Friday, October 3, 2008

Time Capsule: October 3, 1958

October 3, 1958: 50 years ago today John Bellairs debuted in the pages of the University of Notre Dame student magazine, the Scholastic. Now a senior level English major, Bellairs and friend Charles Bowen were tapped to share their humorous observations about life in South Bend by alternating each week as the author of "Escape".

What was fair game for topics? Anything, it seems, but both Bellairs (lauded by Bowen as “the office handyman”) and Bowen (“dissolute vagrant that he is” according to Bellairs) kept the subject matter light: being a nuisance at the university radio station, singing folk songs in South Bend rathskellers, or exercises in stream-of-consciousness-ish creative writings. By the end of the school year, and 25 issues later, each author had 12 articles apiece for a total of 24 articles. The Yearly Football Review issue on Dec. 5, 1958, pre-empted any of their usual nastiness or nonsense.

Our favorite of John’s? The lost harpsichord, partly because it was the first article we came across in our quest to find all 12 columns and also because the Bellairsian blow-back of bureaucracy rings true all these years later.

Next week, we’ll salute Bowen on the fiftieth anniversary of his debut article. Our favorite of Charlie’s? We’d really like to see the folk group back in action after all these years.

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