A Father Hesburgh memory
by Atticus (2015-02-27 19:30:02)

In reply to: Fr. Hesburgh, RIP  posted by cousin eddie

RIP, Father Ted, your rest is well-deserved.

sophomore year, the year of football greatness and victory in New Orleans was also the year of academic mayhem for my roommate and me. We were two kids from New York City, working class types amidst what we perceived to be an alienating suburban wealth. But we were young and the chip on the shoulders was more of our own making than that of our classmates. We were both mathematically precocious and spent more time using ND's ancient telescope on top of Nieuwland than studying. Certainly more time than attending classes. Classes? Who needs stinking classes? We were going to save the world with George McGovern and kick USC in the ass on the way to the championship.

We decided the school needed a new telescope, not one donated by Napoleon III.

The joke at the time on campus was told affectionately. What's the difference between God and Father Ted? Easy. God is everywhere while Fr. Ted is everywhere but Notre Dame. When we saw the light on in his office we decided to act. We walked over to the Golden Dome and went in. All doors were open in those days. We made our way to the inner sanctum and unbelieveably Fr. Ted answered the knock on his door. He was very gracious, in his stocking feet and asked us to sit down. We explained our quest. He listened to us thoughtfully, asked about our homes and then brought out a huge checkbook. (Neither of us had ever seen a ledger checkbook before.) he proceeded to write us a University check for $10,000.00 (It might have been $5,000.00, but memory serves an Irishman as a corporal not a captain.)

His parting words were, "boys, report back to me at the end of the semester on what you bought."

It was an early lesson in practical politics because as soon as our rector, Fr. Schilts (RIP) heard of our escapade he was angry. He was also a physics professor and rightly had little regard for us and our hijinks. He immediately went out and bought new telescopes on department money. Our money was unspent, except for dips into it for Farley pizza sales on occasion (who knew of fiduciary duties then?)

At the end of the semester someone told us that Fr. Hesburgh and Father Joyce were having dinner at the Morris Inn. We took a check from the Astronomy Club we 'founded' and marched over there to present it to him. It was for the entire amount given us, our borrowings were made good. We also brought him a bottle of great wine that was in our room, courtesy of a buddy from the South Side of Chicago who happened to 'find' rare Montrachets lying around the wine warehouse where he worked when home.

The good fathers were very pleased for both receipts. I suppose we'll have to pay some time on that seven story mountain for that bottle of great wine, but I'm sure Fr. Ted will be up there rooting us on to eventual glory.

RIP, Father. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.