Me and them

By Kerry Temple ’74

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is one of my all-time favorite movies. Like two of my all-time favorite books, The Catcher in the Rye and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the movie is essentially the story of the individual versus society — a favorite theme of mine.

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Defining moment

By Kerry Temple ’74

In 1970, a few weeks before I enrolled as a freshman at Notre Dame, a group of us Louisiana high school friends chipped in on a rudimentary beach house in Gulf Shores, Alabama. For two weeks we reveled in a celebration of one of life’s most consequential passages.

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A new president, a new day

By Kerry Temple ’74

I came to work at Notre Dame 28 years ago because I believed in the place. I’d had a great undergraduate experience, but it was a document written a few years later by Father Ted Hesburgh, CSC, that got me to commit to a career in South Bend, Indiana.

The statement set the University into its historical context and acknowledged the continuity of institutional life as it had evolved from the vision of its founder, Rev. Edward F. Sorin, CSC

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Letter from Campus: Autumn Rituals

By Kerry Temple ’74

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The USC football team came to South Bend in October to play the Fighting Irish, and 45,000 fans showed up in Notre Dame Stadium for . . . the Friday night pep rally.

Any doubt that the new coach had had a seismic impact on the sweeping cultural phenomenon that is Notre Dame football was dispelled that electric evening. Those who saw the next day’s game were treated to one of college football’s most dramatic climaxes in recent memory—and further evidence that something special was taking place this fall. Notre Dame football was back. And for a school that derives much of its identity from the fortunes of its football team, it’s been a grand revival indeed.…

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Hometown: The Heart and Soul of Our Beginnings

By Kerry Temple ’74

We came from Dallas and Dubuque, Joliet, Bennington, Shreveport and Grand Rapids. Alton, Illinois, and Warren, Ohio. Pittsburgh and Saint Louis and Walla Walla, Washington. These were our hometowns—and the answer to that question asked of all who come to Notre Dame: “Where ya from?”

Some of us had outgrown those places; some of us couldn’t wait to get out of town. We all were filled with the hopes and horizons promised by a new life at Notre Dame. We had left childhood behind. We stood at the threshold of tomorrow, the launch toward dreams, the beginning of the rest of our lives. It didn’t take long for those cities and towns to feel very far away, dropping into the past like booster rockets falling back to Earth—no longer needed—as the spacecraft sails splendidly toward outer space.…

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Editor's Note: Looking Back

By Kerry Temple ’74

One of the storyteller’s tasks is to know where to begin. It can get complicated sometimes because there are no clear lines of demarcation in life. There’s no set boundary between now and then. We carry the past around with us. Every starting point derives from what came before.

It’s also complicated because each of us is a mixture of ingredients—from our genetic inheritance to memories still fresh in our minds, from the cognitive circuitry of the cerebral cortex to the layers of invisible forces that drive behaviors, guide decisions, touch our souls, make us who we are. And as we try to figure out just who we are, we realize how much of our makeup comes from outside of us. Our parents, our upbringing. The neighborhood we grew up in, the teachers we had, the experiences that affected our lives.…

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Editor's note" Tell us More

By Kerry Temple ’74

Richard Sullivan was one of the giants here. He taught English lit and writing classes, and he wrote a book about Notre Dame that he described as a love story, not a history. Published in 1951, Notre Dame: Reminiscences of an Era is a period piece for sure, but I’ve quoted it often.

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One Night in January

By Kerry Temple ’74

I was one of the last to leave Grace Hall that Friday in January when I stopped in my tracks. Sunlight—shielded so often by South Bend’s wintry, gray cloud cover—bloomed over the evening landscape, bathing buildings and bare trees in a rosy radiance. I lingered and looked and took it all in: the western sky, the soft blush of campus, the quiet pause in the descending day. There are moments in life when clarity blooms, when currents converge or when disparate elements align in a moment that seems providential. This was one of those times.

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A commitment to the neighborhood

By Kerry Temple ’74

A little more than five years ago a single-story, red-brick building that had housed a grocery and a Goodwill store at the “Five Corners” intersection just south of campus was purchased by the University. There were plenty of suitors for the ample space, but the University decided to use the facility to make a commitment to the Northeast Neighborhood, to establish a community center, educational programs and Notre Dame presence in the residential area whose health and well-being are so interwoven with the school’s.

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Can you help?

