I vividly remember one period that upon entering the front door of the House we were greeted by the pleasant smell of a bakery. As I recall, it was the handiwork of Don Switzer, who was trying his hand at brewing in the basement. It turned out pretty well even though there were some occasional explosions of his masterpieces.
Another incident I will never forget (except for who was behind it) was the Ford spark coil “attention getter” someone brought from home one year. They put two very thin wires across the seat of one of the folding wooden chairs in the living room and hid in the dining room waiting for a likely victim. After classes when the living room filled, we could hardly keep straight faces when the next latecomer came into the House and was probably thinking how lucky he was that there was an empty seat left in the room. Most of the unsuspecting victims lifted about a foot off the chair when the perpetrator put the juice to the coil. It was great sport.
During one period of time, the campus police would patrol around the stadium and give parking tickets to those unfortunate brothers who happened to park in the little stadium lot across the street from the House. I think it was Don Skidmore who happened to acquire a n unused ticket form from the Pittsburgh police department. One spring day when we were sitting around on the front porch, one of the campus cops came by looking for parking violators. The cop got out of his car to check something in the stadium and like a flash, Skidmore ran down to the cop’s car, filled in his license plate number on the ticket and put it on the windshield facing in. The cop came back, got in the car and very, very slowly drove up past the front of the House where we all sat with big grins on our kissers. He would not give us the satisfaction of seeing him remove the ticket. He just left it on the windshield as he gave us a steely-eyed stare.
One fond memory was the monthly visits of The Tie Salesman. He used to lug his big suitcases up the front stairs t arrive just as we were all finishing dinner. It was great service to be able to shop from your own living room, even though it was a bit of a scramble sometimes.
You probably remember Jimmy, the owner of the popular snack shop over by the Men’s Dormitory. I cannot remember the name of it, but I remember it was always filled. One day we heard that Jimmy was having an operation…he was having his sweater removed. I do not think I ever saw him without that sweater.
I remember we had a piano in the basement, and one night Warren Edwards decided to jazz it up a bit. We heard him playing what sounded like a rinky-tinky piano from a Western bar. We asked him what he did to the piano. He said he simply stuck thumbtacks in all the strikers. It worked great.
For those who remember the days of Civil Defense in the 50’s, you might remember “640, 1240 Conrad” Wiley. For the younger folks, the Civil Defense agency had a jingle on the radio of “640, 1240 Conalrad” which was supposed to remind us to tune our AM radios to either 640 or 1240 on the dial to get the latest information in case of a ballistic missile attack. I do not remember what Conalrad stood for, probably something like “Continental Alert Radio”, but it was a fun way to greet Conrad when he came in from class.
Then there was the most cheerful guy in the mornings, Hugh Guthrie. He used to come downstairs singing “Hugh, Hugh, Hugh, I’m in love with Hugh”.
I remember the evening of our class hell night when the Actives treated the Pledges to an elegant spaghetti dinner in the basement. Is I recall, we had our wrists all tied to a long bamboo pole so we could practice eating in unison. In case we got the hang of it, there was always an Active ready to give the pole a bit of a shake about when the spaghetti was ready to go down the hatch.