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Gaming Pioneer

By Stephen Langley ’92

This is the story of one of the original pioneers of the Gaming experience. The first two semesters of Gaming’s opening year were the most memorable years of my college life, which spanned a decade and included colleges in California, New Hampshire, Rome, Italy, and on military bases, including taking classes aboard CV-64 USS Constellation.

Gaming was everything a college student from Denver, Colorado, who is a skier at heart, would dream of—an idyllic setting in pristine ski country.

After spending the first semester with all its problems of adjusting— waiting in line for Gulash, which is hard bread (I now miss that bread sorely in Japan) and other deprivations— like being served hot “rotwein” in German class with Dr. James Fougerousse (Intermediate German—there were only a few students in the class, and I was one of the few and proud).

I will never forget the kindness of Dr. Fougerousse’s son Jim who lent me his ski pass to use at the local ski area Lackenhof. We stayed on top of the mountain at the Gasthof, which one arrives to by chairlift.

Jarlath and I, both veterans of Gaming’s first two semesters, spent a most memorable night on the mountaintop. It snowed several feet of beautiful light powder snow during the night, and we had the chance of being the first to ski down the mountain in the morning. It was like helicopter skiing, no tracks at all. But Jarlath, being a gentleman from Ireland, chose to take the chairlift down. I entertained him by skiing underneath the chairlift. This was one of those magical moments one has in life that cannot be erased. Gaming was full of those kinds of moments, like hikes in beautiful forests on trails that led to waterfalls.

Winter vacation was spent in part at the Fougerousse’s home, a local family in Gaming who had real candles on their Christmas tree. These small details are a part of my consciousness that cannot be erased. There was a talent show where we danced waltzes, and I was able to do a recital of Francis Thompson’s “The Hound of Heaven.”

The students who were part of these first two semesters were real risk takers, not knowing if the program would be a success or not. Everyone I met fell in love with not only Gaming but Europe and the hospitality of the locals and Dr. Fougerousse’s wonderful leadership abilities. I look back with great longing on the days when we had time to play chess and study classics. If only the clock of time could be turned back, I would relive both of those semesters—the bonfires, the hikes, the ski trips, the pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi. We were truly blessed.

But I remember the Carthusian saying: “Remember your death.” Life is indeed short. To stay in Gaming even one semester is to be counted among the lucky. To stay there for two or more was like living in a kind of Shangri-La. A heaven on earth that few mortals can experience.

Thank you Gaming. Thank you to the Fougerousse family. Danke Schon. Auf wiedersehen. Stephen Langley and his wife Joan (Carducci ’94) are working as English teachers in Okayama, Japan, where they live with two of their children, Maximillian Kolbe and Anthony Raphael. Stephen said, “Max is applying to colleges now, and Tony is finishing his last year of Seton, while Joan and I try to hold down the fort, keep the garden producing while both teaching children full time and adults and testing part time. Japan is finally opening up after a long COVID break but is much more cautious with masks being the name of the game at schools, etc. Prayers for the whole Franciscan University community and our son Francis Xavier who is currently on the track and field team of FUS and studying business.”

Since 1995, the Stephen and Joan (Carducci ’94) Langley family have lived and worked in Japan.