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Sunday, November 6, 2011
Cloyne Court- Excerpts 14 and 15
Alpha, Epsilion, Pi Fraternity Logo
Cloyne Court, Episode 14
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.
History 4G: The Modern Greeks
I awoke forty-five minutes before my eight o’clock morning class. During the second week of January, my room was still dreary and dark at dawn. I cursed myself for deciding early classes would give me more time to do the things I wanted to do, because now, at 7:15, I wanted to stay in bed.
One of my roommates, Alan, was still asleep, snoring gently, hidden under a pile of bedding and blankets. He was a large, rotund man with a hairy chest, legs and back. I wondered about the beauty who would want him lying on top of her, humping the hairy beast.
Alan was living at Cloyne Court by default. He needed a cheap place to stay for one quarter as he rushed the different fraternities. The Co-op was a wayside inn for his true housing and social goals.
Alan made no secret about his reasons to join a fraternity. "My father was in a fraternity at UCLA in the mid-1950s,” he said. “He met my mother at a sorority party. He loved the Greek system. It was the best thing that happened to him in college."
According to Alan, his parents, Marvin and Rachel Schwartzman's college romance revolved around the Greek system at UCLA. Therefore, he wasn’t surprised that they expected him to follow their example.
However, Alan was at Berkeley, not UCLA. Instead of following his father’s goose step, he sidestepped, skipping and hopping around what was expected of him. Alan was outright relieved, but his father’s influence had done its damage.
Alan explained one of his many fraternity secrets to me one day. “Never tell a sorority woman you live here in this dive or you live in the co-op housing system. That’s like telling them you’re a communist sympathizer. Lie and tell them you live in the dorms. People start at the dorms and move to fraternities or sororities. But telling them you live here means you’re too poor to afford the dorms or you’re too freaky to join the Greek system. No sorority woman will go out with me until I’m in a respectable fraternity with an outstanding reputation.”
He went out most nights during rush week visiting different fraternities, drinking beer, trying to act cool and impress these guys, and act as if he belonged. But each evening, he'd come back to Cloyne Court and kvetch about the whole experience.
"What a bunch of idiots. I went to a jock frat last night. They took one look at me and ignored me. One guy told me that I should find a fraternity with my kind, because I wasn't their type."
"What type were they?" I asked.
"Why do you want to belong there?"
"I don't. I just want someone to tell me they like me enough to want me to live with them."
"Isn't that what a girlfriend is for?"
No matter how persistently Alan tried to find his type, he came up lacking. With a last name of Schwartzman, it was obvious he was Jewish. He looked Jewish. He had the Jewish nose. He talked like a New York Jew, though he was from Southern California. I am not saying fraternities are anti-Semitic. Alan’s father was a Polish Jew who found social success in the Greek system. Alan needed to find a fraternity that had Jewish members who would mentor him and champion his admission into their brotherhood. He was having no luck. Alan did not fit into the milieu of rich, white-boy suburban snobbery.
Cloyne Court, Episode 15
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.
Cloyne Court, Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.
Alan was also overweight. Not obese, but fat enough for women to scan a group of young men and unconsciously not give him a second glance.
Alan said, “Getting into a fraternity is like going out on a blind date. You keep wondering as you're talking to these guys whether they’re going to call you for a second date.
“I asked the recruiting chairman at the Pi Delta Phi's frat house what type of members they're looking for and he said it was a je ne sais quoi feeling. I don't even know what that means."
"How do you feel when you meet them?" I asked. The feeling had to be mutual if there was going to be any chance for a long-term relationship.
"All I get is a stomachache and gas." He punctuated his point with an explosive example.
On the final day of rush week, after Alan received no bids from any fraternity, he said in a pique of sour grapes, "I don't know why I wanted to join a fraternity. I'll have better luck losing my cherry in a place where I can shower with naked women and watch them sunbathe nude in the backyard than at some snobby fraternity."
His admission to me that he was a virgin bonded us in mutual support and common need. It overcame our different upbringing and culture. And if we hadn’t looked like Laurel and Hardy standing next to each other, the boys in room 4C might have been more successful in our endeavors.
