It ain't over 'til it's over!...

     Yogi Berra might have said it in the past . . but we ‘44's really believe it! . . .

     The ’44 Homecoming Weekend is without question a major exercise! . . . Erica and I have been a part of this gathering for many, many years and we confirm that It’s a multi-part, two-day orgy, one that always involves six gatherings - each of the six being a separate "optional" for the attendee.

     Those ’44's who come in from afar shack up on Friday evening at a local motel (usually the Best Western), and that first evening join with several of our Ithaca brethren and their spouses at a very informal dinner at an area restaurant . . That’s Step 1.


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Things start slowly and then we "circle the wagons"

The Best Western's
University Inn is where
we '44 Homecomers
hang our hats mostly
Dan Morris and Dotty
meet early a.m in a
Dunkin Donuts to
plan '44 activities
It really doesn't matter
where the "Night Before
Restaurant" is - we sip
and sup and just enjoy
Bob and Alice Garmezy
and daughter are
Homecoming perennials
as Ithaca residents
While few of us shack up
in the Statler during
Homecoming, we enjoy its
lounges and restrooms

     Step 2 - Fairly bright and early on the Saturday morning of this GREAT weekend, the ‘44 "Reserved Parking" signs are placed on some 12-15 parking spaces on Kite Hill near "Ted’s Tree." By 10:30 a.m. or thereabouts, our ‘44 cars and SUV’s are on site and the munchin’ and lunchin’ has yet to begin. We use this initial time to compare cars, dents, waistlines, and progeny at this first "How you be?" session.

Everything's there .. Music, good food, good company!

"Where is everybody?"
At 9:30 am on game day
there's nary a car or
picnic table to be seen

The first car arrives!
It's Jeanne Thoren's
Cadillac with the FOOD.
Ann Grady assists

We bring on the van and
it's 8' x 8' '44 banner
flies high (and has gone
down in high winds)

Kite Hill entertainment's
not long in forthcoming.
Here a student juggler
tries his very, very best

     Step 3 - the Class of ’44 Tailgate Party: No one suffers from a lack of food . . "What’s to eat?" . . You name it and it’s probably there . . Turkey, ham, ribs, salads, rolls (sweet and otherwise) - and all kinds of beverages you can be sure . . The nice part of this gathering is that while everyone brings "a little something" to add to the communal munching - be it Fritos or Dunkin’ Doughnuts or even turtle soup - rarely is there a "food overlap" and rarely is there sufficient space on the two, three, four, or even five table setup used for all of the food. Whenever more food is brought in, another table always seems to pop up from out of nowhere. Sharing this annual Tailgate hosting are two ’44 Honorary Members of our class, Ted and Jeanne Thoren, who have made this kind of activity some kind of an art form. You have to see it to believe it.

And then .. then the REAL munchin' and crunchin' begins

Dorey and "Jenks"
Jenkins and Mort and
Lila Savada (seated) are
among the early arrivals
The Mettlers, Starrs, &
Ziemans link up early
with Doc Ballard, Dan
Morris, and Dotty
Lynn and Jim Chick
enjoy the warm Kite
Hill day with Nancy
and Petter Miller
Cold day! Huddling are
Beth and Bill Quinn at
the ends & Dotty and
Jim and Janet Starr
Perfect weather and
a great opportunity to
hear an rousing 1-man
trombone concert
Wine, beer, soda,
crockpots, baskets,
and grilles make
for great Tailgates
Bartender Ted Thoren
pushes his Silvo
as the Gradys check
out his bar setup
"Fall football" finds
threesome Phyllis and
Dick Evans and Art
dressed very lightly
The view from the
roped-off Faculty
Parking Lot shows
lots of '44 activity
Ed Marinaro visits
'44's Tailgate Party
and towers over the
Ballards and Thorens
Foursome includes
Ruth Rhynedance, Sig
and Serena Hoffman,
and Bob Ready
Almost time to go!
The band's impromptu
"Pep Concert" gives
all a big charge

     Step 4 is The Game - this one an "optional" . . Looking back on past contests, we’ve won some and we’ve lost some . . and we’ve also shed our clothes and basked in the Crescent in an Indian Summer sun, or shivered there in an October chill, or donned raincoats on very rare occasions. We advance purchase our ’44 group seating ("Thank you!," Gene Nighman!) ,and miraculously we’ve wound up in recent years between the 40-yard lines and midway up the 80-plus rows of the Crescent - proving there’s something to be said for being an octogenarian and supporting our Athletic Department over the years.

The game's the thing! .. and we win more than we lose!

