VOLUME 23 • CHAPTER 1 • January 2023
The first Campionette, the student newsletter, was published 106 years ago, on November 11, 1917. The first editor of the Campionette was Tom O'Connor, class of 1920. The last official issue was the one announcing the closing of the school in May 1975. Over the years, various classes have published special editions for their class reunions, some of which have been pretty extravagant.
The Campion Forever Newsletter was first published by Aaron Huguenard, class of 1947, in 2000 as a means for alumni and faculty to keep in touch and share life experiences.
We've been trying to get memoirs from retired and not-so-retired Campion Jebbies for our newsletter for quite some time. We don't care if the memoirs are about when they went to Campion, taught at Campion, or just what they've done since leaving Campion. We just want to hear something from our mentors in the first person; perhaps words of wisdom learned while IHS; typically, we only get third-person accounts post mortem. Not to lay all the blame on the Jebbies, but why can't we get memoirs from more alumni, or what they've done since leaving Campion? Where are all those other authors and editors of the old 'ette"?
While it has been a task getting people to submit articles, there are a few dedicated alumni and Jebbies who do regularly provide ideas for articles. This is a good thing; otherwise, I would have to conjure the 'Ghost of Joe Campion' for ideas more than I care to.
Tom Olson '72
From Karl Kiser, S.J. Provincial
From Ghost of Joe Campion
Cheers to the New Year - Click the Pic
From Louis Chiara '65
My Time in Alaska - 1972
I can not resist the chance to spin stories based on this weather: Back in 1972, my first year as a teacher in Fairbanks, AK, when I was 25 years old, there was a two week stretch during which the warmest it got on the thermometer was a minus 50. Everything in Fairbanks looked surreal. Darkness and ice fog obscuring your visibility to just feet in front of your car. Halos surrounding street lights. The only living things visible were the ravens, slowly hovering and sitting on the light poles. And if you were out in the woods or higher up on a mountain, it was clear and very still' but sounds were magnified: a twig breaking sounded louder than ever before. And nothing seemed to fit. Your car doors would not totally close due to different ratios of contraction of the metal of the door and the door jam. Tires flat on the bottom with a bump, bump, bump during the first several yards that you drove, if you were lucky to get your car started in the event that the head bolt heater had become unplugged or the electricity was out. And you needed a battery warmer too. I had to put moving blankets over the windshield and hood, cardboard between the radiator and the grill, and tin foil in front of the grill. And almost impossible to scrape ice off the windshield--more like concrete than ice. And the seats in the car were stiff and made your butt cold. But good if you were trying to take off in a small plane due to the increased density of the air. And of course I had to check out the Jack London short story facts from To Build a Fire---remember reading that one in high school? No, your spit did not snap when it hit the air. But water became ice on contact when poured into a metal bucket, and it became vapor that never made it to the ground when thrown out a second story window. And if you went to a store, you left your car running or returned every twenty minutes or so to restart it or risked not being able to restart it. And you had better have the right clothes or you risked freezing if you could not find shelter if your car failed. I had an Alaskan North Slope parka with a wolf ruff that would prevent the vapor from my breath from crystallizing on my face. I wore a snow mobile suit and lots of long underwear under the parka and special military grade boots that looked like Bozo the Clown boots. Once I had to walk a few miles when my car would not start. When I got to my teaching job my beard had ice sickles hanging from it.
But what a great adventure it seemed at first, until after months of winter I found myself with a case of cabin fever. Maybe due to the lack of sunlight? In January we only had about three and a half hours of true sunlight. My teaching classroom was in the middle of the building. So I would arrive in the dark and leave in the dark (and ice fog) five days per week. And, of course, on the weekends I was up most of the night raising hell with my friends in the bars, so that I slept through those precious sunlight hours which meant a month at a time without seeing the sun. But what great fun I had with my buddies. Great camaraderie, in part because it was next to impossible to find female companionship due to a lack of women during that pre pipeline era on the last frontier. When I first arrived in Fairbanks I was aghast to see so many rough looking single women, but after the long winter they no longer looked so bad. I almost got used to approaching women in the local nightclub to ask them to dance and having them laugh in my face. They thought they were movie starlets because guys outnumbered women by some enormous ratio. That nightclub was named The Steak Pit, but locals called it The Snake Pit. It was said that when you married a local woman, you had waited in line for your turn--if they got divorced, they could snag another guy almost immediately if they were even slightly attractive. My buddy, Ron, coined the term "dusty" when referring to these women, evoking an image from an old wild West movie-- a woman emerging from a stage coach with dust billowing from her clothes. But after a long winter and then a summer in which I lived outdoors sleeping mostly in tents, helping friends commercial salmon fishing off Kodiak Island, canoeing in Interior Alaska for days at a time, and trekking for weeks in the Brooks Mountains above the Arctic Circle, I must have looked a bit dusty myself.
One winter I lived with a couple of guys in a big log house and it was my job to get girls over. So I would think up excuses to throw parties. One time we spotted an ad in the local newspaper listed under "good things to eat" submitted by a local trapper who was selling skinned beaver carcasses. Despite the fact that he had promised them to a dog musher who intended to feed them to his dogs, we were able to convince him to sell us two. That was the basis for our wild game dinner party. We also had a small quantity of other meat like wild ducks and perhaps moose or caribou that friends donated. But the main dish was beaver stew which had a pungent urine-like odor but tasted good. Something like forty people showed up despite the fact that it was forty below that night, and it went so well that a few weeks later we threw another party using the second beaver carcass.
