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The Mystery
By Bill Wall, R'63
at Saint Joseph's College

I heard a St Joe's expression that I haven't heard in 40 plus years. I sent Jim Hagan a St Joe's photo awhile back and he answered me. It takes him awhile, but he does respond.

I asked Fr Jim to identify someone in the picture, and Jim said "I'll bet a week's mystery that is Denny Sullivan". When is the last time you heard that one? Do you remember how guys used to bet their mystery over sports games, the Trojans beating the Indians in a given game, etc, or on a Giants game?

The Giants moved to San Francisco when we were in First High. How about at the end of dinner when the "mystery" had been served. The waiters were scurrying around the Refectory to get the wagered mystery to the winner of the bet. I remember the recipient of the mystery had to eat his mystery quickly so that he would have enough time to eat the mystery that he had won. This had to be done before the priest rang the bell with his hand. When the bell was rung, we would all stand up and say that prayer at the end of the meal. Better have both your mysteries eaten by then or forget it.

One other thing, you did not welsh on a mystery bet. Pay up, or there were consequences. Jim Marchiano used to bet his mystery all of the time, and he won more than he lost. Can you believe how important all this stuff was to us back, but, face it, we had very little to occupy ourselves with, besides school work and sports in that place. Can you imagine explaining "betting your mystery with somebody" to someone who had never been to St Joes? They would probably think that we were nuts.

How about the whole concept of "mystery"? Here’s a little salute to the ladies that made the mystery. Those devoted nuns made that concoction for us each day with nothing more than some flower and a little sugar. God Bless them for their devotion and hard work. One last thing: I never bet one mystery the whole time I was at St Joes. I wasn't that fond of it. Also I never had to write the famous "100 lines." Somehow I avoided that. Don't ask me how? I hope you and your Families had a nice Thanksgiving.

Bill, No 294

(From the Bill Wall Archives, March 19, 2004)