bhs tower II
Stories From College

High School

In the early 60s, the college experience at all-male colleges was based on tradition and established practices - incoming freshmen treated as second-class citizens doing the bidding of upperclassmen, fraternity rushing with hazing practices now verboten, squeezing dating rituals in the comings and goings of coeds on frantic weekends, all-nighters before big exams, cobbling together term papers from mimeographed copies in the fraternity files, wild drinking bouts, and extraordinary classes taught by gifted professors.

Such was the Dartmouth College experience. Here are a few:

6-13-2016: Like other fraternities, ours had frequent parties, including Homecoming (when football team returned to play at home), Houseparties, Winter Carnival, etc. We always had a live band Friday and Saturday nights and cleared the main living room of all furniture to make it one big dance hall. And, like other fraternities, we featured a drink called "the Fog-Cutter." The generic recipe was equal parts rum, gin, vodka, orange juice, grape juice, and grapefruit juice - all combined with a wood paddle in a large galvanized washtub full of ice cubes. I watched at one party where a brother asked his date to get him a refill out of the tub. She took his glass over to the tub and scooped out a glassfull. Just as she was scooping, however someone asked her a question and as she was answering she held the glass over the tub. Another brother began replenishing the concoction, starting with emptying a bottle of vodka into the tub, directly over the glass the date was holding, with the result the the glass was pretty much 100% vodka with a little purple color. Retrieving his drink from his date, the brother took a sip, shook his head violently, and then, watching other coeds tossing of glassfuls of the stuff, he gave a "what-the-hell" shrug of his shoulder and drained his glass. The next morning I saw him, prostrate but still alive, on his back with a big footprint planted squarely on his chest.

5-29-2016: About five of us freshman football players roomed in the same dormitory (Russell Sage Hall). In spring of our freshman year we took to throwing water balloons out the windows at students passing by on the way to class. Mostly we missed them. One of us, who worked in the dining hall, had the inspired idea of filling one of the huge, plastic bags potato chips came in with water and tossing it out the window at the students passing by below. The bag most have held 10 gallons of water and weighed close to 75 pounds. Without giving a thought to what it might do to a human body, we tossed it out the window at a group passing by. We got lucky. Instead of hitting one or more of the students it hit the fender of a passing car. After seeing the huge dent the potato chip bag/water balloon made in the fender, we realized, belatedly, how fortunate we were that we didn't hit and likely kill a fellow student.

4-25-2016 story: The college I went to had long and cold winters-winter sports were big. We had a boisterous group of freshmen men in my dorm and we took to playing hockey in one of the hallways. One inventive soul opened the windows on either end of our "hockey rink" one night, flooded the floor and voila! we had a skating rink. After a few weeks of hockey, the hallway came to resemble a burned-out ghetto-all the lights broken out, windows missing panes, walls pocked with holes and slash marks. I think we ended up having to cough up a collective $5,000 to repair the damage.

4-1-2016: The entrance requirement for the honorary fraternity, Kappa Beta Phi (obverse of Phi Beta Kappa) was simple - you had to drink an equivalent of your weight in beer (a gallon for every 100 pounds) in less than one hour. My roommate, known for his ability to hold liquor, was tapped for the honor. He weighed approximately 220 pounds. In beers, that was roughly 10 quarts. The procedure was simple: gulp down a pint of beer, rush over to a 55 gallon drum and vomit up the beer, and repeat the procedure until you had drunk the requisite amount of beer. A last requirement was you could not vomit up the last pint for at least 15 minutes, at which point inductees were turned loose to return to their dorm/fraternity house. My roomie staggered to our dorm room and unsteadily climbed up onto the upper bunk - I was in the lower one. After making belching and retching noises for about 10 minutes, he lept off the bed, intending to make it to the bathroom before he "blew lunch." Unfortunately, he forgot that he had closed the door to the bedroom before climbing up onto his bed. So, he crashed into the closed door, slid down to the floor, and let loose with the remaining pint of beer (and bag of chips he had grabbed on his way back to the dorm). Took us an hour to clean up the mess and I still do not know why he didn't kill or permanently injure himself. He ended up as chief investment officer for a major insurance company.

4-1-2016: One of my fraternity brothers would sometimes show up at fraternity parties dateless. He had a bit of a beer belly, and at one party showed up with the two bottom buttons of his shirt unbuttoned with his beer belly slightly protruding. After chatting up a brother and his date for a few minutes he pointed at his belt line and said ,"Oh, look!" A thread could be seen sticking out of his belly button. Bemused, he would begin to pull at the thread, untl he had extracted about 30 feet. At this performance, some girls would start to laugh, some would turn away horrified, and some, hardened to the realities of the Dartmouth dating horror show, would simply shrug their shoulders and carry on as if nothing had happened. The unflappable ones were the keepers.

These remembrances will be incorporated with others into the novel (Ivy Green ) about college in the early 60s.

To learn about the novels in the series (high school, college, Vietnam, Woodstock, Reunions) click on this link stories-we-can-tell.

To buy Reunions as an e-book, click on e-book for Kindle readers and tablets.  To buy Reunions as a paperback, click on Amazon. If you like to buy/order books from Barnes & Noble or Books-a-Million, you can order the book from them by providing the title (Reunions), author name (Caradoc) and ISBN number (1490405356).

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Thanks for your stories. David deCalesta, writing as David S. Caradoc

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