Author - Francis X. Hezel, SJ

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Final Stop: Salem, Oregon
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By the Time I Get to Phoenix…(as the song goes)
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Lake Woebegone and Surroundings
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Two Dinners and a Lunch in Washington
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The Survivors: Ordination Class of 1969
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More in New York
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The Porch Recaptured
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Enroute to the Mountains

Final Stop: Salem, Oregon

Brenda Umulap, married to Pius from Pulusuk, arranged for me to give a talk to about 30 health workers associated with Salem Health, which covers hospitals and clinics in the area. The talk was focused on island culture, especially those things that might affect health matters. We began at 8:30 a.m. and finished at about 11 a.m.?a real tribute to the endurance of the listeners.

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Lake Woebegone and Surroundings

Three hours west of Minneapolis is a small town named Milan with a listed population of 360 on the sign. The sign needs to be updated. At least 400 Chuukese from the single island of Romanum have been added to the population. Bob Ryan, a man who has done as much as anyone else to welcome and settle the Chuukese migrants, met me at the airport and drove me to Milan to visit the people there. 

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More in New York

During our visit to New York City, Terry Todd and I stayed at the Jesuit retirement home, Murray-Weigel Hall. The place was filled with retired Jesuits I had grown up with. Jack Curran, known as one of the intellectuals, had been moved to the center ten years ago because of Alzheimer?s. Now he sits in a wheelchair all day long, his eyes fixed on a TV screen seeing images and hearing words that he can not possibly understand. As Terry and I approached him, his eyes never once left the screen and he never showed any signs of recognition of our presence. This was the saddest experience I had there.?

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The Porch Recaptured

The JVI reunion started out simply as a plan for bringing together a few young people who had done their volunteer service in Micronesia. Brother Terry Todd, who himself had served in the islands for many years, was invited to join us. But Terry knew others he wanted to invite. In the end, we had nearly 20 people there?perhaps 15 former Jesuit volunteers who had served a couple of years in Pohnpei or Chuuk, along with five Jesuits who worked in the islands: Jerry Menckhaus, Vin DeCola, Joe Billotti, Terry Todd and myself. 

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Enroute to the Mountains

On the flight from Guam, we had a long layover in Tokyo, allowing me time to enjoy lunch with Ikuko Matsumoto, a long-time friend. Ikuko was once the Asian Development Bank country officer to FSM, but she has since gone into a doctoral program in religious studies at Sophia University. She was the one who graciously escorted me on my memorable week-long trip to Japan last year. After the ritual book-swapping that often begins our conversations, we talked for three hours on Xavier graduates and their role in shaping the island church and the government, among other things.

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