FaceBook  Twitter

The first few times I recall seeing The Old DC House was in the late 1950’s when I visited my big brother Mike “Magoo” McGuire '58 a few times to see football games with high school friends. He was a member at that time. We would drive to Ann Arbor on Saturday morning for the game, stay in the House that night and return to Hastings (about 100 miles west of Ann Arbor) on Sunday.

One of those occasions coincided with a pledge raid, which explained the well thought turmoil inflicted on the house during those early Sunday morning hours fifty-some years ago. The place seemed old, but homey and collegiate at the same time. It was on this same visit that I met “Baron Hienrick von Gyderick the Third”, usually addressed simply as Henry and other not-so-admirable names. He was a large dachshund, the current DC mascot and sprawled out about half way up the front inside stairway among Pledge Raid turmoil (mostly old biscuits from the pantry). At the end of the following semester Mike brought Henry to our parent’s cottage on Gun Lake (about 15 miles west of Hastings) for the summer and he stayed forever.

I graduated from high school in the spring of 1961 and entered the UM that fall. That same spring, Mike graduated from Michigan with a degree in Marine Engineering and Naval Architecture and went to work for Eaton’s in Marshal, Michigan. He performed design work on pumps and valves (which at least had some kinship with water) and in the process recorded several patents.

Upon my enrolment at Michigan, I was assigned to Huber House in South Quad where I lived during my first year of college life. I did not rush that fall, as I was intent on meeting the academic requirements at the university, which were quite high even some decades past. My primary source of entertainment that first fall was attendance of Wolverine football games at Michigan Stadium. Brother Mike, living only about seventy miles west and closely adjacent to I-94, attended the games also. On many of those occasions, he would later take me to dinner, primarily at the Old German for sauerbraten or Wiener schnitzel and German potato salad and dark bread. It was there that I probably met some old friends of his (Delta Chis from the late fifties, such as Barry Wood '61, Bill Thewalt '58, Tom French '57, etc.).

Later that first year, after football was already an old memory, was my second major recollection of the minister’s house at 1705 Hill Street. It was shortly before Christmas break in mid-December, a Friday I believe. (At that time, the University was on semesters and final exams were in January after Xmas vacation, not before it.) The elder Magoo appeared at my South Quad door and took me to a traditional stag gathering in the Old House basement “singing room” replete with a Gothic style table for sitting things, cups and mugs for drinking things, and long benches for seating things. I was exposed to my first experience of fraternal social life and enjoyed it.

I rushed several houses in the spring semester of 1962 and pledged Delta Chi shortly after being offered. This came after a brief consultation with Brother Mike who simply said, “If you think it’s a fit, go for it.” I went through Pledge training that spring and my designated “Big Brother” was Tim Curtin '64, a great role model then, successful lawyer later and friend to this day. I, along with several others, was initiated that spring in the Old House at 1705 Hill Street and lived there for most of the next four years until my graduation in 1996.

I remember study excursions to the UGLI, Grad Library, Old University Hospital, DC furnace room, my DC room, etc. I remember learning many new songs, and Dale "Pork" Bjorklund '67 trying to teach us to harmonize while he deftly pounded the piano keys. I remember playing cards (euchre, bridge and Horse Thief), watching TV, parties (tgs, toga parties, Pledge Formals), traying trips to the Arb., classes at North Campus, the Union, Diag and Hill Auditorium. I remember a group called “Peter, Paul and Mary”, a basketball player named Cazzie, a President being shot, a “wannabe president” named G. Wallace speak and a local entertainer named Washboard Willi sing. I remember expeditions to The Bighouse in coat and tie for football games and attending DC meetings and dinners dressed in the same garb (although I eventually worked my way up to at least two or three coats and ties). I remember junkets to the Pretzel Bell, Liberty Inn, and Freddy Flick’s – can’t remember why. I remember a guy called “F” (that’s how it’s spelled I think), playing The Great Pumpkin at the library. I remember a trip to the Horseshoe in Columbus to watch our Wolverines defeat OSU and the follow-up journey to the Rose Bowl out west as that same team easily won again – those trips had several of their own unique tales. But, most of all, I remember the boys, or young men, at 1705 Hill Street and how they all helped me to mature for life.

The love of my life, Donna, also from Hastings, though not a Michigan student, lived and worked in Ann Arbor from the fall of 1962 through the summer of 1964. As a result, she partook in many DC social events and met many future wives of Delta Chi Brothers. She shared an apartment for a school year (Fall 1963/Spring 1964 I believe) with a pretty and smart gal named Mary, who would become the future and current Mrs. Koenig. She also met friends Colleen Curtin, Judy Gandelot, Diane Kennedy, Mary Premo, Sherri Worth and Karen Baird. All the previous gals Donna met at DC functions during the early 1960’s and are, to my knowledge, the current spouses of the brothers mentioned.

