Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Friends remember Pope's childhood

"He played some sports, such as soccer," said Karol Hagenhuber, 82, sipping coffee in the Wadowice City Council office. "He was a goalie. He practiced by kicking a ball against a church wall and he was told by a priest to go away. Isn't it funny?"

Hagenhuber, who shared Wojtyla's nickname "Lolek," was the future pope's school friend from 1931 until World War II broke out in 1939. Hagenhuber emigrated to the United States, but he still keeps in touch with the pope by exchanging birthday and Christmas cards.

...."He would not let you peek at his notes during a test and cheat," said Jura, a retired economist. "He would explain difficult stuff for you very patiently but he wouldn't let you copy his homework."

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