Rapport de la Réunion!

Après de longues recherches sur Internet, René de Miscault, le patron du Musée des eaux-de-vie à Lapoutroie, a réussi, 50 ans après, à réunir au musée ses anciens amis potaches de la classe de terminale 1957 du collège “La Villa St-Jean,” collège Marianiste situé à Fribourg en Suisse et dirigé à l’époque par son oncle Jean Marie de Miscault.

 Ce collège s’enorgueillit d’avoir eu pour élève en 1915 Antoine de St-Exupéry et, plus tardivement, Juan Carlos, futur roi d’Espagne.
 L’ambiance joyeuse, teintée à peine d’un peu de nostalgie, a permis à ses anciens camarades de classe de se reconnaître, grâce surtout aux badges qu’un prévoyant avait apportés ! Le professeur principal était parmi eux, plus jeune que jamais, à tel point que quelqu’un lui a demandé: “et toi, qui es-tu ?.”
 Depuis la Californie où il réside actuellement, Michel Inoue, consul honoraire du Japon, est venu les bras chargés de gadgets pour chacun … Du Tadjikistan, Firouz Afrouz, consultant du FMI, est venu lui aussi, ayant trouvé un avion qui l’a déposé à Milan, d’où il a rejoint Lapoutroie en voiture.
 La troupe joyeuse a fait connaissance avec la région de leur ancien condisciple : visite du Musée des eaux de vie, de la Graine au lait, des caves Adam, des restaurants Kebespré, le Lac Noir et l’Arbre Vert à Ammerschwihr. On s’est séparé en se promettant de se revoir avant 50 nouvelles années!

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Se rappeler de vieux amis

Par l’intermédiare d’un ami alsacien de Moulin, Maurice Higelin (originaire d’Altkirch), je reçois l’article de l’Alsace relatant la réunion des anciens de la Villa St Jean de Fribourg (Lapoutroie, Retrouvailles au musée des eaux de vie, du 4 septembre 2007).

Je suis moi-même religieux marianiste (77 ans, originaire de La Bresse, dans les Vosges) et j’ai bien connu votre oncle Jean-Marie, ayant fait partie de sa commmunauté à Ste Marie de Monceau (1962-68), puis à Ste Marie d’Antony (1968-69), avant de prendre la direction de l’école d’agriculture de Ste Maure (1969-1990).

Vous devinez que la lecture de cet article m’a rempli de joie: le fait que des anciens, sortis de leur école il y a 50 ans, se soient retrouvés après avoir, pour certains d’entre eux, parcouru des milliers de kms, prouve leur attachement à leur école et à leurs anciens maîtres.

Il faut dire que la Villa St Jean était une école un peu particulière, les méthodes pédagogiques employées faisaient que les jeunes se sentaient en famille et le climat éducatif épanouissant. Certains de nos “marchands de participes” modernes feraient bien de s’inspirer des méthodes alors en honneur sur les bords de la Sarine!

Bien que ne vous connaissant pas, le fait de voir votre nom et connaissant votre lien de parenté avec le P. Jean-Marie m’a incité à vous féliciter de votre initiative, à vous remercier de cultiver la mémoire de votre école et de vos anciens maîtres.

 

Sachez qu’ici, le milieu, la “clientèle”, le climat (dans tous les sens du terme)  sont tout à fait différents de ce que vous avez connu en Suisse mais les 2 Marianistes encore au travail en terre tunisienne essaient d’oeuvrer dans le même esprit qu’en Helvétie.

Bien cordialement

André Brissinger

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La réunion de septembre! Dans les images!

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Les images de nos amis

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September reunion — an update!

The reunion of the Villa’s French alumni will happen and we’re told the English alumni/brothers are cordially invited. (French language “suitable but not necessary.”)

