Group hug, still six feet distant
Class President Tom Weyer says the quarantine and the passing years (termed by Mike Suelzer “the lengthening shadows”) increase appreciation for his father Honest John’s words, “I like how you guys take care of each other.” Tom marvels that anything could have kept him from attending Brian Sullivan‘s funeral or from pushing into a packed Sacred Heart Basilica for Joe Kernan‘s. Tom heard from classmates Chris Murphy, Rocky Bleier, Gene Cavanaugh, and Steve Anderson during a no-tailgate game: “All are lonely, all are in meatloaf withdrawal.” Fred Ferlic has an idea Tom endorses: “Use our 50 year club privileges and piggyback onto the 2021 reunion.” Now, there’s leadership.
Jim O’Rourke forwarded a note that Notre Dame has revised the service that gives us access to online information, including the addresses and telephone numbers of friends from any class. Registration is easy at www.my.nd.edu. The ten-digit number on the mailing label of your Notre Dame Magazine will get you underway. The tool is a good one for contacting friends ahead of the type of reunion Fred Ferlic proposes.
Retired FBI agent Rich Rogers wasn’t waiting for any online help when he was out for a bike ride in Jupiter, FL and spied another man bedecked in the same Notre Dame splendor, from hat to shorts. Rich introduced himself and, in a manner of speaking, collared a classmate who has been hiding in the shadows for decades: “Fred Franco, a great guy who was a prosecutor in NJ dealing with organized crime.” Rich’s moral: “It always pays to wear your Notre Dame stuff.”
Tom Culcasi, Joe Hale and others who enjoyed swanky Keenan Hall lodging freshman year have begun a regular Zoom session. Tom says the Keenanites so far are Tom Phillips, Mike Moore, Bill Cleary, Tom Curtin and John Soleau. Joe Hale, Mike Obiala, Marty Fino, Rob McDonald, Skip Schrader, Dan Collins, Ted Bratthauer, and Charlie Stevenson (all the way from Australia) have made appearances. “Zoom shows that none of us has aged,” says Tom, “though a few of us do part our hair with a much wider center part.” No doubt the cleverly named Keenanites spend most of their time talking about the rest of us – and maybe about the General Program men who have their own Zoom sessions. (See a following post for Joe Hale‘s unredacted note about the most recent discussion.)
If the Zoom sessions have the nature of a book discussion, plenty of offerings have come from our class. Pat Collins, who is under consideration for receipt of Notre Dame’s Griffin Award for writing, has completed Newsman, $20 per copy from https://www.politics-prose.com/book/9781624292897. Reviewed at washingtonian.com, what Pat has written spans his DC upbringing through his years as a newspaper and television reporter. Telling the stories that intrigue him, Pat describes how news reporting has changed since he was Observer editor. And if news stories are not your game, look in other sections of the ND68 authors shelf. Michael R. Ryan, head of the MFA program at the University of California – Irvine, has been productive and then some: five books of poems, an autobiography, a memoir, and a collection of essays about poetry and writing for which he has won strings of awards. Or try Tom Dorsel for Golf: The Mental Game. Or John D. O’Connor for the Watergate subjects probed in Felt and Postgate. Or Tom Condon for, among others, How to Hire and the sequel, How to Fire. Out in the blogosphere, Jay Schwartz has his One More Thing. . . postings at https://jayschwartzonthegrid.com/category/uncategorized/. Coming soon is the first novel of Gini Waters’ husband Joe Enright, who has dug into his NYC FBI background for a chiller about a terrorism crisis. And using his recent move to Chicago from Detroit as a claim on class of 1968 attention, Peter McInerney, ND69, has published “Tellings of Youth and Age.”
Forrest Hainline, says John O’Connor, has retired from legal practice and is now golfing thrice weekly with his wife Nancy. In a good old days moment, Bill Matturro, Bradenton, FL, remembered attending a post-Stepan Center concert party where Linda Rondstadt was present. Bob Noonan participated in a Veterans Day Panel Notre Dame videoed for alumni group distribution: “With me on the panel was retired Navy Rear Admiral Herb Kaler who was part of our class earning a liberal Arts BA, but also graduated from ND in ’69 with a degree in aerospace engineering. Clearly an overachiever.” Father John Sheehan, S.J., seemingly ever in transit, is now Chaplain at the University of St. Francis, Ft. Wayne, IN.
Dave Graves has his own transition underway: Rich Rogers says that, under the care of Dr. Pat DeMare, Dave is recovering from corona virus. Fortunately, Dave and the rest of us, though in our seventies, are lean and hard, without endangering flab.
Prior to the quarantine, Mike Thompson visited attorney Jim Carfagno and Susan in Atkins, AR. Mike, an accountant, came from Evansville, IN.
Joe Kernan, bust at Century Center, South Bend, IN
Steve Anderson added to the sad news of Joe Kernan‘s death July 29, 2020 and Dennis Doherty‘s death August 8, 2020 with revelation of his own dire condition, a cancer that, Steve says, will not prevent him from joining the class at the 2021 reunion. “I can never thank you enough for what your friendships have meant to me and what each of you individually has taught me,” Steve wrote. (See the following posts for Steve’s letter and for the obituaries of Dennis Doherty and Joe Kernan.)
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