Friday, January 14, 2011

Memorial for Tim Sullivan Leo '39, The Leo Alumni Game Tonight & Pure Poetry

Tim Sullivan went to St. Brendan's Grammar School and then Leo High School and graduated in the Leo Class of 1939. Tim went to Watson Business School and then the U.S. Navy ( 1942-'46). After the war, Mr. Sullivan went to work for John Hancock Insurance Company in Chicago and Boston. He married the lovely Rita Rose and raised four great kids. Tim Sullivan returned to Christ on December 2, 2010 and was buried from Christ the King Church on December 6th.

This morning I wrote a letter to Mrs. Sullivan and sent a report on the memorial gifts in the name of Tim Sullivan - a total of $ 4,382.30 have been tallied . . .thus, far. Memorials are still coming in.

Mr. & Mrs. Sullivan had retired to Florida, but always kept n touch with the goings-on of Leo High School. Many families will get a boost of the financial load on their backs from Tim Sullivan and the thousands of Leo Alumni who pour dollars back to the school on 79th & Sangamon Street that boasts of its past and the work being done by young men today - Brendan Mahan,Leo '11 has been accepted at DePaul; Edward Vaughan, Leo '11 is deciding between The Ivy League (Yale & Columbia) or University of Illinois. These kids are backed by Tim Sullivan and the Leo Alumni ( Edward Vaughan is the Jack Howard Scholar - the late Jack Howard was the selfless leader of the Leo Alumni for many of its hardest years and worked with Bob Foster to keep Leo viable) a poor kid from St. Brendan's.

Tonight, the Lions of Leo face the Brother Rice Crusaders on the hardwood of the tight, 3rd floor gym and Frank McDermott, Leo '57 will get here around 2 PM - as he usually manages to do- and get a good parking spot. Snow is expected and many Leo Alums will park two and three blocks away and walk to the school and up the 90 degree angle ( it seems) stairs up three floors and cheer the Lions. Nothing keeps these guys from a game; in fact, about one hundred guys will gather at Father Perez Knights of Columbus on 111th and take a couple of buses here.

The snow will be light, but that always seems to be a factor when there is big game.

The Irish poet Lousi Macneice -an Orangman to be sure - wrote a wonderful poem about snow and posed one of my favorite tropes in literature - it speaks of our world - the world of Tim Sullivan taking so much from his experiences as a student at Leo and giving back to share that happiness with young black gents; the aging white Italian, Irish, Lithuanian, Polish, French, Belgian and German kids who ran up the stairs at Leo under the eyes of Jimmy Arneberg, Bob Hanlon, Brothers Finch, O'Keefe and Coogan wearing ankle weights and extra-sweats who come back to Leo and give back everywhere. The trope for this is "Incorrigibly plural."

This is wonderful!

The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.

World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.

And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes–
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of your hands–
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.

Is there not?

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