"I read about this trail three years ago in a magazine and the article told about the beautiful trail, how well marked it was, that it was cleared out and that there were shelters at the end of a good day's hike. I thought it would be a nice lark. It wasn't. There were terrible blow downs, burnt-over areas that were never re-marked, gravel and sand washouts, weeds and brush to your neck, and most of the shelters were blown down, burned down or so filthy I chose to sleep out of doors. This is no trail. This is a nightmare. For some fool reason they always lead you right up over the biggest rock to the top of the biggest mountain they can find. I've seen every fire station between here and Georgia. Why, an Indian would die laughing his head off if he saw those trails. I would never have started this trip if I had known how tough it was, but I couldn't and I wouldn't quit."
Once before, Grandma had been forced to quit. In the summer of 1954 she started the trail in Maine but after a few days she broke her glasses, got lost and ran out of food. When authorities caught up with her and persuaded her to go home, the populace breathed a sigh of relief. Grandma went to California to work at a practical nursing job. She walked up and down three flights of stairs in answer to every patient's call in addition to walking 30 blocks a day to get in trim. She saved her money out of her $25-a-week job. In May she flew down to Georgia without telling anyone, including her family, of her plans.
This time at the finish nobody joked about Grandma, and everybody within a 100-mile radius of Mt. Katahdin was pulling for her. The telephone wires hummed with daily reports of her progress and when the single-strand, tree-strung telephone wire fell down, a bush pilot flew into camps to check up on her. The game warden strapped a heavy boat on top of his car, drove ten miles over a rough washboard road and took her across a river where the bridge had washed out, thus saved her an extra 10-mile detour. But the ultimate tribute, perhaps, came from a born-and-reared Maine woodsman who said, "Got to hand it to her. Takes guts, pioneer guts."
TWO SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a beehive of experiment, gave up intercollegiate football in the year 1901 after a fairly brief period of trial and error. University of Notre Dame began to play serious football about the same time MIT gave up, and since then has learned at least as much about pass formations as MIT has learned about electrons. All this time, however, there has been a community of sports philosophy between the two schools, very likely unrecognized by either: each has developed intramural sports to the fullest. It remained for a couple of academic gifts to call attention to a similarity between two schools which, at first sight, could scarcely be more different.
David du Pont, who would have been a senior at MIT this fall had he not been killed in a sports car accident last month, left $1,000,000 to his college for "the improvement of its athletic facilities." James Gerity Jr., a Michigan industrialist who attended the University of Toledo but is on Notre Dame's College of Commerce advisory council, gave Notre Dame $5,000 to encourage student participation in bridge and golf.
Richard Balch, MIT director of athletics and onetime Union College football coach, batted down rumors that the million-dollar bequest meant MIT would go back to intercollegiate football. He is more interested in such "carry-over sports" as tennis, golf, swimming, sailing—the kind a man can continue for the rest of his life. Some such thought crossed Gerity's mind last February while cruising off Miami Beach with Ed (Moose) Krause, Notre Dame's director of athletics.
"As life goes on," says 51-year-old Gerity, "there are only three things you can do in sports—golf, bridge and swimming." Incomplete, perhaps, but it sums up the idea. He and Moose talked, he says, "about all the boys who are not fitted for athletics who ought to find some means of recreation. And we talked about the help it can be in the business world to know how to play bridge and golf. I made this donation just to get the ball rolling. It isn't much. Maybe other people will chip in."
The ball is off to a nice smooth roll. Bridge expert Charles Goren attended the Notre Dame-SMU game as Gerity's guest and next day lectured on bridge to some 450 students and guests. He spent the afternoon playing with students. Oswald Jacoby, whose son John is a Notre Dame freshman, has been helping out, too.
The golf segment of the Gerity program will get under way next spring. Notre Dame has an 18-hole course on campus and, in fact, competes on an intercollegiate basis in both golf and bridge. But Gerity's gift is not aimed at stepping up intercollegiate competition. He wants to reach the students who would not ordinarily play. The expectation is that in a school with 15 residence halls, all supporting their own athletic teams and clubs, an earnest drive to whip up enthusiasm for intramural golf and bridge could develop into something really fierce.