But if you were a dog musher you savored that weather. My good buddy, an Iditarod musher, considered the summer as basically his time to prepare for mushing. Once I called his place when it was more than 40 below and the guy taking care of his dogs told me many of the dogs were lounging on the ground outside their dog houses. My friend had left town to go somewhere warm. That somewhere was a place called Big Lake where it was only 20 below! He ran his dogs in that kind of weather as do the mushers in the Iditarod and the more challenging Yukon Quest race.
I predict my friends in Alaska will laugh at this because that kind of weather is no big deal to them. Some of them have known winters during which the official temperature on the thermometer plunged to 70 below.
From the Desk Of John Duskey '63
On Monday, November 28, I underwent a quadruple coronary heart bypass operation at Rush Medical Center in Chicago. During October there had been several tests that showed the need for this operation (Electrocardiogram, Echocardiogram, Angiogram) even though I felt ok and, in my own mind, had no need for such an extensive operation.
Early that Monday morning, my brother Jim ('72, FR-only) drove me to the hospital and we made it to the registration desk before the scheduled 5:30 a.m. time. Without delay, I was taken to a small room, actually an alcove, as it was bounded by three walls and a curtain. I waited there but before I could remember much else, I was asleep. But the real story was in my recovery.
The next thing I knew, I was in a room that looked similar, but with some differences: the clock was on a different wall and my bed was facing a different direction. I quickly noticed that it was a room, not an alcove, as it had a large door on one wall. It was already late afternoon as I started to assess my new environment. I was told that I was in an intensive care room on the 11th floor, which was to be my home for the next four days.
What I had was an eight inch long incision, centered, going down from just below my neck. I also had two "chest tubes" inserted, about two inches further down, each of which required some skin to be cut away. The tubes were about 5/8" in outside diameter; their purpose was to drain fluid from the space where the surgery had taken place. After three days, one of the tubes was removed; the other tube was removed after six days. All the while these tubes were in place, the nurse had to measure the output and empty the drainage tanks.
All the while there was continuous monitoring of my blood pressure and EKG, and a schedule of medications that were to be provided to me. I was continually asked to rate my pain level, on a scale of one to ten. The number was sufficiently high that I never did fall asleep Monday night. There was one nurse, whose name was Dan, assigned to me. He was attentive to my every need and helped me make it through the first twelve hours after the surgery. I found out that he was a graduate of Gordon Tech High School, a Catholic/Resurrectionist school where I had taught during the 1995-96 school year.
At Gordon Tech I taught Drafting, Metals Shop, Electricity, and the advanced course in Electronics. There were two other teachers in the Technology department, who taught Drafting, Automotive and Wood Shop classes. Gordon Tech started the school year with about 1100 students, but by the end of the year, enrollment had decreased to 900. The school had a strict discipline program, which accounted for some of the decreased enrollment. At the end of the year, I told the administration that continuation of the Metals Shop program should depend on a substantial investment in some new equipment.
They chose to discontinue the program. I was not disappointed in this; I had a better opportunity to teach in the Chicago Public School system.
For the next ten years, enrollment at Gordon Tech continued to decrease. The Archdiocese of Chicago had asked the Vincentians at DePaul University to assist the priests and brothers of the Congregation of the Resurrection in running the school. The religious sponsorship of the school transferred from the Resurrectionists to the Vincentians in September 2019. The former Gordon Tech campus became the new campus of DePaul College Prep as the 2020-2021 school year began. As I understand it, graduates of Gordon Tech do not identify with DePaul College Prep.
The Resurrectionists had previously closed Archbishop Weber High School in Chicago; the order has seen a noticeable decrease in membership over the years.
The whole conversation about Gordon Tech got my mind off the residual effects of my operation. Dan continued to record my vital signs, measure my fluid output, and administer my medications throughout this time.
I remained in the intensive care unit through Tuesday and Wednesday and was moved to a regular room on the 12th floor on Thursday. Nurses got me out of bed to get some exercise walking which necessitated hanging the receptacles on my walker. A nurse or therapist had to carry some other equipment and walk with me, even if just for a trip to the scale (I was weighed daily) or to sit down in the chair in my room. I had a visit from my brother Jim or my sister Kathy almost every day. A group of doctors would visit briefly, every day. When the second drainage tube was removed on Sunday morning, December 4, it was clear that I would be able to leave the hospital in another day or two.
My brother drove me home on Tuesday, December 6, and since than I have been under the care of a home-health group. I did not require Occupational Therapy, and needed Physical Therapy only for the first three weeks. My nursing visits will continue for another month.
Before I went to the hospital, I had two friends who told me they had bypass surgery and it was "no big deal." However, those experiences were twenty years ago. I should have expected my hospital stay would be at least a week. For now, they tell me I am recovering well, but I am not recovering as quickly as my friends did; they had the operation when they were in their fifties.
I am happy to be at home, where I can work on my computer, fix my own meals, and have groceries delivered. Someday soon they will let me drive a car. Looking back on the experience, I have to say that the nurses at Rush were excellent, as were the staffing and organizational systems at the hospital. It was also interesting to catch up on the situation that resulted in the closing of Gordon Tech. The Resurrectionists (who suffered from a lack of vocations) had been running that school with very few priests and brothers for several years. Keeping strict discipline tended to reduce their enrollment, and a high school with less than two hundred students is just as likely to close whether it is in Chicago or Prairie du Chien.
From the Desk Of Brian Paulson, S.J.
1970's All Class Reunion
Meanwhile, thank you for your devotion to keeping the Campion spirit alive among the alumni community and for the Jesuits like me who knew and loved Campion.
All Class 70's Reunion - June 9-11, 2023 at Chicago
[EDIT POSTSCRIPT:] Updated to be all inclusive.
2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, All known by class.
Faculty who have passed: