Editor's Letter (1)

By Carol Elliott | Fall 2014

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A few months ago, the following plea appeared in my email inbox via our College listserv:

I am in need of someone that can play the keyboard/piano who can work with a song that was in the movie Dirty Dancing. The Kellerman’s Anthem. I can find it online, but it is not the right version. It needs to sound like the movie.

An email like this begs all kinds of questions. Kellerman’s Anthem? I had to look it up. It’s that sentimental farewell to summer, to camp, to a way of life perhaps, sung interminably by guests and staff toward the end of the movie.

Join hands and hearts and voices

Voices, hearts and hands

At Kellerman’s, the friendships last long

As the mountains stand

(It’s probably best known, frankly, for being dramatically interrupted by a leather-clad Patrick Swayze who stalks into the room, yanks Jennifer Grey out of her chair and utters the cult-classic line, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”)

Even for a faculty/staff listserv devoted to all kinds of random messages about football tickets for sale, plumber recommendations and free food in the boardroom—this note stood out as odd.

Until you read the rest of the email.

I need someone to play it so I can either record it to play at our ‘Fight Back Ceremony’ or someone to play live at 4 pm on May 17th. I had someone lined up and they just backed out…

Ah. Over the years, Patti Reinhardt, a staff member with the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship, has sent out notes looking for anything from empty pretzel containers to super hero action figures, all for Relay for Life, a cancer fundraising cause she works on tirelessly. This was another such effort. I honestly don’t know how Kellerman’s Anthem fit in, but what I learned is that Patti has a whole other side than what I knew of her at work.

Her note got me thinking about the very many people I’m privileged to work with at Mendoza who live dual lives in a sense. So often, I strike up a conversation with a colleague and learn about this amazing cause/passion/project/group they’re involve with in their “other” life. And often the cause is born out of a tragedy that would shake the faith of Job.

If there is a part B to this realization, it’s that you really don’t know what people are dealing with behind the professional façade.

Patti’s email sparked the idea for “Salt & Light,” a series of profiles of Mendoza folks describing their “other” lives and the stories behind them. Really, that could be considered the unintentional theme for the magazine, as you’ll discover in reading about Takashi Yanagi, who lost his only parent while still in high school, but persevered toward his dream of attending Notre Dame; in Gerek Meinhardt’s profile, who exemplifies the steel it takes to become an elite athlete; and even in the story about Chris Stevens, a generous, open-hearted teacher who actually spent much of his childhood bouncing among foster homes.

And if there’s a part C to this, it’s that the vast majority of us can’t go it alone. Not everyone gets a happy ending. Not everyone survives cancer, or wins the competition, or gets into their dream school. Life is hard, and sometimes the triumph is found in what you did to pull the other guy up.

Join hands and hearts and voices; voices, hearts and hands.

Carol Elliott
Executive Editor