Web Extra: More letters to the editor

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“The Good Book” a good thing

The Spring 2001 issue contained an article by Richard Shannon 1974 titled The Good Book. It was almost too good to be true and too good not to be true. The article was enlightening and encouraging in a time when the scoffers have seemed to have gained ascendancy. Throughout the years the magazine continues to get better. The Good Book stands as one of the best.

Keep up the good work.

-Terence M. Garvey, ’49
Petaluma, CA

Miss Saltus needed help

First, I think you all do a great job finding interesting articles and stories. I especially like your use of a theme for every issue. Keep up the good work!

Second, I’m writing about a short story by Sean Vernon called “Driving Miss Saltus” that came out in the Winter 2000-01 issue. Due to law school exams, I was not able to read the issue until the spring issue was already out. I’m glad I waited however, because the story made me a bit irritated.

My impression of the story was that it was Sean’s own unique twist on the theme that when we help others it is really ourselves who are affected. I’ll admit right not that I’m biased towards that theme because it seems to be trying to give us a reason to be selfless, which of course nullifies any possibility of true “selflessness.”

Yet, this story bothered me for another reason. Here was an old woman, apparently incapable of doing anything on her own — including caring for herself. She is forced to hire high-schoolers to drive her around and essentially to be her only human contact. This is where Sean misses his first clue. In “Driving Miss Daisy,” the old lady’s most distinctive features were loneliness and pride. Sean fails to recognize these two qualities in Miss Saltus when he takes the job. Should they not have been obvious from her hair-dye and outrageous make-up? Or even from the mere fact that she had to ask and pay perfect strangers for help?

OK, I’ll finally get down to what made me write this letter instead of going to sleep — why doesn’t Sean help her clean up her house? Why does he seem to think he’s done this lady a favor by taking her money and being civil to her? That’s his job! To really go over and above, to really be worthy of printing in your magazine, Sean should have gotten there early one morning and quietly started cleaning the kitchen. He should not have said a thing to her about it but worked on it a little each day. The worst that could happen is that she tell him to stop.

Would you want your grandmother to reek of urine? To be infested by rats? Better question yet: would you want to live that way? He might have had a chance to really make her life more bearable, and he blew it! He failed to see that she was just like him, only older, lonelier and entirely at his mercy.

If I were Miss Saltus (and it is very possible that I will be ), I’d probably have drunk scotch too! My only hope is that when I’m old and if I enough money left for a driver that I get someone a bit more perceptive and a tad less self-involved than Sean.

I still hope for the best though. I hope that either Sean was immature and later recognized that he could have done more, or I hope Sean just did not tell us the whole story and that he did clean up for Miss Saltus. I hope she died with some of her dignity left and that her sparrow’s fall had a soft landing. I also hope that as Miss Saltus’ Hamlet quotation said, I may be ready for the fall of this sparrow for it will come.

-Marina Lamps ’99
Grand Rapids, MI

Northeast neighborhood

I was interested, as an alumna and R.N., to see that ND is again attempting to revitalize its neighborhood. The problem in South Bend is that the east side (divided from the west by the Saint Joseph River) is at war with the west side.

Get the Catholic Worker board and Indian Health Center board representing the enormous Spanish population of the west side and open a free dental clinic and minor sports center on the west side. As long as you present Notre Dame as an upscale environment (even with a ring of faculty guarding it) you are throwing away your money.

Eddy Street had what it needed: Goodwill and an Aldi’s. I suggest you do all your future building in the so-called ghetto. Drug dealing is worse than ever and carries the additional threat of AIDs infection in it. Indiana’s school of N.D./Indiana U. medical school should be over in the AIDs liable west and southwest side. Even the St. Vincent de Paul has entirely left the area.

Nobody knows that the Holy Cross take a vow of poverty. Here’s your chance to outclass the Jesuits who exist everywhere in the inner city. Take after Jane Addams — build in the true ghetto.

-Pat Fenelon, R.N. PhD, ’81

P.S. South Bend roadway couldn’t be more of a disaster, snapping traffic faster to and from football games. If taking down the 300-year- old trees on campus wasn’t bad enough, this roadway is destroying the LAST hometown-walkable street around the school.

More Firsts

Thank you for your tandem articles on two “firsts” for the University: Brooke Norton as Student Body President and Tambre Paster as Drum Major (Spring, 2001).

In the spirit of “firsts,” I had the distinct honor of being one of many serving the University with the first African American Student Body President, elected in the Spring of 1970. David Krashna was, and is, first, a strong and visionary leader and, second, a man who was elected by a wide margin to serve the University for the 1970-71 academic year. David’s election and subsequent tenure were a clear sign of all that is great about Notre Dame.

-Philip R. McKenna ’70
Chicago, IL

I was somewhat amused to note we have our first woman student body president. Simultaneously, I received an announcement from the first woman to chair our Denver Association Annual Universal N.D. banquet.

