Students offer words of wisdom to the next generation

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 6, 2000

On April 8, 1888, Ida Seavers wrote the following in my grandfather’s autograph book: "Be kind to all; be intimate with few; and may the few be well chosen.

Tuesday, June 06, 2000

On April 8, 1888, Ida Seavers wrote the following in my grandfather’s autograph book: "Be kind to all; be intimate with few; and may the few be well chosen." Ida was a friend and schoolmate of his at St. Ansgar Academy, a friend to my mother’s father, A.E. Thompson.

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Now, 112 years later, I have this to remember him by.

Nested between the cover and first page of the autograph book is a small envelope. The envelope reads: "Mr. Frank Vilt" – my father. Inside is a typist’s certificate awarded to him by L.C. Smith and Corona Typewriters Inc. of Syracuse, N.Y., "for having written at a net speed of 30 words per minute for 15 minutes on an L.C. Smith typewriter." It was awarded from Central High School in Austin Dec. 15, 1926. The certificate entitles him to consideration and help in securing a position at the employment department "of any of our branch offices."

Dad chose instead to go to work with Geo. A. Hormel and Co. "They called me," he used to explain, following graduation in 1927.

"I was just going to make enough money to leave town." He said in later years, retiring in 1972 or so after 40-some years of service, many of them as a foreman in canned ham.

He also said he wished he would have written a book about the company; sadly that never came to be. He did say he intended to tell M.B. Thompson, then CEO, what he thought of things when he was called in for his leaving-the-plant-chat, "but he got me talking about fishing." That’s all it took for Dad. He never got back to what he really intended to say.

Now it’s that time of the year again when schools close down for the year and yearbooks are passed around – if you can afford them – for signatures. But it’s not always in your best interest, for some, if your parents see them, soliciting one from my own experience as a reference. Skinny Stevens, who led the "Packer charge" in regional basketball playoffs our senior year, invited me to stay out of jail in my junior yearbook.

It was fun to read what is, I suspect, the last Sentinel of the 1999-2000 school year recently published and inserted in the Herald. The mention of the multiple moons that crested on the windows of the wrestling bus and how someone "hit an overhead shot right in to Brian Larson’s crotch."

Andrea Farnsworth pointed out: "There are no instruction books in life, especially not for high school. There’s just one rule: Have fun."

Clinton Ripley warned upcoming juniors to "beware of the English 11 author project" and said "algebra sucks."

Eric Bain pleaded with classmates to "do something this summer" suggesting "make noise, reflect, listen, love, skate, write, accept, sing for joy, breathe, swim, rock out, plan, express, create, party, enjoy Incubus, live, come original, wake up, devour, search, liberate, make yourself."


He forgot read.

Mrs. Fedoryk, an office worker, was quoted as saying: "There is a really big problem at the high school. The drug problem is out of control, and we are very worried about the students." Aren’t these DARE graduates?

I thought Amy Lyons was on target when she said, "I think our school tries very hard to shape people into who they think they should be."

Going back to Bain, he mentions summer’s freedom as an opportunity to "get out and experience things we normally would not during the doldrums of the school year."

This must resonate among students.

There are treasures to be found, too. Like the group of Pacelli students who traveled to Mexico as Becky Rasell’s third-year Spanish students on a mission trip.

They went to help build a children’s home and to help build experience with the language, but not to run out of water or lose toilet facilities temporarily.

I glanced through their diary Rasell had dropped off at the Herald.

Erin Evans: "I’ve never felt this dirty or tired before – yet I’m having the time of my life." Later, another entry of Evans reads: "This is the first time any of us were able to wash our hair in three days. If felt like a really good kiss."

Christina Edstrum: "Even after just the first day here, we’re all really learning that Americans have so much more than we will ever need, and just how lucky we really are."

Sue Korfgage, a chaperone: "It’s the kindness that we’ll remember and all the smiles."

Rasell adds moving a ton of dirt with a pick, a shovel and buckets also will be remembered.

So, as Amy Lyons says: "Get involved," and remember: Be kind to all, be intimate with few and may the few be well chosen.