A Few Memories
I'll list a few memories. I can't remember names as well anymore and spelling of names may need to be fixed.
I remember our House Mother, Mrs. Sadie Henderson, and how very nice she was to all of us. She was much more than nice in that she cared about us and took an interest in our lives, our development as students/scholars.
I remember the many "song pactices" that we had. To this very day, when I hear the Navy Hymn it brings back memories of how many times we practiced that piece in preparation for a singing competition with other fraternities. I recall the many times we visited sorority houses to serenade when a brother got pinned, or more often, just to offer our music to the lovely young ladies...surely our motives extended beyond offering music.
Who was our song leader? I can picture him but I can't recall his name as I write this.. Anyway it was quite a show to have him hypnotize Bill Ball and others. I remember how he could take Bill back in time and asked him, as a five year old, to write his name and Bill would PRINT in the style of a child...Billie Ball. He could make Bill so stiff that he (Bill) would be be suspended between two chairs and a person could sit on his waist, midway between the chairs, without him
bending. Also, lost of other things...as in make him laugh, sing, frown, do jumping-jacks, etc.
I remember my own initiation/hell wek and the things that happened. As I ran to the house, I fell and tore a hole in a new suit (the first one I ever owned) just given tome by my brother Jack who had mailed it from Japan. We were required to wear a suit as we came to the the house to start the hell week process. Hell week was the darnest week I ever spent and memories of that week rmain to this day. I recall such things as each pledge contribute to filling a container with urine, and then that liquid, replaced, without our knowledge, with salty vinegar and tossed all over us in the pig pen. Other cute tricks included having us blindfolded and reach into a clean "john", pick up a peeled banana and take a bite, rolling out 10 feet or so of toilet paper and put one end on our tounges and 5 or 6 pledges would compete to see who could be the first to pull all the paper into their mouths without the use of hands and fingers. Also, we each had to respond to an active who would say "What am I famous for?" and we were expected to rip them to shreads. I remember to this day my response to Tom Wetzel and could repeat every word of it but it is not printable. It starts "You are famous for being a little, low down, dirty, rotten, ____ eating, ____ licking, etc., from (N-word) Balls, New York. The brothers were in disbelief at the three or four lines I directed at Tom but I must have had Twenty or more requests to repeat it! The very next year they put me in charge of hell week...and I confess, I was a little too harsh on the pledges...push-ups, verbal harassment, etc. It was not out of line by the standards of the day, but never-the-less, it is the area where I would do it differently...give them more study time, make fewer demands, make it less physical, but still have a memorable week... and ablolutely NO paddling or physical contact.
Another item that comes to mind: I remember, Tom Wetzel & Tom Freeman especially, and many others, who wanted our fraternity to be viewed in a positive light on campus...stress the academic, support each other, be gentlemen, care about the University, and enjoy our social life without excess. In short, encourage each of us to conduct ourselves so as to enhance the image on campus of Pi Kappa Alpha and its members.
My big brother was Tom Pitzenberger. We had an excellent friendship. He was helpful more thatn a few times in getting me a date, pushing me to get a date on my own, or giving good advice on one thing or another. I was delighted to be a big brother to Larry Cobb, a wonderful friend from high school days, who went on to be President of our chapter, a professor at Glenville State, and a professor and administrator at Slippery Rock. Larry Cobb was one of the finest young men I've ever known...period. I recall liking every one of my fraternity brothers and I had a close friendship with several...Jim Eberhart, Larry Cobb, Jerry McComas, Andy Barrett, Rich Hopkins, and a dozen or so more.
The parties we had meant a lot to me for I was rather shy and it was good that we had to get a date for certain affairs or else be fined one dollar. It forced me to get a date, I remember the many dances and socializers at the house and the nice ladies I dated. Our house on Campus Drive was an old frame house which we were eager to replace by a nice new house on fraternity row but that came several years later. The Pi Kappa Alpha Cahpter as it existed during my time at WVU will always hold the very best of memories. When I return to the WVU campus, I always make a point of seeing the downtown campus and Campus Drive.