Introductory Note: Late on September 12, 1953, a young man of 20 arrived for the first time in South Bend after a long drive with his parents from their small town in Western Missouri. He had graduated three months earlier from Wentworth Military Academy in his hometown and would now continue his education at Notre Dame.
The following are the daily letters he wrote home to his family, re-produced fifty years later by John A. (Jack) Gueguen, Jr.
Tonight was the Mission for new students. That church [Sacred Heart] looks more beautiful every time I go in. The services were extremely impressive. Father [Theodore M.] Hesburgh [CSC], the President of the University, gave the sermon, which was even more thought provoking than the ones at the last Mission in Lexington [hometown]. He is a wonderful orator. The whole congregation of 1400 freshmen (the place was packed) sang Benediction. You all would have been very impressed as I was with that many boys singing. It is really something to hear. All of us "new boys" are beginning to get the meaning of all of the tradition around here. After the Mission we had an assembly in Washington Hall. The four vice presidents spoke (introduced by Father [Edmund P.] Joyce [CSC]), as did the guest of honor, Archbishop [Cardinal John Francis] O'Hara [CSC] of Philadelphia, the first archbishop I've ever seen. Every time he moved, the whole audience stood up. He is very old and gray but has a powerful voice-and a young-sounding one. About ten department heads were introduced, and then we saw a movie mostly about the science labs and all the research work done around here in biology and chemistry.. Send me my important mail!
Went to Mass and Communion (still the Mission) at 6:45 [a.m.] in the University Church. It was packed again, and they said over 1100 received Communion. They had a whole bunch of priests distributing it, so it didn't take long at all. Bought a $6.00 N.D. jacket, a $3.00 N.D. sweater, and a pennant today. Guess I shouldn't have spent all that money. I'll be buying books pretty soon. We finished our entrance tests this morning [in history, natural science, and math] from 8 to 12:30.. Then we had two very amusing personality tests.. I ate for $1.26 today..
Feeling a little sick (hot and cold) and slightly homesick, naturally, I went over to church for the second night of the Mission. It didn't take long for Father Hesburgh's speech to make me feel better though, and when church was over, I came home feeling very happy. He is extremely excellent. He spoke of N.D.'s history and explained why it caused all the spirit around this place. Did you know that the first priest at Notre Dame (Father Badin) was also the first priest ordained in the U.S.? He is buried on the campus. We had beautiful organ music to accompany our singing tonight. Still can't get over the effect of it all. After church the Grotto was packed with kids putting in their evening devotions.. Tomorrow classes begin. I have to get up at 5:45 again to get ready for church..
The clock sure goes around fast up here. Hardly time for everything, it seems. Today was the first day of classes. Our statics teacher is Chinese, but speaks perfect English. I learned a lot about it already in today's class. Looks like I'm in ROTC for sure. Was measured for uniform today, and got my textbook for MS 201. Talked to the PMS&T [professor of military science and tactics].. He excused me from one drill period because of my past training, but if I get in the ROTC band (pretty certain) I'll be doing that during drill periods.. Visited [a former high school classmate] and his roommate in their room in Dillon Hall tonight after church. Got lost in the corridors.
The priest I had in religion class today was really sharp.. Walked along St. Mary's Lake today --very pretty; nice and warm.. I have a cheerful walk home every night [along Notre Dame Avenue] --two blocks of it pass a cemetery. [Transfer students lived off-campus the first semester.] Walked another six miles today.. That should be enough exercise. Visited the Library, where I got a check-out card, and the Rockne Memorial Gym. It is a wonderful building with complete facilities for all imaginable indoor sports, and has extremely interesting trophy cases including footballs used for games when N.D. won some great victories.. I'm still a long way from being settled. Have to write a $40 check tomorrow and start standing in line for books. That is the main thing you learn to do up here-stand in lines. No homesickness today..
After supper my spirits zoomed and I spent a very pleasant evening. Got two used books at the Book Exchange after waiting in line (lines! lines! lines!). I love to walk around the campus at night. It's more inspiring than during the day's hustle and bustle. are allowed It's like home here today, weather-wise. It was hot and sultry, up to the middle '90s. There were some sprinkles now and then, and lightning now. I still have a lot of books to stand in line for tomorrow, and downtown for some drawing supplies.
Now about the rain. It started as a sprinkle when I left this morning at 7:15, just wearing a jacket. It got heavier, and I was pretty wet when I got to campus. After class it was too heavy to stand in while waiting in line for books, so I started back home. Got a ride part of the way, but was drenched when I got in. Changed clothes, put on my raincoat, and set out again with my trombone. Got to the bookstore before the lines formed and was lucky to get all my books but two-about $12, including a complete Bible. The rain was really coming down.. I must have walked about seven miles today, no exaggeration, but the rain just about ruined my new shoes and there's a sore on one heel.
Mrs. Wilcox [landlady] is getting friendlier and more talkative. She baked a cake this afternoon, and that was my supper, with milk. I'm lucky to have this place. About a hundred boys don't have a place to stay yet. The University called Mrs. Wilcox pleading with her to take another boy. Missed the get-acquainted dance at St. Mary's.
66 MORE DAYS UNTIL THANKSGIVING VACATION. I'll wait until then to bring those two Rosaries, and the postcards.
Attended a very unorganized band meeting tonight. The names of the 110 who made marching band will be posted in the morning. In journalism I shouldn’t have any conflicts. My classes went swell today-except for Architecture, which I suffered through. We got an assignment (due in 2 weeks) which would take me a month or two. I’d have to spend all my spare time in the drafting room. I have to get out of that course quick! … The ROTC uniform hasn’t come yet. I’ll wear it three days a week and save a lot on other clothes.
All the classes here open with a short prayer. And everyone speaks to any priest or brother he sees on the campus. An outsider may think that all that goes on at N.D. is football. But actually, it is more of a minor topic than at [the military academy]. Religion is the dominant thing by far….
First marching tryout with the band after class at 5:30. The rapid cadence and high step will be hard to get used to-if I make the band, that is. They must cut 30 because they have only 107 uniforms. They’ll pick the band definitely on Friday…. It was chilly all day, but sunny….
Best of all, I now have full time for band every day of the week --that is, if I get in. That is proving to be harder than expected. I am sitting here with my feet in the bucket of hot salt water Mrs. Wilcox prescribed. We had intensive marching from 4:30 to 6 while the "wheels" watched us and picked out the best. I was the last trombonist. Two others didn't make it. They said I march too stiff and military. I tried to do as I saw others doing, but it will take awhile to break away from the stiffness. Next they have to see how we march and play at the same time. That will be hard for me because I'm not used to the fast tempo. My feet were so raw and sore I about had to limp home. It felt like I had holes in both socks and no skin on the soles. We were yelling chants like, "Go, Irish, beat Sooners!" We kept it up a long time. They really demand that you be snappy..
I can't complain about the food [in the pay cafeteria]. It's very good and costs about $1.50 per day-less than the $2.00 I expected. Nevertheless, I'm sure I won't have any trouble getting down anything you send to eat.. The time is not passing fast here. It seems like ages since the first day. Everybody goes by his last name just about every place. Only one teacher can pronounce it right.. Don't think I want to move on campus [when a room opens]. The dorms are so noisy I'd never get anything done..
Only two classes today, Religion and ROTC. A French Brother is my new Religion teacher. He is hard to understand but also very humorous. Major Bass led the ROTC class; the subject was leadership.
Monday, I'll do speech on the advantages and disadvantages of the occupation of soda jerk. I have enough background [from working in an ice cream parlor since age 11] to know what I'm talking about. I got 95 on the history paper we got back today. The Shakespeare prof [Rufus Rauch] (my oddest teacher) is tightening up a little.
The miracle we have been hoping for happened this afternoon at band; the halftime show was nearly perfect. Everybody was surprised. I know the music pretty well. The [football] crowd arrived earlier this week. Then we had the pep rally around a huge (and very hot) bonfire. [Edward W.] "Moose" Krause [director of athletics] spoke. We bandsmen nearly got swamped by the mob (probably near 7,500). It was a pretty disorganized affair-too many people. Went around campus to see the decorations, some excellent ones-elaborate and professional. I wonder where those kids got the time for that. Also this evening, there was a group singing all around campus-"When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" plus the school songs. It really gives you that "feeling." The traffic on N.D. Avenue was bumper to bumper tonight. There are still a few tickets floating around for $15 and up. No studying tonight; just got my uniform ready, and then got ready for bed (early). You should have seen me washing out socks and gloves tonight; maybe I need a washboard to get them clean.
They said our band show was excellent, and I agree. Ran out of wind in places and had to quit playing every once in a while. I think it's during the show that they spot the mistakes that lead to one's removal from the band. Last Sat. several guys got replaced. The students really loved the show. We had to stand out on the field and play everything again after the game, and they still wanted more. The kids I've talked to say this year's band [Bandmaster O'Brien's second year at N.D.] is a great improvement over past years. Were you able to hear the music? I was not quite as awe-struck today when we marched into the stadium.
We are going to the Penn game [in Philadelphia] for sure, but each one has to buy his own meals and furnish spending money. In the past, the school has given each one $10. Guess they are getting poor (?). It will be a 3-day trip.
P.S. I need those black socks urgently. I received the very welcome candy and cookies.
Had some of your cookies with milk for supper; these survived the mailing much better-all in one piece. Today it was cold, and the sky even looked like snow all day (but not cold enough for that yet).
Monday, Oct. 26. Went to see a foreign language movie (Italian) in the engineering auditorium. It only cost 25 cents and was recommended to language students. The acting was excellent. The title was "Open City." It told of Italian persecution and underground activities during World War II. I had intended to see the Drama Club's [University Theatre] production tonight [Cole Porter's "Kiss Me, Kate," Gene Gorski, lead baritone], but a fellow speech student from Colorado [Dale Edwin White] persuaded me to go with him to the movie.. Our speech teacher [Leonard Sommer] failed to show up for class this morning, so I had a welcome study period. If a teacher doesn't arrive ten minutes into class time, we are free to leave.
We have such a large and complicated show for Saturday's game with Navy that we had to start right in today on the field learning ten new formations. We haven't seen the music yet. This week's theme is "A Cruise around the World." We form a boat (the anchor goes up and down), a palm tree, a rickshaw (I'm in the wheel, which rotates), a snake-charmer's pot (the drum major blows a melody from his baton, and the snake starts to coil out the top), the Eiffel Tower, a teapot, a violin (I'm in the middle of the bow, which is drawn across the strings a couple of times), and the letters US and ND. Pre-game is the same as before, including the Dome, with NAVY replacing TECH.
It was another dreary, gray day; enjoyed walking home in a light rain.. Had dinner with a boy from Spain, a very interesting person! The corporal stripes came today.
We are making plans for our "Philly" trip, leaving next Friday (excused from afternoon classes), and arrive at 6:30 Saturday morning; won't get much sleep that night. We're free until 2 p.m. on Sunday, except for game time Saturday (12 to 4). We'll stay at the Adelphia Hotel, 4 to a room. There are negotiations with the athletic dept. to pay for our meals. The players will be on the train with us.
People are going wild about the band this year. Mr. O'Brien gets letters all the time saying it's the best band since they've been here. Spectators line up in cars to watch us practice, including some high school band directors from this area.
The editor of that music magazine that will feature us in its January issue wrote to Mr. O'Brien to say that we have as good a college band as he's seen, and that the school should be just as proud of us as of the football team. He's going to frame the letter. The athletic dept. is going to pay for our meals in Philadelphia. They think it's the first time that has ever happened. Today's football practice was televised on a closed hookup just for Coach Leahy in his hospital room. We saw the TV cameras and all the equipment they used.
Today's developments: 95 on military test (extremely easy); still doing great in Spanish; not so good in sociology (gave the wrong answer in quiz section); Shakespeare man assigned a whole 5-act play for Monday; my next article for the Scholastic is on the cross country team (can't get to it until Sunday, and it's due that afternoon). The sports staff has over 20 guys, but only 6 or 8 of us are getting weekly assignments.
There's a Kansas City Club Communion Breakfast this Sunday in the Morris Inn, which means it will probably cost. My bank balance is down to $700; don't you owe it some money [from summer savings]? . Clock has struck midnight; trying to get enough sleep simply can't be done!
Doughnuts and coffee were served at band practice tonight. Got home at 8:30-sleepy and chilled-but with 3 hours of lessons still to do; I finally struggled through that, and now it's 11:30. Have to get up earlier, too, to review for a speech test.. Religion test was returned today; I got 85 (about average). It's a good thing you aren't coming up for a game; I wouldn't have time to talk or anything.. There are lectures every night that I'd love to attend if there was time. Sunday there's going to be a Family Rosary for N.D. and St. Mary's at the Grotto.
A week from now we'll be whizzing across the Appalachians in the Keystone State. And 3 weeks later, I'll be doing the Bunny Hop [back home] at homecoming dance (they don't do the Bunny Hop here).
The event was part of the dedication of the Nieuwland Hall of Science and included conferral of an honorary Doctor of Science degree on a research physicist, who then talked about his work: spinning electrodes and atomic research. I could understand him now and then; heavy German accent, but with a touch of humor. This afternoon Archbishop [John Cardinal] O'Hara [CSC] blessed the new building.
Band still didn't go well tonight. It will take another minor miracle for the show to go off well tomorrow. I'm still a little uncertain of my pre-game positions. My row leads the band onto the field; I've got to know just where to go because others follow my lead, and I could throw the whole thing into an uproar! Mr. O'Brien got mad tonight because most of the kids don't know the music well enough. My gymnastics article came out in today's Scholastic. Forgot to tell you that one of the football players, Dick Szymanski, a quiet chap, is in my ROTC class.
Guess I can look forward any day now to a sermon from you all on how to behave on the trip to Philly.. The socks have not come yet. Only a week's supply of cold pills left.
From my new position, I was the last one off the field at halftime, and when I reached the sidelines the football team had come back, amidst the wild cheers of the crowd. The players really looked beat up. I recognized [Johnny] Lattner by his number. Some spectacular plays took place right in front of us. Just before halftime we were lined up behind the goal post ready to march on, when ND scored right there. It was a wonderful game [ND 38, Navy 7]. The second and third teams played the second half and still kept scoring.
When the post-game marching and playing was over and we had our congratulatory meeting in the band room, I went over to Coach [Alex] Wilson's office to do my cross-country interview. He had forgotten about it, so I had to call him at home. While in the office, I met the basketball coach, Johnny Jordan; he was anxious to lock up and leave. I told him to go ahead, and when I finished I'd be sure the door was locked. He did, and there I sat just looking around at all the championship pictures and trophies. I never reached Wilson, but got all the dope I needed for my article from the team captain-a swell guy [Joe Springer].
The campus was crowded with visitors as usual. Had my expensive football weekend supper (they double the prices) and came home to write the article. This morning after Mass I read about half of Julius Caesar. Again it was beautiful weather for the game, in between hot and cold.
Lots of trick-or-treaters tonight; brings back memories. I guess the little kids [in his family] were out pillaging the town's candy and cookie reserves.. The socks came, and the fudge, for which muchas gracias.
Back home I read the South Bend and Chicago papers, had a light lunch, and re-wrote my speech for tomorrow. It's not supposed to be memorized, but I have to do it or I stutter around. Went back to campus with the large crowd at the Grotto for Rosary and Benediction. It was for N.D. and St. Mary's students, but many visitors were also there. The crowd was all the way to the lake. Then went to the open house in the newly opened [LaFortune] Student Center. It's much better than M.U.'s [Univ. of Missouri's] new student union, but smaller. There is a ballroom upstairs. The main lounge area downstairs has side alcoves for private parties. They play music all the time. Spent the rest of the afternoon there reading Shakespeare. After supper I came home to a frightening stack of lessons.
Today's speech .I was nervous as usual, but controlled it better. The topic was an occupation; mine was the ice cream business [he had worked in a hometown ice cream shop since age 11]. I put in a little humor, and the class liked it. I was graded "very good" in choice of subject. I always get so nervous I forget to pronounce distinctly. Got 95 on the last ROTC test. We are beginning on the .50 cal. machine gun; fortunately there is no in-the-field training here.
There's a nice little religion test tomorrow, but Wednesday will really be test day!-sociology quiz, Spanish test, and history quiz, with the history mid-term that night. Hurry and send more vitamins before I go under all the strain.. No letters again today. We leave at 3:30 p.m. on Friday..
Band practice was outside today. I'm back where I belong in the back row-it's so "homey" there. We'll repeat our Dixieland program in Philadelphia-our best show so far.. It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm. Instead of worrying so much about my lessons I should just do my best and take things as they come. Even if I fail a few courses, I'm still getting my money's worth up here. It's really wonderful to be here! Went to the Grotto right after class, and all of a sudden, failing that test didn't seem so bad. I should be enjoying myself more instead of making myself unhappy with all the worrying. This is such a great experience to enjoy while I can.
Band wasn't too interesting today. They picked out some outstanding marchers and some not so good, and had them march together to show us how bad it looks if we don't all march well. My marching still isn't the way they want it, but they are giving me extra help because of the way I play (loud), learn the music and shows (fast), and hold the horn out (straight).
On today's short religion test, I missed one question (what language Christ spoke; I said Hebrew-the answer was Aramaic).
Spanish test wasn't too bad; answered correctly in sociology quiz, but not history (and got 60% on the previous one returned today). But tonight was the big test (from 7:30 to 8:30) and I didn't do well. I won't be surprised if I failed the mid-term. I can't figure out what's missing in my study habits. Maybe I'm just dumb. I listen to the guys here and their silver-tongued class recitations, and it makes me feel like an Ozark hillbilly. My education back home didn't prepare me well enough for this.. I'm doing a lot of praying these days for success in schoolwork and everything. If I fail courses this semester, I guess God has his reasons.
Started packing tonight because there won't be a spare minute before we leave. That English paper will probably keep me up all night tomorrow. It got really cold today, with snow flurries this evening..
Urgent! Next time you send something to eat (make it soon), include a couple of wash cloths. I only brought three..
Then getting laundry ready for pick-up, packing, and lining stuff up for the trip, including several books. Instead of taking my camera, I'll get a bunch of postcard pictures. Very confusing trying to plan everything-rush back here at noon, change clothes, and return with suitcase. I was going to wear jeans and a plaid shirt on the train, but [the landlady] told me that would not be proper, so I have to wear my suit and get it all wrinkled.. We have to stay in class until 2:30 (very inconvenient). Buses leave campus at 3 for the railroad station [South Bend's Union Station[. Train leaves at 3:20. You should see all the preparations they've made to insure a smooth trip..
