Blue angels practicing on November 1, 2013 for stadium flyover the following day (Navy game). Tom Misch sent the two photos by way of Bryan Dunigan.
Modern Catholic Writers
Class President Tom Weyer, in reviewing financial records of our class with Treasurer Joe Kernan, noted that the recent, immense gift from Matt Walsh and Joyce had a big effect on our average giving. Matt and Joyce deserve the appreciation they have received. Great as their resources are, the Walshes probably gave to Notre Dame the way they give to many causes: that is, at a level beyond what is comfortable. As one consequence of their generosity, the Walshes are now in a position to move into the 50 yardline football seats Rich Rogers had to vacate a few years ago, when the University discovered an error.
Rich Rogers is annually on campus for a game or two. Such was the case on the September afternoon of the Temple game. Retired FBI agent that he is, Rich had interesting things to say to Jay Schwartz, Jay’s guest Maryland legislator and former Temple player Mike Busch, and me about the U.S. surveillance revelations resulting from contractor Edward Snowden’s actions. The suddenly prominent NSA, its budget revealed in Congressional questioning, used to be called “No Such Agency,” Rich said. “They are good guys.” Rich is acquainted with some of the threats coming at the country from various sources. That same afternoon, Jim Smithberger was a well-received Florida visitor. Steve Anderson was keeping tabs on him because Jim, readying for some heart care procedures in coming days, had made the trip against the judgment of some Florida advisers. Jim and his wife Debbie stayed with Larry Forness, who says that everything went well for Jim, who is now on the mend. Jim told of his chance recruitment by the new football coaching staff in 1964. Jim was receiving attention as the regional player of the year in West Virginia. At the same time, an alumnus who subscribed to the South Bend paper was aware of coaching conversation about a running back need. The alum called the coaching staff, talked up Jim, Jim visited and went home to tell his father that Notre Dame was his choice. “You tell the other school (Kentucky?) you’re not taking their scholarship then,” Jim’s dad said. Larry Forness remembers that Jim was a successful scholar as well as a player: Jim was an Academic All-American, too, for a couple of years.
(Says Tom Misch of above photo: Interesting point about Father Hesburgh from his autobiography and this interview: Hesburgh called in a favor to Jimmy Carter stating he wanted to fly in the SR-71 and set the new speed record at 3.25+ Mach. While taking the photo with Fr. Hesburgh, Matt Cashore said Hesburgh was sure to remind the Angels of his own flying experience.)
A few weeks later, Larry wrote that he “hosted Tom Condon and Mike Long ‘64 for the Oklahoma game. On game day, first thing we did was go to the formal dedication of the new rugby field, NE of the Stepan Center. Given that the place was full of former rugby players, I expected the newspaper story to have the lead-in: ‘Among the injured were…’ Had a whole bunch from the Great ’68 there — too many to recall. While at the Great ’68 tailgate party, four vehicles down, somebody collapsed, and Dr. Steve Anderson rushed over and stabilized the patient until the EMTs and ambulance arrived. Well done, Doctor! At first, I thought the patient may have had some of my ex-wife’s cooking. Saw former gridders Dave Martin and Kevin Rassas. They both look like they could still play. Given how we played against OU, we could have used them.”
When Beth Ann Fennelly ’93, the poet and now novelist, came to Chicago in October for a booksigning of The Tilted World, she was able to acknowledge the familiar Tom McKenna from Carmel, IN, Tom McKenna of Chicago and an embarrassed but interested Mary Pat as “my Notre Dame hecklers.” Mary Pat knew what she was in for: she knew of the banter when Beth Ann discussed her poetry during our 40th reunion. Tom McCann was supposed to round out the Toms trio but failed to appear. This recent disinterest in a modern Catholic writer reveals the same failing Tom showed years ago in Professor Frank O’Malley’s class, when Tom McCann dragged Tom Etten down with him. Whether this lack of interest extends to the modern Catholic writers among the classmates is uncertain. We have numbers of poets: Michael R. Ryan, Pat Hermann, the prolific Don Hynes ’69, occasional writers Forrest Hainline, Ken Beirne, and Jim Davis. Jim O’Rourke is an oft-published sage of marketing communication. John O’Connor wrote about Watergate. Tom Condon of the Hartford Courant recently added to his list of awards for editorial writing. Larry “Monk”) Forness is the straight-talking author of books on sports medicine and U.S. security subjects. One of our novelists is recently deceased Eddie Kurtz, whose seven novels include Sex and Gravity. Anyone reading that novel in a public place should sit with people wearing Big 10 clothing so that no one is able to read over a shoulder. If Eddie was following the adage “write about what you know,” the boy had given himself quite an education. A chapter that has the Eddie hero going to confession on a whim in St. Patrick’s Cathedral is Catholic, but not quite in the spirit of the late Professor Ralph McInerny.
(Eddie Kurtz’s brother Tommy has created a posthumous website containing all of Eddie’s films, novels and other works: See http://eddiekurtz.homestead.com/index.html .)
Jim Hutchinson, making a good recovery from surgery in Rochester, NY has been sending play suggestions to Coach Kelly – and, in mid-season, with good effect.
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