Donna and I were married September 10, 1966, shortly after each of us earned our diplomas (I received my BSCE from The U of M and Donna received an LPN Degree from Kellogg Community College. Many Delta Chis were present. Mike, my oldest brother, known as “Big Magoo” by many of my fellow brothers at Delta Chi, was Best Man. This was shortly after Mike had moved to Hawaii for a position at The Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.

Donna and I moved to a rental house in E. China Township, just south of St. Clair Mich. where I worked as a Field Engineer on the first of many large construction projects with Townsend & Bottum Inc., a firm then located in AA on South State St., approximately one mile from the union. Then, shortly after the birth of our first son Paul on October 4, 1968, I was transferred to Eastern Ohio for a seven-year “experience” in that strange place. We rented houses in Steubenville and Toronto before buying our first home in a little town called Calcutta, a suburb of East Liverpool. During that period our second son (and last child), Mickey, was born. After working on the Sammis Power Plant in Ohio as Chief Field Engineer and the closely adjacent Mansfield Power Plant Project in Pa., as Project Superintendent, I was transferred to the existing Karn Power Facility in Essexville, Mich. where T&B had a contract to install pollution control equipment.

So, Donna sold the house in Calcutta and the four of us moved to one that met her approval in the lederhosen-laden town of Frankenmuth Mich., a few miles south of Essexville. This was a fine city and I believe the whole bunch of us really enjoyed our two years there. The town always seemed festive and it was easy to meet people as it was a small place and all who lived there were very friendly.

I remained with T&B until 1987, living for about six years back in Ann Arbor, four years in Sandy, Utah and working as a Construction Manager for projects located in the Midwest, Florida, Utah and other western states. Donna and I enjoyed U of M football games again (we had UM season tickets from 1977 through 2012 and, ironically, U of Utah season tickets from 1984 through 1986) and occasional visits to 1705 Hill for homecoming events and Dave & Linda Siglin’s Arc for real music (one of Mike’s favorite places). During that period I also succeeded in earning my PE License.

In May of 1987 I began working as an independent construction consultant earning a contract with The Kent County Dept. of Public Works to monitor construction of their Waste-To-Energy Facility (garbage burning power plant) in Grand Rapids, Mich. The family returned to Michigan again where we rented housing while having an abode built to our specifications on land we purchased at Gun Lake. We moved into this house in December of 1988 (it is still our home today) and it is about .2 miles from the old homestead (which is now owned by my other brother, Pat) where Henry the DC mascot spent his retirement many years ago. Around Christmas of that same year our oldest son, Paul, who graduated from Brighton (Utah) High school in the spring of 1987, decided to enroll at MSU, (to my chagrin) beginning winter term in 1988. As that famous DC cleric (B. Thewalt I believe) said “Your hand will shake a little signing a check for MSU, but it simply won’t work if you try to sign one for OSU” – He was correct about the shaking.

After completion of the county’s project, I served as Construction Manager for Barnes on a large parking structure at Butterworth Hospital also in Grand Rapids. Later I worked for about a year for Gilbert Commonwealth on a power plant project for Santee Cooper in South Carolina. My wife and I rented a condo in a town called Moncks Corners, NW of Charleston and about 35 miles from the Atlantic shore. This was interesting, for Charleston, as well as the surrounding area, is historic, the beaches are exceptional and the food is very southern.

We returned to Gun Lake and I awaited an assignment as Site Manager for Black & Veatch, a very reputable design and construction management firm located in Kansas City, which was negotiated near the end of the South Carolina Project. This assignment came in August 1994 and resulted in about four very interesting and exciting years on power projects overseas. Donna and I lived in Semarang (Indonesia), Shah Alam (Malaysia) and Bangkok (Thailand). We took trips to Singapore, Bali, Lombok, The Maldives, Australia and New Zealand and stopped in Hawaii to see Brother Mike during transits home to Michigan. However, we regret not visiting additional nearby places when we had the logistical opportunity and health.

n 1999 Donna and I were, again, at our home on Gun Lake. I worked as a Construction Manager at the Old Upjohn Pharmaceutical Complex in Portage (now owned by Phizor, I think) retiring in 2003 and she worked for Michigan Pain Consultants in Grand Rapids until retiring in 2005. Mike died in November 2001 shortly after the 9/11 Incident and his final journeys to the old Gun Lake Homestead, Ann Arbor and the House at 1705 Hill St.

Since our retirements, we have spent time camping, golfing and visiting. In early March of 2011 Donna and I, after evaluating many winter trips to warmer climes, purchased a condo in Venus, Florida and we have spent our winters there since. I experienced some medical difficulties in 2011 and 2013, which affected my get-along capabilities and has hampered golfing and camping, but not tripping south. The latter is already planned, pending a timely completion of this tome.

In The Bond,
The Magooses