Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith and Life for the Years of Winter… In the heat and humifity of summer? For Christ’s sake…

Yes, I have posted this story before, but I just wrote it in a letter to my college friend, Jon Stroble, who did not know about this blog back then, and it’s just too good a story not to tell again…

Jon and I used to work together in the cafeteria of the graduate student residence center, which in our day was called Rogers Center. This is what I wrote to him…

Do you remember Cora Lee Smith, black girl from Elkhart? She and I used to hang out at a bussing stand in the Rogers Center cafeteria together, where she was fascinated by my thick soft white arm hair. Black folks from Elkhart didn’t have hair like that. She had never seen a hairy-armed farm boy from southern Indiana, and I had never seen a black girl from northern Indiana [or anywhere else, for that matter.]. As we stood there, she would stroke my arm hair, just to see what it felt like.

She became a multi-degreed distinguished educator back in Elkhart, by the name of Cora Breckenridge, and served several terms as an IU Trustee.

For some reason I totally forget, I was seated beside a young black woman from Elkhart at a banquet in the Tudor Room of the Union about 30 years ago. As we talked, I realized she was Cora Lee’s daughter. “Oh, you must know her from way back,” she said. “She only goes by Cora now.” I explained that I did, indeed, know her from way back, and showed her my arm and told her about how Cora Lee used to stroke that hair. She said, “Oh, I can’t wait to tell Mother: I know what you did with white boys when you were in college!”


Katie Kennedy’s magnificent What Goes Up is out in paperback. Buy a few copies.

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