Friday, June 28, 2013

The boy who died at Linton Hall Military School: Eduardo Facha García, 1944-1954

Among the graves at the Linton Hall cemetery, one stands out from the others.  It is the grave of Eduardo Facha García, a cadet born in 1944 and who died in 1954 at Linton Hall Military School.  I do not know whether he had already reached his tenth birthday.

It is always a tragedy when someone so young loses his life, made even worse by the fact that he was from Mexico and died so far away from home.

I have not been able to find much information about him, or how long he had been at Linton Hall Military School before he died.  He arrived to Idlewild (now JFK) Airport in New York City on June 14, 1954 from Mexico City.  He had a sister, Raquel Facha García (her name would have changed if she married) who was a year or two older, and probably a younger sister, named Maria Teresa.  His mother's name could have also been Raquel.

If any of his family sees his grave, I would like you to know that it is in good condition and well maintained.

"De sus padres" at the bottom of the grave means "from his parents" meaning that his parents had the grave marker made.

(I have found a different, likely unrelated Eduardo Facha García, on the Internet.)

God bless you, Eduardo.  May you rest in peace.
Que Dios te bendiga, Eduardo.  Descansa en paz.

Copyright 2013 "Linton Hall Cadet"
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This blog is NOT affiliated with Linton Hall Military School. The opinions contained are those of the author.

Linton Hall Cemetery Photos

An alumnus has provided me with photos of the cemetery at Linton Hall.  The cemetery is located on the LHMS (now Linton Hall School) grounds, if you're walking from the canteen towards the pool, tennis courts and water tower, by the time you reach the pool you're halfway there, keep walking in the same direction.  Of course, the cemetery was "out of bounds" so most of us have probably never been there.

Right: View of gravestones of sisters from cemetery entrance.
 Left:  Sister Ethelreda, former principal of Linton Hall Military School during the 1960s.

The DuCharme sisters were possibly the Commandant's aunts.

Cemetery at Linton Hall, Bristow, Virginia

Same last name as Sister Doris Nolte (Sister Mary David.)  Possibly they were sisters in both senses of the word.

Sister Gertrude taught English and History at Linton Hall Military School during the late sixties, and I believe she had previously been Principal of LHMS, as well as a Benedictine school in Richmond.

Sister Irene was prefect of one of the senior dormitories.

Known as "Louie" he attended LHMS as a child, went away to high school and joined the Marines, then returned to Linton Hall where he spent the rest of his life working on lawn maintenance and as night watchman.  Very well liked by LHMS cadets, and fondly remembered.

Bill Farquhar coached sports, taught gym and geography, was auctioneer at school fundraising auctions, and lived right across the school on Linton Hall road.  His wife, Virginia, predeceased him.

Sister Joan Ann taught Art and was prefect of one of the senior companies.

Last but not least, a cadet who died at Linton Hall is in my next post.  Giving him his own post is the least I can do.

Copyright 2013 "Linton Hall Cadet"
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This blog is NOT affiliated with Linton Hall Military School. The opinions contained are those of the author.

Monday, June 10, 2013

New Book About Linton Hall!

In his memoir about his first year at Linton Hall Military School during 1968-1969, Augustus Cho has written more than just his autobiography; this is really a biography of everyone who attended Linton Hall that year (as I did) or, for that matter, anyone who went there while it was still a military school, since we were all subjected to the same rules, schedule, and discipline.

Having arrived from Korea less than a month before the school year began and not knowing English, Cho faced unique challenges -- not only in being punished for not following rules that he was unable to understand, but also in not receiving candy from the canteen until he figured out for himself what to do, since he was unable to ask.

At the same time, his inability to communicate through language made him a perceptive observer of others' behavior, as demonstrated by the extreme level of detail with which he is able to describe events which took place at Linton Hall Military School almost forty-five years ago.

His book describes events and emotions with which Linton Hall alumni are all too familiar: his desperate, yet ultimately unsuccessful attempts at convincing his mother to take him out of Linton Hall, the deep contrast between the regimentation at school and the freedom and responsibility he enjoyed during weekend visits home, when, although ten years old, he would often go to the zoo with a friend and without adult supervision, as did many children that age. He wisely observes that freedom is not appreciated until it's taken away, and when one gets it back, he learns not to waste it.

In describing these events, Mr. Cho strikes a good balance between providing too much and too little detail, so that both alumni and those less familiar with Linton Hall Military School will find this book compelling.

One lesson Augustus Cho learned very well was persistence, since he ran away from Linton Hall Military School seven times. In a previous blog post I recounted that on one such occasion, the cadets in grades 7A, 7B and 8 had been made to comb through a field looking for him, and if I had been the one to find him, I would have probably pretended not to see him so that he could get away. (As an adult, I am much more aware of the dangers of hitching rides from strangers, so in retrospect I think it was better for him to have been caught, and am glad I did not have the chance to make a decision that I would have regretted.)

In his book he responds to my blog post, saying that he finds it encouraging that "there actually were cadets who sympathized with my predicament and understood what I was experiencing." If he had been able to speak English when he arrived he would not have faced so many difficulties, but he would also have learned that most of the incoming cadets harbored the same negative feelings about many aspects of Linton Hall, and talked about it quite openly at first. As time went on, we were less open in our criticism because of the danger of being overheard -- not just by a nun or an officer, but also by a tattletale. Tattletales were present at my previous schools, but they seemed to be much more prevalent at Linton Hall. Consequently, many of us at the time ended up thinking that we were the only ones who harbored negative feelings about the school, and it was not until decades later, when we regained contact with other alumni, that we discovered that many others had shared our feelings.

Cho recounts amusing incidents as well. Initially reluctant to take piano lessons, he changes his mind when he notices that cadets who take piano lessons on Tuesday or Thursday end up getting a half-hour respite from the two hours spent drilling in the cold, since piano lessons are given at the same time as drill. When his mother asks him what made him change his mind, he tells her that "Piano lessons improve the quality of life of a cadet."

Reflecting upon the overwhelming challenges of his first year, he says he was stronger and better for it. I do not believe that was the case for me.

"It may sound incredible," says Cho, "but I've had dreams over the decades of being back at Linton Hall Military School as a child, marching in the cold ... even after 45 years later." I don't find this incredible, since I have also had such dreams; frequently at first, when upon waking up in the dark I would feel the wall next to my bed, realize I wasn't at Linton Hall, but think that perhaps I was just home for the weekend, then as I became fully awake realizing that I had left Linton Hall for good and was far from Bristow, Va..  Those dreams became much less frequent as the years went by, but returned when I began writing my blog, and were a factor in my decision to stop writing about Linton Hall Military School.

I found it emotionally draining to read Cho's account, since memories kept flooding back, and I often felt as if I had been reading my own biography. I believe that other alumni will feel the same way, and recommend this book highly.

Great Light Will Shine volume 4: Linton Hall Military School by Augustus Cho, 120 pages, $9.95 is available at
The previous volume of his autobiography, Great Light Will Shine volume 3, covers his last days in Korea, as well as his first days at Linton Hall, and is available in paperback at or electronic version at  I recommend both books.

Copyright 2013 "Linton Hall Cadet"
Please respect copyright by linking to this post instead of just copying and pasting. Thanks!
This blog is NOT affiliated with Linton Hall Military School. The opinions contained are those of the author.