Went to the Guidance Dept. to get the results of the entrance tests; there was a mix-up in my files, but the dept. head remembered my name and said the tests showed I'll do better in AB (Arts and Letters) than I would have in Engineering. Nice encouragement. I'll be able to see the results Tuesday..
Farewell, South Bend; come in, Philadelphia!
We left on schedule, at 3:30. It's now 10 p.m. Time has really raced by. We'll be passing through the scenic Appalachians Mountains about 4 a.m., so I guess I'll miss seeing them. We had a very nice meal in the diner-my first experience like that. We ate by candlelight-nice atmosphere. Didn't get quite enough to eat, though. You should see this car: suitcases, coats on hangars, various and sundry articles all lying around. It's really hot in here. It's a special train-two day coaches for the band, one day coach and one sleeper for the team, another sleeper for the president, Father Hesburgh and other officials, two diners, and baggage.
The team has to go to bed pretty soon, and a bunch of us plan to spend the night in their day coach where it won't be so noisy and crowded. I was up in their coach just now watching a poker game. Sat behind [Johnny] Lattner, [Capt. Don] Penza, [Ralph] Guglielmi, and [Dick] Washington [the only African-American on the team that year]. The money was flying right and left--$5 and $10 bills, too. They were really getting a kick out of it. Lattner has a lot of gray hairs. I was impressed by his muscular appearance-especially his neck.
We arrive at 7 a.m. I feel fine and hope that continues.
Let's start with the overnight trip. After my last installment, Ray DeSutter and I went into the team's day coach, pulled seats together, and started a long, bumpy nap. At midnight we arrived at Pittsburgh, and I've never seen a sight like our arrival in that huge industrial city. The track parallels the Ohio River, and we all had to look out the window to see mile upon mile of factories and steel mills on the opposite shore. The biggest sight was the huge Bethlehem Steel Plant. I've never seen such aweing [today its awesome] beauty as the great flames and smoke from that immense plant. We all just stared and couldn't say anything. We crossed the Allegheny River right into downtown Pittsburgh; another great sight. We stopped just long enough to get out and stretch. A little past Pittsburgh, we ran into snow; I first saw it when I woke up about 2 a.m. We were going though the Allegheny Mountains-another incredibly beautiful sight, and the whole countryside was covered with snow; it was coming down fast and furious. After taking in the beauty of the landscape for a while, we passed a village on the side of one of the ridges. It looked just like one of those artistic Christmas cards. Nobody got much sleep because we all wanted to watch the scenery.
Coming into Philly wasn't nearly as impressive as Pittsburgh, or even Harrisburg, the state capital (I saw the building from a distance). Downtown Philly has more tall buildings than K.C. [Kansas City]; it seems like a quaint, old city with many candy shops and antique stores.
We arrived at 9 a.m., and five of us took a cab to the hotel (about 18 blocks from the station). The atmosphere was just like Christmas. We didn't have time to spare because we got in two hours late. We put on our uniforms and left in special buses for the Penn campus, arriving at noon. The snow kept us from going out to practice, so we just played through the music in the student center. There was quite a bit of antagonism between us and the Penn students (very unfriendly). Maybe it was because we were playing and singing the "Victory March" and shouting "Beat Quakers!" from the front steps. We got pelted with quite a few snowballs-even when we were marching at halftime. The Penn campus is very small and crowded compared to ours, but they have some really nice buildings..
After the game and post-game celebration at the stadium, we packed into old-fashioned streetcars and hurried back to the hotel to get out of our wet socks. Pant legs were caked with mud, and our spats [worn over the shoes] were black. Had a fine supper ($2.25) in a high-class restaurant (just the main course because I didn't know how to handle cocktails and appetizers). Here at the hotel, I'm learning how to tip; that can get pretty expensive. There are four in our room (Ray plus two other guys who went to the Philadelphia N.D. Club party last night when we arrived); it has four beds and a private bath. Our two prodigals have just returned with a bunch of friends; no telling when we'll get to bed now (already past midnight).
I went to a concert by the Philadelphia Orchestra (you could really tell the difference between this one and K.C.'s [Kansas City Philharmonic]). They are highly polished and played difficult works. I got in for $1.50 with a group of tweedy Penn students; our seats were way, way up on the top tier of 6 or 7 balconies in the Academy of Music (supposed to have one of the best acoustics in the world). I was nearly straight above the stage, looking down on the musicians. The swaying of all the bows in unison was beyond words. Afterwards I got the autographs of the guest cellist and also the illustrious conductor, Eugene Ormandy. You should have seen all the fat ladies in their minks and jewels. I'm sure I was staring too much. The eastern accent is very noticeable.
Finally it's bedtime (1:30).
Went to 9 o'clock Mass at St. John's, a large and beautiful church next door to the hotel. My three roommates were still snoozing when I left. After Mass I had a breakfast-lunch combination in the hotel dining room. The food was good (and expensive) but it took an hour and a half of valuable time, the service was so bad. Then I set out through wet, slushy snow to see Philly. Six blocks down Chestnut St. is Independence Hall, and Congress Hall next to it; their simplicity was a little disappointing. You enter the front door-just a plain old white door, no signs, no nothing-and there right in front of you is the Liberty Bell (that was breathtaking). On the spot where Washington was inaugurated, you get the feeling of touching something hallowed.
On to the oldest bank in the country and Carpenter's Hall . These places are located in an old section of the city with narrow streets, horse-drawn delivery trucks, quaint shops, musty warehouses and wholesale companies-all with an atmosphere quite different from anything I've been to. It was like being in some old European city you see in pictures. Then into Christ Church, the oldest one (16-something), and the Betsy Ross house-both hemmed in by big, dingy buildings. The house is tiny and was packed with tourists-only five small rooms, furnished in the original style.
Eventually I reached the suspension bridge across the Delaware River, and walked across to Camden, N.J. It's two miles, but I enjoyed the windy walk because of the view of surrounding cities and the Philadelphia skyline. In the middle of the bridge (the only one across the river) I looked down on tugboats and ocean freighters maneuvering to their piers. Only spent 10 minutes in New Jersey; took a streetcar back to City Hall and on to the cultural part of town. All along the beautiful [Benjamin Franklin] parkway are the post office, mint, cathedral, museum of natural history, Franklin Institute (science museum and planetarium), municipal courts, library, art museum, several smaller museums, and the aquarium.
My feet were good and wet. The other three were still lying around just reading the Sunday papers. [Clippings are enclosed from the Inquirer and Bulletin on the game, the band, and the snowstorm.] I picked up some small souvenirs, including a miniature Liberty Bell, a facsimile of the "Declaration of Independence," and many postcards.. There's a lot more to see in that beautiful city if I ever get back. The guys couldn't believe all the things I saw in those few hours, which I showed them on my map. But a few bandsmen went all the way up to New York City after the game (two hours away)..
Leaving the Pennsylvania Rail Road Station at 4 p.m. was a stirring scene. The band put on a rally for the team and the school officials; the instruments were packed, so we sang the "Victory March" and yelled a lot as the team went down to the platform. The players looked a little emotional, and the crowd there in the station seemed to be moved by the whole scene. It really felt great! We kept singing until we were all on the train and pulling out. Even if I fail some courses, I'm still getting my money's worth of wonderful experiences; I wouldn't take anything for them.. This trip is just about over. Never had so much fun in my life as on the train-ride home with such wonderful guys. Managed to get some studying done, but not much..
Four exams coming up Wednesday, and three will decide whether I get an F for the first quarter. If I don't get above 70 in sociology, I'll get a "pink slip" in the mail telling me I'm flunking the course. You'll get one too.. Should have a speech prepared also, but I can't do anything on that. Thursday we pre-register with the Dean for second semester courses..
Tomorrow we start rehearsals for the Iowa show in two weeks-a state fair theme. We finally get a breather this weekend..
No snow here, and quite warm today.. Can't keep my eyes open any longer. (I'm all out of cold pills.)
We didn’t do much today in band—just a little idea of the Iowa show…. Glad to hear you heard our Penn show on the radio….
Don’t delay your letter to [Father Charles] McCarragher; how I get there [for Thanksgiving] doesn’t matter to him. And don’t say, “Can he come home…?” but “We give our permission for him to come home.”… Tell me what day you write to him; I can’t see him until he receives your letter.
More good news from tonight’s Scholastic meeting: I’ve been promoted to writing football articles [previously it was minor sports]—for next issue, a report on how our three remaining opponents do this Saturday. This is a longer article and usually goes on the front page of the sports section. I’ll send you a copy of the last magazine (has my cross-country article). There are over 20 of us on the sports staff.
Tomorrow we sign up for second semester courses; won’t be too much change from this semester.
Here are next semester’s courses: Christian Morals, Logic, Introduction to Philosophy, Spanish II, European History II, ROTC, and Sociology II (hope I’ll have a different teacher for that).
Right after drill, we had marching band; this will really be a good show. We’ll “grow” a cornstalk right on the field: from a single line on the edge of the field, we move out along the 50; “leaves” begin to sprout and droop down, and finally the pipers [the Irish Guard carried bagpipes] will form the tassel. Next we form an Indian insignia, and an authentic Indian in full costume will dance in the middle of it. This is to honor the Iowa Indian tribe. Then we form a big square while about a quarter of the bandsmen do a square dance inside it as we play “Turkey in the Straw.” Then we form a windmill (the blades revolve) and play “Tiptoe through the Tulips.” This is for the Amana Colony of Iowa. The final piece will be (we hope) the hit of the show—a difficult close-order marching routine involving a lot of counting by each man in order to come out right. At the same time, we’ll be playing a difficult march by Karl King (a circus march); he’s a famous composer from Iowa.
Tomorrow is the end of the first nine weeks—the year is one-fourth over
. That was some sermon from Papa in today’s mail! Come, come; things aren’t that bad yet. I guess I’ve been stressing the bad part too much. I’m probably making you do a lot of unnecessary worrying. Don’t suggest quitting band! That’s what gives me the only real fun I’m having here, something I look forward to all day. I pity the kids who don’t have any extra activities.
I do realize I was over-confident when I came up here, but I can tell I’m getting better accustomed to things every day. It has just taken me a little longer to get going than it did last year at home. No need to worry as long as I keep praying every day! Everybody fails tests every once in a while up here. They expect you to. This is not like [junior college[ or [high school]. Everything is working out beautifully. Naturally, there are discouragements at times, but I had quite a few of those [before], too.
[Comment on the Penn game:] When [Johnny] Lattner made that 92-yard run we were playing the “Victory March,” and could see him going through all the tacklers, and kept playing louder and louder. At the end we were all yelling something tremendous. I knew he would go all the way when I saw him take the ball.
Thirteen more days. Every night when I hear the 10 o’clock news on the Star [WDAF, Kansas City], I can see you all sitting around the kitchen table listening to the same thing and maybe eating popcorn…. It’s midnight.
More good news: Mid-semester history exams were returned; I got 81. Now my average should be between 80 and 85. We didn’t have to give our speeches today, but will give them Monday for sure. I really get a kick out of that class. Mr. Kirby is a young blade just out of college and full of pep. He has a wonderful sense of humor, and had us roaring today. At times, he’s a real comedian. Spanish is getting tougher, but I can keep my 97 average if I work a little more. It comes very easy to me. We had a substitute teacher in sociology today; I like his method of teaching better than our regular teacher.
The cookies (or should I say crumbs) arrived today; the box was in terrible condition. Most of the wrapping paper was ripped off, and two sides were gone. Looks like some of the contents were lost somewhere by the wayside. It’s a good thing you wrapped them individually. The crumbs are good, however, with a glass of milk….,p> Saturday, Nov. 14. A really fine diversion tonight, listening to a concert by the Cleveland Orchestra. Among the four compositions was Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony…. Afterwards I went on stage to the trombone section and thumbed through the music; I could handle some parts of it with practice…. It was warm enough to wear just a suit coat….
Got a nice haircut this morning (Italian barber) and worked on Spanish this afternoon while listening to the game. It wasn’t very exciting [ND beat North Carolina 34-14 in Chapel Hill]. Next week’s game should be good; Iowa has been improving….
It was nice to have a day where I could take things slow and easy—something rare up here….
After turkey dinner I came home to read history, listen to the radio, and get a couple of letters written…. It’s late, so—“Ustedes escriben pronto!”
I’m getting to know quite a few guys at school, mainly in the caf; a group of us usually have breakfast together. One of them collects harpsichords. At night I usually eat with band guys….
Low 70s and sunny today…. Listened to Truman’s speech tonight….
More good news: After religion class, Fr. Cibor called five of us up for a minute to tell us that we form the top ten percent of the class, and that he expects us to keep it up…. Every day I feel more and more accustomed to things, which means I should do better in all my classes in the second half of the semester.
[Responses to a letter from Papa:] I don’t think I’m “trying too hard.” You have to keep your lessons up. Lattner is really making the print: first Time, then [Saturday Evening] Post, now Look. I don’t have much contact with the players in getting stuff for my articles. I do see some of the coaches, though. I haven’t done much in the way of statistics so far, but they go in big for statistics here. I spent only $4 or $5 of my own money in Philadelphia….
I’m going to bed early (10:30) to be fresh for tomorrow’s Selective Service Qualification test (8:30 to 12). I’ll miss religion class on account of it….
Thursday, Nov. 19. That test was really something. There were 150 questions, and each required a lot of thought; even with 3 hours, I didn’t have time to finish. There were moderately difficult math and algebra problems, vocabulary drills, and some deep reading selections with questions asked about them. They went to great lengths to make sure no unauthorized people got in to take it; we were even fingerprinted. The scores are sent to the local draft boards.
This afternoon we had a practice parade during ROTC drill. All four battalions took part in it, but it was a pretty sorry affair as so many of the guys don’t seem to know what’s going on—no real discipline. It gets dark so early (soon after 4:30) that the parade ended in moonlight. That caused a complication for the band because we don’t have the marches memorized; it sounded pretty bad with most of us faking it. The “parade ground” is a big parking lot immediately south of the Stadium. Overcoats were “reg” even though it was in the 60s (after Nov. 15 overcoats are worn at every formation).
Marching band was after supper. The halftime show is looking pretty good. The game starts earlier this Saturday because it gets dark so early. Iowa is going to be very tough.
It was beautiful down at the Grotto tonight—moonlight on the lake; quiet and peaceful. Mild and not even a breeze. Went on to the library to do some outside reading (history).
Went downtown for the show with some fellow bandsmen after the pep rally. It was typical—lots of pep, enthusiasm, and noise. We didn’t get to march all over campus because it was raining, but we were out in it long enough to get wet. It wasn’t threatening when I left this morning, so didn’t bring my raincoat. No spirits were dampened by the rain. It’s clear again now with full moon shining brightly. Still warm, too. After supper I got in part of the Sorrowful Mother novena before going to the band room for the rally….
The game itself was enough to wear a person out, even without the marching and playing. Our show went fine, as usual. It turned out to be a beautiful day in spite of the weather man’s threats—a little chilly, but sunny and no clouds. You should have seen us yelling like mad during the two suspenseful times we made our TDs. We were praying and yelling at the same time there at the end when Iowa went ahead 14-7 with only two minutes left. At the end, we were down on the sidelines by the team bench, as usual. The guys just about went wild. I’m surprised we didn’t get a penalty for going out on the field, throwing hats on it, etc. None of us knew what we were doing. We were very lucky to get a tie out of that game; at least we are still undefeated. But we may not be able to outrank Maryland to be national champs. [Coach Frank] Leahy had such a rough time; he looked like a nervous wreck.
Went to Mass with the team this morning in Dillon Hall chapel. They were taking a lot of pictures of the team.
Yesterday I got a letter from ND saying I can move on campus. They gave me three choices: move now as soon as they get a vacancy; wait until Feb. 1, beginning of second semester; stay where I am. Don’t know which to do—probably wait till semester is over. We can discuss it when I get home. No, there’s nothing special I’d like to eat—just food and lots of it…. I won’t borrow any suitcases; I’ll bring stuff in a box. [His ride] called tonight and said he might not leave until Wednesday evening—which would get us [within 40 miles of home] at 5 a.m. Thanksgiving morning.
The Sunday paper said nice things about the band show, but there was no picture. It was mostly about a debate over whether the feigned injuries in yesterday's game were legal, fair, or what. It did seem a little dishonest.. [An attached clipping from the South Bend Tribune explains the day's special music: "The golden anniversary of the papal decree proclaiming Gregorian Chant as the official music of the Catholic Church will be observed at the University of Notre Dame Sunday with a series of services featuring chant by the congregation and a concert by the Moreau Seminary Choir.under the direction of Rev. William McAuliffe, C.S.C.. The observance coincides with the feast of St. Cecelia, patroness of church music.. The active participation of the congregation in church services was one of the aims of Pope Pius X."]
Band was inside, practicing the music for our last show-the most important one because it will be televised nationally. I'll tell you all about it. I'd like to spend Friday evening with the whole family, telling all about everything and answering questions.. Don't worry; I'll have my St. Christopher medal on during the ride home.. The cookies arrived mashed up as usual, with most of the wrapping paper torn off..
After supper I read in the library until time for the pep rally for the USC game. It was the greatest one yet. When [Captain] Don Penza got up to make his little speech, the crowd gave him a 17-min. ovation (I timed it as 24). We were about deaf when it was over. Just imagine continual cheering, yelling, and clapping all that time, interspersed with chants like "Go, go, go." and "Go, Irish; beat Trojans!" and "We're number 1!" We played the "Victory March" a couple of times in the midst of the roaring (everybody stands up for that). Penza was so moved, he could hardly talk-almost a whisper. Then [Tackle Frank] Varrichione talked about his "sickness" [which yielded a time-out and gave the team time to tie Iowa; the 1954 Dome explains in a caption, p. 220: "On this play Frank Varrichione (on ground, moaning) committed a dastardly misdeed. He managed to have an unethical injury.] Father [James E.] Norton [CSC, Vice-President of Student Affairs] and Joe Boland, Irish network broadcaster, gave stirring speeches. We have to smash USC to get back our number one rating, and the team is ready to tear them to pieces after that rally. When it was over, we were as hoarse as if it had been a game. Everything is packed for tomorrow's evening departure; hope we leave on schedule, and that I'm able to sleep on the way. Also hope the teachers give no big assignments in tomorrow's classes.. Cloudy, windy, and rainy most of the day; very cold tonight.
Getting back to the rally; the seniors said our continuous cheer was the longest since they've been here. It was a wonderful experience to witness a student body infusing its terrific spirit into its football team. Our backing really means a lot to them. Penza tried to apologize for just getting a tie on Saturday, but every time he tried, the crowd wouldn't let him.