 

La réunion prévu originellement à Fribourg (ou Gruyère)  prend forme et grâce à René de Miscault (neveu de notre ancien directeur), elle aura finalement lieu les 2 à 4 septembre prochain à Lapoutroie (Alsace) * à ce jour, déjà 23 inscrits nous aurons aussi le plaisir de revoir notre professeur de 1ère, l’abbé Laurent Düffner.
 il est encore temps de vous inscrire, mais faites vite en contactant (donnez  aussi le prénom de votre conjoint si elle vous accompagne et vos n° de téléphone portable pour contacts sur place)

René de Miscault

Musée des Eaux de vie
85 rue du général Dufieux
68650 LAPOUTROIE
Tel 03 89 47 50 26
Fax 03 89 47 22 24
email:  rene.de.miscault@wanadoo.fr
www.musee-eaux-de-vie.com

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Attention! Réunion de septembre

Kevin Di Palma forwards this alert to us from rural China.. Ping us for details if you’re interested.

———

Cher René et chers anciens alumni:

 90% d’abstention dur ! dur ! Pardonne moi, en effet je deviens feignant (l’abbé Brelot avait déjà suspecté cette tendance chez moi !) pour traiter mes mails… d’autres urgences aussi d’ailleurs !  En ce qui nous concerne  la période du 5 au 9 septembre serait parfaite (le 3 ou le 4 j’aurai probablement un petit fils à reconduire à Roissy  aussi j’hésite à m’engager pour ces dates) avec peut-être une préférence pour la semaine plutôt que le week end. Ton programme est parfait, merci. Je pense qu’un mois avant pour retenir une chambre cela doit aller.

  J’ai pu joindre joindre Gérard d’Orval qui espère bien pouvoir venir, il contacte de Vibraye, à suivre…   Encore merci pour ton organisation, j’espère que les alumni américains pourront se joindre à nous en tout cas promis, juré ,on prendra plein de photos pour le site de la Villa.

  Bien amicalement à tous,  François

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What’s Kevin DiPalma doing in China?

Here’s your answer, via the Zhanjiang Daily, which on May 25 published a story about the foreign teacher (and Villa St. Jean graduate, class of ’67) at No. 15 Middle School. Kevin is also the founding father of the original Villa reunion site, www.villastjean.com.

Here’s an English transation of the Zhanjiang Daily story, done by Ko Kung Mei (English name: Venice), a senior student at No 15 middle school.

——-
THE STORY OF THE FOREIGN TEACHER KEVIN, IN ZHANJIANG

An American, who came to Zhanjiang No. 15 Middle High School as an ordinary foreign teacher, has contributed 48,000 Yuan, that’s all the salary he made for these two years, to his Chinese students.
In Zhanjiang No. 15 High School, when you mention Kevin, everybody know and feels proud of him. To the teachers and students of this school, Kevin, who not only doesn’t understand Chinese, but also doesn’t understand Cantonese, is a very hard-working at work and quite friendly to his students. What’s more admirable, he contributed his whole salary he got here to the students who couldn’t afford the tuition.

To understand more about Kevin, the journalists went into No. 15 High School, to interview him and some of the teachers and students in this school.

 Kevin Di PalmaKevin, who comes from New Mexico, the USA, is already 58 years old now.  On September 1, 2005, he was sent to Zhanjiang No. 15 High School to be the Oral English teacher by Maryknoll at that time the contract for his staying there was one year.  After a year, he said the students’ Oral English had improved very fast and they needed more help, so he applied to Maryknoll that he wanted to teach here for one more year. During his teaching here for two years, his salary was only 2,000 a month.

“The pay isn’t much, and the teaching condition is very difficult. Especially if you don’t even understand a word of Cantonese, then why did you choose to come to Zhanjiang, and stay here for two years?” the journalists asked him.  To our surprise, he only said,” The students need me!  Moreover, I like Zhanjiang.”

Six years ago Kevin has been to China with his oldest daughter for the first time. Then he has been to Beijing, Xianghai, Daliang, etc. He told the journalists that the first time he was in China he lost his heart to it. “China is a great country and is developing very fast.”  Therefore, when he got the chance to teach in Zhanjiang, he flied to Zhanjiang — this strange city — after he got some news from his friends by the Internet.

Through these two years, the headmaster thought highly of him. He said, “We all appreciate him very much, during these two years. Kevin works very hard, he aims at improving the students Oral English as his first task. He has already overcome many problems here, such as communicating with the students. He tries to give students every lively class and never feels tired. He not only finishes his teaching task excellently, but also spends his break time to hold more Oral Classes for his students every week. A foreign teacher like him is very hard to find.”