A Crescent Crew:
Dan, Mort, Lila (standing
Roy Unger, '43; Dr. Bob
& Cush Phillips (seated)

Typical opening scene:
The full Big Red Band
lines up on the field and
awaits the team's run-on

A warm day and Jenks
Jenkins, the Bloses,
Cliff Whitcomb and the
Daukas' swelter a bit

The playing of the
Star Spangled Banner
brings all of us to our
feet before kickoff
The '44 seating bloc
is located between the
40-yard lines in the
tightly packed stands
Fridid individualists!
Wearing yellow, white,
red, and blue, who are
the four rooting for?
A panoramic photo shows
Harvard on our 6-yard line
and the obstrusive, scene-
blocking press building
This pair of '44 rooters
(Fred McNair, MD and
Peg Addicks, CT)
appear quite intense
At halftime, the
Big Red Band
entertains the
"Student Side"
Gloved and bundled
up, Leo and Fran
Diamant and a dapper
Joe Driscoll partake
At halftime, Ruth and
Hal Rhynedance stretch
while two rows down
Hilda Milton does, too
Inducted into Cornell's
Athletic Hall of Fame,
'44's Lou Daukas is cited
at halftime ceremonies
A montage shows
this Chris Crooker
family (l) and Petter
and Nancy Miller (r)
At game's end the
Freshman run on
the field - Caption?
"Last game photo?"
One of the Big Red
Band marching off
into the sunset

     Think it’s over at the end of the fourth quarter? . . No way . . Postgame, there’s Step 5 at which all of the food and drink that wasn’t consumed at the morning’s Tailgate Party PLUS add’l wine, cider, beer, soft drinks, cheese and crackers, dips, and apples await us on the tables in the Class of ‘44 Memorial Room in nearby Bartels Hall. These are hand-carried from a nearby Wegman’s by Gunga Ballard and the rest of us resident Sherpas . . I assure you: Nothing’s wasted . . time or food!

     Let me explain: These postgame "Chat and Chomp" gatherings have been happily hosted over the years by a rotating quintet of Ithaca ’44's - Bob and Renata Ballard, Dan Morris, and Erica and myself . . It’s nice to win The Game, but win or lose, it’s the partying that keeps we ’44's young and alive. This particular gathering - Number five of the six Steps - should be a "Must attend!" if you’re in the area on Homecoming Saturday.

Wine, cider, apples, cheese, and leftovers .. AFTER the game!

Parking spaces on Kite
Hill are at a premium
and one needs a $10
parking pass to park

Ater the game, we '44's
cross over from Kite Hill
to Bartels Hall, site of
the '44's Memorial Room

In a Fall, 1993 photo
the attending '44s
mix and munch in our
then "coach's room"

We employ the room's
"whiteboards" as a
"Sign In Register" for
attendees after '94
Bill Wheeler, football
co-captain, and his wife,
Jo, with his just mounted
HOF Introduction photo
Come June, 1994, we
re-dedicated the room,
installing 18 "jocks" in
our '44 Hall of Fame
Hosts Renate and
Bob Ballard sign in
amidst the well-
stocked food tables
The "beat goes on."
We continue to sip
and snack after each
Homecoming Game
Not just for the boys.
The ladies pose for a
group photo pre-game
(Clean, empty tables!)
'99: Mid-week. Our '44
Memorial Room is well
utilized as a Student-
Athlete Study Hall

     You’d think we’d have had it after so many head-to-heads together, but there’s still the Big One - Step 6 ... Hosed down and gussied up, we gather that last evening at a very informal cocktail party and dinner . . Not so surprisingly, while we’ve supped in many restaurants in the Greater Ithaca Area over the years - and each one has been a most enjoyable occasion, we’ve sort of settled on the informality, ambiance, and good food that have been provided to us at the Ithaca Yacht Club. It’s definitely a "No rush! Take your time! Enjoy life!" kind of place and our guys and gals really have taken to it.

Dinner Saturday night, the perfect ending to a '44 weekend!

Enjoying the pasta and
'44 camaraderie at Joe’s
Restaurant are Bunny
and Cal DeGolyer
Bob & Isabel Gallagher
flank Maryann Pfeifle,
Lou Daukas, and Prez
Dotty at a '44 dinner
Postgame '44's are shown
cocktailing at two of the four
tables at Dempseys, a new
'44 haunt in Lansing
One of five tables at
an '01 Homecoming
Class Dinner at the
Ithaca Yacht Club
The IYC’s ambiance,
varied menu, and
superb "service"
just can’t be beat

     In addition to the photos you’ll see on this page, you’ll find other Tailgate and Memorial Room photographs elsewhere in this website . . Please check them out!. . Have I painted a picture that might entice you to join us at some Homecoming Weekend in the future - or even just Homecoming’s Saturday activities? I certainly hope so!


Howie Evans
, VP, Emeritus, Class of ’44
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