Just archiving a few odds and ends from Speak Up. 

*Ronit links a piece on Arnold Bernhard ’25.

Bernhard was born in 1901, the son of Jewish immigrants—a Romanian mother and an Austrian cigar-and-coffee merchant. Raised in Hoboken, New Jersey and Brooklyn, young Arnold left military school to study English at Williams College. A Phi Beta Kappa grad, he landed a prestigious journalism job as theater critic for Time. Prestige or not, the pay was the pits. So he doubled as critic for The New York Post and syndicated his own column while courting his high school sweetheart and wife-to-be with free Broadway shows (that he later reviewed).

*Parent ’12 finds a NY Times piece on the “$2.5 million restoration of the Taconic Golf Club:

The club has long been one of the respected collegiate courses. The site, first designed for golf in 1896, is noteworthy for the subtleties and the severity of its greens and the clever strategies required to play it effectively from the fairways and the tees.

*And last, but not least, PTC tells the story of the night he and his buddies (fellow jocks from Boston U) unknowingly took on the Boston College hockey team. 

Friday night, hockey fight

There was this deal I had, back in the day, the setting is 1988 working in one of the Boston “Fathers” bars. The deal was a dollar for any drink at any bar within the chain throughout the city. There were nine of them, scattered around the various neighborhoods. Fathers First in Allston, Fathers Too near Fenway, Father Four in Central Square Cambridge (the one that I worked), Fathers Five over the Mass Ave bridge from Cambridge into Boston, The Bow and Arrow Pub in Harvard Square, The Tam in the combat zone, the Beacon Hill pub, Sullivan’s Tap near the Garden, and May Ann’s up near Boston College. This particular evening, we were headed out to Mary Ann’s, because of a buddy of ours, Pat, a shot putter for the track team who we were traveling with, was looking to meet a friend there. It was me, Pat, Richie, and Pat, three Wrestlers and a shot putter. So anyhow, we headed to Mary Ann’s to soak dollar drinks and check out the local flavor. Typical college jock stuff.

The bars of the Fathers chain had a particular feel, dark wood dirty floors… like the old Purple pub had (for Ephblog readers reference), standard cardboard posters advertising the latest specials like “Knickerbockers beer, one dollar”. The bars tops were wooden, that kind of darker cherry color gloss, with a black backsplash sloping ridge. The places were poorly lit. A lot of neon and red light stuff, pinball machine lights, lights for the dart boards, that kind of thing. So there I sat, drinking my dollar absolute White Russian, looking at the scene before me, smiling and taking it all in, Friday night college jock stuff.

The place was well packed. This bar was one of those kinds of crescent deals that encompass a large floor area. The Bar spread from the back wall, out onto the floor, and then turning back to the back wall. It was about 35 feet across from one end to the other end of the bar, with the main entrance right near the back wall corner I was sitting on, and the back entrance on the far end of the crescent, where the bar ended back against the same back wall. I was sitting near the entrance, on the near end of the start of the crescent. I sat, looking across the crescent, checking out the scene of packed ruckus and standard college kind of townie blend like flavor that I had come to know and love in these dives within the chain where I had been working and drinking for the past 3 years.

The music was moderately loud, the crowd lively, and then I noticed it. Not a big deal at first… but something over there, at the far opposite end of the bar, near the rear (other) entrance. A small commotion. I looked around for friends, but none in sight, so I sat, and kind of watched as the bodies shoved and pushed like rugby players in a scrum. It was dimly lit, and crowded, and I could not see those involved in the altercation all so well, but I did notice that back door swinging open and shutting, as people were pushed in and out, to and fro.

Then slowly, almost slow motion, methodical kind of, it started heading my. I actual remember thinking in my mind… “Man, it looks like this thing is headed my way”. The commotion bled from the far end of the crescent to the far curve, the ever so slowly, on through the crowd in the middle of the bar crescent, bleeding its way around the bar right to where I sat, drinking my dollar White Russian.

The force of the brawl swept me out that near door where I sat like a crashing wave. And there I was, my dear friends of Ephblog, in the melee, middle of the damn street, throwing down with multiple people and wondering… “Man, what the hell happened?”

