A toastmaster’s dream

The razing of St. Mary’s Assumption elementary school in Pittston brings backs memories of St. Mary’s parish and especially of long-time pastor, Father Gerald Bischoff.
If memory serves, Father Bischoff was what is called a “late vocation,” meaning he became a priest a little later in life. I seem to recall he served in the military before entering the seminary.
Even if I am mistaken in this, I am not mistaken when I say he was a lovable, gentle soul with a marvelous sense of humor. This I know first-hand.
I was a fairly young guy, still in my 20s, when I was asked to be toastmaster for a Communion breakfast at St. Mary’s. One of my duties was to introduce Father Bischoff. I remembered an old, cheesy joke that probably would have made no sense except for one thing: a family named Hill lived near the corner of Butler and Church streets in Pittston, just around the corner from St. Mary’s.
I told the audience when the census takers recently knocked on Father Bischoff’s door and asked him how old he was he hesitated. At last, he asked them if they had already been to see the Hill family. When they said “yes,” he said, “Then whatever they said their age is, just put the same thing down for me.”
And so, on the form, the census people wrote: “Father Bischoff is as old as the Hills.”
He loved it.

Ed Ackerman