Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
It was a great pleasure and a personal delight for me to see the inside cover of your latest edition…a skateboarder (Michael Hansen) and his pals doing what they do best, but now right on the USF campus!
How much things have changed since my days on The Hilltop. Back in ’65 I would wager to say I had the only skateboard owned by any student there, but it definitely stayed in my car, certainly not to be used on school property. I did keep my surfboard in my room at Phelan Hall and I distinctly remember being accosted by campus cops one weekend while carrying the board to my car wearing shorts, something against the dress code then.
After graduation I bounced around a bit, USF School of Law for a year, then a secondary education credential, Europe, a few jobs, and then I found myself immersed in the world of publishing by joining up with some friends and founding Thrasher (skateboard) magazine nearly 30 years ago.
After seeing your photo, I finally figured out things have come full circle and that what was once forbidden is now part of a very progressive campus, a wonderful realization for me. However, the big question is, “Did Michael land the kickflip?”
Ed Riggins ’67, Publisher, Thrasher
San Francisco, CA
To the Editor:
I found your recent article titled “In Good Faith” to be most enlightening and interesting, but I was a bit taken aback by the caption of the photo on the title page. It showed a USF senior serving “wine as a Eucharistic minister during USF’s weekly student Mass.” This may be a rather picky point, but our Catholic tradition recognizes the true presence of the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Eucharist, and rather than serving the “wine,” I would have preferred to read that she was serving the “cup” or the “chalice” containing the Precious Blood. In any event, I’m pleased to know that USF continues to stress the importance of faith and religion for all its students.
David Mezzera ’68
Mr. Mezzera is correct. We regret this error.
To the Editor:
What a wonderful place St. Francis Center is, and Sister Christina is certainly doing God’s work, one child, one mother, one father at a time. Thank you for this wonderful article. Miracles really do come true.
To the Editor:
When the last issue of the U.S.F. Magazine arrived, I read with deep sadness of the death of Ralph Lane, Jr. As it turned out, Dr. Lane, as I called him, and my Dad were connected in a special way, even though they had never met. Here is the story.
I arrived on the campus of U.S.F. in the fall of 1965. The very first college class I attended was Physical Anthropology taught by Ralph Lane Jr. In addition to the fact that I had no idea what physical anthropology was, the class was held in the largest lecture room at U.S.F. I had a nervous lump in my throat as I furiously kept notes of what Dr. Lane was saying. Very soon, however, Dr. Lane had captured my imagination and, shockingly enough, I began to care about the brain sizes of fossil hominids discovered in Africa. Soon I switched my major to Sociology, where Dr. Lane was the Chair. Although I never took another class from him, I did not forget how he had so excited me about the evolution of man.
In 1965 the Green and Gold Room was located downstairs in Phelan Hall, where the book store is now situated. When I began to hang out there, I noticed that there were always at least two tables of bridge in play. Since four of my high school buddies and I had taught ourselves how to play bridge the previous year, and I thoroughly enjoyed the game, I had to join those games as fast as I could. I looked across the table while kibitzing one day and caught the eye of Doug Grant (who later became the Principal of Convent of the Sacred Heart Schools in San Francisco). We began to play bridge as partners that fall, and became friends for life. One of the best players in the Green and Gold room was Kyle Larson, who was then 15 years old and at age 13 had become the youngest life master in history. He was not a student as U.S.F., but came to the campus to win money from the college students. Kyle later went on to become a bridge world champion. The quality of bridge was quite high with two or three professors dropping by periodically to play. In that atmosphere you had to become a quick learner.
Since I was living on campus in Phelan Hall I wanted to become involved in day to day student life in some way other than playing bridge. The Civil Rights movement was sweeping the country at that time, and it had defined my life in high school. I was naturally attracted to S.W.A.P. (the Student Western Addition Project). Dr. Lane was, of course, the creator and faculty moderator of S.W.A.P. I was assigned to a new project at St Patrick’s Gym south of Market. Every Saturday morning, 10 to 15 students would take the 5 McAllister down to Market, walk to the gym, and hold it open from 9:00 A.M. to noon. On the first day we arrived at the gym it was in deplorable condition. However, 15 college students soon had that gym glistening. Then the local kids started showing up to play basketball, capture the flag, touch football and the like. We also started an arts and crafts room, which soon attracted younger children. Pretty soon that gym became a haven for children of all ages to hang out in that tough neighborhood on Saturday morning.