[There is an accompanying outline of nine band formations for the coming game, with his positions indicated:] After the opening company front and fanfare, we form a 6-shooter and play "Pistol-packin' Mama." Next a stick-man cowboy ("Old Cowhand from the Rio Grande"); a stick-horse ("William Tell" overture). The horse's back sags, and we continue with "Old Gray Mare." Then a covered wagon with turning wheels ("Wagon Wheels"); a cactus ("Cool Water"); sunset over mountains in west Texas ("Rose of San Antone" as the sun merges with the horizon). Finally, the ND ("Victory March").
Then went to Washington Hall to see "Kiss Me, Kate," put on by the University Theatre. It was really terrific-loved every minute of it. In my book it was as good as anything at [Kansas City's] Starlight Theatre. The leading lady [Dalis Ann Yoder] gave an excellent performance-perfect voice for the part [Lois Lane]. All the characters were swell (I know three of the guys [Pat Cannon, Russ Hemphill, Dick Robison]). The ND Symphonette provided the music; the strings were especially good. [See 1954 Dome, p. 304.]
Hope I don't have to wait 'til I get sick to get some sleep. Had a stomach ache all day, and headache this evening. The weather might have something to do with it. Another dark and dreary day-chilly and drizzly.
Cloudy, very windy, but on the mild side today. Supposed to rain tonight and tomorrow.. Finished shopping in the bookstore this morning; all I have to get now is candy [for the landlady] and a gift for Mother. Won't tell you how much I spent, but it wasn't too awfully much.. ROTC (inside the Drill Hall) was fun today: manual of arms (how to handle a rifle in the various positions). I think I could have demonstrated it better than the officer in charge; it's a big comedy here [compared to the military junior college].
You all don't realize the wonderful and terrific experiences I'm having up here. You'd have to be here yourselves.. It seems Maryland was picked no. 1; you couldn't tell that here. Saturday night there is a "Champions Ball," and tomorrow night's pep rally is for "the National Champs." There are big signs up in the halls: "Congratulations, National Champs!" We are convinced that we're no. 1, but the rest of the country won't be convinced 'til Oklahoma beats Maryland. Floating around the campus is Maryland's "magic formula": "Tatum made 'em, Iowa swayed 'em, and nobody played 'em." Pretty good, and so true!
[Answer to a letter from home:] So the family's Christmas present will be a TV set. [His parents had held off, concerned about the possible harmful effects of this novelty on study and family life, but by 1953 it appeared to be here to stay.]
Ups and downs in classes today. Went down a little in speech; got mixed up in part of it. On Spanish test, had to rush too much, and didn't know vocabulary as well as I should. Two history papers were returned: 100 and 70. Some of the class brains did worse.
Went to Mass with the team this morning at 9 in Dillon Hall chapel. Had a big breakfast, as I knew there would be no time for lunch, and spent some time reading history in the library. Had to pay $1.40 for supper (prices doubled, as usual). The weather was nearly perfect for December-in the 40s and partly cloudy during the game. Tonight the rain is back, but no wind. I noticed last night's extra sleep this evening while studying history, Spanish, and sociology; should get 8 hours tonight. Don McNeill [host of radio's Breakfast Club, and father of Tom McNeill] was master of ceremonies at the Champions Ball tonight in the Drill Hall. Count Bassie's orchestra played .
There was a lot about yesterday's festivities in the South Bend and Chicago papers. It seems that many sports writers realize their error in voting for Maryland; we'll just ignore whatever the poll says because everybody knows we're no. one. Leahy said this year's team was the greatest-especially on offense-that he has ever seen. It is his sixth undefeated team.
Six classes today, but not a hard day. Have a new ROTC instructor; we are now studying the 4.2-inch mortar. My average is 92 following the 97 on the last test. We had an unexpected hour-long test in history which included an essay about the political conditions in Italy during the 16th century. Enjoyed Shakespeare class; Twelfth Night is funny.
It felt strange not to have band practice. But I played for the basketball game tonight (beat Northwestern 75-66). It's so enjoyable playing in an organization where everybody plays well. The team looked ragged in places, and the game was close the first three quarters. They got ahead 8 points in the first half. About 4,000 at the game.
Went to see the [Arts and Letters] dean, Father [Charles] Sheedy [CSC], about some things. I only got 40 hours of [junior college] credit; if I had stayed in architecture, it would have been 55 of the 68 hours I took there. I also wanted to clear up the difficulty about not taking hygiene to make sure I don't have to take gym next semester. He was very cordial, and invited me back. After seeing all the top grades on my transcript he said he was disappointed when I told him my average now is about 85. He said I should be doing better than that. He was glad to hear that ND is so much rougher than junior college. He wanted me to finish the whole year's Spanish requirement by [taking an exam over the second semester] in February. I told him I didn't think I could do that. No sense in rushing any more than I am.
It was sunny for a change and not too cold, but windy. Still hoarse from yelling so much at the game.
Lots of reading today; two tests tomorrow. It was a beautiful day, but chilly.. I'll have four or five hours in Chicago [on the way home]; write to our relatives and see if they would like to invite me over.
In the Sociology quiz, I couldn't answer my question: "Distinguish between religion and magic." I couldn't remember the definitions from the chapter.
Tonight was the football banquet in the east dining hall (holds 2000). A small part of the band [seniors] played for it (3 trombones). [The landlady] ironed my ROTC pants tonight; we have our first formal inspection tomorrow, and there has to be a sharp crease. Picked up my new ROTC cap today-officer type-which band members wear. I'm thinking of wearing the uniform home on the train. Best plan is leave here 3 p.m. Friday [on the South Shore]; leave Chicago 9 p.m. [on the Santa Fe]; arrive at Henrietta [Mo.] at 6 a.m. [3 miles from home]. In Chicago, I'll visit [relatives] or sightsee. I won't be able to bring my [portable] typewriter. I'll have to find one at high school to type my term paper. I'll have two suitcases-one with presents and books.. I'm enclosing the "Religious Bulletin" with regulations for the Marian Year
Read Shakespeare in the student center this afternoon; that is such a luxurious building. After supper and before the game I watched the Groucho Marx program on TV in the student center. Want to hear the St. Mary's Glee Club Christmas Concert tomorrow night. The Christmas spirit really hit me today, playing all the old songs in a concert medley (which Mr. O'Brien wrote for the band). Then when I went [to Sacred Heart] to make a visit, an organist was playing Christmas music. Out on the campus evergreens are lit up in front of all the halls. The only thing missing is snow, and we may get some of that soon. It was quite cold and blustery, and that northwest wind just about froze me coming to school this morning..
Can't understand why the [hometown] libraries don't have some of the books [needed for term paper]; they out to have something on St. Thomas More and on humanism. I'll just have to bring more books with me. Eight more days. [This was the beginning of 50 years of research, writing and teaching on Thomas More and his works.]
Again, band was out of this world-divine, breathtaking, glorious, and bushels of fun. I think I was made for the bass trombone; I picked it up fine right off. Everything played at 6th position on the ordinary trombone is played on 1st position plus the valve. The more penetrating tone is noticeable, and without extra wind (guess I've always had a lot to spare). The concert band's spring tour [during Easter week] goes through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Iowa. If I make the band I'll try to get somebody [at home] interested in sponsoring us so we could give a concert there on the way to Kansas City. [That was not to happen until his senior year spring tour. The 1954 band played in Decatur, Ill.; Kansas City; Hays and Liberal Kans.; Amarillo, Tex.; Colorado Springs; Cheyenne; McCook and Boys Town, Nebr.; Chillicothe, Mo. St. Louis; Kankakee, Ill.]
Went to the student center to write a Scholastic article before the St. Mary's Glee Club concert. It was in the student center's grand ballroom; 45 girls-excellent. The program included part of Handel's Messiah. There was a party afterwards, but I came home to type the article. Besides, I wasn't dressed well enough for a party..
Didn't go out to school until suppertime. Then went caroling. There were 10 busloads of ND and St. Mary's mixed; each went to a different residential area where we got out and walked about a mile, stopping every once in a while to sing. Lots of little kids came to the windows, some in nighties-very heartwarming. Ours was a swanky district; never saw such sumptuous homes. Some people came out and wanted to pay us. There were 40 to 50 in our group-a few more boys than girls. We sounded pretty good. Some of the girls seemed very nice. I was all bundled up but still got cold, especially my feet. It was in the lower 20s. Snow forecast failed to show up. Afterwards there was a party in our student center, but I didn't have a date so came home and addressed Christmas cards til late.
[An attached clipping from the South Bend Tribune fills in details: "Eight-hundred students from the University of Notre Dame and St. Mary's College will canvass South Bend this week-end singing Christmas carols and giving parties for orphans and the aged and infirm. Saturday night.each group will be led by a representative from the Notre Dame Glee Club.. It will be the first time such projects have been undertaken by members of either school.]
The 1953 football edition of the Scholastic came out today; it has a nice write-up and a few pictures of the band. Extra copies cost 50 cents, so I'll just bring mine when I come.
Finally finished the Shakespeare assignment this afternoon, and learned my speech fairly well-a short account of [a Civil War] battle [in his hometown].
Starting to get a sore throat; I've been lucky so far. Five more days. Tell me who has sent me Christmas cards, so I can send them one from here.
I'm up past midnight preparing for a full day Wednesday, which includes tests in Sociology and Military, and a speech. When I get past Wednesday, I can sail into the vacation. Today Kirby assigned a load of stuff in Speech class to do over the holidays (this was met by much wailing and gnashing of teeth). After classes I spent nearly 3 hours practicing on the bass trombone for tomorrow night's concert. I'm improving, but still need more practice. [The program of follows, beginning with "The Hut of Baba-Yaga" and "Great Gate of Kiev" from Moussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. After two Sousa marches, Ravel's Bolero begins a series of classical selections, "Danny Boy," and Bandmaster O'Brien's "Christmas Music Medley." The program closes with "White Christmas," "Jingle Bells," and the "Victory March."] We'll wear dark suits.
After supper I read some Shakespeare and attended the Glee Club concert; it was beautiful, nearly perfect (marred by a female soloist).
Don't know if the papers have gotten the story on the kicking out of school of [football stars, Ralph] Guglielmi and [Joe] Heap. They were caught arriving at the Circle with their dates at 2 a.m. Doesn't seem like that calls for dismissal, but the discipline here is rough. It will be a terrible loss to the team next year if those two can't come back.
We are finally getting some snow and it's down in the teens; the weatherman called it "flurries," but at times it was coming down fast and furious; we already have a couple of inches, and it's supposed to keep up through tomorrow. I hate to find out what it will be like here when they call it "heavy snow." "Flurries" is heavy enough for me. [As we all learned, the periodic snow squalls off the lake, which can be dense at times, are termed flurries in Michiana.] The campus is beautiful when it snows.
Our basketball team lost to Indiana last night by 11 points.. Seventy-two hours from now I should be on my way.
I think that good night's sleep accounts for how well classes and tests went today. Speech grade was the best so far; my projection is finally starting to improve, but I still get points off for not using gestures. The Sociology test was over the very stuff I had studied, but I couldn't remember some of it. Only 3 more classes until vacation.
I came home to start packing. That old beat-up suitcase I brought back at Thanksgiving is filled with presents and books. No room to bring clothes and other stuff.
Varsity band practiced today. Concert band tryouts aren't until after the vacation; so far only six trombones have applied. If no more apply, we'll just try out for chair number; the bass trombone is last chair.
Went out to the university this morning for Religion; then picked up the library books, and cashed the check. [The cheery Irish brogue in the Cashier's window, Main Bldg. ground floor was invariably Bro. Columba's.] After lunch I addressed Christmas Cards and went downtown; got a 3-lb. box of candy ($3) for [the landlady]. She gave me about 100 stamps from her collection as my present .
Went back to campus to take ROTC test-the answers were so obvious. After supper I read the Scholastic in the student center until game time. We were much improved, and beat Loyola of Chicago, 81-65. Joe Bertrand-tremendously popular with everybody-scored 35 points, a new school record. Another of those famous ND ovations followed the announcement when he broke the record at 32. Lots of fun playing for the game.
Now listening to dance music from Chicago featuring Chuck Foster's orchestra. Had a terrible time trying to close the suitcases; hope they don't pop open in transit. The one with gifts and books weighs a ton.
Two classes tomorrow morning, then lunch, get home, and leave for the train [LaSalle and Michigan] at 1:35. Should be able to make it without rushing. My map of Chicago will be handy in getting around. [There was little or no snow, but a typically bleak day when the South Shore arrived at Roosevelt Rd. in Chicago that Dec. 18; after stowing luggage a few blocks away at Dearborn Station (Santa Fe), he went to see the Field museum, aquarium, and planetarium in Grant Park.]
[The landlady] has provided me with a new desk chair; they still have the Christmas tree up. Two Christmas cards were waiting for me. On the way back, I got a lot of Spanish done-until an old lady who likes to talk got on and sat next to me. The rest were playing cards in the club car. The Mississippi River at Ft. Madison, Iowa looked to be almost frozen over. The trip was fine. The Chicagoan is the ritziest train I've ever been on-smoothest, too. Hard to realize we were going along at 90 mph..
Monday, Jan. 4. Everyone was dragging around today, including me. Had to fight to stay awake in Sociology this afternoon; my eyes wouldn't stay open, no matter how hard I tried. And I sit on the front row, just in front of Mr. [John] Hughes. Many occupants of the back rows were napping. That class and also Shakespeare was very boring; we didn't do much in either. I think the profs are about as worn out as we are. (Well, maybe not quite as much.) It's a good thing I did the Speech assignment over the holidays. He called for them this morning, and many hadn't done it; no late papers accepted. In Military class, we got our last test papers back (I got 89). Today we started on 3.5 rocket launchers. We had seven of them to examine. Spanish was a review for the big test on Wed. I'm struggling to make Dean's List. Our History man is sick, but someone came to take roll and collect our term papers. Some guys didn't have theirs done..
I checked the semester exam schedule today. They are spread out pretty well beginning on Fri., the 22nd and ending Wed. afternoon, the 27th, and I don't have to be back until Mon. morning, Feb. 1 for second semester. I can't move to the campus until after that, so there won't be anything to do here. Want me to come home? I could also go visit relatives in Chicago..
(Right now I'm listening to Pres. Eisenhower on WSBT. [State of the Union address was first Monday in January when Congress re-convened].
Now for the big news of the day-tryout for concert band. At 4:02 p.m. I went to Mr. O'Brien's office for my tryout -- and I made the concert band! Will play the bass trombone, just as planned. He said my reading, key signatures, and tempo are OK; I need to improve tone and a flat second position [on the slide]. They'll improve once we get into practicing. We practice from 4:30 to 6 Mon., Wed., and Fri.; the first rehearsal is this Wednesday, when the band list is posted. I'll stay in varsity band to get more credit toward a band letter; it just practices on Tuesdays. Military band practices two hours on Thursdays. That ought to be enough music to keep me busy.
The minute I got to campus this morning, it felt like I hadn't been away at all; the rest of the guys all said the same thing. It wasn't hard to fall back into the routine. It was cloudy and dreary, but a pretty mild day for northern Indiana. St. Mary's Lake was a-swarm with ice skaters this afternoon; looked like they were really having a good time.. In Sacred Heart Church I saw the Nativity scene-the most elaborate one I've ever seen. It's about 30 feet wide and 20 feet high. The backdrop is the dark sky, with angels, and in the background, the town of Bethlehem with hundreds of lighted windows. The stable, of course, is the central feature, with dozens of animals all around. The ground has a silky appearance. The whole effect is spectacular..
Didn't turn in the scholarship application because I couldn't find Father [Charles] Sheedy [CSC], the dean. He has to sign it first.
It's good to be back!
Religion class went OK today; I think it's now my easiest subject. After that I got the scholarship application signed and delivered, and checked the move to campus. There are 40 sophomores ahead of me. The secretary said that we have 3 days from the time we get our room assignments until we have to be all moved in, so it might be well after Feb. 1 for me.
At basketball band practice, we just went through a few marches and easy pieces.. My shoulders and upper arms are still sore from the trip back, but my hands have recovered.. Ate supper tonight with a guy from Vermont; could barely understand his accent. Now that we're all back in school, we'll have to settle down to a long, hard stretch.
It looked good to see my name on the concert band roster; I was fifth of the 7 trombones who tried out (six were accepted). The guy who plays third with me is a new man (didn't march this fall). He plays baritone better, but they already have three excellent players in that section. Six states are represented in our 6-man trombone section: Virginia [Gene Henry], Michigan [Skip Richards], Kansas [Jerry Vitztum], New Jersey [Dante Fuglini], Missouri, and Pennsylvania. I'm the only one in the band from Missouri. The concert tour leaves Holy Saturday; we've already booked Chicago, Des Moines, Omaha, McCook (Nebr.), Cheyenne, Denver, Hays (Kans.), and Quincy (Ill.). We'll be close enough for you all to hear us. We'll miss three days of classes at the end. I hate that, but the new experiences will be worth it.
Got a good assignment at Scholastic meeting this evening (track team). Played at the game with Louisville after that; we won 72-53. Haven't lost a home game yet. We were a little thin, so Mr. O'Brien played third trombone with me.
Got home at 10:15 after putting in a 16-hour day, and not a minute to spare. Must have walked five miles today-back and forth and all around. On the way home I finally slipped and fell on the ice, but my arms and shoulders are much better. I've relaxed with the [hometown paper], and now to bed.
I changed into ROTC uniform and went back for drill and to meet with the Band Commander [John Giambruno], who is getting to be a good friend. The test I got back was marked "outstanding" and received a 94.
Spent an hour reading history in the library after supper [Christopher Dawson's The Making of Europe]. A very interesting topic: the effects on the world of the Protestant Rebellion in the 16th century. After that, the committee for next year's marching band had its first meeting. The guys are a swell bunch, and we should get a lot done. No more meetings 'til after exams. (Also no more Scholastic articles.)..
Band was lots of fun. I'm sailing along, keeping up nicely-except once when I played a nice mellow quarter note on an important rest. At the conclusion of the piece, I had to rise and take a bow! Some others played on rests now and then, but none so outstanding as mine.
There was an English Dept. movie on campus tonight, but I came home to write the track article. This afternoon while they were practicing I went to the field house to get some more information.
Went to see Fr. Mendez about my Fisher loan for second semester, and I can pick up $150 next Wed. Then comes the red tape that goes with enrolling for second semester. He is also the scholarship man; for sure I cannot get one for second semester, so I'll need to get that $200 loan from [a family friend at home-interest free]. I got 80 on that Selective Service draft deferment test..
It was cold, windy, and cloudy today-supposed to snow again tomorrow. I may not have any free time, but it's all fun anyway. This week was really enjoyable.
