Wednesday, June 25, 2008


1972/summer in Ireland:
In that year, I was eligible for my first SABBATICAL at Colo.StateU. We decided to go to Western Ireland, where expenses would be cheap.(My salary was about $8000 year. We chose the full year at half-salary instead of one semester at full salary.We were crazy, of course.)
I shipped over a duffel-bag full of books, thinking my research materials might not be available in West Ireland.
But a dock-strike in Britain kept them from being delivered till the end of the summer.

Forebearance-Credit goes to my wife Mary;
we took as baggage ALL the gear for the year in several bags, including one trunk. (Most Sabbatical wives insisted on having huge amounts of gear mailed over before they arrived.)

We flew into London, trained to Holyhead in Wales, boarded the ferry to Dublin at midnight, then sat there till it left at 7AM.
The engine-throb was so loud I feared for our hearing. Mary went into a panic at being 5 decks down. She said she feared for the children; but they were sound asleep. I told her that she was undergoing racial memory; her grandparents had come over from Ireland by steerage.

We arrived in Dublin during one of their worst summers; the temperature on 25 June was lower than it had been on Jan.25.

Turned out some friends had been able to line up an economical apartment for us in a suburb of Dublin.It was an hour by bus to downtown Dublin.

Other neighborhood children were still in school. We had no books, no radio, no TV.
Horror. I called in to a radio store and was told they did have a cheap radio for rent. I took the bus into town, only to be told, “yes we have one, but it’s not available today!” I was finally able to buy a used tube-radio for 25 pounds ($50).

We attended Mass at a tiny chapel,now so overcrowded that the men stood outside and read racing forms as they ‘heard’ Mass on a loudspeaker.
(The taverns opened only after Mass.)

Inside Mary got a shock the first week.
When the priest lifted his chalice for his Communion, the church practically emptied.
A fire? No..this was the moment when missing mass went from MORTAL sin to mere venial sin. That was the ‘transubstantiation’ that counted.

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