Ricardo C. Colon

St. Agnes (1960-1963)
Recent Photo: 2005

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Ricardo (Richard) C. Colon
Ricardo (Richard) C. Colón

My name was Richard Colón at that time... now it is Ricardo C. Colón. I first arrived at St Agnes, with my brother Rudy, in 1960. My Brother Rudy was 8 yrs old and I was 6 yrs old. My Brother Eddie arrived in 1961. I and my brother Rudy were there for 3 yrs and Eddie was there 2 yrs. We all left St Agnes together in 1963. I was 9 yrs old when I left.

I was in Regina, as I remember. My brother Eddie was in Little Flower. I’ve forgotten what group Rudy was in. I don't really remember but a couple of guys from there and I will always remember the Sister Ann Bernadette.

I also remember Sister Mary Margaret, Mr. O'Brien, the coach, Mr. Glen and Mr. Coleman. I think Mr. Coleman was a guidance councilor or something like that.

As it was recounted to me, my mother was “Terminally ill” after contracting Tuberculosis. Sometime thereafter my father got the brilliant idea to see if the Church could help him to take care of us. He was an active alcoholic at the time and was as he told us, he was... "without any idea how to raise 3 boys on his own".

He took us, my brother Rudy and me, to the church and sat us down at a large table where we were given lots of green, plastic soldiers to play with until he was to return (yeah , as though he was really gonna return). Some long time later that day a nun came into the room and she ushered us into the first day at a new life in Sparkill, NY at the St Agnes Home and School for Children. “The House”

Aside from the regular day to day activities of life at the convent, I only remember a few things. I remember the spring bazaars, the church services, Color Wars, the trips to have our pictures taken with Santa Clause, trips to Bear Mountain, Coney Island and the rock lined yard where we played on a daily basis. Most of our general population interaction took place in “The Yard”.

I have only told this confession to close friends and family. I will tell you now of the guilt that I lived under for a short time while I was there. Once, while in the confessional, I decided that the crucifix that was in the confessional would make a great one for me to own. I decided to take it and I did so. Oh my goodness!!! You'd think the world was coming to an end!!! Here we are in the midst of the Cuban missile crisis and all they talked about all day was the missing Crucifix. Sister Mary Margaret then told us that If the Crucifix was not returned, whomever took the cross was gonna be struck down with a bolt of lightning and he would burn in Hell and live in everlasting torment and damnation for eternity.

Oh No. Not that!!!!! Well a couple days later while we were out in “the field”, I managed to sneak to the sister’s garden area, (as I remembered it). I dug up the Crucifix that I buried there a week prior. First chance I found I put the dirt covered crucifix back on the wall of the confessional and lived in relief of the curse she told us of. That was a very traumatic few days for me. She knew how to keeps us honest and I am glad for it.

I don't really remember much more than going to class and what our dorms looked like. The old wooden building smelled like wood. I remember the old white painted, steel bar beds with clean, crispy starched sheets and warm blankets, the partitioned walls that if you stood on the top of the steel headboard of your bed, you could see over into the next room. I also remember the archaic shower room with an overhead network of water pipes that spewed the scalding hot water that signaled when it was time to get out or get burned.

My favorite memory was that of the First Holy Communion and Confirmation ceremonies that always included the overwhelming scent of the many beautiful flowers that were used during the ceremonies. I don't remember leaving The Convent and I have only returned to St Agnes once since I left as a 9 year old. While in my 30s, I was working as an Emergency Medical Technician. While returning from having transported a NYC hospital patient to an upstate hospital, I noticed a sign on the highway that pointed out the way to Sparkill, NY. I wondered if it was the same place where I had lived so many years ago. I decided to take a look..... I had my driver take the exit and follow the signs.

I was touched, to say the least, when I pulled up and saw the missing buildings and found “the field” that seemed so large when I was a kid. Now it looked like a small yard. The mountain that sported a satellite when I was a kid didn't seem as humongous anymore. Now it was more like a smaller hill. The pond, where we once ice skated, looked like little more than just what it is.... a pond. I remembered it as a lake, almost.

Once, years ago, while I was watching the Jerry Springer Show on television, I saw a man in the front row of the audience. He was wearing a T-shirt that had the wording on it saying “I’m a House Kid" .... Go figure!!! Small world, huh?

I now live in FL with my family. I have 3 kids. My oldest son Cory is an accountant in Little Rock, Arkansas. My younger son Marcus also lives in Florida. I pray that God continues to watch over me and my family as he did when he carried me to “The House” to be cared for until better arrangements could be made for me and my brothers, at his command.

My brother Rudy still lives in Brooklyn, NY. He served our country in Viet Nam and has been a model Citizen and Christian all his life. He lives with his wife, Julia Colón and his daughter Lisette Colón. He and his wife both work for the New York State; My brother Eddie lives in Tampa, FL. He has two children Stephanie and Christopher. He is unfortunately fighting the ravages of HIV. May God have mercy on his soul.

I love you guys whether I knew you or not as I feel a sort of kinship to all “House Kids.”

God bless you all. Priests, Sisters and all that participated in the care and upkeep of the St Agnes Home and School for Children and “The House Kids”

I welcome any correspondence from alumni and the like as I have not had the pleasure to converse about St Agnes with other House Kids.

God Bless you all