Memories from Marquette from Nancy Neal

I was Pat’s classmate at Marquette. Being retired, snowed in and with lots of time to spend on the computer, I have been googling names of old friends. I was delighted to see the picture of Pat, with that same terrific grin I remember, and then saddened and shocked to learn of his death. I have so enjoyed reading everyone’s memories of him – what a rich, full life, he and his wife have had. My deep sympathies to all his family.

I haven’t seen any stories from his Marquette college years, so thought I would tell a few tales out of school, so to speak. Sophomore year we were part of a group of friends who hung out nearly every day at the same table at the Student Union, and went to basketball games & Navy ROTC parties most weekends. At semester break, we all were the guests of godparents of one of our crew. They had a lake resort in northern Wisconsin. (None of us had even heard of Fort Lauderdale.) The place was closed for the winter, so we had it all to ourselves. Being good Catholic kids, all the girls were in one cabin, and all the guys in the other. At one point, Pat and his buddies Art Panke, Joe Gorman, Jack Hagen and Tom Wegmann decided it would be hilarious to smoke us girls out of our cabin. So they climbed to the roof of the cabin and blocked the chimney of the heating stove. We later retaliated by raiding their cabin when they were out target shooting, and tying every piece of their clothing into knots. One night we fastened a toboggan by a length of chain to somebody’s car and drove it on the deep frozen lake. After getting up some speed, the driver would turn sharply and the toboggan would literally fly off the ice and through the air as the car whipped around. At one point, I flew off, landing on one thumb and my head! The insanity of youth!

Another memorable evening in Milwaukee, some of the Navy ROTC guys had booked the back room at a local pub. We had kegs of beer and sang many drinking songs at the top of our lungs. This bothered one of the resident alcoholics in the front part of the bar, who couldn’t hear the jukebox, so he called the police to complain. Luckily for us, both of the cops were Marquette grads. They carded everybody, and being the good Catholics which we were, those of us who were under 21 did not lie about our ages or show fake IDs, and so were arrested for illegally being in a bar (no blood alcohol tests) and told to report to court the following week! None of us told our parents or got legal representation, and when about 18 of us clean cut Marquette students showed up in court, the local press descended on us to take pictures and write up the story. Fortunately, one of the girls was a local Milwaukee girl, whose family lived next door to one Dominic Frinzi, the top criminal lawyer in town. He saw her in court, jumped up and told the judge he was representing us, spun a sob story about how we were all under the pressures of college students, ending by telling the court that most of us weren’t even drinking alcohol. He turned to us and said, “How many of you weren’t drinking?” Since we were such good honest kids, only one guy held up his hand. Ironically, his father was a local brewery owner, but the kid had an ulcer and couldn’t drink. Our new found, pro bono lawyer entered a plea of nolo contendere, and we were told that as long as we stayed out of trouble for a year, there would be no criminal record. We were very lucky because that judge was known as a hanging judge on drinking issues. Years later, my younger brother, who is a Wisconsin lawyer, told me that Judge Seraphim was still on the bench and was similarly tough on drug offenses. Many of us were in an English literature class taught by Professor Whelan (a courtly,silver-haired Irishman who had been an IRA member in his youth). The story had hit the local papers, and at our next English class, he called Pat and the other guys out into the hall and read them the riot act about letting us girls get into such a situation! What was that line from Out of Africa? Golden girls and lightfoot lads! Incredible to believe that was all 50 years ago.

I’m sorry I never got to talk to Pat again at our advanced ages and swap tall tales with him. I think he’d have enjoyed hearing about my scuba diving adventures, especially exploring sunken Japanese ships from World War II in Truk Lagoon, Micronesia.

If Professor Whelan, who struggled to introduce us to Shakespeare, were still alive, I think he would quote this at Pat’s passing:

Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince:
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!
– Hamlet (V.ii)

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