Here and there

By Kerry Temple ’74

Dark storm clouds stretch across the distant horizon to the north. I can see them out my fifth-floor window in Grace Hall. They look like distant mountains. I wish they were.

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Echoes: Sophomore Literary Festival

By Kerry Temple ’74

Here is my Sophomore Literary Festival moment. I am in the old Pay Caf, also known years ago as the Oak Room in the South Dining Hall. I am having coffee with Barry Lopez and Edward Abbey. They are two lions of 20th century American nature writing.

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Life and death

By Kerry Temple ’74

One of America’s most prolific and popular writers once said, “Reading without thinking is nothing. For a book is less important for what it says than what it makes you think.”

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Another email: Reports from Haiti

By Kerry Temple ’74

The first call was a phone message left during the weekend after the Jan. 12 earthquake fractured Haiti. It came from Ann Kloos. Her brother John, a 1974 Notre Dame graduate, had lost his son Ryan in the quake

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Divining Rod

By Kerry Temple ’74

A few decades ago, when I began reading seriously about our search for the divine in nature, I ran across a quote from John Stewart Collis in The Triumph of the Tree

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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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