May 1, 2015
Bedbugs and Losses
Ted Nugent, not a classmate, not at Bryan Dunigan’s Christmas party
Bryan Dunigan did not realize that he had invited Ted Nugent (not a classmate) as well as Ted Nebel (a classmate) to his Dec. 2014 Christmas party until Bryan read the report in the recent class notes. This shows that the class secretary – despite Bob Ptak‘s watchfulness – was so over-served at the party that he ventured into very dangerous space: that is, the possibility of rousing the Fenwick High School, Oak Park, IL faction of the class, a group almost as numerous and more cohesive than the steady, salt of the earth Tom faction led by Class President Tom Weyer. The Fenwick faction is so powerful that it has its own honorary consul to the Czech Republic in the person of Richard Pivnicka. Furthermore, the group can bring influence on Slovakia through Rich’s wife Barbara, who is honorary consul to that country. This suggests a California mansion alive with gripping intrigue, an impression only heightened by the photograph of smooth, shaken-not-stirred Rich with Barbara as they posed like a Gilbert’s ad for the Blue Circle at their residence’s entrance for a March, 2015 San Francisco Chronicle article. See http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Why-the-Bay-Area-is-a-hotbed-for-volunteer-6164283.php?t=f4c883c2dd&cmpid=email-premium
A shortage of California moisture seems to have provoked additional California writers. With help from Ironman competitor Alex Georgiou and Ironman observer Bryan Dunigan, a YouTube series about Mike Burgener and Crossfit training came to light. Already a solid favorite of women (this accounts for the pantyhose ads and similar offerings abounding on the site), the Burgener series is now going after the desirable demographic of cool guys Mike’s age. Help by clicking the links on our class blog.
In the Rocking Chair With Coach Burgener: Episode 1
In the Rocking Chair With Coach Burgener: Episode 2
In the Rocking Chair With Coach Burgener: Episode 3
During February, Bill Clark and Maureen had a good Miami reunion and a bedbug experience with River Edge, NJ grammar school friends Mike Carroll (Pepperell, MA), Terry Adrian, (NYC) and Rick Dawn in Miami Beach. Says Bill: “After battling it out with AirBnB most of the night (about the bedbugs at the first place), we ended up leaving and settling in at Miami Beach where we lounged by the pool, swam in the ocean, took in the Art Deco architecture and admired the comely women (Bill means Maureen and the other spouses). I knew Mr. Botet’s Spanish class would come in handy.” Retired the past four years, the Clarks travel from Lafayette, CA to Basel, Switzerland and to Lexington, MA for long summer visits with their grandchildren.
Jim Hutchinson returned to an old campus politics issue with a proposal that we recruit the Rolling Stones for our 50th reunion: “They could sing some of their all-time hits modified for their, and our, current ages:
I can’t get no Bowel Action/Hey you get off of my lawn/Time ain’t on my side/19th cardiac arrest/You can’t always remember what you want/Wobbly Jack Flash/Mother’s Little Walker/Brown Something
, and many other favorites.”
Our class is grieving for Father Ted Hesburgh, Father James Tunstead Burtchaell, Mike Philbin, Lenny Joyce, Merlin Bellinger, and Genevieve Ptak, mother of Bob Ptak. Mike Philbin died April 24, 2015 in Nashville, TN.
Mike Philbin passed away April 24, 2015 in Nashville, TN. See Mike’s obituary in following item.
Think Father Hesburgh had an effect on us? Twenty-four minutes apart, John Walsh and Tom McCloskey sent these memories. John first: “Fr. Hesburgh’s greater effect on my life has grown out of something that he wrote years ago, that I read during our senior year. He was writing about young grads and dads who used to ask him about what things they could do to make a great and lasting impression on their children, like taking them to Disney World or on expensive vacations. Fr. Hesburgh wrote, ‘The greatest thing that a father can do for his children is to love their mother.'” And Tom: “When I asked if he had any advice for me going into my marriage, he told me “to always remember that the greatest thing a father could do for his children is to love their mother”.
Tom Weyer wrote about a Father Hesburgh encounter in 2010: “I Sat with Sandy Carrigan at his last Notre Dame game in 2010. His son Kevin had arranged seats in the ‘Press Box…Sky Box.. I first encountered Fr. Ted in the men’s room….we mutually agreed not to shake hands. After the game Sandy and I were in the line for the elevator , as he was moving slowly. In the line was Fr. Ted ..as usually being gracious as he was being introduced to a group. He asked a very young man if he was a student at ND. His parents jumped all over that one…Hope next year ..we’re here on a visit…great student etc…Ted responded the usual..good luck..keep studying etc. We wound up behind the group on the elevator…I couldn’t resist…..Father, I said…I’ve been sending you letters since the Sixties.. When can I get off the waiting list???? Without turning or missing a beat Fr. Ted said….Maybe if you start behaving yourself…I’ll let you in.. I remember Carrigan’s laugh fondly.”
Lenny Joyce died in July, 2014. See Lenny’s obituary plus a selection of emailed reminiscences in a following item.
Emails about Lenny Joyce, who died in July, 2014, bring to mind Class President Tom Weyer’s punchline from a joke about a man made to speak kindly of a deceased neighbor: “His brother was worse.” During his Notre Dame time, Lenny took proud inspiration from the boldness and fire of his older brother Kevin. Even in reminiscences critical of Lenny’s lifelong political views, classmates admire the constancy of Lenny’s concern with justice. Lenny’s actions during his student days made him one of the best known members of the student body. As warm and good-humored as he was steadfast on behalf of causes that included racial justice and cessation of the war in Vietnam, he had friendships across all the campus groups.
From the emails about Lenny:
” I always liked Lenny even though his sense of humor was so dry it might better be called absent. He was the only flat out Communist I can recall ever personally knowing. He told me the Vietnam War was a good thing because it radicalized people, and he actually did not want it to stop. I guess he died in the faith.”
” Like the rest of you I of course lost track of Lenny after college. His obit left me with mixed emotions. Here is a man who appears to have stayed true to his early in life convictions and devoted himself to Utopian causes throughout his life, even as those causes faded from view and the public consciousness. For those of us whose political convictions are not so fixed and who are always doubting whether we really have the answer, that type of single-mindedness and ability to throw one’s life into a never-ending series of defeats on the fringe has a fascinating quality and enviable quality to it. But there is also a sense of sadness about it too. I wonder if he ever came to grips with the what the terrible consequences would have been, in the real nitty-gritty world we live in, if his dreams had come true. But of course I didn’t know the person he became. I certainly wish I had that chance.”
“Yes I know I was harsher than the rest of you but then I never shared his view of the world then or now. I think he led a few really into the twilight zone and their lives may have been confused by utopian junk.”
And a memory that may amuse others, too: During one spring break, Lenny was among Notre Dame students who came to Chicago for participation in a program instituted by leaders in a neighborhood close to the University of Chicago. The pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in the Woodlawn neighborhood, John Fry, had made the church a center of the project, one that sought to make use of the existing gang structure (Blackstone Rangers at the time) for good effect on the community: young men and women would gain from small income earned from projects for Woodlawn households (such as washing of windows) and the interaction of the two groups would abate racial fears. The Notre Dame group entered the church and took seats for one of the meetings. Wait. Where was Lenny? He had stopped to genuflect – carefully and devoutly – before entering the pew of the Presbyterian church.
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