A riddle of foxes

By Kerry Temple ’74

Foxes walk on their toes. The female is called a vixen. A group is called a “skulk” or “leash,” although foxes are largely solitary except when nestled as a family with young in their lair. They may weigh 7 to 24 pounds. They are nocturnal. Have vertical slit pupils like cats, see quite well at night. When hunting they stalk and pounce, rarely chasing. Omnivorous, they eat two pounds per day, have a superior sense of smell. They reproduce once a year, have a life span generally of one to four years. These are some of the facts I have gathered about foxes. But it doesn’t mean I know foxes, or understand the fox.

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Letter from Campus: Champion

By Kerry Temple ’74

Tom Suddes ’71 died September 26 at age 67. It’s hard to believe. Tom Suddes was a life force not easily extinguished — even with his two-year battle against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. There’s no way his life story ends there, though.

For one thing, there is the legacy. His lasting impact on generations of Notre Dame students — as a volunteer. Living on in the lives he changed. Hard to imagine anyone else making such tremendous personal contributions to the place as an unpaid volunteer. Few have made such a difference as full-time employees.…

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Soundings: True to Oneself

By Kerry Temple ’74

Several years ago I wanted to make more of Thanksgiving than turkey and football games. I decided to thank somebody who had impacted my life and express that gratitude by telling the story at this website. My memories of Mr. Burke point me in several directions.

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What's Best for Them

By Kerry Temple ’74

The pursuit of excellence starts early and drives many young people toward the nation’s elite colleges and universities. But success has its costs, and victims.

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Editor's Note: The magazine today

By Kerry Temple ’74

I have always loved magazines. I remember, as a boy, poring over the copies of Life and Look, The Saturday Evening Post and National Geographic, Boys’ Life, Sports Illustrated, even Redbook, Vogue, Good Housekeeping and Time that came into our house.

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What I’m Reading: Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, John David Anderson

By Kerry Temple ’74

I picked up Mrs. Bixby’s Last Day when looking for a book for my kids to read. They weren’t interested in it and, because the book’s premise is a middle-school teacher who has cancer and not long to live. Still, my kids are in middle school and death is something worth thinking about and one of the cover blurbs said, “Kids won’t just love this book. They need it.” It’s been a hit.

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Editor's note: The tree and life

By Kerry Temple ’74

That is a bristlecone pine — Pinus longaeva — on the cover. So yes, this issue’s cover story is about a kind of tree. But it is not just about a tree, not even really about what may be the oldest living thing on earth, which the bristlecone pine is believed to be.

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The words of Father Griff

By Kerry Temple ’74

Rev. Robert F. Griffin, CSC, ’49, ’58M.A., once one of the University’s most renowned characters, wrote regularly for Notre Dame Magazine as well as a weekly column for The Observer. He wrote 51 essays for this magazine between 1972 and 1994, with 49 of these gathered into a collection now published by the University of Notre Dame Press as The Pocket-Size God: Essays from Notre Dame Magazine.

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Death in the family

By Kerry Temple ’74

Edward Kline, who was a Notre Dame professor for 34 years and the first Frank O’Malley Director of the Freshman Writing Program, died last November, two weeks short of his 82nd birthday. A specialist in Old English literature, the Denbo, Pennsylvania, native also was an early user of computer technology in language study and teaching. He served as chairman of the English department as well as the music department. But he is most often associated with student writing programs, and his students admired his commitment to their becoming effective writers and educators in language and literature. “He was nearing the end of his time with the English department as I was beginning mine,” recalled John Duffy, now head of the University Writing Program, “and I recall his passion for excellence in student writing, his commitment to good teaching and his generosity in helping me, a newcomer to the University, find my way at Notre Dame. He was a gentleman, and he will be missed.”…

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Soundings: The Search for Captain Stapleton '41

By Kerry Temple ’74

Almost 70 years had passed since Captain Charles D. Stapleton was killed in action. The white cross offers very few clues of the life so honored there. Etched into the stone cross is Captain Stapleton’s name and rank and home state. That’s it. But it’s not quite where this story begins.

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What I’m Reading: Games the Irish Play, Dave Brown

By Kerry Temple ’74

At Notre Dame athletics has always been a very big deal. And Games the Irish Play: The History of Non Varsity and Recreational Sport at the University of Notre Dame is a very big book, providing a thorough history of nonvarsity and recreational sports at Notre Dame, from 1842 right up to the present.

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Soundings: Jake's Pages

By Kerry Temple ’74

Jake Page was good for me. He wrote often and well for this magazine, and that writing not only entertained and informed our readers but also set an example for others — like myself — to emulate as writers, essayists, students of the world.

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Editor's note: Neighbors

By Kerry Temple ’74

When I was in journalism school 40 years ago, we learned about those factors that went into making news judgments. One was proximity — the value of the hometown story, of localizing news, giving greater weight to events near at hand, looking into the distance (the war in Vietnam, for instance) only as foreign affairs affected us. We were warned not to focus on problems in distant parts of the world while ignoring stories closer to home.…

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Out of the Office: Scott Russell Sanders

By Kerry Temple ’74

Scott Russell Sanders stands behind the podium in the Hesburgh Center auditorium, a smallish venue, and reads from his latest project, yet unpublished — fictional stories to accompany a series of images by Peter Forbes, a Vermont-based photographer

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Explorer of the universe

By Kerry Temple ’74

Colleagues remember physicist V. Paul Kenney not only for his scientific contributions but also for the leadership, determination and humanity he brought to his research program.

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The book keeper's wish

By Kerry Temple ’74

I have a friend who is much more comfortable with the thought of dying than I am. A few years older, he cares for the elderly, stands watch with them, then ushers them through that eerie portal. He told me recently that death will be a buoyant moment because “all your spiritual guides will be there to welcome you into their company.”

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Editor's note: Gather 'round

By Kerry Temple ’74

They entered the kitchen singly, arriving randomly, while I was getting some coffee at work. A writer, a photographer and a videographer. They had all been to Milk River, Montana, on assignment for this magazine.

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