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Holy Cross Magazine welcomes letters regarding the magazine's content. Letters intended for publication must be signed and may be edited for style, length and clarity. Opinions expressed in the letters section do not necessarily reflect the views of the administration or the editorial staff.

Holy Cross Magazine Winter/Spring 2005

Influential Teachers

The magazine is simply first-rate. The recent article on teachers who influenced lives was especially poignant.  I knew Bill Grattan and considered him a wonderful teacher. His sonorous voice and calm manner were most appreciated, and memories of them continue to recur. As a member of the class of 1955, I well remember Frs. Haran and Facey, William H. McCann, Frs. McNally and King, as well as other fine teachers. It might be interesting to fish around among alumni and resurrect the "living memories" of professors either no longer teaching or deceased.

Gordon A. Cronin '55
Northampton, Mass.

***

I especially enjoyed the essay on Professor William Grattan in the summer issue. It struck an emotional chord deep within me. Whatever might be said in praise of him as a teacher, even more could be said in a positive vein of his personal qualities as a human being. I always thought of him as a model of faith.

While I may not always have met his high expectations as a scholar, I can honestly say that I always aspired to them. And to the extent that I may have done anything consistent with his personal qualities, that would be the highest honor I could attain in my life. But isn't that what great teachers are supposed to inspire in their students? Among those personal qualities, first and foremost, is the cardinal, Christian tenet of redemption.

Richard T. Sponzo '68
Cromwell, Conn.

***

After reading with both enjoyment and pride the issue profiling the "teacher who changed my life," I decided to write this brief note about Fr. Hart, whom I think of often and who certainly influenced me more than any other teacher during my time at Holy Cross. He was a teacher in the most profound way—like a good parent whose love is manifested in deeds even more than words. Fr. Hart served and edified. He practiced charity in the largest of "classrooms"—the campus of Holy Cross—and to the entire student body. During my years, Fr. Hart was, at least for me, the most important teacher on campus.

William E. Russell '53
Worcester, Mass.

***

A Plea from Dartmouth

I'm writing this on the off chance that one of you knows what happened to my award-winning pledge paddle from Sigma Nu, Dartmouth College. Back in 1957, as a pledge at this fraternity, I carved a pledge paddle with a snake coiled around the handle and a white star on one side. It won the award for our pledge class and was on exhibit in our downstairs bar room. During this period the Holy Cross basketball team visited our house after a game at the invite of one of our brothers. When they left, the paddle was nowhere to be found.  If one of these hoopsters took this paddle, I now offer an opportunity to clear your conscience after almost 50 years.

George W. Potts (Dartmouth '60)
Natick, Mass.

(The editor has volunteered to serve as a "go-between" for Mr. Potts. Any alumni with information regarding the allegedly pilfered paddle may contact HCM without fear of reprisal.)

***
From Fitton Field to the Big Show

The Holy Cross Magazine continues to set high marks for excellence. I especially enjoyed the articles in the summer issue on the College's baseball history and players who went on to the major leagues.

However, I was disappointed to note the omission of one name from the story—that of Holy Cross Hall of Famer and three-sport varsity athlete, Harold "Chick" Gagnon '22. Chick excelled in football, baseball and—despite his small size—basketball. Unfortunately, during a football game against Syracuse in his senior year, Chick was hit by an offside tackle that damaged his knee, and the injury bothered him for years afterward. Despite his injury, Chick went into the major leagues right after graduation—as did the entire infield in that graduating class!

Chick played first for the Detroit Tigers under coach Ty Cobb, and was later loaned to Rochester in the triple-A league to help them in their quest for a league title. He ended his career with the Washington Senators, where he played with the great Walter Johnson. His old knee injury—which, with today's modern medicine, would easily be correctable—worsened, forcing him into retirement.

In an interesting sidelight, my classmate and close friend, Harold "Chick" Gagnon Jr., played baseball for Holy Cross 30 years after his father, under the legendary coach Jack Barry. Between his second and third years, Chick Jr. had a tryout with the St. Louis Cardinals and was offered a contract—which was quickly refused by his Dad, who insisted that Chick Jr. finish college. Unfortunately, shortly afterward, Chick Jr. severely injured his right shoulder in an accident and ended his hopes for a major league career. Chick Jr. lives in Vernon, Conn., and would appreciate hearing from his old friends from Holy Cross.

Ed Riordan '52
Vernon, Conn.

***

Give Another Hoya!

In 1945-46, my family lived in Cos Cob, Conn. My Dad, John F. McQueeny '18, had a floor-model RCA radio and loved to listen to baseball and football games (not surprising since he'd been the former sports editor of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette).

John Gearan's column on Bob Conway '49 and the Orange Bowl game (fall '05) got me to harken back to that crisp day on  Jan. 1, 1946, when Dad sat in his favorite chair, and I kept my good ear close to the radio speaker like the faithful RCA logo dog. If memory serves, you wouldn't have called this game a "thriller"—until the last play, that is.

"Oh," cried Dad, "What a bonehead call. DeFilippo should never have thrown a ball like that!"

Well, the rest of the story we know. I believe the head referee allowed the joyful Miami team to add on the unnecessary extra point, which made the final score 13 to 6. Dad kept calling it a "flat pass"—a very high risk pass that went on and on.

Then he received a phone call from his friend, Paul Mahoney, a B.C. grad. Paul called Dad twice, in fact, to tweak him about the loss. The second time, Dad slammed the receiver down.

Nine years later, in 1954, in O'Kane 484, I listened with Bill Gilhuly to my desk model Emerson radio. Holy Cross had returned to Miami to play the Hurricanes in a regular season game. The touts had installed Miami as a four-touchdown favorite over mismatched Holy Cross. Sure enough, Miami jumped out to a 20 to nothing lead at the half. It would become a total rout—or so the Hurricanes thought in the locker room at halftime.

Was it Smithers or Roberts who connected with long bombs? I think it was Roberts—and he led us back in the third and fourth quarters. We tied Miami 20 to 20. But, as the fates would have it, we missed out on that one last golden opportunity, and Miami regained just enough momentum to win in the final minutes, 26 to 20.

I enjoyed Gearan's account of the Bowl game. It put a different spin on what really happened on Jan. 1, 1946. But I'm left wondering—will Holy Cross ever get back to another "bowl game"?

John M. McQueeny '58
Garden City, N.Y.

 

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