ND in the Olden Days
Those of us who attended ND before modern HVAC...
...will identify with this student essay, from a 1921 issue of THE SCHOLASTIC:
In the farthest corner of my room, standing upright on four legs and looking as important as Wilson thought he was, is my radiator. There it stands, always in that same spot, never moving, never absent. But why should I dwell on that phase of the subject? It is just like all of the other heat distributors in Sorin Hall. It is composed of sixteen inch-and-a-half pipes, joined, at the top and at the bottom by a unique method of plumbing. It also has a valve. The radiator covers about one square foot of space within my humble abode and behind it lie all the apple-cores, all the dust and dirt, all the pencil shavings, all the cigarette butts of ages. The whole of this piece of furniture is covered with a dull coat of green paint, streaked with rust. So much for its physical appearance. Its actions? Yes! I must admit that I said that it never moved and it never does, externally, but internally 'tis a different matter. Within its many miles of piping go on some of the most violent and turbulent, as well as furious, procedures. As day breaks the radiator also starts breaking. But instead of breaking, silently and beautifully as does the day, it breaks into a jazz orchestra selection of
"Il Trovatore." The pipes begin to rattle—the valve begins to whistle, the coils begin to knock and bang—all together—all in discord. Thus it breaks into my slumber at early dawn. With all of this racket, which the square foot of stored heat makes in the morning, one would think that it would repay me for the disturbance and make the room an ideal place to start a hothouse. This is not the case. After I have risen and after the noise dies down, the heat follows suit and also crosses the "Great Divide." I then trot down to the wash-room and try to brush my teeth with frozen toothpaste. I discovered a method of preventing my water from freezing during the night. It is by emptying the pitcher, before going to bed. This did not work with the tooth paste. I tried it, but could not get the paste back into the tube the next morning; I tried tooth powder for a while and it worked fine. One day, however, I forgot myself and used it by mistake for talcum powder. In its new capacity, it did not work so well. But now that spring with its fair weather is almost here and the snow is going south and the robins are coming north, I shall have but little use for my noisy radiator. But as Tennyson said to Hamlet on the marge of the Lake Lebage "With all thy faults I love thee still”*.
EMMETT F. J. BURKE.
*Read “The cremation of Sam McGee” for part of this obscure reference. I don’t know what happened to Emmett Burke, but he had a facile wit.