By Kerry Temple ’74

There are troublemakers among us. They step out of line, go against the grain. They challenge the status quo, do not accept the way things are. They are dissidents, discontents, even malcontents. They do not sit at the back of the bus. They can be instigators, agitators, innovators. Rebels, radicals, revolutionaries, martyrs. They challenge the “group think.” They are a pain in the butt. They make us think. They sit in. They protest and demonstrate and perform outrageous acts for their cause, to get attention, to shake things up. They stare down a tank in the village square. They stand on the lawn of the president’s ranch until they get an explanation. They do not ask why it would be a crazy thing to do—they get in the car and go.…

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Editor's Note: Living globally

By Kerry Temple ’74

It’s always a gamble having too much of any subject in one issue of the magazine. You risk losing those readers who aren’t interested in that topic—especially this one, when readers are apt to tune out stories about the plight of Third World nations. Those countries are far away and practically irrelevant to us. We’ve heard about “the starving children” of Africa or India all our lives. We’ve seen so many images of drought, starvation and disease in Ethiopia, Somalia and Rwanda, Bangladesh, Darfur and Haiti to make us jaded, callous or hopelessly overwhelmed.…

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Hot August Night

By Kerry Temple ’74

So here you are, up on your feet, standing. You do not remember standing. You do not remember the moment you rose from your seat, rose with the thousands of others, clapping, singing, swept into the rhythmic wave of song and chant and arm-waving joy, the guitar-driven music washing over you, lyrics shouted into the nighttime sky. But here you are—with a full moon glowing softly in the hazy summer sky, out over the river, the trees and fields to the west, Indianapolis skyline to your back, sparkling like a giant, jeweled city—and it feels so very good to be here. Better than you thought it would. Better than you had imagined.…

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Red states, blue states, black and white

By Kerry Temple ’74

What’s to be done about the impact of 21st century immigration patterns on the American landscape? What can the United Nations do about keeping peace and averting disasters in today’s world? Why did a couple of Notre Dame professors seek the truth about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and how did they become international experts on the effect of sanctions in policing the world? What does Notre Dame’s Catholic character mean to those who work, study and teach here—even the University’s Islamic community?…

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Letter from campus: Happy 90th, Father Hesburgh

By Kerry Temple ’74

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One afternoon while we were working on this issue the time seemed right to visit Father Hesburgh. It’s only natural to think of the man who presided over the University for 35 years when you’re asking Notre Dame people to write about what they’re doing here. Hesburgh has spent a lifetime answering that question, and his response has been to combat racism, promote peace, serve presidents and popes, spread justice and determinedly push his school into the front rank of higher education. In doing this (and a whole lot more) Hesburgh became one of the nation’s most prominent leaders and an exemplary citizen of the world simply by performing—he will say time and again—his duties as a Catholic priest.…

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Whoa! What Am I Doing Here?

By Kerry Temple ’74

We’ve all had them—those panicky predicaments. You’re stuck and don’t want to be.

I call them “Help, Mister Wizard” moments. No one ever gets the literary allusion. No one seems to know what I mean when I punctuate some personal, cliffhanger narrative with, “It was, you know, one of those ‘Help, Mister Wizard’ moments.” Actually, it is not a literary allusion at all. It refers to a long-gone cartoon that was pretty obscure even in its heyday.…

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Come Holy Spirit

By Kerry Temple ’74

Life at Notre Dame is an invocation. It is a prayer, a petition, a benediction. It is a blessing of grace and community, lives devoted to a higher calling, a sense of the divine threading through the strands of human endeavor here. Notre Dame is a place where God is spoken—and not just as some enigmatic concept but as a real and living force, a participant in daily affairs. Notre Dame can be a sacrament of holy initiative, of sacred creativity, blessed learning and ancient wisdom. It has soul. The spirit is palpable. The expressions of faith are abundant and diverse, commonplace and rare.…

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The State of the University

By Kerry Temple ’74

My first job at Notre Dame was as a development writer for the Campaign for Notre Dame. I started on Halloween 1977. In early 1981, the books closed on this fund-raising effort, with $180 million raised toward the $130 million goal. It was a staggering sum to those of us in development in those days, and a stunning achievement we were all proud of. So I was surprised one day when two department heads came to my office and said, “Now that the campaign is over we have no need for a development writer.”…

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Paying the Price

By Kerry Temple ’74

Congratulations. You got in. Or your son or daughter got in—one of the 1,985 fortunate ones to enroll at Notre Dame from among the 14,430 applicants. That’s a huge accomplishment. Given the competition and the narrow gateway and the impressive profiles of those who made it and those who didn’t, the achievement is pretty awesome.…

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What One Man Started

By Kerry Temple ’74

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In August 1857, when the Very Reverend Basil-Antoine Marie Moreau made his one trip to Notre Dame, he was wracked by the kind of bipolar tussle that defined his life and dogged him all his days.

The man was a contrary vessel of charisma and violent temper, holiness and torment, humility and self-righteousness. He was a priest of vision, kindness, equanimity. He was also a priest of severity, zealotry, imperiousness. During his three-week stay at Notre Dame, amid the swells of great achievement and promise, were swirling—in America and in France—the countercurrents of his demise, the wrestling for power, money and authority that would prompt his displacement from the religious order he had established and lead him toward sainthood.…

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Some thoughts while waiting on the microwave

By Kerry Temple ’74

There are now 35 years’ worth of Notre Dame Magazines stacked on the shelves in the little room where I obsessively reheat my coffee. I often thumb through a back issue while waiting for the microwave to beep. Each edition is a time capsule that resurrects memories of people and stories, that reminds me of the misfires and triumphs, and (I hope) offers evidence of the magazine’s growing sophistication. Excursions into the past also underscore the continuity of this magazine’s place within the University community.…

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