After that, a movie in Washington Hall. Every Saturday they show a movie over and over all day-free-usually something old and pretty poor. But today's was excellent, and I couldn't pass it up. It was "Lili," the art movie that made such a hit last summer. The acting, photography, music-everything is excellent. After supper I read some Economics in the enticing atmosphere of the student center. At 7:30 I got my horn and went to the field house for the game with New York Univ. Tonight we had ten trombones, and was it ever crowded! The field house holds 4,000, I think; the school really needs a new one. People were even standing outside during the second half, when we really caught on fire. Final score: ND, 99 to 64. That's a new high scoring record. A perfect tip-in was missed with a couple of seconds left, so we didn't get to 100. More lessons tonight when I got back.
Heard from [a girl back home] today; her exams start the day after our military ball (next Friday), so she can't come. Thank heavens! It would be too much a waste of time, and I have exams coming, too.. I agree that our 3-day break is too short to come home; I might spend a day sightseeing in Chicago or maybe here at Studebaker..
Tonight I prepared a speech for tomorrow-a weather report like the ones on TV-and still have more History and the ROTC manual to read. Lessons all afternoon- Sociology selected readings and Act II of Hamlet.. So it wasn't a very eventful day-church, study, meals, and more study. We had flurries this morning. Such is life on a Sunday night up here on the bleak prairies of northern Indiana.
This was a fairly easy Monday. The semester is fast drawing to a close. Mr. O'Brien wants to add two more players (oboe and French horn) to bring us up to 60, but he can't find them. You should hear the horn section; it's enchanting. Never dreamed I'd get to play in such a terrific band! We are from 26 states, the largest numbers from Indiana, Illinois, Florida, Michigan, and New York. We played some heavy stuff today, and my sightreading wasn't too good. I'll start practicing when they tell us which ones we're going to use. Now we're just sampling.
Got a ticket to Shakespeare's Othello, a stage production coming this Wednesday night
After Religion class, I got all the financial business straightened out with the university (loan fund check). Had to go through the usual red tape to register for second semester; picked up my class cards, and that leaves one minor thing to straighten out. I may not get a card for band because I'm already carrying too many hours. Next semester's classes are spread out better (no more than four on a single day, but the two Saturday classes will be a little inconvenient). Classes start on Feb. 1.
After two hours reading for History in the library, I came home to a heavy load of study-Spanish, Speech, and ROTC Maybe it's this heavy load, but my ambition to study seems to be going down. That's bad because without ambition you don't get anything done. That's the trouble with 90% of the students-no ambition to study. They would rather enjoy themselves. Hope I'm not getting that way..
No mail today (???). How's the sick hippopotamus at the Swope park zoo [in Kansas City] getting along? I'd also like to know how all the basketball teams in the area are doing. I didn't go to varsity band practice this afternoon because I didn't want to walk back out to school in that biting wind. But concert band members get credit for varsity band just for playing at the games
After the Sociology quiz, I asked Prof. Hughes what my average was, and he said 90. I'm the only sophomore in there; the rest are juniors and seniors. In band, Mr. O'Brien was experimenting with some novelty pieces in the various sections, so we didn't do much playing, except for an overture. He also announced that even though we've made the band, if he notices anybody incompetent or letting down, it won't take long to get a replacement. Read Religion assignment in the library before the play.
Dropped my Eversharp pencil today and the little tip broke off; can't get it to stay on. Picked up a 39-cent pencil to use until I can get it fixed (if it can be). The light in my room burned out, also; hope they notice it and get a new bulb..
I've gotten only one letter since coming back; have the little kids to write, or something. Are they reading that "Child's Life of Christ" I brought? It's a very good book for them, instead of those comics.
I had quite a tussle with Dean [Charles] Sheedy's secretary [Loretta Brennan] today. I tried to get a class card for band in order to get credit for it, and she said no, because I'm already carrying too many hours. So I went to Father Sheedy and asked him; he said OK. His secretary was furious when I told her that, but very grudgingly she handed over the card. So now I've got everything straightened out for next semester, except for a room on campus.
This afternoon I worked on Spanish for two hours at home before putting on the uniform and going back out to school for military band. They took our picture inside practicing and outside in formation. Spent more time than expected in the caf this evening; after us four bandsmen finished supper, we got to talking-discussing advantages and disadvantages of a men's school in comparison with a coed one. Then we went on to the difference between being a brother and a priest; we decided it would be better to be a brother because priests have too much work and responsibility. Many other things came up; I finally got home at 7:30. One of the guys was also in Architecture; he changed to Music; he plays first-chair clarinet. Two of the guys I marched with in the fall are going into the seminary at the end of the semester.
Tonight I worked on an elaborate map of Europe in 1648 to hand in tomorrow (it was assigned, not something extra). Took two of those super-anahist tablets tonight because a bad cold could be coming on-no wonder, with the weather we've been having (20 degrees warmer today than yesterday, with some snow in the morning; supposed to be even warmer tomorrow and rain)..
The weather continues to be a mess. We haven't seen the sun for a long time. It was another cloudy, dreary day, with a little freezing drizzle on top of the snow; hardly any of it has melted. It doesn't really bother me; I still like snow. My suede shoes are good for walking on ice.
Today's class report: Tied for highest in Spanish with 94 on the last test. In Shakespeare, I was finally called upon to answer a question (got it right). We have a quiz and another speech to give, which will be our final exam in Speech. Band was fun, as usual; I'm doing better at sight-reading. We're still reading some pretty longhair stuff (Rossini's "Barber of Seville"), but I like it. There's talk of a trombone quartet. The bass trombone and I are getting along better all the time.
Scholastic came out today; my article (somewhat revised in the re-write department) rated a 2-column head. There's also an article on the band.
The radio just announced that our basketball team murdered mighty Holy Cross there tonight.
Lots of work again this weekend, leaving hardly any time for recreation. Military Ball is going on now; don't think they got much of a turnout (the charge was $5 per couple). Only two members of military band went. A girl from Stephens College in Columbia [Mo.] was one of the queens [see 1954 Dome, p. 272]. Went to devotions in honor of the Blessed Mother after supper; the novena for exams continues.
Was out at school all morning, finishing History reading. Back home this afternoon, I wrote my last speech about the big [Missouri-Kansas] flood of summer 1951. Tonight I started a long Sociology assignment on mental disorders-something I find extremely interesting..
This time next week I'll have 3 final exams over with.. Still have sniffles and a slightly sore throat in spite of the cold pills, but don't worry!
The Speech test wasn't hard, but we had only half the time needed, so had to race through it. Got the 100 I was expecting on the last military test (my friendly rival got 85). Since there are no more class assignments the rest of the semester, I can rest until time to start studying for exams on Thursday.
After Shakespeare class, I got into a lengthy discussion about the plays with 8 other guys and the prof [Rufus Rauch]. He seems to think that I'm a backhillsman; undoubtedly my lowest grade will be in his class. The exam counts about 80% of the final grade.
We missed the eclipse of the moon tonight because it was cloudy.
It was a good game; we beat Purdue 95-74. We could easily have passed 100, but he put the third team in to get experience. We are number 6 in the nation. The band was packed in-hardly any slide room. This was the last music for me until Feb. 1 (no practice tomorrow).
Mostly review in classes today and tomorrow.. Checked on moving to campus again; now they say it will be the last of Feb.
Final class average in Spanish is 95-the same as my buddy who sits next to me in that class; I had been hoping for 96, but 95 will do.
But it's in History that I hit the jackpot. We got five tests back, and all were 100. That brings me up to a 92 average-quite an improvement over what I was getting before I knew what was going on. At the end of the day, I went to the teacher's office to see if he had the term paper grades yet. He did, and mine was 100. He (Mr. Poinsatte) said it was one of the best he's received from a History 11 student, and he wants to keep it. He said it shows a striking ability in writing and organization, and urged me to keep it up. He was happy to hear that I'm in Journalism, but maybe I should switch to history (?). When I told the guys at supper about the term paper grade, nobody would believe it. My final History grade should be around 90, which is much higher than I've been expecting. I'll have Mr. Poinsatte for History again next semester.
I think I did well in the last Sociology quiz section, too. My average in there is a little over 90, but I'm not expecting more than 85 or 86 as the final grade, due to the poor grades at the beginning.
In Shakespeare, old Rufus [Rauch, the professor] really got carried away. We finished Hamlet, and the last scene is very moving. That class is the one I'm most worried about (it's impossible for us to tell how we're doing; everything depends on the final.
After classes I spent a while in Church and at the Grotto giving thanks; hope God continues to see fit for me to do so well.
We had rain and drizzle all day; everything is about to float away; it was very warm (55) and all the remaining snow melted. But now there's a strong wind, and it's getting much colder. This is delightful weather for colds.
Next week in Chicago I'd like to go see Don McNeill. Be sure and listen that day.
[Commenting on recent basketball losses at home:] I don't think they need a new coach-just some good players. It's the players that make a team, not the coach-most of the time, that is.
Today's weather was much nicer; the sun came out after some morning flurries, but the north wind was cold. There has been some form of precipitation every day for the past two weeks.
The semester is over, as far as classes go. I've made a study schedule of 6 to 7 hours for each exam, so there won't be much rest for a week. It's still a lot of fun here; I get a kick out of this business of school. Just wish it wasn't so expensive!
The campus seemed too quiet today. I went to Sorrowful Mother Novena this evening before coming home to read military. The Church was full..
In the military test, I knew the material well. It was held in one of the big chemistry lecture rooms in the new Science Hall. The 50 questions covered the twelve crew-served weapons plus general techniques of fire and fire adjustment principles. Then another 50 questions on general military knowledge and drill.
` The four hard exams are still coming up. I'm starting on History tonight. My notebook is completed filled with small, closely spaced writing. I want to read the whole thing twice before Tuesday. Will spend all day tomorrow on Shakespeare. St. Mary's Lake was quite populous with skaters today.
Lots of mail waiting for me at home-two letters from you all, plus newspaper clippings, a letter responding to some questions, and two [hometown] papers.. Mother keeps trying to rush the time along until spring comes. Don't rush the time. I'm having too much fun. I want it to go by slow so I can get all the enjoyment out of it. This is really a great place! And now to those History notes..
This morning's Shakespeare test was as expected-a dilly. Only 5 questions, but each took 20 min. of writing like mad. Only quit writing twice-to stretch my hands and wipe the sweat off. Filled 9 pages of 8-and-a-half by 10 sheets. My grade will depend on what mood he is in when he reads the paper. Shakespeare and I are now finished with each other.
The library was packed, and it was really hot. I got so tired of studying in there that I went out to take a stroll around the campus. It's one of the few times I've just walked around slowly-not going anyplace, and enjoying the setting. The weather was a mess: dark, cloudy, drizzly, with fog tonight-not very cold, but too damp. Even in this weather, it's beautiful here.
The sociology questions were the very ones I was expecting; the problem was remembering all the facts and getting them down in sensible form. The history questions were tougher, and it took all that was in me to put enough down. They were long essays.
I got two of my final grades today. Military grade (89) was 3 points lower than I had expected. It's the average of daily classes (93), tests (85), drill (80), and final exam (84). Spanish (95) was better than expected: daily classes (94) and final exam (96). All the military grades were low; they're getting too many in ROTC and are trying to weed some out. Once they find out that I can't see, that will be all for me! Anyway, I doubt if I could have done any better than I have, whether I make Dean's List or not (will be close). I've pushed my ability to the limit, without endangering my health. It doesn't come natural; I have to work for it.
The History professor wrote on my term paper: "You cover your topic completely and with intelligent research." He went over every paper in the library, checking our footnotes with the sources. The history dept. here is tops.
The weather grows worse and worse, if that's possible-very dark and foggy, and the drizzle became a steady rain in the afternoon. Came home tonight soaking wet; had to change clothes and shoes fast to keep my cold from getting worse. Everything is as damp as can be. Had to wade through some monstrous puddles (without my boots). Rode the bus most of the way home to keep from drowning. I never dreamed the weather up here could be so much worse than in Missouri. The sun has only been out 3 times since Christmas vacation, and that was along with cold and wind. Everybody was going around today with long faces, the rain dripping off their noses [shades of Dante's Inferno].
The weather "improved" today-first some sleet, then snow, then froze, then thawed, then froze again; the wind came up, it got really cold, and no telling what else. We've got to get some good weather one of these days. The Chicago forecast says fair to partly cloudy and not too cold the next two days. I expect to leave here right after lunch tomorrow. Will get to Chicago about 3 p.m., check my suitcase, call [a cousin], and sightsee. Later I'll go out to her house on the bus (always get mixed up on buses in cities). If I could walk and follow my map, everything would be fine, but Oak Park is a little too far.
I'll have to get up at 5 a.m. Friday in order to get to the Morrison Hotel by 7 [for the Breakfast Club of Don McNeill]. I checked my map and found a church right across the street [St. Peter's] where I can go to Mass and Communion. I wonder if they serve breakfast at the program. I think it's the one Mother always listens to, and the audience is eating all the time.
I expect to spend all day Friday walking everyplace: to see [a high school friend] in Elmhurst (6 miles from Oak Park) and then up to Northwestern [in Evanston to see two more]. I want to get back here Saturday afternoon or night. This will be a nice little excursion, and not too much money involved. I'm taking $25 just in case, hoping not to spend even half that much. My cold seems OK-just a few sniffles.
Before leaving South Bend, my sociology grade came in the mail. Very surprising: the 95 on the final exam brought my course grade up to 88 (the average at mid-semester was 77). A nice improvement.
It was still dark when I rode the Lake St. Elevated downtown at 6:30; I didn't get back to the house until 10:30 p.m. after walking many miles and seeing many things. From the Morrison Hotel, I walked across [Madison] street to attend one of the Masses in a large and modern church [St. Peter's]. All I had for breakfast was Wheaties, which I had brought with me. Then I walked down LaSalle St. to the Board of Trade (grain exchange); I heard a presentation on the process of exchange and watched buyers and sellers down in "the pit," yelling and carrying on in a wild manner. From the 45th floor observation roof it was possible to see much of downtown in spite of poor visibility. That's the highest point in Chicago. After lunch at the Forum cafeteria, I walked along the Chicago River and went into the Merchandise Mart. Nothing very interesting to see in that huge building (I kept getting lost).
Next stop was the Art Gallery (many interesting things there). Then I walked through Grant Park to the Planetarium, where I saw a very interesting show-literally "out of this world." The Aquarium and Field Museum were closed; I'll try to see them tomorrow. Saw many other interesting things along the way, including Soldier Field. Went back up Michigan Avenue to have supper at the Forum again. There I met two old Irish ladies who became talkative when they discovered I'm from ND. Back at St. Peter's, I attended the Sorrowful Mother Novena (same one we have on Friday nights at ND). After that, went to the show ("Eddie Cantor Story"); it was nice to sit down..
When I got back to the house, they were all surprised I had done so much and gotten around so well. We chatted and watched a little TV. Had a good time downtown today in spite of the hazy, foggy, windy weather.
After 12:30 Mass at St. Peter's and dinner, went back to the Aquarium and Field Museum of Natural History, where I spent all afternoon. When it closed at 4, I took a bus, transferred to a streetcar, and rode north. At 5, I got a bus back along Lake Shore Drive, past Lincoln Park and the "Gold Coast" of fancy hotels and apartments. Went back out to the house for supper and a little visit, and returned to town on the "El." Left Randolph St. station on the 9 p.m. South Shore.
The little vacation was most enjoyable and interesting, as well as inexpensive. The house reminded me of ours about 6 years ago or so when the kids were little and running all around the house. I forgot all about lessons for a few days. Another grade was waiting for me: 87 in speech, a little higher than expected.
Sunday, Jan. 31. I'm "rarin' to go" for second semester. The four Monday classes are Christian Morals, Introduction to Philosophy, History of Western Europe II, and Elementary Spanish II. Tuesday classes are Military Tactics and Techniques, Logic, Social Processes, Institutions, and Disorganization, and Hygiene. That meets once a week; religion and military twice a week, and the rest three times. Band is Mon., Wed., Fri., 4:30 to 6. Total of 21 hours (5 above normal). The orange class cards are ready to turn in tomorrow. Hate to face the long lines for books again, and hope they don't cost too much (will try to get some used). Not selling any of mine from last semester.
Just returned from a concert by the Indianapolis Symphony [in John Adams H.S. auditorium; an attached clipping from the South Bend Tribune describes the event]. The program [Beethoven's Symphony no. 5; Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade"] was excellent, but this orchestra is not as good as Cleveland or Philadelphia. Sat with a friend from South America; saw other guys I know. Had a hearty dinner downtown before the concert.
It's starting to warm up, and is still sunny. Most of the snow and ice melted today. Forecast is fair and warmer. Got up late and went to 10 o'clock Mass out at school, with breakfast at 11. Then came home and typed all afternoon (made 3 copies of my history paper)..
Just heard a news bulletin on the radio: [Coach Frank] Leahy is quitting because of his health. It was expected. Too bad he got so upset and excited at the games.
The second semester started off well; the new teachers seem excellent. The one in Religion has two degrees from Oxford, and the one in Spanish [Paul Bosco] has his Ph.D. from Harvard. After classes I bought four used books at the Book Exchange. The line wasn't too bad. My History class is small-only 12. My other 3 Monday classes have from 20 to 30 guys; no classes up here are larger than 30.
[Answering a letter from home:] Glad you heard me on the radio. Yes, I took some pictures, but they probably won't be any good because it was so dark and hazy..
Tomorrow night we have a big event: The Olympic champion Swedish wrestling team will be here for a performance, and our band will provide the music. Four nights this week are taken up, but I can keep up OK. Lots of fun in band today.
Three more new classes today: In Military, we'll be spending most of the semester on map reading, going into more detail than I've had before. My Logic man is an old priest, Father [Thomas J.] Brennan, who is a riot. He amused us the whole hour, going around the room collecting class cards, chatting and joking with each guy. I'm not too impressed with my new sociology man [John Martin]; they say he's a rough grader. We already have a long assignment.
Got all the history books and materials this afternoon, and then read assignments in the library with some friends. At Varsity Band practice we prepared for the event we played at tonight-an exhibition of the Swedish National Olympic wrestling team. It was lots of fun-just like a circus. We played appropriate music as they performed. The weather is warming up. It's nice and sunny, but as the ground thaws it gets very muddy.
Don Wiley, one of the guys in concert band who marched in my row last fall, has left school to go in the Army. He was a very good friend.
More things go on up here in one day than anyplace else I've ever been. Today there was a little bit of everything.
The band is beginning to practice for a combined concert with the University Orchestra on Washington's Birthday. After band, I ate in a hurry in order to make the Scholastic meeting. This time I was assigned a boxing article. A basketball game followed (we pounded Butler, 95-58). Terry Brennan made a speech between halves; he got a rousing reception. Never had so much fun in musical organizations until now.
