I was at the University of Chicago from 1963 to 1967 working on a Ph.D. in theoretical physics. There I met a number of people through Calvert House, a place where Catholic Chaplains lived. While there I started a group which met in the homes of various people to discuss theology and have Mass in their homes.
The person I believe who introduced me to Bellairs was John Morearty. It was in his apartment, possibly with Gerald Hewitt and Al Killilea in attendance, that a number of us met...though I am not sure whether it was purely social or a meeting to discuss theology (which were pretty social events anyway).
Anyway, I still can pin down the date I first met John Bellairs: Halloween 1964. The Johns (Morearty and Bellairs) came bursting into the apartment dressed fairly outrageously. They had witches costumes on and had, what we call in Australia, "silver paper" on their teeth - that is, the type of paper that used to be used in cigarette packs.
Anyway with the costumes, silver paper, and paint on their faces, they both looked a little frightening. They said they had been out on the streets scaring children who were collecting trick or treats, probably demanding they hand over their candy! They were both falling about laughing. It seemed outrageous to me at the time, not being that familiar with Halloween. The holiday is fine but I guess I thought it was for kids. It was the comment that they were out there "scaring the kids" that struck me as funny (and clearly them, too).
Somewhat later in the evening, John's background came out as a writer. I don't recall whether his book, Saint Fidgeta, had been published or not, but John read lengthy extracts from it. I recall it was very funny.
Friday, September 27, 2002
Remembrances: Brian Kenny
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Author: · Bellairsia