Note: Editors Liam Keating, Fisher Ward, and John Tuttle explore how their grandparents used traditional media and how this influence has affected them.
Blood and ink
by Editor-in-Chief Liam Keating
Freshman year I chose to study Journalism. But maybe I did not have a choice; maybe it chose me.
My grandfather and namesake, William Keating was a local reporter and columnist for his town’s newspaper, The PutnamCounty Courier in Mahopac, New York. My grandfather wrote smart, witty columns centered around fictional back and forth letters titled, “Dear Harvey”.
My favorite of his “Dear Havery” columns was titled “Ladiesstores are for men only”.
In this column, my grandfather urges Harvey for the necessity of a women’s store to be open only for husbands so they can shop peacefully and without awkwardness during the Christmas season.
“I understand if you give the salesgirl a couple of clues, while she rounds up some gifts for your lady-fair so you can enjoy the painkillers at the free bar provided by the management. It’s obviously a great way to shop.”
A great observation that any man would truly love. A worker to pick your gift out for you while you sip on a cocktail, ah the luxury.
My other grandfather, Joseph Cowden, was a features writer for The Voice, St. Francis College’sstudent publication in Brooklyn.
He wrote informative articles that spotlighted individuals on campus that were making an impact in Brooklyn. His section titled, “Franciscan of the Week” was well balanced and positive during a time of great hardship for students in the 1940s.
Lastly, my father, James, has written 14 books on various theological topics. His books are long, arduous and do not have any pictures. Thus, I have yet to read them; I will report back when I do.
He has instilled some writing rules in me though. I remember he edited one of my papers in 6th grade and scolded me for using contractions because they are not “professional to use.” In honor of that one interaction, you won’t see any contractions in the Circuit or any piece of my writing.
Did I choose this life or did this life choose me? Not sure, but regardless my blood is steeped in the art form of writing and I intend not to give it up.
The Rambler: Returns
by Copyeditor Fisher Ward
I suppose I’ve always had a relationship to journalism, though I probably didn’t realize it. Interestingly, said relationship is also tied to my grandfather’s legacy at Benedictine.
My grandfather, Robert V. Ward, attended from 1949 – 1953, back when Benedictine was St. Benedict’s College and the Circuit was the Rambler.
Robert Ward was a Political Science major, and joined the staff of the Rambler as a reporter in 1950, and eventually became the news editor and later editor in chief from 1952-1953.
I was aware that Grandpa wrote for the school paper when I first considered attending Benedictine, and I knew that one of his articles somehow made it into the hands of President Harry S. Truman, (story for another time) but I was not really aware of his contributions to the paper.
Reading his old articles in the Rambler was, and still is, a revelation. His articles, usually covering politics of the day like General MacArthur’s removal from command, or some mundane college activities, are written with a dry sense of humor that fills me with curiosity.
I would love to ask Grandpa about his time at St. Benedict’s and what the post-WWII world was like. Sadly, I can’t, but I can at least read his articles for an insight. I hope that, by stepping in as copy editor for the Circuit, I can keep his memory alive.
For those interested, old copies of the Rambler can be found on the top floor of the library.
The legacy Grandpa left for me (and my sisters) at Benedictine is one of hard work, a strong ethical stance, and a wry sense of humor to keep people smiling. Still smiling Grandpa.
Grandma’s Media Evangelization
by Web Editor John Tuttle
There’s something about the older generations that’s more than nostalgia. The ancestors in my family tree fought for what they believed, built from the ground up, and were no strangers to a true sense of adventure. There is nobility in the prior generations, more than I see among my peers.
My maternal grandmother was quite a personality. She was strong-willed, and it’s been said I inherited perhaps too much of that from her. The Grandma I knew was the lady who helped you with your homework, built a garden bed, and drove her grandkids around in the wagon hitched to a rider lawnmower.
But before my years can account, Grandma had a rather eventful role in the Catholic media landscape. She was a big pro-life advocate and ran a religious goods store for some years. Her advocacy was marked by newspapers like The Wanderer, and she herself wrote for a notable Catholic magazine. She was a friend of many a priest, including the late Fr. James J. Downey of the local St. Benedict’s Abbey.
Most remarkably, perhaps, was the fact that Grandma had her own Catholic show at a small TV station for several years. My grandfather, Mom, and my aunts were even able to help out with camera operating and editing. Among her guests were a number of religious. She even acquired a conversation (aided by a translator) with Franciszek Gajowniczek, the man whose life was saved in Auschwitz by St. Maximilian Kolbe.
Looking back at Grandma’s side career in media in addition to raising a family, I admire her boldness and her ideals. I’m ever conscious of the role of media and its potency, and it’s likely that Grandma’s passion has rubbed off on this young Catholic man.