Where were my friends… hmmm, there was one. The shot putter, Pat, was picked up horizontal by a crowd near the sidewalk, a rather precarious position, like a person who had just done a stage dive. I tried working my way towards him, but he fell before I could make it to him, he crawled under a small Toyota to avoid several of the gamers who were kicking him in the head. I kept repeating to self… “ok, keep your feet.” (Those of you blogging here who have been in this kind of confused mob brawl will know what I am talking about. You kind of square off against the closest on rusher, to avoid that direct shot that busts your nose, but you get those “white flashes”, from the folks hitting you in the back of the head.) Then started the chorus of the screaming female college women “stop, stop, stop”, the swearing brawlers “you’re dead you bastard”… ah yes! And then, it fell out. It stopped.

It fell out, and there we were. Me, Pat Rich and Pat, all standing on the far side of the street, looking at a rather angry mob. Pat the shot putter looked a little worse for wear. He had been struck a number of times… nothing broken it did not look like, but he as definitely lumped up. We looked into a sea of unknown faces, on the other end of the street across from the bar, separated by the road, directly at the angry rant of the mob and the females in their presence, back into the fight chorus “stop stop stop”, and “you’re dead you bastard.”

Then, busting through the crowd like it was a movie (and I am not kidding) came who I instantly knew, must have been the main instigator of all this. He was bleeding profusely from his forehead and he looked directly at my buddy Richie and yelled “there he is!” In a rather thick Boston accent. Full speed he ran at Richie crossing the road to our location. Richie dropped, quick double leg takedown, took a position of dominance and proceeded to strike the instigator several times in the face, before the crowd overwhelmed the action again… and once again, that mad crowd melee, except this time more focused, definitely concentrated on us, and the flashes were more pronounced, as were the numbers I squared off against for quick triage like action, trying to get to my buddy to pull the mad mob off, and bring him to his feet. “Keep your feet, keep your feet” I kept thinking to myself. Not a natural instinct for a wrestler, but the only real way to survive this kind of mob action without some serious injuries.

The Pats and myself managed to clear the mob off Richie, with some effort, (in fact reflecting back on it, we looked like guys clearing a luggage cart) gather ourselves a little further down the street, still looking back at the angry mob. We began walking slowly at first, setting defensive positions and making a couple of quick stands, hit and runs as we retreated. Man, these fellas were angry! Who were these guys?

The crowd slowly dissipated as we put more distance between ourselves and the original action, and the girlfriends pulled boyfriends by coats, ranting near cars as they loaded their boys up and hauled them off. When it was just us, and a couple hard line followers, who were tipping over trash cans in the street as they gave walking pursuit, we turned on back, liking the odds a little better… but I guess they did not, because they split. It was over.

A block or two later, a lone straggler followed, shadowing us on the other side of the street. Not one of the fighters… he had a different way about him. A different gate, kind of a nerdy looking dude, obviously a college student likes us… so we stopped and looked at him.

“Hey,” he half yelled from across the street, “you guys Wrestlers from Boston University?”

“What about it”, my buddy Pat asked and nodded.

“Nothing,” he replied, “you just fought the Boston College hockey team.”

We walked off, back to an apartment a couple of the guys were living in (no real dorm life in city schools, guys live on the economy). We continued to drink and talk about the events of the evening, while putting Ice and the shot putters head. He has quite a few lumps and bruises, Pat the wrestler had a black nose, but it was not busted. Relatively speaking, considering the odds, we had made out pretty good.

It was Beanpot season. The next evening, Boston College played Harvard on TV, live, and we watched. There they were. The defense player who got socked in the eye, the forward who I squared off with for a period of time in the street, and then, when he raised the mask, the goalie, the team captain who had run through the crowd yelling at Richie. That captain looked a little worse for wear, I guess he had ended up in a rather precarious spot between a door jam and a closing door, with Richie holding the handle, on the far end of the bar, where it all started.

I do believe the moment that the door was being closed on this young captains head was when I noticed the original commotion in Mary Ann’s that night, as a sat and drank my White Russian on the opposite end of the bar crescent and thought, “man, it looks like this thing is headed my way.”

 

Facebooktwitter
Print  •  Email