Room 4C was a ground-floor triple on the north side of the building. Trees shaded the large set of double-hung windows with thick black security bars bolted to the outside window frame, so even on the sunniest days the room rarely received any natural light. The windows had no curtains permitting any passersby a full and unintentional view of a room with its false ceiling of water-stained acoustical tiles, a cold linoleum floor and fake wood paneling on three of the walls. Each of the three occupants claimed possessory rights to one wall. We decorated and furnished the room with what we could scrounge like the plastic milk crates stolen from a 7-Eleven store. The red bricks and pine-board shelves gave it an eclectic early college, post prison ambience.
I didn't put up my Cheryl Tiegs and Farah Fawcett Majors posters I had in my room during high school. I was a college man now, not some pimply adolescent groupie having wet dreams about television idols. Whatever I exhibited would have to reflect my experience, my good taste and be a conversation piece. My walls were bare.
Instead, I had one of my artistic color photos of my best friend Jeanette in a five-by-seven black frame on my dresser. I hoped the picture would lead to a conversation about my photography and of course, the women who came by my room to see my artwork would learn about the talented, sensitive, caring, Renaissance man I was, or trying to become. Who knows what would happen? Weren’t women looking for that type of man?
Alan decorated his wall with the same panache. What would create the most attention for women to notice us? He used his first scholarship check to buy the most powerful stereo system he could piece together and placed the two five-foot tall, floor speakers in each corner. He put on his shelves the Marantz turntable, a Sony preamp and tuner, and the envy of audiophiles everywhere, a TEAC dual cassette deck, the newest technology in the market at the time. When Alan cranked up the volume, no one in the house was spared.
This episode is based on a true story.
Just in case this is your first time reading this post.
Although seventy-five percent of this memoir is factual, liberties were taken with the other twenty-five percent for plot purposes. That is where scenes were recreated from memory when they were not clearly defined in the journals written by the author from 1976 to 1980.
Individual characters are composites of several people and do not represent any one person, and the names have been changed to protect innocent people that may be guilty of indiscretions in their youth.
"Cloyne Court" was written by Dodie Katague my oldest son in 2009. As his father who is also a blogger and an aspiring writer, I am really proud of my son's writing accomplishments, considering this is not his primary job. He is a prosecuting attorney for a local county in Northern California speciliazing in computer crimes.
Below are several reviews of his book as published by www.virtualauthorbooktours.com. I hope you have time to read his book, Cloyne Court.
"In 1977, when 18-year-old Berkeley college student, Derek moved into the student residence co-op, Cloyne Court, sight unseen, little did he know he would learn about life, love, sex, drugs, music, alcohol and co-ed showers—all on the first day.
Located one block North of the University of California, Berkeley campus, this real and notorious student-run house has provided an alternative, counter-culture, hedonistic, raucous, and unique living experience for the “Clones”, as the students call themselves, who choose to live here each year, despite the public and parents calling for a permanent shut down of this enduring and historic building.
Based on his journals and memories of his college days at this real-life “Animal House”, author, Dodie Katague weaves true events of life at Cloyne Court co-op into a zany, wild, and nostalgic story about the carefree time of every college student’s life.
"Sure to entertain any of those who enjoy a good story of the world of the fraternities and sororities. " Cloyne Court" is a fine memoir and a read well worth considering." Midwest Book Review
"If you like the movie Animal House, and have any interest in the going-ons of College in the 70s, or Berkeley in particular, you're also going to love this book. Get it, read it slowly, and enjoy!"-S. Davidian, Amazon Reviewer
"I found this book to be an AMAZING, page turning read. The rich story is very much worth it and leaves you dreaming of college days, and thinking about taking a drive to Berkeley to see the real Cloyne Court."-L. Couture, Amazon Reviewer
"I wish I had as much fun as Derek did in college, I recommend this book for anyone that has gone to college, or plans to go to college, or thought about going to college. Also for anyone who knows someone who went to college, because that buttoned up shirt wearing respectable man might have some stories to tell"-Genoa Dillon, Amazon Reviewer
"Sex, Betrayal, Drugs, Rock and Roll, nudist, co-ed showers, and the politics of the house make for a novel that has to be read. I loved this book."-Lori Cianfichi, Amazon Reviewer