To talk about his working attitude, the English teacher – Lin Zheque knows well. Miss Lin said, “As there are many classes in school, Kevin has to go to many classes. Each time I see him, he is always in a rush, his spirits makes me moved. The students feel very thankful for him, so they all try their best to cooperate with Kevin and study English as hard as possible.”

Since there are too many students in the Oral English class, he also invited two students majoring in English from Zhanjiang Normal College for help.

At work, he never feels tired. What’s more, he often uses his own money to buy movies, books, radios and other tools to hep his students to study English better. However, his life is simply and economy.
Kevin said his hobby was dancing and reading and lived in a quiet life.  He didn’t care much about his living condition. According to Miss. Lin, Kevin once worked in a Government Department and a University in the USA, his family isn’t very rich, but they live happily.

Although Kevin’s salary isn’t high, he is willing to help his students. When he knew that one of his students, Li Xiao Lo (Chocolate) would drop out because of pressure for the schooling, he said he would pay for her. Who could imagine that he keeps helping the poor students from then on? During these two years he contributed over 48,000 Yuan to 11 students in this school.

Looking at the list with the students’ names he helped Kevin said, “I feel sorry for them. Now I hope they can keep on studying!  The students here just like my own children. I only want to try my best to help them ”

It’s said that Li Xialo Lo has entered the University last year. When she heard that Kevin would come back in September again, she, who was still studying at school, said “I’ll go to visit Kevin as soon as I have time. he is the greatest benefactor if my life.”

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Catching up with Cliff Thompson, vsj ’67

Editor’s Note: Here is another installment of our irregular features, in which we catch up with citizens of the Villa nation. Previous entries have include bios of Steve Boom, Cyril Boschert, Tom Brew and Jhon Akers. Cliff, as you may recall, was a regular contributor to the Di Palma villastjean.com site, a member of the Sufferin’ Kind and a tech wonker. He and his wife live in Los Altos, California, ground zero of Silicon Valley.
 

WORK I’m currently into includes…

Mobile Software Development: My main activity is as a contractor/developer of Microsoft Mobile software applications for Tablet PC & Pocket PC Phone Edition (coming mid 07, an Apple iPhone “nuker”, the Wireless Broadband Enterprise-class  i-mate Ultimate 7150 Pocket PC). A particular interest is running dashboard suites of virtual machines/lab instruments on PDAs using Labview for Windows Mobile & it’s PDA Module.

Stock Trading: As a backup/alternate revenue resource, I’m getting started in online stock trading/investing using the software WizeTrade.

WORK PROJECTS include…

Appropriate Technology (AT) Startup/Non-Profit project: To better get the AT referenced on my Friends of African Outlet website into the hands of developing nation villagers, I’m looking at getting the necessary paperwork together (business plan, etc) to form a Startup or Non-Profit for funded rollout of village AT projects.   The projects’ aim is initially to make available online a suite of “Peace Corps type” libraries of AT & medical info for village needs, while later it may include village elder video conferencing. As my project utilizes both Google & Microsoft software about evenly, pitching to Venture Philanthropy groups like Google.org &/or Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are likely candidates. Right now the project is in the prototype development stage, but I have a “tour via screen shot” at Village Computer Remote Desktop Project.

