Jim O'Leary

Waverly Star

By Jim O'Leary

An e-mail newsletter for and about Waverly people, used with permission in the HLW Herald and on this web site.

June 9, 2001

There is a sassy young woman in Beaumont, Texas, named Trish Franklin, fondly remembered by everyone who knew her in Waverly days as Patricia Baldwin.

She was featured in a previous issue of The Waverly Star and her own Beaumont Enterprise back when we were still friends. These latest comments from her just now came in by e-mail.

"The reason Corpus Christi, downwind from Beaumont, Texas, is known as 'The Windy City' is simply because Jim O'Leary lives there. By now everybody knows how long-winded he is."

Thanks a lot, Trish! To me you are no longer "Trish the Dish," but just a little snot who has no respect for her elders. FYI, Corpus Christi is officially known as "The Sparkling City by the Sea," and not "The Windy City."

Beaumont, filled with the stench of chemicals and refineries, is known as the "Get a Load of This" city. It has been dubbed "The Armpit of Texas" by travel agents.

Here is the rest of the letter she sent this week:

"My grandpa, Kelly, was from the Faribault Kellys. My mother grew up on the Irish Hill in Faribault, and moved to Minneapolis when she went to Holy Angels Academy for high school . . . When I lived in Waverly, we lived on the channel near Romy and Berneal Decker. I swam at Decker's Point many fun times. I baby-sat the Decker children and they were great kids.

"Romy and Berneal were the best of neighbors, and I had lots of laughs with them. So far, as Professor O'Leary's friends, Margaret Rogers Kutz and Gerry Meehan Smith, they are two very wonderful women and I remember them dearly."

The "professor" nickname is a wicked reference to the fact that I wore glasses in high school, which made me resemble a huge bug.

Some jealous classmates also called me that because they resented my ability to lecture in what they termed "a longwinded manner." I never dreamed the name would stick. Ms. Franklin graduated 20 years after I did. What does she know? (P.S. Ms. Franklin runs a homeless shelter in Beaumont.)

"The numbers of homeless people, at least for me, are increasing each month. I get the regular snowbirds, but there are homeless ones also.

"When it gets warm farther up north, they leave here. I also get the migrants traveling between Florida and California, since Beaumont is on IH 10. I get lots of the very mentally ill people, who are stuck here in Beaumont as permanent residents. I have one who claims he has been sent here to assassinate an accomplice of Timothy McVeigh who has fled to Texas. I call him and others like him my creatures of wonder.

"The deinstitutionalization of the '70s and '80s is really backfiring on us now. I just pray that our society finds some sort of care for them besides these temporary shelters."


Since Trish runs a homeless shelter, her hero is a man named Peter Maurin, who, along with Dorothy Day, founded Catholic Worker Houses around the country.

They were among the first homeless shelters in the United States. We have a homeless shelter here in Corpus Christi called the Maurin-Day House, and when I am at my best, I show up there as a volunteer. I was just there this morning and, indeed, met some homesick, homeless Minnesotans at the place (a good description of yours truly).

We have our own website: http://www.maurinday.com.

My picture appears there, but I look like one of the homeless.

Below is Peter Maurin's philosophy. It is also Trish's philosophy. Trish says she was "raised to minister to the poor. I later worked with the Little Brothers of Jesus (whose ministry is to the very poorest of the poor) when I lived in St. Paul."

Trish's e-mail address is: Winnsmommy@aol.com and her home address is 9525 Gardner Street, Beaumont, TX 77707.


by Peter Maurin

To give and not to take,

That is what makes us human.

To serve and not to rule,

That is what makes us human.

To help and not to crush,

That is what makes us human.

To nourish and not to devour,

That is what makes us human.

And if need be,

To die and not to live.

That is what makes us human.

Creed and not greed,

That is what makes us human.


If you still have the front page photo of Luke Groos in the May 21 issue of the Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, clip and save, because I am submitting it for a Pulitzer.

Luke, age 2, is on his father's tractor and he has just helped spread fertilizer over the Groos fields. Luke is lucky I am not his grandpa, because if I were, I would spoil him rotten.

Is not a Minnesota farm the greatest place in the world to raise kids?

Take another look at Luke in his rubber boots and I will rest my case.


A letter I got from Marvin O'Connell made my day. Here is part of it:

"Among my memories are the good times playing peewee baseball and your driving that wreck of a school bus around the county when you were one of our coaches.

"Just thinking about Bob Simons and Greg Schaffer, and especially winning the Waverly Peewee Tournament, with George Berkner presenting us with the championship trophy.

"There's nothing like growing up in a small town and getting good values at a young age. If we didn't do well and measure up we had to face Charlie Ogle, Mike Boyle, and Johnny Wandersee, and listen to how good they were way back when.

"Business is good and we have a pretty busy practice, but we still find time to enjoy life. If you are ever in the Baltimore/D.C area, stop in.

"We have some pretty good crabs (steamed in Old Bay). The first time I saw one eaten, I thought all of Baltimore had reverted back to cannibalism. But now I can dig in with the best of them. The first thing my kids ask for when they come to visit is to go out for some crabs.

"Well, keep bringing back the memories and I'll keep reading them. Thanks, Marv."


Marv's mention of people like Charlie Ogle, Mike Boyle, and Johnny Wandersee called to mind the men I admired when I was growing up.

Here are the names of the active pallbearers at my father's funeral on March 5, 1962: Jerry Le Page, Ed Murray, Herman Negus, Jim Fitzpatrick, Pat McHale, and Joe Herda. The honorary pallbearers were Conrad Smith, Walt McHale, Leonard Galvin, Mike Padden, Halsten Mattson, and Phil Zeller.

I would give anything if I had a chance to tell any and all of these men, these role models, these quiet champions of humanity, how much I thought of them. Maybe it isn't too late now.

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