Sunday, September 20, 2009

JERRY FECHT RECALLS SEMINARY LIFE

2009 The Year of Valley History

Our Lady Queen of Angeles Catholic Seminary 1977 - Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Gerald Fecht 2009

Several interesting things happen when one works to bring about a Museum of history and culture. First is a sense of one's sure fired lack of immortality. The second is an honest realization that what is throughly modern today is tomorrow's invitation to an antique store.
I discovered this post card while visiting a paper artifacts / historic postcard show at the Glendale Auditorium this last Saturday.
I spent a full year of my childhood within the confines of this seminary. Since my folks lived in Omaha Nebraska, I was never allowed to leave the grounds, unless I was a guest at another student's Los Angeles area home. I grew to despise the place. Just above my dormitory bed was a very large hall-way type alarm bell, that went off every morning about 5:30. And, girls were on another planet. It had a magnificent Spanish altar now in the Cathedral downtown.
I came to Los Angeles alone shortly after I turned 13, interestingly on a Grayhound Bus filled with Utah Mormons returning from a pilgrimage to Navoo, Illinois. One fellow showed me around the Temple grounds in Salt Lake City. I was impressed, especially wit the seagull monument.
My brother Jimmy and his family greeted me at the downtown Grayhound terminal and drove me to Saint John's Minor Seminary on 3rd and Detroit Streets in Hollywood. Despite 3 or 4 weeks of massive homesickness, I learned to love Hollywood and sneaked away (through an unlocked basement door in the gym) to wander the city. I especially liked the Jewish people I encountered. A buddy Giles Clark, also an out-of-state student, commented that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, would have loved Canters - I know we did.
With the wonderful Red Cars in operation, I went just about everywhere that I could - and still get back to the seminary before morning wakeup.
Then life changed. The seminary moved to the Mission San Fernando. The food was better, but the confinement unbearable. I left the seminary, telling my parents that I would come back to Omaha, Nebraska in the fall. That gave me a whole summer to bum around the city. I love Los Angeles and especially the San Fernando Valley to this day.
Sleeping on beach, staying with friends, what a summer! My parents discovered that I wasn't living at the school and moved immediately to California. The next fall, I was enrolled at Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks - got a job, bought a suspect Chevy, and discovered that something called Rock and Roll had arrived while I was learning Gregorian Chant.

Our Lady Queen of Angeles Catholic Minor Seminary (message side of the postcard)
Notes 13 October 1977 postmark
c/o Cafeteria Staff, Fleming Jr. High School, 25425 Walnut Street, Lomita, Calif. 90717
return address: OLQA PO Box 1071, San Fernando Valley Calif. 91541
“Hi everyone. Thought I’d write and say hello. This is my school. I really like it a lot. Don’t know when I’ll be able to see you all. I send my love. Don’t work to hard.” Love Sebastian (little smiley face symbol)

Seminary of Our Lady Queen of Angeles located adjacent to the Old Mission San Fernando California. This seminary accommodates the high school division of the twelve year program of studies and training for young men aspiring to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

1 comment:

Neil Bethke said...

cool story. Will you be joining us this year?

http://www.facebook.com/neil.bethke?ref=name#/pages/The-Los-Angeles-Archives-Bazaar/106392867229?ref=mf