Last night I had a recurring dream; not the one where you are taking an exam and don’t know any of the material1, (let alone realizing you have no clothes on), nor the "I never really graduated" one, but the "I haven’t finished the term paper and time is running out" one.2 Tom Sporney’s caution that the deadline for the Beta Theta Data is May 1st spurred the dream.
Last fall when I came back for Homecoming I brought some artifacts from my days as an undergraduate member of the House. I also promised that I would write an explanation of their significance. Well time flies - faster and faster as you get older and older. So here it is May.
I brought back and left a picture of the 1968 Spring Party, a 1968 souvenir of the 100th anniversary PKA convention in Richmond (set in hard plastic), and 6 inch aluminum pledge badge hanging from a red ribbon. The picture is self-explanatory which is a good thing since you can tell from the looks on our faces that we probably remembered little at that point. The convention memento is equally self-explanatory except it came at a point when we were gingerly having closer contact with National - and may even have gotten an award for most improved or at least not giving them the jitters as much. (We gave more jitters afterward anyway but that’s for another day or for someone else to step up and tell).
But the aluminum pledge badge does deserve more of an explanation. The Pledge Class of 1966 was the first and only class to receive it. It came to each of us in a rather rough hewn form, having been cut out by some brothers with access to saws, aluminum blanks and other equipment on the Engineering Quad. The pledge class was 25 - but a few guys had wimped out earlier complaining that pledging obligations and pledge raids were taking them away from their studies. Still there must have been at least 20 of us left. We were presented the badges at a meeting and told we had to file and smooth them to the proper angled shape and buff them to a mirror shine. We also had to wear them around our necks whenever we were in the House. It was hard work to get the edges straight and the surface polished.
It turns out that is was even harder work to cut the things out to start with!! I recall Jim Schatz and Dave Schwenker telling us after initiation just how difficult the task was.
Someone from their class will have to fill in these details because I don’t know just how the idea came up or who was part of the job of cutting them out. Needless to say it didn’t happen again. So you have a unique (except for the others in circulation) item.
Oh. Our class was also the first one to get the "shield" position - courtesy of some busybody visiting brother from a southern chapter. I think the "diamond" position came a year later. Lincoln logs anyone?
1 I had far too many of those experiences, sitting up late in the Green Room (now no longer green) reading and then through the closed curtains hearing the early morning birds chirping "too laaate, tooo laaaate, tooo laaaate". I still hate the sound of early morning birds.
2 I took a course last semester Senior year which was a seminar of some of the best History department students, mostly Juniors, and me. Our only grade was to be from a paper. I picked "Appropriate American Foreign Policy In East Asia Following The End Of The Viet Nam War." As time to finish the paper was running close the professor told me I had to get mine in a week early since he had to submit a grade for me so that I wouldn’t have an incomplete (and no diploma presumably). Well this did nothing for my composure. I was already at page 50 and nowhere near the end - or even middle. He agreed to put in an S with the proviso that I would, after graduation, finish my paper and submit it for a grade.
Because of the Willard Straight disturbances many classes now had the option of an S/U grade - or numerical if wanted. Of course the students in this class all wanted the number since they all had high averages: they were the ones who would drop "Weltanschauung" and "Gesellschaft" into their discussions. I also would have liked the number and continued working on my paper even after the ceremony. But then I started hearing about the grades the prof was giving the other papers, mostly Cs. My work stopped. These students were outraged and it was screwing their averages. I felt no outrage, just Schadenfreude.
Some time later I tossed out the big box of index cards and the paper. The war ran on for years anyway and I doubt that Nixon would have read my paper.
The Pike Alumni have been pretty busy during '07-'08. We certainly appreciate the incredible Homecoming turnout, the strong contributions, all the renovations/house improvements, the support for our Pikes-in-NY-for-Cornell-Hockey Night and the general sense of renewed enthusiasm. Next up: we're going to rock it again with the an official Pike House Reunion party (see below for details) and prepare for the '08/'09 academic year.
