Joseph G. Meiman
Class of 1946

Recently I received the most recent issue of Loyola Magazine. You asked for comments about it. Here is something to put in your files.

The article about Thomas Hall brought back many memories. I started as a Freshman in 1942. I applied for Student Employment and was given a job of after-hours switchboard operator for the University, which was then located on the ground floor of Thomas Hall. It was a combination of switchboard and receptionist.

There were only three or four incoming lines. When a call came in, you answered it, flipped the key to an inside line, dialed the extension requested, and pushed the key down to ring the phone there. If it didn't answer, you had to tell the caller. All the switching equipment was in large metal cabinets down the hall from the switchboard; when you dialed an extension, you could hear the click-click-click of the switches. We worked till nine at night, when we would hook the incoming lines to certain extensions for the night.

One of the jobs of the operators was to leave the switchboard for a few minutes, take the elevator to the top floor, climb the stairs to the tower, and take down the American flag each evening at sunset. Some days it was really windy up there. I notice in the new pictures there is no flagpole there anymore, but I looked up the 1943 yearbook and sure enough, there is a picture of Thomas Hall with the flag blowing in the wind.

The space that is now the Presentation Room used to be the chapel. What I remember most about it is the mixed aromas of wine and roses or other flowers, after Mass each day. There wasn't much air circulation there, and with the normal humidity the air was heavy. No air conditioning in those days.

All of the rooms were occupied by Jesuit priests, even the top floor where old Fr. O'Brien lived; he spent a lot of time in the confessional almost every day. Towards the back of that floor was a printing press and, I believe, a bindery where the Brothers worked. Brother Maitland was Sacristan. Another of the Brothers would come by the switchboard after the evening meal and pull out from under his cassock a cold bottle of Coke for the one on duty - always a welcome treat on a warm night.

Fr. O'Connor taught English; I still read poetry occasionally because of him. Fr. Mullins taught Philosophy; I still have the textbook on Minor Logic. Because I lived close to the school on Calhoun St. I often got up early to serve the side-altar Masses at Holy Name Church. Fr. Mullins was noted by the servers for always saying the longest Mass; I guess we didn't realize that he was really talking to God all that time. Fr. Wallace also said Mass slowly. Someone told us he had stomach cancer and was always in great pain, so we tried to treat him gently.

Another priest was Fr. Facundus Carbajal. He was there only a short time, but when he led the evening Novenas there was always a crowd of parishioners. I remember him saying the Hail Mary with more feeling than any other priest since. Fr. Maring taught Physics. In his survey course on Physics, he enjoyed teaching about Light so much that we were a little short changed for time at the end of the semester on E&M (Electricity and Magnetism). I still remember a lot about how prisms divide light, but have forgotten most of E&M.

Fr. Chapman was a good History teacher. Fr. Soniat taught French and was in charge of the seismograph in the little building next to the sacristy; I remember changing the recording rolls there from time to time. Frs. George and Allain St. Paul were brothers with completely different personalities. Fr. Toomey had many friends that he brought in for lectures, but I believe he lived in one of the ranch houses, not in Thomas Hall.

Fr. Crandell was Dean; he was always very nice to me and took a special interest in the courses I was taking. In fact I considered all of the priests as friends, and kept in touch with some of them for many years. Your magazine is good; I look forward to reading it when it comes.