Ache, ache, ache. Time marches on,
 our youth now gone,
We 56ers back again:
Arthritic knees, neuropathies, 
Replacement parts, and oxygen.

For it is ache, ache, ache, and misery,
And medicines to take,
But 56ers keep coming
Despite the nagging ache, ache, ache.

Hark (hard of hearing—volume’s on high).
Hark to the whis-
per of the decades flying by.
Older and older, joining the long-in-tooth,
Back home again, 
here on the campus of our youth

By Bob McKenty

Preamble to “NO!tre Dame”

After a poetry reading, a little girl is reported to have approached the speaker and asked, “Were those real poems, or did you write them yourself?”

I’d like to share with you an excerpt from a real poem by Thomas Hood, titled, simply, “No!” Here’s its conclusion as recorded in
Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations:"

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member—
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds—

—Thomas Hood
…which serves as both inspiration for, and introduction to my
reflection for a 60th reunion, titled “NO!tre Dame.”

NO!tre Dame
(Reflection for a 60th Reunion)

NO all-night lights (eleven, you retired);
NO straying from your dorm room after hours;
NO sleeping in when mass checks were required;
NO alcohol. NO females (just cold showers).

NO entertaining women in your room
Past 6 p.m. NO sex, or you’d be gone—
Except in Vetville, where the Baby Boom
Suggested there was plenty going on.

NO coeds yet “to civilize the men" [i]
St. Mary’s girls a mile or two away.
Their ratio to us was one-to-ten
(And one, at least, is here with us today). [ii]

NO food-court fare to feed the famished teen
With choices that to us defy belief,
Whose “chow hall” served such elegant cuisine
As ersatz “city chicken” [iii] and creamed chipped beef.

NO cell phones, texting, skyping (just a fad);
NO odious reminders “You’ve got mail!”
One phone per floor per dorm was all we had;
Our letters were entrusted to the Snail.

NO virtual stores like amazon. NO spam.
NO GPS to guide us anyplace.
NO YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram—
Our interactions mostly face-to-face.

NO cable, Wi-Fi, 4G LTE.
NO metaphoric “Cloud” (our clouds were weighty
With rain or snow). NO UHDTV.
NO iPhones, iPods, iPads, or I-80.

NO Netflix, Hulu, streaming video.
NO TV in our rooms. One weekend night,
To new La Fortune’s digs awaaaay we’d go
To watch the Gleason Show (in black and white).

NO Sacred Heart Basilica. Alas!
Our Church was not in such pristine condition,
Where there was NO vernacular at mass,
(But many NO-NOs when it held a mission).

NO high-rise Hesburgh tower to house our tomes—
NO place where we could study or relax,
Inviting, and well-lighted. (Catacombs
Were brighter than Lemmonier’s dreary stacks.)

NO artificial turf, NO NBC,
And 20,000 fewer seats to sell.
NO freshmen playing with the varsity;
NO juniors jumping to the NFL.

NO fancy venue yet for basketball
(Our Fieldhouse was no place to put on airs).
NO Warren Golf Course; NO Welsh Family Hall,
For Bill and Bob were not yet millionaires. [iv]

NO aol and email to abet
Proclivities like Manion’s—not until
A grown Al Gore invents the Internet
(Apt platform for a Yeagermeister’s skill).

NO powers vested yet in lay trustees,
With Pat McCartan Chairman of the Board.
NO deacons to assist at liturgies—
A perfect avocation for Revord!

NO benefactions by DeBartolo
In gratitude for Joe Montana’s passes.
NO Center for Performing Arts to show
A glimpse of culture to the uncouth masses.

NO Sculpture Park to supplement the Snite
(What Snite?!). NO Moses treading our terrain.
NO “Stonehenge,” [v] with our Fieldhouse on that site,
For Philistines we were, and would remain.

NO “Global Gateway” to the likes of Rome,
Jerusalem and London to entice.
When urged by wanderlust to leave the Dome,
A weekend in Chicago would suffice.

We’ve NO regrets. At study or at play
Our years were full (and we were amply fed),
Nor do we envy students of today.
The saddest NO is theirs: NO Fr. Ted.

[vi] Deprived? Perhaps we were. But dry your tears.
Six thousand bucks would pay for all four years.

[i] One of Fr. Hesburg’s arguments for admitting women
[ii] Sue Vandegrift
[iii] If you don’t remember it, you can google it
[iv] With my apologies. “Millionaire” is such a devalued term these days
[v] Clarke Memorial Fountain, a memorial to Notre Dame's fallen war veterans
[vi] Omitted from reading. This was to have been the conclusion before the Hesburgh stanza came to me.
Bob McKenty


(This verse was presented in song by JERRY POTTEBAUM at the Saturday night dinner.)

Here are the lyrics for “Wonderful World.” The original song was made famous by Louie Armstrong in 1988 some 20 years after being written by Thiele & Weiss. So they should be given credit with Louie Armstrong.,p> It was another rare reunion. Thanks for all your good work in making it happen.

What A Wonderful World Lyrics (Bob Thiele & George David Weiss)

1 I see trees of green, red roses too.
  I see them bloom for me and you.
  And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

2 I see skies of blue and clouds of white.
  The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night.
  And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

3 The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
  Are also on the faces of people going by.
  I see friends shaking hands saying “How do you do?”
  But they’re really saying “I love you.”

4 I hear babies cry, and I watched them grow.
  They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know.
  And I think to myself what a wonderful world.
  Yes, I think to myself what a wonderful world.
  Oh, yeah...


1 I see heads of gray, some bald ones too.
  I see them gleaming, gold Domers true.
  And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

2 I see walking sticks, adjustable in height...
  Kept near the bed for trips in the night.
  And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

3 The Dome of gold lifts Mary so high up in the sky.
  The soft glow of the grotto warms people passing by.
  I see grads kneeling down, giving thanks to You-Know-Who.
  They’re really praying for me and you and you.

4 I hear students cheer, “Go Irish! Go!”
  They’re learning more than I’ve come to know.
  And I think to myself what a wonderful world.
  Yes, I think to myself what a wonderful world.
   Go, Irish, Go...