Would you like to help? We'd love to have you more involved - either at on-campus events or Pike happenings in your local area. Contact me directly at email@example.com . We've got lots ideas & plans, and we're "just getting started" (even though we're fat, bald and middle-aged)!
Join the brothers of Pi Kappa Alpha for our 2008 Reunion Happy Hour, Saturday June 7th. We’ll be showcasing the recent renovations, including the Hugh S. Gibbs Memorial Library and the Chapter Room upgrade. Our wine and cheese Happy Hour will feature New York State Wines and traditional Pike Singing! All are welcome - be sure to bring the kids too! Saturday 4 to 6pm.
Any questions- contact Ed Catto .
Cornell Reunion 2008 activities
Remember those shrill cries of PLEDGE RAIDDDD? Well you can relive those times at Homecoming 2008. This is a call to the classes of ‘67, ‘68, ‘69 and ‘70 (and other classes wanting to join in) for a pledge raid on the House. We can all meet in U Hall 6 (actually not, since it has been squashed under a huge new dorm complex which is much, much nicer). Anyway, bring lock picks, they’ve got much fancier locks now at the House. No surgical tape - that still isn’t O.K. Figure on hitting them Thursday night around 3 A.M. when they won’t be expecting us yet. That old element of surprise.
Vino Fino will be served ("Tastes as good coming up as it did going down" as Julius said). Ellen’s pseudoburgers won’t be on the menu. Or her bread pudding, or those brick-hard greasy pork chops with the orange pool of oil surrounding them. But we can improvise.
So make your plans and spread the word. Games of Polish Chess also on the agenda. See if the guys there now are smarter than we are/were (they are). Anyone out there with memories of what pledge raids were like or about pledging and life in the House are requested to send them to this column. All this sort of history tends to be lost in the mists of time (which is about 5 years from when you graduated) so the House really is like a prehistoric culture - no written records of the past. Help them out. Send in your memories (and cash would be nice too). The place looks great and Turkey Coop is gone. Your picture may even be on the wall - many are.
Sign up now.
Doug Surine '70
Dick Carrington '69
VisitIthaca.com lodging search 26-28Sep08
Cornell Homecoming 2008 activities
Go to Updated Alumni Notes
Chris Reading '90 & twin Eric are winding up an 8-stop Tour 4 Cure to benefit the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.
Dave Cook '89 caught The Readings in concert in NYC. Says "They were awesome! Check out thereadings.net to see how Toph looks. Not bad for 40, but I think he's got make up on and wearing a girdle."
"It's funny how, as you become a grumpy old man in training, you realize all the little lessons you learned from the Pikehouse -- no I am not talking about how to break into the kitchen to make pasta at 3AM or do shots of Uncle Jack in Nest with innumerable biddees."
"But with three young kids, I realize that life as a Pike gave me a very high tolerance for chaos. This comes in handy with a 4½ year old girl and 20 month old twin boys. I have also set a new life goal: I will be a successful dad if my daughter goes to Cornell but never attends a Room 9 Beatles party and my sons attend and are in charge of them. How's that for a double standard?"
"Life is good in the ATL. Come visit! Jeff Lowe '86 and his lovely bride of 18 years Maribeth came. Though I am not sure she will ever make a return visit after she a had dinnerful of socially objectionable conversation with me. My wife was there too but she is used to rolling her eyes. Lowie was amused, which I think only annoyed MB even more. ZuLu had fun!"
"Just ran my 12th marathon last weekend with virtually no training. I survived but I have definitely had better performances."
"Drop a line!"
Ed Catto '85 is featured as one several 'recession B-school graduates' in a recent issue of Business Week . Chow muses "Everything I learned was from Cornell. I mostly slept thru classes in graduate school."
Not being one to brag, Warren Kurtzman '87 shows up as a media gigolo as well, representing Coleman Insights on the Fox Business Network and the New York Times .