Then my “President’s Letter” noted Marylou Eldred was the first laywoman president of Saint Mary’s College, and was to receive an honorary degree at our commencement.
Also, Princeton has its first woman president.

I wonder if Father Ted envisioned these developments when he was a member of the first Equal Rights Commission. I have a hunch he did because, at my 50th annual reunion luncheon, he stated he looked forward to ND having women compose 50 percent of the student body. Some of my “old-fashioned” classmates groaned.

How long will it be before we have a woman president of ND and the country?

-Al Torribio ’36
Greeley, CO

P.S. It occurred to me to write my enclosed letter, my first in all these years! However, in the meantime, I wish to congratulate you on your excellent publication. I invariably read every piece. In fact, because of its pertinency, I have “sold” two friends on becoming subscribers.

Shortly after my May letter commenting on the success of our ND women students and alumnae, I received the latest issue of my Monogram newsletter, which gave a detailed account of our women, Irish hoopsters winning the NCAA National Championship.

None of our men’s teams ever accomplished this!

-Al Torribio, ’36
Greeley, CO

Physics fun

In your Notre Dame Magazine for Spring 2001 on page 72, I was pleased to see Paul Wack’s report on our graduate physics program back in the early 1940s. He has covered the bases very well, but I would like to add a little to his report. I came to ND in the fall of 1940 along with John Burgess, Charles Gallagher and Walt Miller. The four of us were given a big room as our office (known as the nursery) with our four desks. The four of us soon found out that we all liked to sing. Not only that but we covered the four parts for a men’s quartet. So in our spare time and to relax we worked up some barbershop quartet pieces. We weren’t bad if I say so myself and we sang at various social functions. This was great fun until our group broke up to work on different programs related to the war effort. Many thanks to Paul for reminding us of those interesting times.

-Leonard Dart ’43MS, ’46PhD
Claremont, CA

ND and the Military

It was with special interest that I read your Spring 2001 cover feature articles regarding the role of Notre Dame and the U.S. military. Seven years ago, my son, Michael, was accepted as Notre Dame, but because he could not afford the then $24,000 per year costs, he opted to accept a scholarship to The Citadel. Interestingly, The Citadel was founded the same year as Notre Dame, 1842, and although a southern public institution, today, almost a third of The Citadel’s students are Catholic. He graduated with honors in history and with several academic and military honors including Distinguished Military Scholar and the George C. Marshall Army ROTC Award for outstanding character and leadership in the tradition of the citizen soldier.

Upon returning home, he was chided by his high school friends for his chosen profession. He replied that service as a military officer was as honorable as any other profession and perhaps more so than many. He reminded them that the words of a Roman Centurion, “lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my servant shall be healed,” have been paraphrased and repeated thousands of times daily for centuries at the Communion of every Mass. Michael sees himself as a defended of the United States and of those who can not defend themselves.

Now a Ranger Captain, Michael will shortly depart for Bosnia, where he will probably experience the same frustration that his great-grandfather did as a member of the Austro-Hungarian Army over a hundred years ago and that of Lt. Jason Schroeder ’93 of The Fight Watchman.

The vast majority of American military officers are the products of civilian college ROTC programs and if they fail to be men and women of competence and character, then our colleges and universities, which reflect our American values, have failed.

-John G. Adorjan, ’68MA
Pickerington, OH

“Onward, Christian Soldier” and “God, Country & Notre Dame” are atavisms worthy of “Did that!” When the people back home are not worth dying for, you have to be a fool to place yourself and loved ones in jeopardy. Being part of a “home guard” is one thing. Going outside the continental United States is another.

Church and State separation needs implementation equally by no God on State grounds balanced by no State on Church grounds…no flags, no pledges, no draft, no State songs, no recruiters, no military chaplains, no military service, no martial music, no ROTCs, no “Uncle Sams”, no eagles, no nationalism, no military movies (except The Execution of Private Eddie Slovak), no voting machines, no politicians, no State propaganda of any stripe including no maudlin State hoopla before football and other events. It all is against the First Amendment for sure. “Separation” works both ways or not at all!

What America has become is no longer worth defending until a long list of abortionists (any one for abortion is an abortionist), liberals and press & media families are already on casualty lists. Check out those who run this country and have not served but have made traditional conservative people to be aliens in our own country. Military service and service to the State is now idolatry. My three years in the submarines was the dumbest damn thing I ever did. And Notre Dame did me and others wrong by instilling this wrongheaded “patriotism” in us. Fake “patriotism” like draft dodger President Psychopath did but keep yourselves and loved ones out of the military until the “antis” get theirs.

-Samuel A. Nigro, M.D. ’58
Cleveland, OH

I wish to compliment the Spring 2001 edition. All of it. I was in the Naval ROTC at ND. Graduated in 1945, when WWII was over.

I was assigned to a CVE Carrier on the West Coast. We made a number of trips in the Pacific. Including the Philippines, etc., bringing troops home. We had bunks on the hanger deck, 5 high.

-Henry B. Payne, ’45
Owenboro, KY