My sophomore year, S.W.A.P. appointed me as the head of the St. Patrick’s Gym project. Then my junior year, I was elected as the president of S.W.A.P., which had grown during the past two years to become the largest student organization on campus. That September of 1967, we planned a big push during freshman orientation to recruit new students to the program. I arrived on campus early to work on new programs, such as a study hall right in the Western Addition, and to organize our recruiting efforts. While sitting in the Green in Gold Room one day, Johanna Smith, the new editor of the Foghorn, interviewed me about my plans for the upcoming year. During that interview I mentioned that Father Charles Dullea, the then president of the University, did not seem to understand all the changes that had occurred in S.W.A.P. When the first issue of the Foghorn came out, one of the headlines read “S.W.A.P President Criticizes Dullea for Antediluvian View”. Because I had taken four years of Latin in high school, I understood the headline, and was horrified. Later that day, I received a note to call Dr. Lane at home. My hands were sweating as I went downstairs in Phelan Hall to return his call. In a very, very firm voice Dr. Lane advised me that I had no idea what I was talking about, that Father Dullea had always been the strongest supporter of S.W.A.P. among the administration members, and without his support the program would never have gotten off the ground. He said Father Dullea was particularly proud of the success of the program. He suggested that the next time I felt the need to speak to a reporter on the subject of S.W.A.P. I better have my facts straight. He also said that Father Dullea was a good man, and he expected no long term damage to have occurred as a result of my comments. By the time that call was over, sweat was no longer confined to my hands. However, I knew that I better keep my head down and focus on making S.W.A.P. succeed as never before.
In the meantime, my development as a bridge player was progressing apace. I won my first master point playing with Doug Grant in 1966. By spring of 1968 I was playing every afternoon after class, and sometimes cutting class to play. Periodically, my friends and I would end up playing all night. As you might expect, my grades plunged. The first semester of my junior year, I received only one A, in Theology of all things. In those days, U.S.F. sent our report cards home, where my Dad opened it. When I made my weekly call home (from the same phone booth where I had returned Dr. Lane’s call), my Dad was ready for me. He told me in a very, very firm voice that he knew I was playing too much bridge, and not studying. He explained that a college education was a gift that I was throwing into a trash can for a stupid card game. He reminded me that with my older brother in Viet Nam with the First Air Cavalry, and with the cost of U.S.F., everyone in the family was sacrificing while I was playing cards for my own enjoyment. He said there was too much at stake for everyone for me to be wasting my life. He told me in the most emphatic terms her ever used with me that “he never wanted to see another report card from me like the last one.” And he never did.
Despite our rocky start, I developed a close relationship with Dr. Lane while at U.S.F. I would periodically run into him while I was studying at U.S.F. law school. We would talk of how S.W.A.P was doing, and what was happening in the Sociology Department. Once I graduated, I moved to the Peninsula, and then would see Dr. Lane only off and on at the Opera and at U.S.F. basketball games. He always had a smile for me, and was interested in what was happening in my life. Then we lost touch as I became more involved building my career and raising a family.
In the spring of 2006, my Dad was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. It fell to me arrange his care during the last months of his life. I constantly struggled to mask my own grief as I tried to be fully present to my Dad and minister to his needs. My Dad was a special person in so many ways, and people flocked to see him one last time. I was constantly balancing my concern for his physical well being with his need to be energized by the presence of so many friends and family. I was totally spent by the time God took him. On the day of his funeral, our huge family met at the Funeral Parlor to say our last good byes, and then we caravanned to St. Pius Church in Redwood City for the Mass of the Resurrection. I was standing outside the Church trying to make sure the pall bearers were set up correctly, and hugging family members who needed it. As I was standing there caught up my duties, I heard a soft “Chuck” from behind me. I whirled around and there Dr. Lane stood, his eyes brimming with compassion. He had read my father’s obituary in the S.F. Chronicle, and drove down to attend the funeral. When I saw his face, and realized what he had done, the emotions of a lifetime rose in my breast until tears burst forth. At that moment in time, the two people who had cared enough to challenge me when I was in danger of losing my way were forever united in my heart. God Bless you, Dr. Lane, and thank you.
Charles Riffle ’69, JD ’72
To the Editor:
On page 18 of the fall 2007 issue of USF magazine you have a picture with a caption that reads, “Senior Kelli Hoertz serves wine as a Eucharistic minister during USF’s weekly student Mass.” Catholics believe that at this point in the Mass the “wine” to which you refer is no longer wine but the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. More properly and accurately you should have said “the Precious Blood” or even “consecrated wine.” You left the impression that Catholics, or at least Catholics at USF, no longer believe that during Mass the bread and wine really do become the Body and Blood of Christ, albeit sacramentally veiled.
Eric Paul Ewen ’69, MA ’74