Thursday, August 1, 2013

tourist or pilgrim?

Having just arrived in Bardstown for my High School Reunion (45th), I don't know whether I'm a tourist or a pilgrim.  I guess all that remains to be seen.  I missed having Jubilee in the back seat for the ride down here.  Feeling a little lost ...

Believe it or not, I used to work at the front desk of this motel (Best Western, General Nelson) when I was in high school.  The rooms went for $11 a night, $8 for truckers who were regulars.  I think I made $1 an hour (though it could have been 80 cents an hour, I can't remember).  That was about 1968.  They've kept the motel up and it is as good as any now.

Whenever I drive through Ohio, I feel like it's a "great" state.  Big.  Steady.

Kentucky feels more familiar.  Hilly, more wooded.  This is the town where I grew up, the land that my ancestors had settled for more than 200 years.  If you look past the highway to the hills, the trees, the land, it all looks as probably did 200 years ago.  Perhaps more cleared and farmed, but the lighting - the sky and the colors - make up the unique look that is Kentucky.  For some reason I imagine that the past was a darker, murkier time.  But, in fact, days back then were as bright and clear for them as they are for me today. 

Here are some photos I took tonight, walking around.  The motel is very near the Church/School(s) I attended.  

This is St. Joseph School, where I attended grades 1-8.  I thought that 4th grade with Sr. Rosalie would never end.   They've added some new things to the building so that it looks a little different in parts.
 But other parts look exactly the same.
This is the Church, St. Joseph Proto Cathedral, built in 1819.  It is constructed of locally quarried stone, hand made bricks, and pillars hewn from nearby trees.  It is the first Roman Catholic Cathedral in the U.S. that was built west of the Allegheny mountains.
 Across the street is Bethlehem High School, originally started in 1819 when Bishop Flaget asked the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth to open an elementary school.  It looks very different now than it did when I graduated in 1968.  Architecturally, I think it looks like a hodge podged mess!
 Cool busses now.
 This is the sidewalk we walked down when school let out (grade school).  I remember how great it felt to be out!


  1. So fascinating to go back after many years. I was dependent on others to get from place to place during my high school reunion, so did not have a chance to visit the old places. Pity. Love seeing your old schools and church.

  2. I used to think of my childhood environment as darker somehow. It certainly was more cramped. My high school changed little. They have a pool now and some of the buildings on the beautiful property have been repurposed.