AFTER HOURS I’m into…

Health: I’m working out 3-5 time a week on my home gym, currently trying out new equipment for integrated Cardio/Vascular Aerobic, Muscle Strength, Stretching & Flexibility, the all-in-1 Total Gym XL+Cyclo Trainer.
Robots : Right now we’re in a “wait-&-see” mode for when Japanese Humanoid Robots become generally available, current favorites being Sony QRIO & Honda ASIMO.
Travels: Upcoming are some planned initial forays into the South Pacific/Oceania tropical island group regions, following the path of the Polynesian/Melanesian Voyages of Discovery, so initial candidate destinations are New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji…likely by following the itinerary of French travel film maker, retired rock star Antoine, as in his films “Once Upon an Island”, trailing  his catamaran Banana Split along it’s own South Pacific voyage of discovery… …(ulterior motive? why, of course to test out that ultralight island hopping 😉 . 
Flying: Ultralights of the Power Paraglider (PPG) & PPG Trike variety, ideally amphibious, are a main interest.
Music: I’m currently focused on developing music using Apple GarageBand software, playing a Technics Synthesizer & getting better at music theory by learning from the book “How to Play the Piano Despite Years of Lessons.”
Science: I’m monitoring popular accounts of developments regards our understanding of the universe & reality, particularly quantum theory and superstring/unified field theory.
Philosophy/Religion: Searching for a practical, efficient & effective path to illumination/enlightenment that should be available to Everyman (or as Jung put it, “achieving active, dynamic contact with the Collective Unconsciousness”), I’m regularly exploring achieving altered states of consciousness by ancient (hence proven reliable) yoga-like techniques called Holotropic Breathing and Rhythmic Drumming/Chanting (the latter utilizes a physics phenomena “rhythmic entrainment” to force the brain to alter to different brain wave states when those frequencies are encountered for extended time periods outside.
R&R: Weekends often find me on a Northern California river bank, picnicking, tanning and swimming at favorite Swimming Holes.

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Video of Fribourg!

City’s beauty captured in web videos!

Kevin Di Palma, Villa class of ’67 and now teaching in rural China with spotty access to the Internet, sends along this collection of lovely videos about Fribourg. Click on the image below to play the video. The other videos are linked to their YouTube page.

Fribourg and the nearby mountains
 

 
Fribourg region and its lakes
 

 
and Gruyere & Interlaken (Kevin’s review on this last one: “Not professionally done. Lovely music. Reminds me of our bus rides and hikes.”
 

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The villa from space..

Let’s forget for a second what dinosaurs we are, and how the Villa pretty much pre-dates everything that might be described as remotely modern. Who might have envisioned satellite photos of the campus displayed on the Internet?
Attached are two Google Earth snapshots of the Villa grounds, one from directly overhead and the other at an angle.  If you’ve not experimented with Google Earth, your editorial staff at villastjean.vox.com recommend it.. 

If you look closely, you’ll see the Boulevard de Perolles intersecting with Rue du Botzet. (Wasn’t there a kiosk/market at the corner once?)

And, it may be a trick of the mind, but I believe the roof of the only remaining Villa building, Gallia, is visible. The woods, the ravine and the bend in the Saane are eternal.

Gallia’s survival is documented here.

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David Brown, part II

David’s sister, Catherine W. Brown, sent along comments from David’s funeral, held March 23 at St. Anselm’s Abby in Washington, D.C. Catherine said Beaufort Hospital (where David was president) will have a remembrance of David on Thursday, March 29, probably at 2 or 3 pm, in Beaufort on the hospital grounds, and there will be a memorial mass for him at the family’s church on Friday at 10 am. 

(David attended the Villa for two years, leaving in the spring of 1967.)

Catherine W. Brown’s remarks about her brother, David E. Brown, 1951-2007.

One of the stories our mother loved to tell about David was that he brought me a beautiful orange when I came home from the hospital.  It was a story of a sweet two-year old boy welcoming his new-born sister, but it also foretold the person David would become.  

To an outside observer, David often seemed glamorous.  He was tall, blond, blue-eyed and handsome.  He was rugged and athletic – a great basketball and baseball player and an avid skier, sailor, and golfer.  His enthusiasm for the San Francisco 49ers, the Duke basketball team, and the Boston Red Sox was legendary – he routinely traveled great distances to see them play.  He did cute things, like naming his Yorkshire Terrier “Duke” and carrying a canine id card showing Duke’s occupation as “basketball player.”  He was fun to be with.

  He loved the Beach Boys and the Rolling Stones, and attended an alleged 25 Stones concerts starting from his days at boarding school in Switzerland – I know he went to the one in Switzerland because for years we had a tape of it that he made illegally.

 

   He engaged people with his humor and story telling, usually about youthful moments that drove our father crazy.  He loved the sea and made it the central theme of his waterfront homes, where he hosted seafood cookouts, particularly in Annapolis where friends gathered to watch the Blue Angels.  He owned beautiful collies with beautiful names like Skylie and Spinnaker.  He inherited our mother’s superb taste, but had his own preference for clean modern lines.  His sense of style was evident in the clothes he wore, the cars he drove, the art he bought, and the rooms he decorated.  He was a cool, classy guy.

