It’s not easy being Big Green

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‘Nah. I take it back. It’s actually pretty sweet.’

Last weekend I got to catch up with Gouda and Crud and JookBock and Sex and The Mole. Because last weekend Dude Man and I went up to Hanover, NH, to attend his 50th reunion at Dartmouth College. Yes, folks, I said 50th.

Dude (circled) in the bosom of the Class of ’74, in front of Dartmouth Hall

It was very well-attended, especially by The Dude’s pack of pals, the aforementioned Gouda et al. Dude Man was in a fraternity there, once known as Kappa Kappa Kappa, or, affectionately, Tri-Kap, but renamed Kappa Pi Kappa a few years ago. Why? Just picture them attending intermural sporting events decked out in sweatshirts with KKK on the front.

A Big Green gaggle (Dude circled) in front of the once-called Kappa Kappa Kappa House. Look closely, and you’ll see one of them sporting a freshman beanie

There were other renamings that got most of the 50-year classmates’ heads spinning around. Like, not only did they stop calling the sports teams “Indians” and rename them “Big Green” (which I kind of understand), they also renamed the medical school the Geisel Medical School — after Theodor Geisel, the children’s book author. (Yes. A medical school named after Dr. Seuss.) I guess the Geisels gave them a ton of money. When this guy came up to us in one of the buffet lines soliciting class donations — “Hey! Let’s get the class to 100% participation!” — we asked how much money we’d need to give to rename the medical school — no, not the Dude Man Medical School (or even the Whitmore Medical School), but to put it back to what it was: the Dartmouth Medical School.

What Dude Man (circled) looked like as a frat boy

Other than griping about names, did we have fun? You betcha. You haven’t lived till you’ve seen Seventy-Somethings parading around in Dartmouth-green bedecked straw boaters. Why, some of the attendees, including Dude Man himself, dug out their freshman beanies for the occasion.

That’s the best shot I have of beanied Dude Man…seen walking ahead while pal Lex points out a shadow

Incidentally, as I’ve mentioned before, the Nickname Thing is a Dartmouth Thing. The Husband Known as “Dude” got his moniker because he wore a tie to the Freshman Mixer. (Not sure if he also wore his beanie.) The others got theirs in various colorful ways. “Gouda” because his mom sent him cheese. “The Mole” because his last name is Molinari. I don’t want to know how “Sex” got his. (That’s Sex and his long-suffering wife posing in front of the guys’ dorm in the photo at the top of this post.)

That’s Chee-Hee with Dude Man sporting (and holding) reunion merch

In case you’re wondering, not many guys — and it was all guys at Dartmouth till about halfway through Dude Man’s tenure there, when girls were admitted and dubbed “Cohogs” by the welcoming male student body — not many guys lived in the Tri-Kap house. There wasn’t room. The Dude and his roomie Sex lived in a dorm called Gile Hall (the doorway of which is pictured at the top of this post). Trust me, even though the rooms at Gile were teensy, they were worlds better than the accommodations at Tri-Kap. One of the other wives (hi, Susan!) couldn’t even go inside the frat, it was so junked-up and smelled so bad.

A couple of Tri-Kap wives seated in the only place one could sit with impunity: outside

Me, brave soul that I am, not only when into the frat house, I went down into the basement. Where, after countless beer pong games, your feet stick to the floor and your nostrils are assailed with an aroma equal parts beer, pee, and cake. (There was plenty of beer and pee; I’m not sure why the smell had cakelike topnotes, but it did.)

The rest of the place wasn’t much better. There was another 50th reunion attendee who oversaw the renovation of the Tri-Kap house a few years ago who wandered around going “Oh noooooo!” and shaking his head from side to side in wonder at the destruction and disorder. If Kappa Kappa Kappa wasn’t the model for Animal House (It was Alpha Delta), well, it should have been.

Dude, sporting his reunion straw boater, with a few other intrepid guests inside the frat house. That’s the moaning man in the background

Speaking of “Goats,” Roger Federer (Greatest Of All Time, in my opinion as well as many others) was the commencement speaker. The whole Class of ’74, spouses included and topped with those Class Straw Boaters, was supposed to lead the graduation procession. Dude Man and I were game — and thrilled to see Fed speak — but we woke Sunday morning to rain. Not just a sprinkle, either. It was coming down in proverbial buckets.

Me, not in the rain in a graduation processional

So we scored some Starbucks, and watched the rain come down on Occom Pond, right outside the window of the gorgeous house that one of Dr. Dude’s patients loaned us for the weekend. 

Thank you, Dartmouth, for a terrific Reunion Weekend. Sorry I didn’t keep my straw boater.

New York City. June 2024

 

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4 thoughts on “It’s not easy being Big Green

  1. That looks like such a fun time! Mr. NOA was also a frat boy, and I, a sorority girl when we met in the late 80’s. I remember those sticky floors and stench from those big old Greek houses!

  2. Ruth Meisenheimer

    Please tell Wayne that I am always thankful for the recommendation he gave me for an eye surgeon. My vision is very good!! I think Dr. Grand even enjoyed checking on his work every year.

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