When I got home, there was more sociology and then military reading, and now it's midnight. Lots of my off-campus friends are moving on; I haven't gotten my notice yet.
Next year's marching band committee met after supper; then I came home to study. There's talk that Mr. O'Brien may leave, and the man he was filling in for, Mr. [H. Lee] Hope will return. (He is very much disfavored by the band officers. They are afraid he'll spoil all our plans for next year if he returns.) [Mr. Hope did return, but by popular demand Robert O'Brien came back after one year.]
Classes today were fine once again. In our first hygiene class there was a lecture and movie on cancer. It should be a very interesting course. It's way out at the biology bldg. There are some new men this semester in military band; today we just got organized. Bought my last book-logic. It's by one of our professors [John Osterle]. Fr. [Charles] Sheedy [CSC], our Dean, is the author of our religion book. This afternoon I went to Rosary and Benediction in the church; they have it every Thursday.
Surprised to find 3 in. of snow on the ground this morning; it hadn't been forecast. It warmed up quite a bit during the day and became slushy. It's going on 1 a.m.
This experience is still too good to be true. But with all these nightly activities and no letup in assignments, it means only six hours of sleep every night-not enough. I checked on the move to campus again today. I've moved from 40th to 23rd on the sophomore list, and the girl says there are 16 vacancies (which will move me up to 8th place). She said I might get a room by the middle of next week. Hope the move won't interfere too much with lessons. They are going to want $400 when I move on; that won't leave much in the account, maybe not even $30.
In Philosophy, I was asked what practical knowledge is, and the prof told me my answer was very good. We had a surprise 10-min. quiz in Spanish, but I knew the lesson. It's funny that the guy who sits next to me-Gallagher (we're seated alphabetically)-was the first one I met at N.D. It was on that first confused day when we were standing in line in the rain. Went to the Novena tonight before the rally. Interviewed the boxing coach, Mr. Napolitano, for my Scholastic article. He's a real nice guy.
I've started putting books and stuff in boxes, in case I have to move in the middle of the week. [The landlord] is going to carry everything out to school in his car. The rooms are very small in most of the halls, so I hope I'll have room for it all. He can't understand why I like to study so much. It might get boring if I didn't have band, games, and all the other activities. Maybe next time you hear from me, I'll be on campus..
It’s a good thing Fr. [Tom] Brennan is not giving assignments in Logic yet. My assigned topic for the history term paper is “Oxford University in the 18th Century.” It’s due around Easter vacation. We had a History quiz today (on absolute monarchy versus parliamentarianism during the time of the Stuarts in England and Louis XIV in France). I like that stuff a lot.
Ed [Dale Edwin] White, one of my off-campus friends from [Grand Junction,] Colorado, and I have been making plans to move on campus. We are trying to get a room together so that we won’t be put in with anybody who isn’t serious about study. He is a history major with an 84 average, and also a transfer (from the Univ. of Denver). So far he has been my closest friend; we met in Speech class and started having meals together in the caf. He plans to enter religious life and teach, and he thinks I’ll do the same. I don’t know about that. We’re going to see the woman about our room assignments tomorrow. May have to write a $400 check [total charge for one semester].
It was a nice sunny day, but only in the 40s. On the way home it was clear and no wind (for a change).
Walt Cabral (football player) is in my Military class. Another lesser-known but equally huge player is in my Sociology class. I saw Leon Hart in the caf at noon; he’s visiting. I’ve never seen such a huge person-3 times as broad as I am. After getting straightened out at the Office of Student Accounts (they are going to bill me for $380), I came home to start working on that paper for Philosophy-“The Nature of Aristotle’s Philosophical Knowledge.” I finished it just before midnight, and what a relief! It took five hours. It better be what he wants. I still have an hour of History reading to do, and three more hours in the morning. I’ll get five hours of sleep tonight if I’m lucky.
What ruined my study schedule today was a sectional rehearsal in the band room (trombones, baritones, and basses). It was lots of fun, and did me lots of good. The purpose of these sectionals is to go over the rough spots so we don’t waste time in the full rehearsals. They have put out a “giant postcard” in color of the marching band performing at half time last fall. I got five of them, but not to send in the mail; they would get bent…. It was another sunny day in the low 40s. Most of the snow is gone, but plenty of mud is left.
This morning I got my meal ticket, and ate lunch and dinner in the west dining hall. Those meals would have cost $1.20 and $1.35 in the caf; tonight we had steak. There is plenty, but you have to eat faster. The management is so efficient that not a second is wasted. Each hall serves about 2,500 boys at each meal. They are enormous is size and make me think of what a medieval castle must have been like-high pointed windows, rough-hewn ceiling, ornamental lights, a huge fireplace at one end, and various designs all over for decoration. There are dozens of long wooden tables. Now I won’t have to be spending much money every day.
Ed and I attended the hall meeting in the Howard Chapel after dinner (made me miss Scholastic meeting). After that, the policy committee of the band met, and then the Kansas City Club. I was appointed to work at our booth at the Mardi Gras carnival next Tuesday in the Drill Hall
Band rehearsal started late because there was a talk by Jackie Robinson going on upstairs in the Washington Hall auditorium. Every Friday afternoon there are movies in the auditorium during band rehearsal, and the moviegoers don’t enjoy hearing us. I listened to part of the speech and was astounded at what a good speaker he is. Never knew baseball players could speak so well; he’s a very big man and black as can be. But his voice is soft, gentle, high-pitched, with no hint of an accent. When band finally got under way, it was more fun than usual. We are improving rapidly at sight-reading the new music. Dick Meinert, first chair French horn, is from El Dorado, Ark.; we are becoming good friends because of our common background (military schools).
Some Religion to read tonight, and then review for tomorrow’s Sociology quiz. The lights would be out if I were in my room at school right now.
It was a beautiful sunny day (40s). Snow’s all gone, but not the mud.
Thursday mornings this semester I have to race back and forth twice between O’Shaugnessy and the ROTC building. It’s half a mile, and you have a little less than 10 min. between classes.
Pretty heavy snow showers all day, and coming home tonight. It was almost a blizzard when the ROTC band was out drilling. Even if my ears froze, it was fun. Tonight, we had orchestra practice for the Washington’s Birthday concert. I did well, and it was great fun. Came home to a lot of reading (especially history) and now it’s past 1 a.m.
Time to go down to the chapel for night devotions.
I think my roommate is getting to like me; at first he didn’t like the idea of crowding another guy in with him, but now that everything’s put away (I’ll never know how I did it) there will be enough room after all. A nice thing about living in the hall is that after studying a while, you can go around visiting guys and refreshing your memory so as to get back to the lessons. I’m meeting a lot of new guys here in this “neighborhood.” So far it’s a lot better than being off campus. We had some big meals today; hope I don’t get too fat. [His weight this semester went from 115 to 135 lbs.] All three meals, I was the last guy to finish at my table (each table seats about 40). My bill for the semester came: $364-a little less than expected.
Classes went fine today except for logic. Last week Father Brennan assigned a paper (jokingly, we thought), and today he asked for them. You can’t tell when he’s serious and when he’s joking. I was one of the many who had no paper to turn in; only a few did.
It was a pretty nice day out-up to 50, I think. The room looks pretty good, now that the Confederate flag, maps, and pennants are up. They keep it hot in here at night; all I need is a quilt, even with the window open.
Very pretty down at the Grotto tonight, with a full moon shining through the evergreens. It’s only a short walk from Howard. It’s also nice to have Mass right downstairs….
This hall life is tremendous! I’ve never had such fun. I wondered if I’d get as much done being on campus, but today I did more than I’ve ever done in one day, and the surroundings made it so much fun. I took frequent breaks to visit neighbors and get into talk sessions. When guys come into my room and see the Missouri map and pennants on the wall, they kid me by asking what state I’m from. Roommate Paul hasn’t complained about the Confederate flag yet.
I’ll review for two tests (History and Spanish) while listening to nice music on WNDU, our student station. I have a large desk with big drawers and places for books. The chair is a little splintered, but it’s more comfortable than the one I had at the house.
Slept very well and got up early (7:30) much to the dismay of my roommate, who stayed in bed until 10. It’s nice being able to sleep later, hop out of bed, get fixed up for Mass in 20 min., and walk a few yards over to Sacred Heart. That beats getting up an hour early and walking a mile. Paul is a typical Commerce man-rarely studies. He played cards all afternoon and is just now starting his homework (8:40 p.m.). Would be nice to be so happy and carefree. Now he’s asking me to help him with his philosophy paper; like me, he has Prof. Tish [a grad assistant] for Intro. to Philosophy.
We have Benediction tonight at 10:40 down below in the chapel.
My friend, Ed White, moved in across the hall on Saturday; he got sick last night-violent nosebleed and vomiting. They had to take him to the Infirmary, and he’s been there all day. Hope it’s nothing serious. He seems to be the “easy-to-get-sick” type. Tonight’s game was pretty good, the roughest I’ve seen here because N.D. and DePaul are such rivals. There was lots of booing and poor sportsmanship, but the referees did do an awful job. The game was televised (by NBC, I think); they’ll show it on Saturday, and maybe you’ll be able to see it. You won’t see the band, though, because the cameras were right above us on scaffolding. But you should be able to hear us.
Tonight after studying history I went to a lecture put on by the Guidance Dept. on “How to study and take notes.” Most of what he said I’m already doing…. My crazy roommate never studies, but he’s very bright-whatever he does comes naturally without much work. He thinks I’m the crazy one for studying so much. Too bad I’m so backward that I can’t get anything without studying it hard. But I like it. He’s out working on the Mardi Gras tonight; this is the last night.
Very good mail service here. In this evening’s delivery I got the letter you wrote yesterday. Paul hasn’t gotten any for several days, and he’s really mad.
This campus life is great! How am I going to stand being away from this place all summer? I’m trying to get the most out of each minute. I’m already gaining weight from all the extra food; it’s wonderful having all three meals, and all you can eat at each one. It’s a good balanced diet, too, all taken care of without any trouble on my part. I gained 12 lbs. last semester eating in the caf, balancing my own meals and doing all that walking. Growing kids need lots of food! Lots of football players on my floor. Menil Mavraides lives around the corner. Also [Pat] Bisceglia. (pause)
Just made my evening visit in the chapel. Again tonight we are getting lights later, but I’m going to bed anyway. I’ve done all my assignments, so why stay up? When the lights do go out, I don’t get to sleep right away. Paul likes to talk, and we do a lot of discussing before we fall asleep.
There’s talk of a marching band trip to Chicago in March for the St. Patrick’s Day parade.
This afternoon when I should have been practicing for band, I got into a long chat with a guy across the hall, Dick Bolger (from Illinois). He’s in engineering, and seems to be devout. Pat Biseglia, the big football player, just came in to give me a message for Paul. We have a big weekend coming up; lots of guys are going home.
Last night it was unusually cool in the room; nice for sleeping. This was a beautiful winter day-sunny and up near 45; no wind. The hall is quiet tonight. Paul is out again. As I said, he never studies-seems to be one of those guys who don’t really care about being in college, but their dads are making them go. His family must be loaded; he wears very good clothes, and is talking about going to Europe this summer. He thinks I’m an Ozark hillbilly, but neither does he fit my idea of people from Wyoming-gangling cowboys with dungarees and big hats.
Lots of fun in band today, working on a tough overture by Wagner (pronounced vog-ner)-“Rienzi.” Third trombones have a hard part. “Minnie” Mavraides just came in to get acquainted. He lives around the corner in 305. What a huge guy! He always goes around without a shirt to show off his physique. He wanted to know how I like it here; we had a nice chat. The football players are in charge of morning checks, night checks, mail, and other things around the hall. We’re running away from Butler….
Tried to study for tomorrow’s Religion test, but wasn’t in the mood. A card game was going on in my room, so I went across the hall to study with Dick; we got into another long conversation, and neither of us got anything done. I still have an hour in the morning to study for it, and should be in the mood then.
In Hygiene we had a lecture on care of the teeth. They tried to scare all of us into going to the dentist. They succeeded in scaring me not to go. Finally got a Valentine today from [an old high school girl friend now in college]; it was delayed because it had to be forwarded from the [off-campus] house. It had a picture of a cat on it. Also got a box of cookies and candy from [an aunt in Oklahoma]. It only takes your letters one day to get here. Today’s was mailed at 4:30 p.m. yesterday, and I got it in this afternoon’s mail.
It was a very nice day-in the 50s and sunny. Went without ROTC overcoat for the first time since last fall. There’s no ice on St. Mary’s Lake for the first time since December.
A tremendous display was set up today in the O’Shaughnessy Art Galleries-a miniature replica of St. Peter’s in Rome (about 12 feet long by 6 feet wide and 4 feet high) which is exact down to the most minute detail. I was awe-struck when I saw it. I’ll try to take some pictures of it. A rumor is going around that it has been given to the University.
After the Novena, I studied all evening-half in the library and half in my friend’s room across the hall because of a card game in my room. Wrote a Logic paper and read lots of Sociology.
Studied between 6 and 7 hours today. After finishing a Military assignment, I watched part of the Navy game on TV. [John] Fannon was really hot on the long shots. If we keep winning, we’ll go to a tournament. Whenever that happened in the past, the band went. Only one more home game.
After the game, I went to the library to read about the rise of the Hohenzollerns in Prussia-very interesting (ha!). I was chased out when the library closed at 5. Tonight between visiting in other guys’ rooms, I did a long Spanish assignment and another for Sociology. Tomorrow it will be Plato all day; it’s unfair for one class to demand so much time. Ed [White] finally got out of the Infirmary (they kept him a week because of his chronic nosebleed). We had to listen to him tell all about his experiences. It’s a good thing we have lights until midnight.
In Logic class this morning, we had to write a paper entitled, “How Is One Logical?” I doubt if I hit the point he was after, but it probably won’t matter. They say Father Brennan throws away the papers and gives everybody 88. Sociology was a little bit interesting, for a change. We are on cooperation, competition, conflict, accommodation, and amalgamation.
Haven’t seen my roommate more than a few minutes all day. He’s probably off someplace playing cards. He never thinks about studying; can’t see how he’ll be able to stay here long. He’s wasting his time (and his dad’s money); I don’t see it.
We lost a home track meet today to Indiana.
Everybody around here thinks I’m a “southerner,” and they consider Missouri a “southern state.” [Why the surprise, with a Confederate flag on the wall?]
This was a very happy day all around, even with the overcast, and rain in the morning; now it's foggy. The hall was quiet today. I managed to do about half of that tremendous philosophy assignment and also some research for the term paper in history. Tomorrow's a holiday, but not for me.
I spent most of the afternoon typing in Ed [White] and Dick's [Bolger] room so Paul could do some studying for a change. We fooled around a bit, but that made it more fun. Every time I open my mouth, Dick has something to say about my "southern accent." It's very enjoyable spending time with those two. We all play musical instruments, and more important, we are confirmed bachelors! Ed is a convert and very devout. We all go to Mass together every morning, and have all our meals together.
Guys think I'm doing too much, but isn't that what you're supposed to do at a university? There is plenty of variation along with the studying. Like tonight: the annual Washington's Birthday Exercises. The seniors awarded J. Edgar Hoover the Patriot of the Year Award, and his representative, an N.D. man named Harvey G. Foster, gave the acceptance speech. There were three other speeches-one of them very touching. Playing in the Orchestra was great fun; the sound was good, too. There was a large crowd.
The radio just announced that we beat Penn tonight-the 17th win in 19 games.. The laundry lost two of my best pairs of jeans, and I have to tell them what size so they can buy me new ones. I'm running short because one pair shrunk so bad that it's way too small. It's back to classes tomorrow after a very enjoyable holiday. The weather was very good-sunny and up to 50.
I'm back from my nightly visit to the chapel. Went to the Grotto twice tonight-once for Ed's little sister who is sick. He is over his own ailment. My roommate actually worked on lessons today and tonight; I had to let him see my philosophy paper, however. I can never find a good excuse to tell anybody "no." They served us liver today at lunch, and pork chops for supper.
It got very busy after supper. At the Scholastic meeting I was assigned a basketball article; then the marching band committee met briefly. That gave time for the first of a series of five talks on vocations. Tonight it was on marriage. [Basketball] Coach [Johnny] Jordan and Father [Charles] Sheedy [CSC] spoke, and there was discussion. It was very worthwhile. I passed up a Kansas City Club dinner and a string trio concert tonight. Saw a short art movie after class and before band. There's always something going on up here, and I hate to miss any of it.
It snowed furiously this morning, but it wasn't very cold and didn't stay on the ground long. Please look through the family pictures and send a good one of [a cousin in Kansas City]. The guys in the trombone section want to see her.
In Military today, I signed a [Selective Service] deferment paper in case I'm accepted into advanced ROTC. Marching was more fun today because the guys are getting better at it. We had a "dress parade" with the whole regiment.
It snowed most of the day and evening, and now Notre Dame is blanketed with several inches of snow-unusually beautiful.
I was assigned to cover the first seven games of the inter-hall basketball tournament Sunday and Monday. There's also a concert on Sunday. This is a tremendously busy place!
Haven't seen my roommate much today. His cigarette smoke was getting so thick in the room that I got a bottle of Air Wick at the Bookstore to restore the atmosphere to normal. All I have to do is offer those things up.
The Lake has frozen over again, but lots of the snow melted today under a bright sun.
Haven't seen Paul all day; too bad I didn't get Ed or Dick for a roommate. Even at midnight, the hall is still lively. What an effect it will have when the lights go out in a minute or two.
Filled out my application to the [Corps of] Engineers today [for a summer job in Kansas City], but I didn't know what to put down as "job applied for" or amount of money wanted. I put down $2950 again, [same as last summer].
Forty Hours started this morning. I went to the services tonight; the main altar is beautiful. Also went to Benediction in our chapel a little while ago. Paul surprised me by saying he wants to go to Mass tomorrow..
Classes today were more enjoyable than ever. Returned tests: 98 in History; 99 in Spanish. Arts and Letters Dean's List for first semester came out today, so it's official that I made it. Band was great, as usual. After supper I went to Forty Hours devotions and then to the inter-hall basketball tournament. I have to write and turn in tomorrow my coverage for the Scholastic. After that, the band publicity pictures were taken. I'm in the one of the full band [see p. 303, 1954 Dome] and the one of the trombone quintet. They were taken on the stage of Washington Hall. It was lots of fun getting ready for them. In between things I got a little reading done for Religion.
The church was packed for the devotions; I had to stand. Imagine the main altar covered with white and gold, banked with lots of green and white flowers, and full of candles, and you'll get an idea of how our Forty Hours is. It closes tomorrow night. We have a hall retreat this weekend.