Inside, David grew up to be a substantial, complex person.  He shared his deepest feelings very selectively.  In fact, I think very few people really understood him.  But some aspects of his inner character were obvious to anyone who knew him more than superficially.  He was extraordinarily kind and gentle.  He was distressed by conflict and anger.  He was slow to judge and quick to forgive.  He made strong, life-long friendships.  He was highly emotional, sometimes to a debilitating degree.  He cried unabashedly, and expressed his love explicitly.  His love for his children was palpable.  He was devoted to our mother and sent her innumerable notes and letters signed with phrases like “Mom, you’re great”.  He was smart and energetic.  He believed in hard work, and he worked hard.  He was a closet intellectual who loved to read.  He valued good English, and took pride in never swearing or using vernacular language.  He was incapable of being vulgar or cruel.  He wrote by hand whenever possible.  He was a master of the thank-you note, and sent them freely to his colleagues, his friends and his family.  He praised others and disparaged himself.   

Most significantly, David was a generous and giving person.  My orange was only an early example of his capacity for extravagant and sometimes perhaps excessive gift-giving.  But his greatest gifts were not material.  Nor were they limited to his friends and family.  He loved teaching and mentoring.  He was quick to share his knowledge and even his little survival skills – like how to organize your wallet.  Empathy and compassion motivated him to service throughout his life, perhaps in part because he had more than his fair share of injuries and hospital stays when he was young.  In fact, it was during his first stint in an ICU, after a motorcycle accident, that he saw clearly his future in health care.  As a college student he always had jobs to earn money – his story-telling benefitted greatly from his days packing ice chests for fudgie wudgie men on the New Jersey shore.  But he was most proud of his work at St. Jude’s Hospital for Children, which paid almost nothing, and of his volunteer work as a companion to the less fortunate, some of whom he simply referred to as “my men.”  His instinct to care for those less fortunate continued throughout his life, as he went from Prince George’s County to Greater Southeast and then to Beaufort, where he tried never to miss serving dinner to the patients on Thanksgiving Day.  

 When we gathered here sixteen years ago after my mother’s death, Father Christopher concluded his homily by saying that my mother was “outstandingly charitable.”  David always doubted his self-worth and felt that he fell short of our mother’s expectations, and would never have believed the same of himself.  But it was true.  He was our mother’s son.

————————————–

Remarks of Barry Passett

Family members and friends,
 
Many of us are here at the Abbey again, too soon, too soon, following that extraordinary farewell to Winifred 16 years ago.  I could have waited, even though, given the fact that I am 17 years older than David, waiting might have meant I’d miss this event.
 
There is a perhaps-apocryphal story of Pope John Paul on his death bed.  One of the brilliant young Polish priests at the Vatican visited him and asked if there were any last words he would like the priest to carry to the faithful.  The Pope responded, “What makes you so sure that I will die first?”
 
There was a wonderful lesson in the response.  One of the great mysteries of life and death is that we never know who’s going to “go first.”  The mystery of children dying before their parents is for me that most painful of the human condition.  It is a regular feature in the news in wartime, so regular that — in the current war — it has already been pushed off the front pages.  Yet it has happened over 3,000 “extra” times in the past four years.
 
Younger people are the generic “hopes for the future.”  From the day he arrived at Greater Southeast over 25 years ago, David was the younger generation, the hope for the future.  (That can get annoying when you pass 40 and then 50, but that’s the way it is.)  His early job was working with physicians on quality of care.  He made that a focus for his career.  It was a great strength, a hospital exec who understood the doctors and what they do, helping them deliver better care, whether they wanted to or not.  His work at wounded Greater Southeast and promising Fort Washington showed great promise.
 
He fulfilled much of that promise at Beaufort, growing into a mature leader, one comfortable — well, relatively comfortable — with the public demands of that role.  And beyond that, as Catherine has reminded us, we remember the person:  His perfectly appropriate commitment to Red Sox, his perpetual need for water and a boat to sail on it.  (Ah, the speeding tickets he asked me to fix so that he could continue driving from the Annapolis water to Greater Southeast each morning!)
 
He leaves each of us with memories.  Not knowing when our time will come, we are greedy:  We would have liked more.
 

 

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