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Friday, January 18, 2013


While I delivered the mail during the summer of 1955, Carol worked as a counselor at Camp With The Wind in Pennsylvania. We'd talk once a week  I'd called at a prearranged time the number she had given me of a pay phone .She was always waiting for the Monday night call, and we'd discuss the week's events. On one of those calls, she advised me that she was moving out of the River Road dorm to Mrs. Coleman's, a boarding house on 17th street, around the corner from the AEPi house. When we weren't in classes, we'd spend alone time in the basement of the rooming house until the 10 p.m. weekday curfew, and then, we'd spend an hour or so  talking on the phone. Neither of us can remember what we talked about, but we sure had a lot to say. Carol was a Fine Arts major with a great fashion sense, which she still has. A typical question she'd asked me is, "You're going to wear that shirt with those pants?"

Working at The Lantern had sucked big chunks of time out of my schedule, so we anxiously awaited the weekend, when we'd go to the movies or out drinking at Larry's, our favorite pub. One of my roommates, Jack  Kerxton, who resembled Fred Astaire, was our resident lyricist for Greek Week skits. One year he wrote the following lyrics to "It's Good Old Reliable Nathans" from "Guys and Dolls": " For it's good old reliable Larry's,  Larry's Larry's, the spot, where  the beer is 3.2, and your thoughts become clear, you can learn a lot over a bottle of beer." (Ohio's drinking age in those days was 21 for beer with 7% alcohol content. 18-year-old's could only drink 3,2%.) Jack became one of the leading architects in Washington D.C.. He and his bride-to-be, Cookie Chernock,  were friendly with seven other couples who met at OSU and married after graduation. A number have passed away, but there was not one divorce in the bunch, at least up to now There must have been something  in the Columbus water that kept us all together..
After the football season, I gave Carol my fraternity pin. In those days, "getting pinned" was a pre-engagement ritual. Realizing that she had nabbed the "guy of her dream", she made the decision to leave OSU and finish up in New York City at the Tobe Coburn School for Fashion Careers. The school made women out of girls and required them to wear hats and gloves to school. She later worked at Vogue Magazine, then wrote copy for Franklin Simon, a NYC department store. Several years later, when I was publishing  in the beauty salon industry, I got her a gig writing copy for Foote,  Cone & Belding, the ad agency that handled the Clairol salon advertising account.

Knowing that she was leaving, I made a decision to graduate a quarter early. With  the heavy  schedule in my first quarter and proficiency credits in math, I needed eight credits in the summer and just 15  credits in the fall quarter of 1956 I remained sports editor for the football season for the income, which averaged $200 a week.  After I graduated, my first job paid on $65 per week  My next post will cover my relationship with Woody Hayes and the '56 football season. . In the meantime, Jack Kerxton and I collaborated on writing the spring Greek Week skit, a spoof of the off Broadway show, "The Boy Friend", which was itself a spoof. of the 1920;s. That show was the debut of Julie Andrews.

No remembrance of my time at Ohio State would be complete without recounting the pranks we pulled on Mrs. G, our housemother, who I mentioned a couple of days ago. Esther Goldsmith was a retired school teacher. She was a bright woman, who we estimated to be about 60 years old. She loved bridge, but most of us rued playing with her as a partner. One day in the middle of a game, she got a phone call from Aunt Fran, the housemother of the AEPhi  sorority. Herb Herling, a huge guy about 6'4", suggested we set up the cards and give her the best hand possible, with every ace, king and queen. I was her partner, and she picked her cards, her hands trembling more than they usually did. She always counted the points in her hand, moving her lips as she did. Her partner always knew how strong a hand she had. When she finally counted to 37, she jumped up and shouted, "Seven no's a lay down." She was so excited, she left the table to call Aunt Fran and report the unbelievably unlikely hand.  As she exited, we all were laughing hysterically. It wasn't that we were being mean. We were just college kids amusing ourselves..

Mrs. G also had a habit of digging in the house's sofas for loose change that came out of our pockets. Because we all knew she was prospecting for coins, each day we hide a roll of pennies behind the cushions. She never caught on, but we could all hear the pennies jingling in the apron she wore. Another prank involved The Columbus Citizen, which had a daily anagram. Three copies of the paper were delivered at 4 p.m. Mrs. G,   Herb, and I competed every day to find the solution, and she always won."How can we beat her?", we asked  each other. One day we figured it out. We bought a copy of the paper at 1 p.m. at the newsstand and one of us would decode the puzzle and pass along the answer. We began completing the puzzle before she did, and she couldn't understand why the tide had turned so dramatically.Then Herb made a fatal mistake. He was taking a speech course and used our pranks as fodder for his talk. He was rewarded with peals of laughter from his audience and earned an "A" on his presentation. He had a record of the speech, and one day a group of us gathered in the den to listen to him recount each prank. We were all hysterically laughing and didn't notice Mrs. G come in to the room. She ignored us for nearly a month but she did have a sense of humor. Eventually, she told us, "Okay, you got me".