Editor’s note: Of the 1,249 men in the Notre Dame Class of 1958, who are now at or approaching the age of 80, almost two-thirds are alive. Jack Barthel ’58 solicited reflections from the surviving members and received contributions from 90 of them. On each of the five Fridays in July, this magazine is presenting excerpts from the book he put together: Echoes of ’58: Recollections of the Notre Dame class of 1958.
In our senior year, a rule was passed that required coats and ties be worn for dinner. The rule failed to mention the shirt, so many showed up with a tie and no shirt, a tie on a sweatshirt and other variations. Each man had a meal tie, worn every night for a year; outlandish and ugly, and proudly stained with mustard, catsup, gravy and other remainders of meals. The rule lasted only that year.
As a sophomore, I lived in Lyons, whose neo-Tudor construction created several dead spaces within the residence, which, one day, my roommate and I discovered behind the wardrobes that served as closets. I also remember that when the Christmas break was about to begin, some of the men were becoming concerned about the empty beer and whiskey bottles that were the residue of their rule-breaking pleasures.
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Among the other things that Notre Dame did to a number of us was to create a low level of chronic anxiety, and these guys could see their maids discovering the bottles while they were off for the holidays, turning their names in to the Rector and thus ending their Notre Dame careers even as they celebrated the birth of Christ. Life, after all, is full of ironies as well as anxiety. So, my roommate and I made our room available, and after lights-out we received some night visitors (not Amahl). My guess is that the evidence remains of the alcohol consumption are still buried within one of the gables of Lyons Hall and that Notre Dame is none the worse for my hall mates having escaped punishment for their transgressions.
Echoes of ’58, edited by Jack Barthel’58, is available as a paperback or ebook through lulu.com. It also can be found at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Net proceeds from sales of the book are being donated to Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns, founded by Father Don McNeill, CSC, ’58.