Recollection from Brother Donald MacKay ’62

The front door (like the Open Visor) was always open; there was no combination lock to enter.  Directly ahead as you entered was the House Mother’s room.  (‘Mom Morton’).  DUs who brought girl guests into the house would first introduce their date to Mom Morton if she was available.

Mom Morton acted as a mom and her presence kept a ‘calm,’ house during the evenings.  Women were ‘allowed’ on the first floor, including the Senior Suite, but not in the upper floors.  Facing the house mother’s door and walking to the right was the “Senior Suite’– composed of three or four rooms for seniors only.  Those rooms would also be for the officers of the fraternity. The brothers wanted to live in the house.

In the living room, the glass cases were filled with DU sports trophies.  The fireplace was wood burning. Oak had the best smell.  Logs burning in the fireplace reminded me of home–in Connecticut at that time.  The TV room (well attended at night) was next to the living room TV channels ended their daily broadcasts with the National Anthem.

The third floor included a common area for sleeping (rows of lower and upper bunks; and a common area for showers; there was no privacy.  We had a ‘Wake Up’ board–posted with 15-minute time intervals throughout the day.  If an active wanted to be awakened at a certain time, he would hang his name tag on the hook for the requested time.  A pledge would then wake the active up, with instructions to either (1)  just wake him up or (2) make sure his feet were on the floor.  A pledge was a pledge for months, not weeks.

The ‘new’ room under the front porch was our party room; lit only by candles. The Indian party and the Toga party were always big hits.  The large room adjacent to the party room was also for socializing and DU meetings.  The ‘weight room’ was our ‘make out’ room; draped and totally dark–and lined with couches.

The dining room was single purposed; to provide sitting for the brother’s meals.  Many of us who needed the funds became waiters serving meals to the brothers. The reward was free chow.  Lunch was casual; dinner was formal to the extent of a tie and white shirt.  Many of us wore ties from our father’s collections in the 40s; three to four inches wide and the gaudiest we could find.  Late at night, the ‘Sangy Man’ food truck would stop by selling hamburgers, cheeseburgers, French fries, and ice cream. 


Thankfully, the DU Puddle Pull is still a campus favorite.  However, it’s unfortunate the ‘puddle’ aspect is missing.  Back then, we would dig a ditch measuring about 3 feet deep, four feet wide, and ten feet long– then fill it with water.  As I have been told, the risk of liability was the (wimpish IMO) reason the water aspect was eliminated; too bad.

Miami students were large consumers of ‘3.2’ beer.  The most popular bars were The Purity and The College Inn.  ‘Also rans’ were Al and Larry’s; and Mac and Joe’s.  In the alley opposite Mac and Joe’s was The College Inn and it had a door connecting to The Purity which also had frontage on High Street.  Jazz trios would play Sunday afternoons at the Purity.

No cars were permitted; everyone walked everywhere.  However, some students did manage to hide their cars in private garages.  Others were even more creative and produced (false) documents showing they were married (which allowed them to have a car).

Women had to be back in their dorms by a certain hour; perhaps 10 PM Sunday through Thursday, then maybe midnight on the weekends.

Serenading your girlfriend was an event carried out once a year on campus.  The brothers would stand outside the girl’s residence hall.  The girlfriend would appear and the brother would sing a romantic song for his girl–sometimes with the accompaniment of the brothers.

Most of us smoked regular cigarettes, but no one (can you believe?) did drugs or smoked ‘grass’.  Liquor was rare; beer was ‘the drink of choice’.

For me, the brotherhood with my fellow DUs was very strong; be it by working with them in an uptown bar, or as waiters in the DU dining room or studying with the brothers for the same exams. Brotherhood was also essential soon after we graduated and entered military service either through ROTC, the draft or enlistment. This was ‘the draft’ era of the Vietnam War where ‘All gave some. Some gave all.’  It is in remembrance of them, my fellow brothers in DU, and in the service that I offer and dedicate this recollection.

Brother Donald MacKay

Class of 1962

(USAF 1963-1969)

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