Steven Bargonetti ’70
In 2013, Marc Feigen became an
Honorary Fellow at St John’s College, Cambridge. He is a management consultant who lives in New York with his wife and two daughters. From Christopher Brown: Now that my son Hudson attends Cathedral, it surprises me how often I find opportunities to tell him stories about the old days. “Look here,” I’ll say as we walk up the driveway. “I know you see a parking lot but we saw . . . well, we saw a parking lot also, but we had epic football games in this parking lot every morning before school.” I think it was those football games and the wrinkled blazers and crooked ties that they produced that prompted the administration to reconsider the dress code. “You see that? That was the north field where we ran track and played soccer and softball. In order to get to it, you had to pass a secret clubhouse called the Dinosaur Club.” The Dinosaur Club was really an unfinished section of the church wall on the north side where thick exposed rebar pipes jutted from the mortar. When struck with a stone, these bars produced sounds of varying tone. We
Look for a corresponding photo with alumni note
used them as chimes to summon all “dinosaurs” in the area. I’ll probably not tell my son that Star Trek and West Side Story were big deals to us. Whether we were fighting aliens or rumbling as rival immigrant gang members, the game always seemed to end with the entire class piled on top of one another in the center of the playground. (For the record, West Side Story was not just about a big rumble. There was spirited singing and dancing that led up to the mayhem.) The north field and the playground that housed the Starship Enterprise have been replaced by an apartment building, a parking lot, and a storage shed. Also, times have changed. Generally speaking, we parents don’t take the risks that our parents did. There was a time when going on a long trip meant piling kids into the back of the family station wagon “free-range” style. Hearing a grown-up say “Go out and play” meant you had permission to roam your neighborhood with little direct supervision. These things don’t happen much anymore, partly due to cumulative learning and partly due to a collective belief that none of us have the bandwidth for unscheduled trips to the ER. I understand, but I am sometimes concerned that our children are losing valuable experiences in the non-contact, highly supervised environments we have created for them. I think back to my days at Cathedral and realize how much was gained by letting kids “work things out.” Things sometimes got messy, and there were often consequences, but there was also an attempt to put things in perspective. Even failures and setbacks could be justified if they led to insight. This philosophy took a tremendous amount of trust and courage on the part of those who were responsible for us. In fact, every lousy teacher I’ve ever had shared two traits in common: They trusted no one and
were cowards. I did not fully appreciate this as a student. Recently, I watched my son and his friends play after school. Their game lacked the back story that our games had, but the result was the same. Before long, they were piled on top of each other in the middle of the playground. I rose to stop them but caught myself. There were teachers and other parents nearby who had taken notice but were unfazed. As I sat back down, keenly aware that I was the outsider in this ecosystem, it occurred to me that while some physical things had changed, the school’s core values and spirit have remained intact. This and several other recent observations indicate to me that the school is still filled with students, parents, teachers, and administrators who trust each other and are courageous.
Now that my son Hudson attends Cathedral, it surprises me how often I find opportunities to tell him stories about the old days. — CH RI ST O P H ER BRO WN ’ 7 5
Christopher Brown ’75 and his son Hudson Brown ’22, a Cathedral kindergartener.
TH E M A G A Z I N E OF TH E CATH E DRAL SCH OO L O F S T. J OH N THE DI VI NE