St. Nick's Outlaws
By Jim Colombo
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Copyright 2001 Jim Colombo
The eighty who were cut went to public school. Some graduated, but most dropped
out living with the stigma that somehow they had failed at St. Nick’s, never realizing that
they were the sacrifice to prepare the one hundred and sixty guys who graduated for the
journey called life. Most spent time in military and some died in Vietnam. They eventually
found a place in life and married. They languished with mindless blue collar jobs and
didn’t earn enough to pay their bills. Most wore the scars of marriages that quickly failed.
They were the residual of the St. Nick’s experience, the sad tragedy.
The guys in the alley were mechanics and had taken shop classes in school. Baffi,
Bordi, De Walt, and Cowens got jobs repairing cars for Ford or General Motors
dealerships. Calfus got a job at Dean Witter as a mail boy and worked his up to a stock
Azzoni got a scholarship to MIT and he graduated with a PhD in Physics eight years
later. He joined NASA in 1972, but the glory days of NASA had diminished because of the
war in Vietnam.
Brother Tim was transferred to a Christian Brothers retreat in the Imperial Valley.
There he beseeched his God to help him fight the evil gay thoughts that haunted him each
night and prayed for forgiveness.
Steinway was dating a girl whose mother worked as an administrator at Lincoln
High School and she helped him transfer to Lincoln after he left St. Nick’s. Steinway
moved to Sunnyvale after he graduated to escape certain ladies who believed he was the
father of their children. He got a job at a small company that made a new electronic
product and Steinway caught on fast. His charming smile got into many companies to sell
this new product. He became a salesman for Intel selling integrated circuits.
Ristoni went to City College of San Francisco for two years. Then he transferred to
San Francisco State, and graduated with a Bachelors degree in Accounting.
Woodrow “Woody” Wilson Wong went to San Jose Sate and received a Bachelors
in Electrical Engineering.
Rensom got a full scholarship to the University of Iowa. He suffered a serious knee
injury in his junior year, ending his hopes to play professional football. He graduated and
received a Bachelors in Chemistry.
Macell went to City of College for a year and discovered sex with a chubby girl who
became pregnant. Her father owned a bakery and Macell became a pastry chef. He
married the girl and later he inherited the bakery when his father-in-law died.
Jensen graduated from San Francisco State and sold life insurance for five years.
He married his high school sweet heart when he had established himself in the insurance
business. He drowned in Acapulco, Mexico on his honeymoon.
Garcia and Suarez went to City College for two years, then they transferred to
Fresno State. Gil had relatives in Fresno. He and Garcia received degrees in Journalism.
Gil stayed in Fresno and got a job with the local newspaper and sent for his mother Garcia
came back to San Francisco. He had sent a letter to Herb Caen at the Chronicle and
Herb helped Garcia to get a job as a cub with the Chronicle. Latter Garcia transferred to
the Sacramento Bee.
Papas graduated from San Francisco State with a master degree and taught
History at Mission High School for two years. Then he transferred to Washington High
Duke graduated from the University of Southern California and was drafted by the
Boston Red Sox. He spent three years in the minor leagues and never made it to the Red
Sox. He settled in Boston, married, and became a lawyer after attending night school for
Augie graduated from the University of Washington and was drafted by the Denver
Broncos. Augie made the team as the third string quarterback. The next year he was the
second string quarterback and played a few games when the starter was hurt. The third
year Augie went to Canada and played for Montreal and the following year he played for
Edmonton. His fifth year he joined the Philadelphia Eagles, and was injured in pre-season
and never made the team. Augie returned to San Francisco and earned his MBA from the
University of San Francisco and joined Wells Fargo Bank. He was god father to Jim and
Lupe’s first child.
Miss Ida and Seth Washington married and adopted Marcus, Trinika, and Monika.
She became involved with the Black Panthers, and help organize breakfast programs for
school children and Black History awareness. She tried fighting City Hall, but found that
by becoming a member of the Board of Supervisors, she could accomplish necessary
programs for West Oakland. Two of her campaign contributors were Foxie and an
unknown baseball player.
Foxie ruled the Tenderloin for five more years. The drug dealers were more
ruthless and Foxie and Kenny were set up twice. The first time Kenny caught two bullets in
the shoulder with Foxie’s name on them. Kenny retired on disability, because his right
shoulder didn’t heal properly. The second set up Foxie caught part of a shotgun blast in
the belly andalmost died. That was the final message. He retired on a full pension. C.J.
retired from communications about the same time as Foxie. They paid a visit to the
Hibernia Bank one day and opened a liquor store in the exclusive part of the Marina the
next. They said that they had saved savings bonds. Foxie and C.J. spent most of their
time at the liquor store. Their families had grown and gone their separate ways with both
men separated from their wives. The young cops in the Richmond and Sea Cliff Precincts
would stop by and listen to how it was once upon a time.
Brother Raymond was the president of St. Nick’s for eleven years. He retired at 65
and spent his quiet years at Mount La Salle with Bother Paul.
Brother Justin was granted his request to leave the Christian Brothers and Frank
Ortiz joined a political group of activist in the Castro, helping homosexual men face their
final days at County Hospital. Frank discovered a group of former priest and brothers who
had dropped out because they were gay and became active in the fight for equality. He
had helped organize the mass protest in New York at Fire Island prior to his demise. Frank
contacted the disease that took many of his friends and fought the battle each day until he
died in ward seven on the third floor where Rusty had died at County Hospital a year later.
St. Nick’s in time became a co-ed school and the Brothers of the previous
generation had died or retired. The girls and boys who went to St. Nick’s twenty years
later would not tolerate the grind and elimination of eighty students each year. The
experience at St. Nick’s passed with time like a drop of water from leaf to leaf.
Lupe went to City College of San Francisco for two years, and transferred to San
Francisco State where she received her degree in Accounting, and worked for Wells Fargo
in Santa Clara for five years.
Jim earned a full scholarship from the University of Santa Clara in his junior year
and graduated with a degree in Finance. He worked at Wells Fargo bank in San Jose at
the main office while he continued attending Santa Clara and earned his MBA.
Jim and Lupe were married in June 1968 at the Mission on the campus of the
University of Santa Clara. Their first son was born in 1973 and was named after Lupe’s
father Michael. Augie was the godfather. Lupe and Jim bought a home in Saratoga, and
Rosa lived with them and their two sons. When Jim finished his MBA Lupe quit her job,
and took care of their sons. Jim joined a group of investors, and help create the seed
money for venture capital that funded the start up companies of Silicon Valley.
The Outlaws never had a reunion. The beach parties, surfing, and football glory
faded into the past. Jim and Augie stayed in touch for ten years until Augie died in an
automobile accident. Twenty-two men who shared so much for four years vanished.
May 30 was celebrated by phone calls by Jim, Duke and Jensen while attending
college. Upon graduation from college the magic was gone and the games in sunshine on
cut grass were gone. The sensation of joy when hitting a homerun was gone and all of the
days of glory were now ghosts at Big Wreck.
The games that boys play will always continue. The boys grow up, but the games
remain, waiting for the next generation. All of the men who played the games will always
remember a time when they as boys played the games that their sons now play.