Kerry Temple, '74 | Summer 2017
Every year — along about commencement season — the Notre Dame lakefronts become toddler playgrounds for fuzzy little ducks and geese. Waddling in the grass, stumbling and scooting to keep up, trailing mothers single file, they eventually skim the placid waters like little bathtub toys.
And every year I think back to 1974. It was dawn. I had been up all night. Senior week with friends and we had concluded the evening with a trip to Fat Shirley’s and — by now somehow carless — walked back to campus from that distant, frontier greasy spoon. We arrived on the shores of Saint Mary’s Lake just as light peered into the day, greeted by a regatta of paddleboat ducklings in the fresh morning sun.
I remember thinking then of the cycles of time and season and renewal, and how new and future generations — human and fowl — take their turns here.
It wasn’t that long ago.
It seems like a few months ago that I was back here writing about Notre Dame, trumpeting its research aspirations and extolling its Catholic nature, when I had this eureka moment during a talk with professor and University historian Thomas Schlereth ’63. “They pull in opposite directions,” I blurted out, as if the original discoverer, with Schlereth patiently explaining this had always been the case. The tug-of-war goes back at least to Morrissey and Zahm early in the 20th century, with evidence that such tensions between intellectual pursuits and Catholic character existed even deeper into Notre Dame’s past. And should persist in healthy equilibrium.