It was cold, cloudy, and blustery today-typical of March. Enclosed are some new postcards; they just came out.
After early supper, I went to the closing of Forty Hours in the church. It was the most soul-stirring thing I've seen so far up here. [Sacred Heart] was packed again. We all answered the responses to the Litany of the Saints. The procession was absolutely fabulous. First the seminary choir, then a hundred priests and brothers carrying candles, then servers in red cassocks, and finally the Blessed Sacrament under an ornate canopy carried by 4 servers and surrounded by candles. We sang "Pange Lingua" throughout. During Benediction our singing was thunderous. This was the final fling before Lent. I had a hard time trying to decide what to give up that would really be giving up something, and finally decided not to listen to music on the radio-no orchestras, no bands, no nothing. Everything else I do is necessary, so that's the only thing I can give up. Also, I'll say the Rosary every day down at the Grotto; until now I've just been saying one decade a day. Even though I had lessons to do, I couldn't stand to miss tonight's movie in Washington Hall-"The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima." It was also excellently done and soul-stirring.
Paul is in a very bad mood because of failing two tests today. He had studied for them, too. We are getting more snow tonight.
At the Scholastic meeting tonight I was assigned a baseball article. The season for baseball seems far away with the big snowstorm we're in the midst of. This morning it was like a blizzard-heavy snow and strong wind with much drifting and blowing all through the day. It's supposed to go down to 10 degrees tonight.
Classes didn't go as well today: messed up an oral answer in Spanish, and left my history notebook in my room. Big sociology test tomorrow, one of three all semester. That has kept me up late again.
[Answering a letter:] Thanks for the check. I'm spending very little money. Don't worry about my "fiddling around." I can't study all the time.
Classes went OK. Hygiene was about mental disease. Drill was by squads. At the marching band committee meeting we made the plans for our parade in Chicago on the 14th. We'll be on radio and TV, but probably just in Chicago. They can take only 40 of us to Fort Wayne next Tuesday for the basketball tournament. We've learned that Mr. [H. Lee] Hope is returning for sure. It looks like Mr. [Robert] O'Brien will have to go, but the band is getting up a petition to present to Father Hesburgh telling him how much we want to keep him. Mr. Hope has already said he isn't interested in the N.D. Band anymore, so we'll have an awful time trying to do anything under him. But it seems that the University can't afford both of them. Band is taking up more and more time, but I'm able to keep up my lessons so far.
Up very late studying for Spanish and tomorrow's religion test.
It was very cold and windy all day-like the middle of winter. I'll be one of six trombones to go to Ft. Wayne Tuesday. Hope lessons won't suffer too much. That makes two trips next week. We've been getting a lot done in band lately. The 90-min. concert rehearsals fly by. My name was listed with the sports staff in today's Scholastic for the first time-misspelled Guegen. I'm having trouble finding Coach Jake Kline to get my next article.
Pre-registration for next year begins in two weeks, for which I need $50. I have $61 left in the bank, but that is supposed to cover the rest of the semester. We register in the order of grade averages, so I'll be pretty close to the top and will have a good pick of rooms. Now I need to start looking around the junior halls.
Today was my sixth First Friday in a row. [This refers to the popular custom of gaining an indulgence for seven First Fridays.] Now I'll say the Stations [of the Cross] and get to bed.
Nobody else thought our food today was good, but I liked it; they're too hard to please. The guys are kidding me because I go around gathering up ice cream or something that some of them didn't want and bring it back to the room. I must be gaining weight because my pants are getting so tight I can't button them; I just zip them up most of the way. Goes to show what happens when you get 3 big meals a day. The only thing served so far that I haven't been able to eat is cooked onions. (Hardly anybody eats them.)
It was much nicer today-sunny and warmer-but it was cold down at the Grotto tonight. No mail for me all weekend. I'm going to bed a little early for once-storing up in advance of the trip to Ft. Wayne (we don't get back until 2 a.m.).
Ed [White] is sitting here trying to learn German vocabulary. I'm letting Ed and Dick [Bolger] use my radio here in their room because I'm afraid it might get stolen out of my room. (I'm keeping my typewriter here, too.) [Roommate] Paul [Anselmi] lost his key, so we can't lock the room. Anyway, I gave up listening to it for Lent.
We had very good meals today. Wish I could get more sleep!
Tonight we offered the hall Rosary in the chapel for two guys who were killed in a car wreck last night. It came close to me because one of them, Jim Byrnes, sat right in front of me in logic class. Father [Tom] Brennan really liked him. The wreck happened because of speeding. I hope the two guys were ready to go. They are sure getting a lot of prayers. There are two short tests tomorrow that I didn't have time to study for.
All this is still a lot of fun, even if there's so much pressure. I hardly spend any time in my room anymore. It's always full of [cigarette] smoke. When Dick heard that we are going down to the Ozarks this summer, he was convinced that I'm a hillbilly-which is what he always calls me. Still haven't heard anything about my job in Kansas City this summer. Sorry I missed the Minstrel [black-face comedy show] this weekend. Thank Grandpa for the money.
We had a hall meeting tonight in the chapel. They strongly encourage everyone to attend by turning off all the room lights. I'm going to bed early (11:15) because mid-semester exam in history is tomorrow night at 9.
The weather is improving: still cold, but the sun was out. Paul is in a bad mood tonight. I hardly ever see him anymore. He's only here late at night and early in the morning.
There's a Requiem High Mass tomorrow in Sacred Heart for the two guys who died in the car wreck. Only juniors and seniors can attend because all of us can't fit in the church.
He kept us very busy in band. Only one more rehearsal before the Arlington Heights concert. Parts of it are ragged. More developments on tour: Jobs were assigned, and mine is being in charge of music stands and arranging the chairs on stage. The worst jobs are instruments and baggage. We were also assigned seats on the buses. Each roommate pair sits together. Mike [Connelly] and I were assigned the back seats of the last bus, with the trophies (gifts each city gives us as a token of remembrance) and the strobocon (electronic tuning machine).
Terrible weather today-a steady rain, but not as cold, and thunder tonight. Got plenty wet coming and going during the day. More painting (second coat) in the corridors, but we're used to the smell by now. Father [John A.] O'Brien gave another tremendous sermon on "Dust thou art"-that we always have to be prepared for death.
This week's Scholastic assignment is on tennis.
Very strong wind today-50 mph with stronger gusts. "White caps" on [St. Mary's] lake. A big tree came down by the library, and another old one by the Administration Bldg. Was almost split in two. Branches on the ground all over. It suddenly got warmer, but then turned much colder, and may snow tomorrow. All the water we've been getting is standing in the fields around campus. Some signs of green here and there, and I even saw a dandelion today. The trees are barely starting to bud. Ed and I made out our final list of room choices for next year. I sign up tomorrow.
[Responding to a letter from home:] Quit worrying about Paul's "abuses." He doesn't both me; why should he bother you? Also quit worrying about scholarships so much and just help me pray for one (or two)!
Big Scholastic news: My [Bengal Bouts] article got the banner headline in the sports section; even got a by-line (my name above the article-misspelled, as usual). The sports editor [Bob Frolicher] used some of my stuff in his column, too.
After the concert we went back downtown for supper and free time until 8:30. On the way back we discussed plans for the tour. There was lots of singing on the bus. Haven't had so much fun for a long time; a good break from study. It was enjoyable driving almost the whole length of Lake Shore Dr.
Classes were fine today: 94 on history mid-semester, and 99 on Spanish quiz. But after next weekend grades will drop; have to forget about lessons in order to write my history term paper and memorize the two trombone quintet pieces. We leave on another weekend trip Saturday morning, play afternoon and evening concerts in Dunkirk, Ind. (150 miles away), and stay that night with families. On Sunday we go on to Indianapolis for an afternoon concert and some sightseeing.
I went to the library with a bunch of friends and read history (European political parties in the 1880s-a bit on the dull side). Still have a military assignment to do tonight. I hope my "constitution" can hold up with just 6 hours of sleep per night this week.
Something's going on every night: marching band meeting; Kansas City Club; Church; an assembly for all juniors-to-be to sign up for majors and a speech on how to pick your major. I feel definite about journalism. With all these meetings, I should be majoring in band (ha). I've been thinking about borrowing another $1000 from the Fisher fund if they don't give me a scholarship. This is just too good a thing to let go of, even if I can't afford it. The band president, John Giambruno, has his eye on me as a possible successor in senior year. I'm doing too well up here all around to let a little deficiency like money stand in the way.
Time is passing just too fast! Only 19 days until tour, and then when we get back, just a month of school is left. I'm glad [a cousin in Kansas City] has agreed to be our "dating bureau" there. I'm to send her a list of the guys who want dates after the concert, and she will arrange them [with her friends at the College of St. Teresa]. That's going to make me popular with my fellow bandsmen. Be sure to get a lot of tickets for all the relatives. It's probably the only time they'll see me performing on the stage of the Music Hall.
[Answering a letter from home:] Quit worrying about how I get along with Paul. It's not so bad as all that. I'm pretty long-suffering, you know. I just keep looking forward to next year.. Also stop comparing me [with a high school classmate who had dropped out of college]; girls just can't take as much. I am in my glory!
In logic, we sang Happy Anniversary to Father [Tom] Brennan. He was ordained 25 years ago today in Rome. Sociology was a little boring; got 93 on the mid-semester. It was a cold wintry day here; only up to 35. But the sun came out and melted a little of the snow. Going down to 15 tonight. Saw a few robins down at the Grotto. Hall meeting tonight was very enjoyable. Father [Charles] Harris demonstrated the way to help him put on Mass vestments, and the origin of each one. Then he translated the prayers at the foot of the altar into modern slang. He can be a real comedian when he wants to.
Ed went to the orchestra's spring (??) concert tonight. (Also had to miss the Kansas City club meeting.) It's snowing again tonight after a cloudy, cold day. The birds are returning, but not doing much singing-just huddling over the heating pipes.
Mixed success in classes today. First, the bad news: We had a snap quiz in philosophy over Plato's Republic. There were only two questions, and I couldn't remember the answer to the second one. [This embarrassing lapse is still etched deeply in memory after 50 years of studying and teaching that great book. The question was about the "allegory of the cave."] I read the assignment [book V] a week ago, and had forgotten most of it. Don't think that grade will count much; he just wanted to scare us into reading the assignments. Started another philosophy paper this morning after doing a Spanish assignment. The good news was in history and Spanish, as usual. My 94 on the history mid-semester was the best in the class. Just made a few simple errors, and had all the general ideas down well.
Great news!! The band leaves Decatur at midnight, Holy Saturday, and we travel all night down highway 24 [no interstates yet] to Kansas City. We should pass through Lexington [the hometown] around 8 a.m. on Easter Sunday. I discussed with Mr. O'Brien and John Giambruno today the following proposition, and they are much in favor: Since the 8 o'clock Mass will be packed that day, our chaplain, Father [Carl] Hager [CSC] could say a Mass for the 58 of us in between that Mass and the 10 o'clock. If we get there in time, we can dress up for Mass over at school. Then maybe the ladies could serve us breakfast. We will pay $1 apiece. Mr. O'Brien suggested eggs, ham or bacon, or something like that-keeping it simple. We will have to leave Lexington at least by 10:30 to get to K.C. [40 miles away] in time to prepare for our concert. We won't have time to unpack our instruments to earn our breakfast. Please check with Father [Charles] Dibbons [pastor of Immaculate Conception parish] and the ladies about this. The parish should be thrilled to have the famous N.D. band as guests on Eastern Sunday. I've been telling the guys all about our famous Missouri hospitality, so you can't let us down! What a nice coincidence that we pass through Lexington. You'll still have time to get up to the city for our 3 p.m. concert. [This plan did indeed come to pass.]
Successful classes and ROTC drill today. We had manual of arms and combined bands; much fun. Got 88 on hygiene mid-semester (third or fourth highest in a class of 80).
Classes were fine. The religion prof missed class; I used the time to finish a paper for philosophy over in the library. We are falling behind schedule in history. We cannot wear jeans, even on the bus. I'll have to get something new as I don't want to take my good pants. We'll be staying at the plushy Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs-only the second college group they've ever accepted. Our good reputation did it. We'll be mingling with millionaires. [That reputation is about to be shattered, as we shall see.]
After the meeting, I wrote my tennis article; Coach [Charles] Samson gave me the information this afternoon.
Mike [Connelly] and I are all set in a swell home. I've never seen such friendly people. The family seems to be well off; they have a beautiful home. They took us back and forth all day, and fed us very well. Guess what? People asked me for my authograph twice.
Dunkirk is an industrial town-two glass factories. Mr. Bell, our host, works at one of them; he showed us through it after the afternoon concert. Something completely new for me, and extremely interesting-especially how the glass is shaped into all kinds of bottles. But it was noisy and extremely hot. For some strange reason, no lessons got done today. I seem to be a little weary after the day's activity, and this bed feels nice and soft.
We arrived at Marian College at 2. It's a new school for girls run by Franciscan Sisters, but is to go co-ed next year. They have only a few more than a hundred students, but have room for many more. The buildings are beautiful, and everyone was friendly. We gave our best concert by far-a pretty light program since the audience was mostly college kids (about a thousand). The music sounded too loud in that bare gym, but they were very responsive. At supper we were 3 guys and 3 girls to a table. Bill Jolly (oboe), Mike, and I sat with oriental girls who were interesting and very polite. Then there was a party, but we had to leave at 8.
Now for the bad part: Because of the party, guys were rather slow boarding the buses, but we were warned they would leave right on schedule. As a consequence, 17 buys got left behind. They got a bus to South Bend [Indiana Motor Coach] later in the night. It taught us all a lesson; I doubt very much if anybody will be late from now on. As a result, we had more room on the way back, and went to sleep right away. The weather was beautiful today, although there was snow on the ground when we left Dunkirk.
The Golden Dome wasn't lighted when we got back. Since they can't cover the statue of Mary for Passion-tide, they just leave it dark.
Now for more bad news: As soon as I got back to Howard, Father Harris called me into his office, he and an elderly business-looking gentleman quizzed me all about Paul-what he likes, what he does, where he goes, and all. I had to tell them the truth about his gambling and stuff. I didn't know what it was all about, but Father Harris explained to the man that I had been gone over the weekend and didn't know what had happened. No telling what he's done. I'll find out tomorrow. I still have studying to do, but I'll just pay a visit to the chapel and then go to bed. I need sleep too much.
The affair of the "tardy twenty" [bandsmen who got left behind when the bus pulled out after a weekend concert] turned out OK. They got here on a Greyhound at 1:30 a.m., minus $4.15 apiece. If we make a profit at the end of the tour, they'll all get reimbursed. They were walking around with a fresh cold today; their overcoats were on the band buses. I'm sitting here in [Howard's after-hours] study hall with one of them, Phil Tardio (cornet), who is sniffing away.
At band today, everybody received a green-glass ashtray as a present from one of Dunkirk's glass factories [a weekend concerts was in Dunkirk, Ind.]. We bandsmen have agreed among ourselves to go up to the top of Pike's Peak on tour and play the "Victory March" as loud as possible, facing the four winds. [This plan did not materialize.] I'll be needing 4 pairs of black socks and one new white shirt for tour. You can have them ready for me when we get to Kansas City.
Preparing for ROTC exam. Classes are still going great, which I can't understand. My average must be something like 93.
The weather suddenly turned beautiful today-63 and sunny. Do we dare hope that "spring is finally here"? Such changeable weather!
Dr. [John J.] Kane, head of the Sociology Dept., was our teacher today; it was great. Did OK on map-reading test.
We're already getting newspaper clippings and pictures from towns we are playing in. Why aren't they promoting the Kansas City concert?!
What a bunch of characters down here in study hall tonight! (This sheet of paper is courtesy of Wayne Aichroth.) I hate to report it, but my relations with Paul are getting more strained. I'm trying my best to get along, but he is uncooperative. When I try to air the room out, he closes the window, even on warm days. (He smokes like a fiend.) He tries to pick arguments, but I give in to avoid conflict. I accept it all in a spirit of penance, and try not to be in the room when he's there. Hard to understand why they let him stay at ND.
[When Paul died in 1998 after a successful business career and family life in his native Rock Springs, Wyo., this old Howard Hall roommate phoned Paul's wife, Patty, to give condolences; surprisingly, she said: "Paul frequently talked about you; thanks for being such a great influence on his life." She also sent clippings from the local newspaper and the announcement of the funeral Mass at St. Cyril and Methodius Church.]
Tonight was the last Lenten sermon; excellent, as usual.
Did pretty well in sociology quiz and in logic. I was called to the board with 3 others who are Father Brennan's favorites. He calls me "the old broken down architect and quasi musician" of the class.
It looks as if I'll be studying now with little interruption until tour. But Dick Rupp, a band friend, has two term papers to write, so other people may be worse off than I am. For me it's going to be 8 hours of band practice every day next week and writing the term paper every night. Fortunately, we'll have all-night lights next week [Holy Week vacation]. Lots of church doings on Sunday and all next week (even if nearly all the students will be at home).
Another building is planned for this summer-a combination bookstore, clothing store, and bowling ally on the bog between the post office and Badin Hall (where the bookstore is now). It will cost $250,000 (all donated). Saw a movie, Julius Caesar. Paul was acting a little more decent today. Time to make the Stations [of the Cross] so I can get to bed by 11:30.
A large number of robins have arrived. The guys were out on the bog playing ball today. The good weather should help all those with colds, including a lot of the band. After supper we had Benediction in our hall chapel. Then more reading tonight (religion and sociology). Paul was gone all day, as usual, so I had no interference.
It didn't take long for the guys to clear out of here this afternoon. The only ones in the hall tonight besides us bandsmen are a few baseball players and foreign students. The team is about to leave for spring training in Memphis. The glee club left today on their eastern tour. Fr. Harris is the only one I've seen since supper.
Final classes this morning had a kind of holiday air about them. In military we're starting a section on communications; in sociology we are studying about educational institutions; from what we learned today, you'd never send a child of yours to a public school.
Band practice was a lot of fun. More developments about our Easter Mass [in the hometown]: It will be a High Mass with Gregorian Chant. A few of us plan to sing the Easter Propers, if we can learn them in time [under the direction of Dick Rupp]. The whole congregation sings [the common chants] at High Mass here. As for our plan to play the "Victory March" on top of Pike's Peak, we are advised that the rangers won't allow band instruments up there, due to the thin air. But we are determined to play it even if it takes 5 minutes to get our breath between notes!
The band is eating meals together in the dining hall; they are a great bunch of guys! This afternoon we had a hilarious ball game on the bog. The Brass won 15 to 11 over the Woodwinds. I kept score. Lots of fun, and it was a delightful day (73 and sunny). While the campus is deserted, the caretakers are sprucing it up.
