As you may recall, my last column dealt with tidbits gleaned from my 27-year-old pledge book, and my efforts, if that's the word I want, to get brothers' signatures. I brightened your dreary lives with tales of the 18-year-old laggard, Dik, who relied on inner strength to survive the arduous pledging ordeal, an inner strength known colloquially as 'forgery'. I told of drunkenly waking Chris Klyne '78 at dawn in an attempt to get him to sign it, and of how he not only refused, but muttered something about signing it when donkeys fly. After writing that column, on a whim I went to his office at the Cornell ROTC building, turned the crackly yellow pages to his picture, and he signed it. He also wrote that I was more than a quarter century late, and that he was obliged to inform my pledge master, Andy Henderson '78, and that I would have to suffer the consequences. Then he took me to his beautiful home where his lovely and lively wife, Jill, blessed us with her presence for a few hours. I hereby take back all of the ugly things I said about Chris over the years, except the one about his mother and the bucket of squid. I like that one.
Matt Schiff '79 wrote to remind me that I still owe him from the all-afternooner we pulled trying to get me ready for a government exam. I reminded him that the reason he was hanging around was because I had a case of Hopin' Gator in the icebox, and in any event, his help was less than useless, given that, as it turns out, Jimmy Carter had not made a secret deal to sell uranium to the pope. I blame Matt for the fact that my diploma is inscribed "released on his own recognizance".
In the "whatever happened to" department, Mike Schadle '79 is a famous fish expert (aquarium) and fish auctioneer. If you are nodding knowingly, remembering Mike's love of fish during his undergraduate career in biology, you should know that you are experiencing an acid flashback, as Mike loved beer during his spotty undergraduate career in the College of Engineering. Anyway, aquarium hobbyists flock to meet him at fish conventions. His day job is running his business, a store and mail-order concern that deals in fish books. Mike is on the fish speakers circuit, but instead of chicken, the dinners feature - I swear this is true - fish. I looked at pictures of some of the fish Mike collects; he calls them by their Latin names, but we know them better as "bait." Speaking of which, Ken Lauricella '79, Bob Montione '80 and I were fishing for blues in Long Island Sound once and I discovered what live bait fish taste like, namely salty and wiggly.
In February Paul Barresi, Jeff Lowe, Brett Sylvester and I gathered at my house for an evening of reminiscing. We talked about Yaz, Yaz' mother, Bill Gossman, Casey Sayre, Paul Wessel, Bill Dinan, Yaz' mother, and others. Brett now has two young children, but still managed to use multi-syllabic words in the proper context while eating with a fork.
Brad Garrigues sent some old pictures, including one of me when I was rushing the house in 1976. As I recall, Dave Noice was in charge of showing me the fuse box, an incident famous in Pike lore for being the only time such a tactic failed to dissuade a rushee. What a costly mistake it was for you guys not to have an uglier fuse box. I blame Gibber.
Chas Horvath '80 writes that he was sorry to hear of Kurt Dodd's death: "I enjoyed Kurt's company and considered him a person that was a friend to all the brotherhood. This is another painful reminder not to take old or new friends for granted. On a much less somber note, my family and I attended a week of Adult University at Cornell last summer and it was a great vacation. Boy, did it bring back memories to be wandering to class with a backpack. It also rained the whole week without a break."
Brian Pickerall sent a Kurt Dodd story:
I come from a long line of Navy ROTCs, including Tom Berg and Chris Klyne. As you no doubt remember, pledge paddles were a rite of passage to brotherhood. Tom Berg '80 was my big brother, and Chris Klyne '78 was his big brother. While I don't remember why, I do remember that Brother Klyne was occasionally around the Pike Lodge during Spring of '79. I was given explicit instructions from big big bro Chris to make sure my gift to Brother Berg was as big a piece of crap as what Chris got from Tom, namely a wooden submarine crudely hacked from a piece of firewood, with pennies serving as missile silos. This was a tough order to fill, until we realized that we could do even better and make sure Tom got exactly the same piece of crap from me. This took a fair amount of logistics to arrange, but the submarine made its way from Long Island to the dorm room of Chris' sister in Binghamton. As the deadline for delivery closed in, good Bro Kurt consented to drive me to Binghamton to pick up the submarine - I think he wanted to antagonize Berg as much as Klyne did! The look on Brother Berg's face was priceless - certainly worth the time I spent standing 'in position'.
I will be collecting more Kurt Dodd stories during Kurt's 25th class reunion, and will report in the Fall issue. Stay tuned.