Although we have some in our family who are not Catholic, Father Morrie told us all before the Mass that, if we believed in Jesus Christ, he had no objection for all of us to have communion.
‘I hope the dear Lord will forgive me and you if He should frown upon this solemn act’, was his reasoning. Afterwards several of us told moments and stories about my father-in-law and so did Father Morrie. It was a sad but pleasant afternoon as we shared our thoughts and memories. Dinner was simple and buffet style.
It was the next day before we took Father Morrie back to the airport, when he asked if we could go to Berkeley. He wanted to see the President’s House on campus. He told us that when he was a senior, he got a part time job being the chauffeur for President Sproul. As such he had a small room in the great man’s house and now he would like to see that again. My mother-in-law came along and the three of us drove to the north side of the campus where it is impossible to find a parking spot. However, Father Morrie pointed to the north gate and the small roadway leading up to the President’s House.
‘I cannot go there! That is illegal,’ I exclaimed.
‘Don’t worry. I will take care of it,’ was the reply, and so I drove in. While glaring youngsters made way for these intruders, I parked in front of the big house and we walked up to the front door. That is when our Man took charge.
He knocked on the door and when a startled face appeared, Father Morrie explained, with a big smile, that he had been the chauffeur for past President Sproul and that we would like to see the part of the house where he had spent time studying and sleeping. To my surprise the young man opened the door, invited us in and explained that he and others were in the kitchen preparing for a reception later in the day. We were welcome to see the house but we should not go upstairs, the private rooms of the current school’s President. After Father Morrie gave us the little tour, he disappeared into the kitchen to thank the man who had given us the free run of the house. I was flabbergasted how easy this had been.
That is when I asked him if I could have one of his ‘clericals’, because it was a passport to open new doors and experiences. He smiled and told us more stories as we continued to the airport . . . . .
'Did you know that
President Robert Gordon Sproul and his wife Ida came to my first Mass? It was in my hometown of Dinuba, California. That's near Fresno and It was at St. Catherine's on Villa Avenue.'