After supper, we met again to work out final details; there are some minor changes including bus seating. We'll be able to stretch out and sleep. I love how close-knit the band is-we're all like brothers. After that the Gregorian choir practiced the Mass. It's hard for me to follow the notes [the ancient notation] and the Latin at the same time; just 6 of us will sing the Propers (Introit, Sequence, Offertory, and Communion) with everybody else joining in for the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, etc.
Then we all went over to the Engineering Auditorium to see slides of the cities we'll be visiting-Amarillo, Colorado Springs, Denver, etc. The guy who took them said that it is cold on Pike's Peak, even in July. There could even be snow. After the concert in Kansas City, the guys want to have a little party. I hope all the girls will be there [as promised by a cousin and a sister].
The thunderstorms we had off and on today are continuing tonight; it's warm and humid. The mild scent of purple and white magnolias is all over campus. Everything is closed until after Easter. They've been feeding us like kings since the rest of the students went home.
We're all set to leave Saturday morning, and rarin' to go. It's hard to realize what a tremendous experience this is. My wildest imagination could not have foreseen it this time last year.
Good Friday services were somber, and so impressive. The weather was in harmony-cold, blustery, cloudy.
Our three days "living the life of Reilly" are over, and now begins a tremendous new experience!
Saturday, Apr. 17, 1954. At approximately 7 a.m. on Holy Saturday, two Indiana Motor Coaches bearing side panels proclaiming "Notre Dame Concert Band" pulled away from the band room carrying 55 musicians and 5 staff, under the direction of Robert O'Brien, into unknown adventures on a 12-day tour. In spite of many hours of preparatory instructions and orientation, the packing of coolers, last-minute purchases at the Stratigon, horn polishing, etc., approximately 2 min. and 16 sec. later, a cry of agony was heard from bus no. two. John Marchal had forgotten his uniform.
Some time later, we finally left South Bend behind, headed west [down Indiana 2] for Illinois. For a few hours, quiet prevailed. At noon Lent officially ended; cries of jubilation broke the silence as seals were broken, packs torn open, and everyone began to celebrate the arrival of Easter. After 234 miles, we rolled into Decatur, a small industrial city in central Illinois, in the early afternoon.
As the concert in Kintner Auditorium [Milliken University] was not until evening, we went to the "Y" for an afternoon frolic in the pool. Competition developed once again between the brass and the woodwinds; [led by champion swimmer Mike Connelly] the windwoods had the best of it. [Cornetist] Bill May tried valiantly to gain an initial advantage by starting in the center of the pool.
Approximately 500 people attended the concert, after which there was a little party at the K. of C. in preparation for a long overnight ride to Kansas City, 356 miles away.
As we disembarked, it immediately became apparent that our personal appearance differed markedly from the Easter finery of the parishioners. Dick Rupp led the Gregorian Choir from the organ loft. After Mass the pastor [Msgr. Charles Dibbins] commended them for the fine performance, but those among us with better-honed ears called them "Mass Maulers" once we resumed our trip. But first there was an excellent breakfast awaiting us in the school hall [prepared by the ladies of the parish, supervised by Jack's mom].
The 40-miles to Kansas City passed quickly, and we settled into our rooms in Hotel Senator, and by noon were setting up for the concert in the Music Hall of the Municipal Auditorium, where in mid-afternoon we serenaded 600 persons. Thereafter we were received at the palatial suburban home of the concert's sponsor, N.D. alumnus Dr. Sam Nigro. A good number of young ladies from local Catholic colleges were there to give us our first taste of southwestern hospitality.
There was a small reception prepared for us after the concert in a mezzanine suite of the Lamer Hotel, our home for the night.
We arrived in the old frontier town of Amarillo (now a city of 100,000) a couple of hours early (for a change). As we were about to discover, the spirit of the people more than made up for the bleak setting. There was time to mill around downtown (some picked up cowboy hats) and have lunch (I tried Mexican food I cannot name-very hot, requiring lots of water). At 2:30 our hosts arrived to take us to our various lodgings (private homes). This gave us a chance to see something of the city-various plants and many new ranch-type homes. Mike [Connelly] and I, Jack Guido, bass, and Norrie Bishton, tympani, are staying with the Knittle family, really wonderful people! They have a definite local accent and a luxurious home. Phil [Tardio], Dick Kopituk, "Beetle Bill" Bailey, and Eddie Pistey are staying at the swanky Amarillo Club along with several others.
We visited with our hosts the rest of the afternoon-reading, napping, talking, watching TV. There was a chance to take a bath before dinner-southern fried chicken and so much strawberry shortcake I couldn't finish mine (unusual).
This evening's concert in the Municipal Auditorium was our best so far, and before a large (1500) and enthusiastic crowd. They brought the best out of us. The trombone quintet had been advertised and pictured in the local paper, and we did very well. Afterwards they put on a southwestern-style party at Dr. Johnson's mansion out on the edge of town. There were many local belles and plenty to eat and drink. A bunch of us sang around the piano, led by Dick Meinert. We stayed until 1 a.m., a little hesitant to start off on our second overnight trip-378 miles to Colorado Springs.
The buses pulled up in front of the famous Broadmoor Hotel at 10:30 a.m. They say it is one of the ten top hotels in the country. It has indoor and outdoor pools, an ice-skating rink, all kinds of athletic facilities (even polo), ballrooms, a theatre, and a Spanish style chapel. The parlors, lounges, and dining rooms are ultra plush.
Due to our president, John Giambruno's persuasiveness, we got some of the best rooms (due also, in part, to the fact that the manager was out of town). Ray Nelson (bass clarinet) shares a triple (1802 Southmoor) with Mike and me. Some guys have a small kitchen in their suite. It was not long before Phil Tardio was leading Mike and the troops to the beautiful outdoor pool, where Phil gave a passable imitation of a seal. Quite a few bandsmen were interested in the "indoor scenery" and made dates for the evening, but I joined those who got into rented cars ($2.72 per man for the entire day) to venture into the matchless Colorado outdoors.
Sam Scharber drove our car (besides me, Dante Fuligni, Jerry Vitztum, Bob Elliott, and Bill Bailey). First we went into Colorado Springs for a much-needed meal, and drove around this very modern, clean, and progressive looking resort city. Our first destination was the Garden of the Gods (red rock formations). We then passed through Manitou Springs and back to the Broadmoor. Pike's peak wasn't open yet, so we settled for Cheyenne Mountain (9,400 ft.) as our next destination. The Broadmoor owns it; it has a zoo, the Will Rogers Memorial, and a clubhouse at the top. The drive was beautiful. From the top you look out over the plains of eastern Colorado, as if from an airplane.
From there we drove 45 miles through the most indescribably beautiful national forest to Cripple Creek, an old gold mining town. The road followed an abandoned railroad bed and encircled Pike's Peak; some of the elevations surpassed 10,000 ft. We had a trout supper in what is now pretty much a ghost town, and returned to the hotel about 8:30. It was warm here, but cool and windy in the mountains. We all took a lot of pictures, which we'll get developed when we get back to school.
There was quite a bit of socializing tonight, but I'm too tired to take part. There was a dance and after that some followed Charlie McCabe and Ed Pistey to a local club to hear a combo. We leave for Cheyenne, Wyo. early tomorrow morning. Today has been a big delightful dream. The tour is going great, but too fast.
After the concert, we wandered around town observing the cowgirls and tough-looking cowboys (just like in the Westerns) and purchasing 10-gallon hats. Our social chairman, Bill May, struck a deal with the owner of a western store, and we all emerged with red, black, orange, and white hats. Our hosts (the K. of C.) put on a chuck-wagon fish fry at the school, and this was followed by the evening concert for a thousand very appreciative local citizens (wearing our new sombreros on stage, of course). We played very well. The Governor presented Mr. O'Brien with a $20 Stetson, and an honorary citizenship certificate.
Afterwards buses from Warren Air Force Base were waiting to take us-instruments, uniforms, and all-out to the base where a talent show was going on. After listening to some western-style jazz, we made a brief appearance and played two pieces before the large crowd of servicemen. They gave us a wild reception! The buses brought us back to the K. of C. hall where we had a party, most fun of any so far. What terrific hospitality!
After the cheering subsided, we left at 2 a.m. for a long overnight to McCook, Nebr. It's hard to sleep or play cards on the bus for fear of missing something. Already the Broadmoor seems like a dream-as the whole trip will when it's over.
Again there was a concert in the afternoon for 300 school kids. The edge was a little off our musicianship, but we still gave two good concerts in the Municipal Auditorium. The evening audience (600) was especially responsive.
We were treated to a snack afterwards, but the real fun started when we got to the Keystone Hotel. After getting settled in our rooms, somebody got a square dance going up in the 6th-floor hall. (Finding diversion is an old band attribute.) Never saw anything so funny as these guys and "gals" with their variety of clothing, including pajamas. Dick Meinert did the calling in his Arkansas twang. I didn't stay long, because tomorrow's rising time is 5:30 with Mass at 6:15 in the local parish church (one of the most beautiful in the state) so we can leave at 7 for Omaha (Boys Town). It's another long ride (300 miles).
We are nearing the 3,000-mile mark on the tour and have played for 9000 people so far. Now for a little sleep.
We arrived in the late afternoon at Chillicothe, a college town in northern Mo., and had plenty of time to get ready for our evening performance. There was a very appreciative crowd of 1,000 or so-one of the most receptive of the tour. The mayor "entertained" at the opening by giving us a flowery welcome. Interspersed through the evening various local service clubs put on brief "advertisements," and one offered us a replica of a Livingston County bull to add to our collection of trophies. We were all highly amused, watching Mr. O'Brien accept this unusual object. We had been preceded by extensive publicity all over the downtown area.
Afterwards, there was an old-fashioned "down home" party in the Strand Hotel; our K. of C. host apologized for the sparse presence of young ladies by telling us that Chillicothe had "very few girls of our type." Hmm.
We changed into our uniforms and went down to the lobby for a snack supper. My Aunt came by about 6 for a nice visit, asking all about the family; she wasn't able to go to the concert. She gave me $1 as she was leaving. She was very happy to see me after so many years and to see the family pictures I had along. Then I walked 2 blocks to the apartment of [an old elementary school chum]. He just about fell over when I walked in. We had a very nice chat, and he did come to hear us play. He has a very good job downtown in the Missouri Pacific headquarters.
The buses took us out into the suburbs, to Maryville College for Women, where about 300 "classy" music appreciators had gathered for our concert in their small auditorium. The only reason we played there is because Mr. O'Brien used to teach at Maryville. We played very well, especially the quintet. There was a fancy ball for us afterwards, orchestra and all. We had nice dates (mine was very talkative), and much fun all around. The buses had left earlier, so we had to take taxis back to the hotel, arriving about 2 a.m.
The concert tonight in the high school auditorium was still finer than the previous ones, and much appreciated by the audience of 700. Since this was the last stop, the party afterwards at the K. of C. hall was especially enjoyable, and we made some nice friendships with students from St. Mary's Hospital School of Nursing. My date was a farm girl, pretty shy. For some of us, the party continued late into the night at the Bergeron home.
We're all staying in private homes; our hosts (the O'Laughlins) are, as usual, as friendly as can be, and they have a beautiful home. When we got back at 1:30 a.m., the lady of the house fixed us hamburgers.
This afternoon I could hardly keep awake, but did study a little history and Spanish. Then we gave our final concert this evening in the Drill Hall before a nice crowd of 2,000. We played very well because the concert was being recorded. The record album will cost $10, which is how much I have left of the tour allowance. Can't stay awake another minute.
Had a great new ND experience tonight-the beginning of May devotions to Mary. At 7:45 everybody went outside their halls, were given lighted candles, and formed a column two by two. At 7:55 we started a procession, from all points of the campus down to the Grotto, praying the Rosary on the way. The Rosary leader was heard by microphone throughout the campus. So impressive to see 5,000 boys carrying lighted candles in the warm spring twilight, all praying together; the Grotto is greening up, and is very beautiful. After the [Sorrowful mysteries of the] Rosary, we sang, "On this day, O beautiful Mother.," and that was followed by outdoor Benediction, concluding with "Holy God, we praise thy Name.." Tremendously impressive! Photographers were there. Very few ND men were absent, I think.
Back in Howard, I read for sociology class. Concert band season ends Monday when we have a final recording session; then marching band starts up again. Today I helped install our new trophies in the band room case. On the tour, I picked up another nickname, "Giggibird." Everybody else got one, too. I have lots of work to do this weekend, but there are many other things on the schedule, so I won't get everything done..
They played Marian hymns on the church bells this afternoon. It's a tradition here to pray the Rosary every day in May down at the Grotto, each one on his own. There was a large crowd when I went this evening.
Last weekend we went on daylight savings time here, so now it's an hour later than your time. (Yawn.)
It was a warm, rainy day. Everything looks even greener after the rain, and all the flowering bushes around campus give it a sweet scent. Very pleasant to stroll around. Heard parts of our concert over a local station tonight; we sounded very well. Only 3 and a half weeks of classes left, and then a week of exams. When you come up to get me, you won't be able to meet Paul, Ed [White], Dick [Bolger] or anybody. Only the senior class and the band will still be here..
We're having a time with Aristotle's Ethics in philosophy class. It bothers me that some of it is over my head. Got 91 in Spanish test we took right after the tour. In religion, we're studying temperance and fortitude. Went over to the band room after classes to listen to recordings of the concert. They are good in places, not so good in others. We re-recorded the bad spots this afternoon and again after supper, including the trombone quintet (which we had to do twice). I applied for the job of uniform custodian next year; it pays $75 per semester, and requires little time.
I wrote a thank you letter to the folks we stayed with in Kankakee. I'm glad to see Paul working on a marketing project with a buddy. The reading room in the Library is torn up while they install much-needed new lights.
It snowed again off and on all this cold and blustery day. Going down to 28 tonight.. It only took one day for your last letter to get here.
Today I also learned that I'll either be (don't laugh) drum major or exec officer of the regimental band next year (if I'm back in ROTC). [He wasn't.] There will only be 3 juniors next year, one of whom is plumb out of it. I'll also get a responsible job on the sports staff of the Scholastic, too.
Classes went fine. In hygiene we studied eyes and ears. From what the teacher said, progressive bad eyesight runs in some families. At drill today, I received a complaint that I am acting too military. Most of the guys just fool around, as if it were only a sport.
A new 4-year program [the General Program of Liberal Studies] is beginning next year in the AB College [Arts and Letters]. It looks very promising, but only incoming freshmen are eligible. Wish they had started it several years ago.
Went to the Sorrowful Mother Novena tonight, and then a Third Order meeting where we discussed the effects of good example in our halls; of all the roommates we heard about, mine is the only one who doesn't seem to respond. I wonder what will become of him. I fear that he's losing the Faith. [He didn't; his widow reported a kind of "delayed reaction."] Paul is leaving for a weekend in Chicago.
It's still cold, but at least the sun came out a little bit.
With Paul gone to Chicago, our maid came in to clean when I was there this morning. She told me she hates to clean our room because of the way Paul throws cigarettes and trash on the floor. We still manage to put up with each other, being such opposites. I guess we can stand each other for one more month. I was there because I overslept for half an hour again this morning, and it made me late for Mass. I know I'm not getting enough sleep when even the alarm clock can't wake me up.
[This brief work, a classic, was by Gerald Kelly, S.J. Published in 1941 by the Queen's Work in St. Louis, it was often reprinted in the decade following World War II. It set the ideals, tone, and norms for sexual ethics in American Catholic life prior to the cultural revolution of the late '60s, when traditional teaching on the subject was tossed out of most Catholic schools.]
While reading, I listened to good music in the peace and quiet of my room. Tonight I got an entire paper done for philosophy on the problem of time according to St. Augustine [book XI of The Confessions]. Very interesting. What a tremendous education I am getting up here! [Something he would pass on to decades of state university students during his teaching career.] I hate to see so many guys (like Paul) turning up their noses at such an opportunity.
[Responding to a letter from home:] The trip up here to bring me home isn't so long. It will seem shorter to you the second time. Hope the car tune-up won't be expensive. I should find out something about my scholarship chances in a week. Keep praying. There are only two records in the concert album-33 and a third LPs. Each of the 4 sides plays half an hour. That comes to just 8 cents a minute. These clippings will give you some of the news.
[The South Bend Tribune for May 9 reports an upcoming parade in downtown South Bend-the city's observance of the fifth Armed Forces Day; among participating units are ND's marching band and ROTC regimental band. Mayor John Scott will introduce the speaker from Washington, Maj. Gen. Frank Allen. Another clipping announces a Marian Novena at the Fatima Shrine on the ND campus in which 22 parishes, 15 organizations, and 9 choral groups, including the ND Glee Club, will be participating, May 9-16. Very Rev. Theodore Mehling, CSC, provincial, will officiate at the opening, and Rev. Robert Waide CSC, Holy Cross Mission Band, will preach the sermons. Each hall at ND is to participate, Howard on Thurs., the 13th. With thousands expected each night, a special traffic signal will regulate traffic at the US 31 entrance to St. Mary's.]
Still very chilly, but the sun came out in the afternoon. It's got to warm up soon!
Last religion test was returned today; my grade, 90. Finally got my big batch of laundry back; since we got back from tour, I've had little to wear. Concert band practiced today (all sight reading) for closing exercises and lawn concerts. We play for the Pontifical High Mass in the stadium on graduation day. You'll be able to attend if you drive up on Friday, June 4. I'll give you a complete tour of the campus on Saturday. That night is a lawn concert. Sunday will be taken up with the closing exercises, with more touring of Notre Dame and St. Mary's in between the Mass and Graduation. We can load the car Sunday night and leave early Monday to arrive back that night. Will spending 3 nights here cost too much?
Paul was in a friendlier mood tonight; we listened to Monday night music while I studied and he read. He likes the Band of America, too.
Tuesday, May 11. Still cold. Got my last haircut 'til I get home; pretty short, as usual. Spent 4 hours reading history today and tonight-about Germany between the two world wars, Nazism, and Hitler. Also got a Spanish assignment done and some religion read while waiting for haircut. Sat right next to Father Hesburgh. He insisted on waiting his turn like everybody else. A tremendous personality. Got my final Scholastic assignment tonight (fencing). There is a free banquet tomorrow night for the staff, but I can't go because there is a vital marching band committee meeting. I've been working on some of the fall shows in my spare time (?).
[Response to a letter from Dad about choices of summer job possibilities]: Guess I'll have to go to the City and waste 3 hours a day on the bus, cooped up in a hot office. But I appreciate your getting it for me. Naturally I realize I have to make the most money possible-under reasonable circumstances. I think the job at home [lower pay] would do that better. I'll be thinking it over 'til I hear further.
