied, “If they don’t play the Mets, I don’t keep track of them.”

          A first grade girl insisted that Adam and Eve had two children – a boy and a girl! “Their names were Cain and Mable,” she said.

Lottie Loved to Read

SDC10523When first married, my husband and I lived in a cute little house in a small town. Our next door neighbor, Lottie, was well past 90. She was unsteady on her feet but she kept busy. Lottie knitted lap blankets for “the old folks in the nursing home.” She liked to sit on her front porch and watch the children walking to and from school.
          One spring morning Lottie was nestled in her porch swing when the postman delivered the latest Reader’s Digest Condensed Books. Four or five current best selling novels were printed in abbreviated form in one volume. Lottie started reading the first book.
          When children began walking home after school that day, Lottie was sitting in her porch swing as usual. However, she had not moved from that seat all day. She had read that entire volume of books from cover to cover.
          And what books did Lottie read that spring day? Volume 85 (Spring 1971) contained:
Halic: The Story of a Gray Seal by Ewan Clarkson
Time and Again by Jack Finney
Six-Horse Hitch by Janice Holt Giles
Bomber by Len Deighton
A Woman in the House by Wm. E. Barrett

Reader’s Digest Condensed Books were published for 47 years (1950-1997). The quarterly volumes usually contained five stories. By the early 1990s, publication was increased to bi-monthly. The popular series continues today as Reader’s Digest Select Editions.


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