I'm going to take you to a special place
by BeijingIrish (2005-11-09 01:07:26)
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  In reply to: The broken link: What has ND's football tradition meant to you?  posted by Board Ops

My grandfather never knew his father. Big Jim Donovan from County Cork was a track-layer for the Union Pacific RR. He stayed at Mrs. Hoch's boarding house in Kansas City, Missouri, for a few weeks (months?). Eventually, he moved on as the railroad itself moved on, but he left my great grandmother with a token of his affection, James Adam Donovan.

Little Jimmy grew up dirt poor, but he was smart, and he could run. He won a track scholarship to the University of Chicago, and, as a parting gift, the good citizens of his hometown presented him with his first pair of shoes. After college, he worked for Mr. Wrigley in the old Boulevard National Bank. It was the only job he ever had. He was a decent and kind man, much beloved by his family, friends, and business associates.

One summer in the mid-1950's, I was visiting my grandparents. They lived in Winnetka in those days. At dinner, Boo-Poo, as we called him, announced that we were going for an all-day drive the next day. "I'm going to take you to a special place". My grandmother busied herself after dinner preparing a picnic basket for the trip.

The next day, we left at the crack of dawn. The drive to South Bend took forever. I took forever just to get out of Chicago. But, by mid-morning we were cruising across the Indiana prairie. At some point, something shiny and bright appeared on the horizon. Soon, the Golden Dome took shape, and, before long, we were wandering around the leafy campus. It was hot as hell, but Boo-Poo wore a suit and a hat. At one point, I noticed that my grandfather had his hankie out and was wiping away tears. I was curious and a little frightened, but Moo-Moo didn't appear to be concerned. Finally, we stood in front of the Stadium, and Boo-Poo said, tears running down his face, "All my life I've wanted to visit this place".

The trip home was long and hot, and we got back to the North Shore well after dark. I went straight off to bed, but I didn't fall asleep right away. I lay awake wondering what had made Boo-Poo cry. I knew something significant had happened, but I wasn't sure what.

Years later, my mom told me that her father prayed every day that I would go to Notre Dame. I think this helped--I was a sort of juvenile delinquent cum jock in high school, and, to this day, I don't understand how or why I was admitted. But my grandfather lived a long life and there were many prayers. Thank you, Boo-Poo.


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