Thursday, May 13. Had a wonderful new experience tonight when Howard Hall went to the Pilgrimage Novena at the Fatima Shrine. It was a very striking scene. Three or four thousand people were assembled, people from several parishes as well as N.D. and St. Mary's. We went over in procession, and received the indulgences that apply to pilgrimages. A Hungarian choir sang [from Our Lady of Hungary parish]. The schoolgirls were wearing white veils. As we recited the Rosary, everyone processed around the shrine. The day was warm and sunny (finally), but it got cold over there tonight.
As we get near the end of the semester, they are really overloading us with assignments, trying to complete everything. Had to spend nearly 5 hours reading history today (the various European countries between the world wars), and then worked on Spanish. Lots of people down here in study hall tonight. The dramatics group is putting on a play, "Where's Charlie?" I'll be playing bass trombone in a little skit. Should be a lot of fun.
It seems that as we get close to vacation, everybody is tired of school (except me). I will welcome the vacation, though. (Vacation??) After the Novena, I took a military aptitude test in the law auditorium with the other MS 202s. Whoever falls below a certain score is out of the program. It was extremely simple (vocabulary, algebra), but way too many to complete within the allotted time, so I had to leave a lot of blanks. After that, there was still some sociology to do-very interesting (the population problem). It's a funny thing to how all my courses are integrating with each other and falling right into place. That's the best sign of an excellent education.
Tomorrow will be a huge day-Armed Forces parade, the open house, the Old-Timers game in the stadium. The weather is beautiful, but still chilly. Tulips and lilacs are in full bloom; spirea just starting. There is a fragrance over the whole campus.
Military band left for the parade on buses at noon. It was a big parade, with N.D. in the lead. First the university band, then the Army ROTC, the Navy unit, our regimental band, the Air Force (the largest ROTC unit here). Many high school bands and military units followed us, but we didn't stay to watch it all [or the concluding ceremony at the Courthouse]. We didn't march far-up Michigan St. [from South St.] and over to Main [on LaSalle]. It just took half an hour, but the whole parade lasted a long time. Our band did the best we've ever done. A huge crowd lined the streets, which surprised me. Just like parades in downtown Kansas City, except not as far to march. It was in the upper 70s and sunny.
When we got back to campus, the game started between the Old Timers (Lattner, Lujack, Worden, etc.) and next year's team. Surprisingly, the varsity won-35 to 25, or something like that. The marching band played, but at the half there was the traditional 100-yard chariot race. Each of the seven Engineering departments entered a brightly colored chariot: driver and two guys pulling, all dressed in Roman costumes. Lots of fun to watch. The civil engineers won. The stadium was about half full (30,000 or so). Lots of visitors around the campus today.
After supper I went to see more engineering displays-civil and metallurgy. Very interesting, and worth while. Had to miss the air show by the aeronautical engineering boys this morning. Tonight I wrote my final Scholastic article. By now it's midnight, and only a little Spanish done. Lots going on tomorrow, too.
Before supper we had elections for next year in Third Order. Father [Robert] Lochner [CSC], the sponsor, gave a good sermon. Spent most of the evening reading history in the library, and more St. Augustine. Then at 10:30, there was a party for the men of Howard in our rec room-pop, potato chips, and doughnuts. Liberace was on TV. We should do that more often!
Today's weather was tremendous-up to 80 and sunny. The lawns and areas around the lakes were crowded with guys just relaxing or doing some outdoor studying. The swimming pool [in the Rockne Memorial] was busy, too.
Marching band "spring training" starts tomorrow, including tryouts for next year. It will be tiring since we're not in condition after our winter layover. Tomorrow is also the start of the last week of classes. Already??!
[This popular musical comedy originally starring Ray Bolger opened on Broadway in October, 1948 and ran for 792 performances. George Abbott and Frank Loesser adapted Charley’s Aunt by Brandon Thomas for stage. The band’s name was the New Ashmolean Marching Society and Student Conservatory Band. The ND Theatre’s performance came too late in the year to be included in the 1954 Dome.]
They’re serving a new kind of butter in the dining room—just like our country butter at home. It was cooler today, but warm enough to study out under the trees. Spirea are in full bloom, but it will take a while longer for peonies and roses. I’ll call as soon as I get news of a scholarship, but remember that 10:30 there is 11:30 here. Quick mail deliveries lately—only 20 hours from postmark until arrival in Howard.
Classes today were OK. It won’t be until they end that my work starts. Our history dept. is 3rd highest in the nation (after Harvard and Columbia). Also got quite a bit of Augustine read tonight; caused me to miss a presentation of folk dancers in Washington Hall.
Tomorrow, the 80 returning bandsmen will be selected; so far, 40 are in. Also tomorrow is “Where’s Charley?” dress rehearsal. I don’t have our piece memorized yet, but I will. It will cause me to miss Kansas City Club elections banquet (saves money, anyway). I only have 19 more days to enjoy this place, and trying to get the most out of each one without injuring my health (left eye keeps bothering me, but don’t worry about it). Six more days of classes.
For the operetta dress rehearsal, they squeezed us into [South Bend] Riley High School band uniforms—real gone looking. My cap size must have been 5. It just sits up there. The coat is so tight that all the buttons won’t close. The practice went well. There are about 50 or 60 in the play, half of them local girls and women. Excellent sets, 19th-century Oxford costumes, and stage crews (lighting).
After play practice I went to a logic review session; I arrived late, and Fr. Brennan made a spectacle of me to everyone’s amusement. There are two more nights of that. When I got back there was a sociology quiz to study for. The weather is invigorating—clear and cool (60s). The small animals around campus are pretty tame—squirrels, rabbits, swans, ducks, geese, and even the robins. You can almost walk up to them and they just sit there and stare.
Marching band spring training is also over; 52 guys made next year’s band, with another 25 on the doubtful list (depending on how good the freshmen will be). We’ll have 98 total plus 16 uniformed reserves.
Final sociology quiz section was today; my grade for the semester is 93. After that came the final exam in hygiene. It was very easy. All that is needed is to pass it (no grade given). A sumptuous banquet tonight for the University Orchestra in Mishawaka; all who participated anytime during the season were invited, along with many university officials. They served the most chicken I’ve ever had at one meal—all white meat! Everybody got two bottles of beer and a cigar, plus strawberry shortcake for dessert. I traded my beer for two more strawberry shortcakes. I must have gained 5 more lbs., but didn’t feel stuffed because it was drawn out over an hour and a half.
Had to hurry back for the opening of “Where’s Charley?” at 8:15 [in Washington Hall]. Had to borrow a pair of khaki pants to go with our crazy Riley band jacket and cap from fellow Howard man, John Engler, Mason City, Iowa. After the play I got in on the last half of logic review; I gave the cigar to Fr. Brennan; he made me sit on the front row next to our new football star, [Paul] Hornung. When I got back, there was a lot of history reading to do (Second World War), so I’m getting to bed very late again (but don’t feel worn out). I didn’t miss the Kansas City club election banquet after all, as they didn’t have it. Too much else going on. [Bill] Canning says he’s running for president.
I went from the ROTC building to an enjoyable band practice for our lawn concerts. After supper there was Novena and Third Order meeting before changing for “Charley.” We had almost a full house tonight. The performance lasted too late to go to logic review, so I came back to the hall, read sociology, and wrote acceptance letter for the summer job [student trainee, Army Corps of Engineers office, downtown Kansas City].
Last issue of Scholastic came out today with my fencing article; I got a medal for being on the staff.
This was one of those rare days up here when the weather was just perfect!—near 80, sunny, nice breeze. Could hardly wait for classes to end so I could take books down by the lake, where I spent the afternoon. Worked on history for 3 hours and philosophy one and a half. I think just about everybody was outside today—some swimming in St. Joe’s Lake, some boating, some golfing, some playing ball, some studying (mostly along the lake). It’s against the rules, but we all had our shirts off. The sun wasn’t strong enough to burn, but I got a little color. It’s only the second day we’ve had when it was warm enough to sit outside. Don’t see how [roommate] Paul could stay inside today, but he and a crony sat in the room playing cards all afternoon and part of tonight. Hard for me to understand that.
After supper and Grotto (lit a candle for all our family’s [mainly financial] trials and tribulations), I spent another hour at the lake finishing St. Augustine—finally—and strolling around enjoying the scenery and wildlife. There was a big fight among a group of ducks. What a place this is for nature lovers! Would like to have walked more, but had too many lessons to do. Regular days of class are drawing to a close (only 9 more classes). After the play, I made out a schedule for exam reviews. They will take every minute between Tuesday night and a week from Thursday. Hope to do a lot of it outside.
Talked to Fr. Mendez again about a scholarship; he is still processing freshman applications, so now it seems I won’t know before school is out—in fact, not until all the applicants are notified (June 30). I’ll have to arrange for a loan after getting back home if I don’t get a scholarship [which is what happened].
We’re coming into the sentimental time of the year. I will really hate to leave.
Today I was out in the sun reading history and philosophy (final assignments of the year) for four and a half hours. It didn’t take long after 8 o’clock Mass to change out of my good clothes.
We did very well tonight at “Where’s Charley?”; we’ll give it again in June for visitors and guests. Hope this great weather keeps up; it’s almost unbelievable for Indiana.
Today’s classes were also easy, but there was a big shock in philosophy. The first half of our final will be this Wednesday. It will take me at least 6 hours to review for it, and I hadn’t figured that into the week’s schedule.
This morning’s Rogation ceremony was impressive, but getting up so early made me tired all day. On our walk we went by the Calvary Shrine [west of St. Mary’s Lake] which I never knew about before. Almost all the Third Order men turned out—a very good bunch of guys. Tonight after the military test, I went with Ed [White] to the Glee Club spring concert; had to make time for that wonderful experience. You’ll hear them at Graduation. Had to miss the second half in order to get over to the last half of tonight’s logic session. There was no time for lessons after that, even if there is a load of work on tap. I’ll be going to sleep amidst the odor of salami and other strong-smelling remains of a party Paul had in our room earlier in the evening.
The maintenance crew had the sprinklers going today on the main quadrangle trying to green things up a bit.
Don’t know if the money is going to hold out or not until you all get here; only have $5 left. Anything lying around the house to spare?
Still too many extra things going on. Rogation procession again this morning early, a steak dinner downtown tonight for “Where’s Charley” cast, and then logic session for an hour and a half. A lot of beautiful young ladies at the dinner—the chorus girls. They were pleasant to talk with, for a change. Had to miss the final hall meeting because of the dinner, but it was just end-of-the-year details. Much cooler today, not warm enough to sit out on the ground—even in the sun.
[Responding to a letter from home:] Glad you got to meet Harry S. [Truman, who visited the hometown from nearby Independence with his wife.] Really a big deal to entertain the Trumans! We have midnight lights all this week. It’s just now midnight; 5:30 will come very early! But I have to finish this successful year in a successful way. No time to let up now.
It was chilly and cloudy for this morning’s final procession; stayed cloudy and in the 60s all day. It was the last day of classes, and now many people are busily reviewing all over the place. Had to go to Kansas City Club election tonight; it got stalled by election method wrangling, so I just stayed for president and vice-president elections. That’s all the time I could afford. Happy to report that [hometown boy, Bill] Canning was elected president. I wonder if it’s the first time somebody not from the City got it. He’ll make a good one. One of the boys he beat is John Massman.
Got some good grades back today: “good” on the philosophy paper; 100 on military test; 100, 94, and 95 on some old history quizzes. It’s possible I’ll be able to keep my 91 average this semester. I’m sure it’s the extreme top of my capabilities.
I’m piling in the food because I don’t expect to get much this summer, with the commute to summer job. I can’t see fixing my own breakfast so early in the morning, plus I’ll have to bring a lunch, and come home late to a cold supper. I’ll probably be back down to 130 by fall.
This was a strange day—didn’t seem like a school day, and didn’t seem like a Sunday. Slept ‘til 7:30 and went to 8 o’clock Mass in our chapel. After breakfast I spent the morning doing a hasty last-minute history review—all the tests and maps. The exam was from 1:30 ‘til 3:30; it took all that time plus a little more. This evening we had Pontifical Blessing (Third Order). Then talked to Herb Riband (band committee) about plans for shows we’re going to design this summer. And finally, a trip to the Grotto.
Weather bulletin on the radio just now—tornado warning. It was cloudy and not very warm all day, but this evening it got still and sticky. We are on the east age of the danger area.
Picked up my copy of ND’s annual, The Dome, and right away I noticed some changes or improvements I would have made. [He was editor of the high school annual.] It’s a little one-sided toward social (dances) and football (25 pages). We’ll have a good time going over it together. It has some beautiful views of the campus.
Thundershowers and more tornado alerts tonight. It rained much of last night; there were tornados in Aurora and Kankakee, Ill.
Spent the morning and early afternoon reviewing for military exam—the drill part with Frank [Tighe] in Jack Gallagher’s room. It helped a lot. The test itself wasn’t very hard, but I probably fell for some of the trick questions in the drill part. About a thousand of us took it at the same time in the Engineering Auditorium—MS 102s and 202s sitting in alternate seats.
Still a little too cool to sit outside—60s and windy. I’m not noticing any effects of getting more sleep. Paul [Anselmi, roommate] is getting more pleasant and considerate. You will meet him because he is staying ‘til the 7th.
Took some pictures of the guys today. Many visitors on campus. Tonight they took up a collection in the hall to buy a gift for Fr. [Charles] Harris [rector]—$1 apiece. I’m anxious for you all to meet him. He’s a lot like Dad—built the same, sparkling personality, wonderful sense of humor, and deeply religious. Also, very Irish. He is immensely popular.
[Charles W. Harris, CSC, age 37 in 1954, left ND in 1965 to begin a 4-year period of service at the Univ. of Portland; in 1967 he was appointed Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and worked out its new organizational scheme. In 1968 he chaired a committee that compiled and published a leadership manual for a high school youth ministry which continues to the present in parishes of the Philippines. He died on Jan. 4, 1988 at age 71.]
The afternoon study was down by the lake—ants and all. Yesterday a white duck and a gray one had a fight a few feet from my study seat. Wildlife is so interesting. I didn’t take off my shirt because there were too many ladies around—picnics, etc. It got more and more sultry, and finally we had a thunderstorm just at supper hour. It cleared up, but now tonight we’re getting another one. I’m in study lounge reviewing religion; it’s very late, but tomorrow’s the roughest day. The lounge is crowded. Exams have been successful so far, and now they are half over.
[John] Giambruno [band president] came over a little while ago with band information. We’re getting “Obie” [bandmaster Robert O’Brien] a swell going away present. Mr. Hope will definitely take his place [but just for one last year].
Before supper I checked my military grade at the ROTC building; it was only 83 (surely some mistake; I’ll check on it tomorrow). Didn’t feel much like studying logic tonight, but got a little done. I can finish tomorrow morning as the test isn’t until the afternoon. The philosophy final (oral and written) is on Thursday; the written is ready, but not the oral.
[The schedule for a weekend tour of the campus for his folks comes next.] Glad you’re able to come Friday; try to leave at 5 a.m. so you won’t have to speed. It’s going to take at least 15 hours [Lexington, Mo. to South Bend, with no interstates]. Go straight to Washington Hall when you get here [for the play]. I’ll be around the band room or up in the dressing rooms before it starts. Father Harris says Dad can stay here in the hall. Don’t bring too much with you; I’ll need the space for my stuff….
Guys are starting to leave; trunks all over.
Three grades were released today: history 97, military 91 (after my little “investigation”), and band 98. The ones coming later will be lower. The logic test really was a test, to my surprise. I used all 90 minutes on the seven questions (five of them pretty well, I think). Of course Father Brennan was up to his usual tricks, with his jokes and distractions all through the test. He won’t even count it [everyone got 88]. It was a strange class, but a nice diversion—and I did learn some logic. That guy has a tremendous memory.
Earlier I spent a few minutes at play practice, arranging for free tickets [for the folks]. Many guys are leaving—Dick Bolger at 4, and Wayne at suppertime. Dick is not returning next year. He and Ed [White] didn’t get along well toward the end. Dick will do OK, but I can’t understand why he was always saying how much he hates it here.
After the banquet came “banquet no. 2”—beer, [a skit:] tour tap (a riot), installation of new officers (by candle light), and inspection of band final paper [“The Fifing Irish”]. Sat between Mike [Connelly] and [Frank] Fischer. Another great time, but worn out by it. We finally made our way back to campus via taxi and through the monsoon.
Philosophy oral quiz [on the front porch of Mr.] Tish’s house [on N.D. Ave., corner of Corby] was not bad; did OK. The written exam this morning was as expected, plus 3 surprise extras that nobody knew.
So IT’S ALL OVER! The hall is in a state of near desertion tonight. Paul is still here, and Ed, plus all of us loyal bandsmen. Got almost all packing done after the exam. The room is bare, but still crowded. [309 Howard] is too small ever to be un-crowded.
[Friday passed in expectation of the arrival of parents and one sister that evening for the play; Saturday was campus tour; Sunday commencement ceremonies and departure with the family and belongings in a crowded maroon DeSoto.]
Don't think my folks saved my weekly family letters beyond that first year. At least, they aren't in the archive. That first year was special.
As for 50 years ago, being "an insider," now(start of junior year), in the band, I remember coming back maybe a week early that Sept. for daily practice and trying out the newcomers. Robert O'Brien was gone (just for a year) and H. Lee Hope was in command. But it was really the student leaders (most of all our Jerry Gatto) who ran the marching band drills. (Hope was more interested in the concert band.) What is etched most deeply is arriving in Dillion Hall and going up to my new room (366) days before the hall would begin filling with students. After a summer in comparative luxury, those old beds seemed so primitive that first night, but there was such a special feeling that went with being back at N.D. I could see the Dome out my window. It was quiet, and secure, and I felt so confident that life was in perfect synch. It is hard to say that I ever felt more "at home" anywhere.
We found "My Story: Going Home Again" by M.P. Miller available on both Amazon.Com and Barnes and Nobel.com. You can click on either of the two following links to see their listings
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Jack goes on to say, "Mary Pat and her own college classmates are feeling a little "heady" these days as the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr.Wangari Maathai, was her classmate at lowly Mount St. Scholastica College, Atchison, Kans.". The native of Kenya graduated from Atchison’s Mount St. Scholastica College, now Benedictine College, with a degree in biology in 1964.
She went on to be Africa’s first female Ph.D., found the Green Belt Movement in 1977 and is currently serving as Assistant Minister of Environment, Natural Resources and Wildlife in Kenya. She is the first African woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize.