University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame

America - Europe

A Transatlantic Diary 1961 - 1989

Klaus Lanzinger

Section 2: January 18 - September 5, 1964

[At the beginning of January, 1964, my family and I set out on our journey to the United States. That was the beginning of our American adventure. Helping the family with the still small children, eight and four years old, my wife’s sister joined us on the journey. We sailed on the Italian passenger ship Leonardo da Vinci from Genoa to New York. While the voyage through the Mediterranean was like a cruise, after Gibraltar a heavy storm awaited us on the open Atlantic that did not subside until we landed in New York. The volcanic peaks on the Azores were snow-covered. And during the passage, our four year old daughter got chicken pox.]

New York, January 18, 1964

To enter New York Harbor and to pass the examination by the Health Authorities with a child who got chicken pox aboard ship is a nerve-racking experience never to be forgotten. We barely missed the quarantine station on Staten Island.

[The Health Authorities feared smallpox at the time. It was required to have been vaccinated against smallpox before entering the U.S. But the Certificate of Vaccination against smallpox notwithstanding, it took awhile until it was definitely determined that those were chicken pox and not smallpox.]

New York, January 19, 1964

The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

The new Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts opened with a play by Arthur Miller, while Menotti’s opera The Last Savage premiered at the Metropolitan Opera House.

[The new Lincoln Center between West 62nd and 66th Streets in Manhattan was in part still under construction. The Metropolitan Opera, which was still performing in its old house on 39th Street and Broadway, moved to the Lincoln Center in September of 1966. The large complex of the Lincoln Center comprises the Metropolitan Opera House, the Avery Fisher Hall (Concert Hall of the New York Philharmonic), the New York State Theatre (Stage for the New York City Ballet), and the Vivian Beaumont Theatre (Repertory Theatre). The famous Juilliard School of Music is also connected with the Lincoln Center. As a whole, the Lincoln Center is the most significant center for the performing arts in the United States. Gian Carlo Menotti (1911- ) had his musical education in Milan as well as in Philadelphia and in Boston. As a composer he gave modern opera new impulses. Menotti directed the “Festival of the Two Worlds,” which he had founded, from 1958-93. These festivals take place in Spoleto, Italy, and also in Charleston, South Carolina. Menotti connected America and Europe like nobody else.]

Arrival in South Bend and Notre Dame

[We arrived by the end of January by the overnight-express from New York in South Bend, Indiana, at 6 a.m. in the morning. It was one of the last trains that approached South Bend. Shortly thereafter passenger train service was discontinued. In front of the Union Station was a “For Sale” sign, what to some extent astonished us. The ride by taxi cab first passed along streets with abandoned factory buildings, for the Studebaker Automobile Plant had just closed its doors forever. When we reached the Golf Course and saw the Golden Dome of Notre Dame from a distance, the somewhat dreary atmosphere on that cold January day brightened up.]

Notre Dame, Indiana, End of January, 1964

The Catholic university in America has adopted many of the forms of the prevailing American way of life.

[When we arrived at Notre Dame, we could immediately move into the apartment that had been reserved in advance in the newly-opened University Village for Married Student Housing. After the household had been established, I began my teaching as Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages. The following more extensive entries refer to general observations on the way of life in the Midwest.]

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