St. Francis Xavier School

by Barbara Cole


I transferred to St. Francis Xavier School in December of 1959, during my kindergarten year, when I was sent to live with my grandmother on North 6th Street (across from the Coca-Cola factory). At the time, the new school building was under construction, so to reach my new classroom, I had to lumber up the steep steps of a trailer parked somewhere on the church's property. Once inside, I forgot I was in a trailer, so like a typical kindergarten classroom did it look. The trailer was warm, cozy, and festively decorated for Christmas with Santa and his reindeer in flight across a bulletin board backed with deep blue, star-sprinkled paper. Stars, angels, and other paper decorations made by my classmates dangled overhead. My teacher was Mrs. Avalon, a warm and welcoming woman who made me feel comfortable right from the start.

One day, the door to our trailer opened and a tall, young, handsome priest came up the steps. As soon as my classmates saw him, they were on their feet, boys bowing and girls curtsying as they had been taught to do when a priest entered a classroom. "Good morning, Father. May God bless you," they chorused.

This was our new priest, Mrs. Avalon explained. His name was Father Scanlon. He came to visit and talk with us and to give us his blessing, the first of many. Father Scanlon was to remain at St. Francis Xavier for many, many years to come.


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