One dark and rainy day many decades ago, a young and ambitious lad innocently walked along the hallowed paths on the perimeter of the Arts Quad when he was spotted by the marauding likes of Casey Sayre during Rush Week. Dragged down to the Pike Den of Iniquity, the poor soul's life would never be the same. Many years of debauchery followed. If only he had the clairvoyance to foresee that this Pied Piper of Impurity would one day calmly teach him the "rules", he may have thought better of the wisdom of his choice on that fateful day. Maybe instead, he has decided that he learned some important and hard lessons about the meaning of life, love and brotherhood and he therefore has no regrets.
It is good to hear that like so many others who have been spit out by the Big Red Machine and survived the Garnet and Gold House of the Rising Sun, what has not killed him, has made him stronger. He is Legend.
The Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail, Atlantis, the Lost Dutchman Mine, the Loch Ness Monster, Sasquatch, the Giant Squids, Emelia Earhart, D.B. Cooper, Jimmy Hoffa and DEAN-O . Cross one off the list.
... the V-man '83
Chuck Swensen '76 got married to Alix Barbey last August. Kurt Schau '76, Justus vonLengerke '75, Rich Sasson '76 & Joe Fiteni '76 attended and drained all his scotch. The house is now under construction to fit the kids.
Bernie Rosner '54 was featured in the alumni news of the fall 2007 Shield & Diamond.
His An Uncommon Friendship, co-authored with Frederic Tubach in 2001, recounts two very different lives during the Nazi regime. Bernie retired in 1993, and lives in San Ramon CA.
Robert Hastings '67 recently had the pleasure of receiving, on behalf of his firm, the 2007 Environment Award from the UK Energy Institute.
This year the Environment Award was granted to the Swiss firm AEU Ltd. of Wallisellen in recognition of its leadership of a highly successful project "Sustainable Solar Housing" of the International Energy Agency, SHC and ECBCS Programmes. Professor Hastings thanked the dedicated experts of the project; his employee, Daniela Enz; and sponsor, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy. The results of this teamwork have been presented in five books by three publishing houses. The main work is a two-volume reference book by Earthscan Publisher, London.
Neil Best '82 still plays tennis weekly with Mike McCoy '84, and regularly sees Paul Wessel '83.
"I recently had dinner at the Georgetown home of Dik Saalfeld '80 and his lovely wife, Kelley. Here is the weird part: Dik was late in arriving because he was busy at... WORK! No, really. What has become of us??"
"Thanks to Ed Catto '85 for all the work he did on the recent Cornell-BU hockey game at Madison Square Garden. It was great seeing so many Pikes there, including Ed, Paul Wessel, Kevin O'Connell, and my big bro Chas Horvath."
During a visit to Boston last March, John Peterson '83 had dinner with Rick Eno '82, Chas Horvath '81, Mark Martin '84, and Paul Barresi '84.
"I also spent a few days with Peter Mullin '83 in Minneapolis in July. Go Red Sox!."
After living in Connecticut and North Carolina, Lynn and Don Ogren '52 are now in a retirement community in Medford, Oregon, where they are both very active.
Don reports that, unfortunately, some news of the brothers from the early 1950's is not good. "Ron Moore '52 was recently in the hospital for a month and is now at home recovering from another stroke and other problems. His wife Shirley died several years ago. He told me in a recent email that Jim Baumann '53 is suffering from Alzheimer's and is in an assisted living facility, as Joyce could no longer provide for all his needs. I hear from Jim Garry occasionally, as he and Elinor divide their time between Huntington and Florida."
Peter Morris Crevi '63
July 25, 2007
David J. Rietz '60
March 31, 2007
|David died due to smoking-related illness & pneumonia complications. He was very proud to have belonged to your fraternity while at Cornell. David was a partner with United Architects of Bryn Mawr PA, father of 4, grandfather & loving husband.
- Cindy Rietz, spouse