Angel and I met in September 1967 at what was then called a "beer blast" the very first weekend of orientation. We danced a couple of times and went our separate ways. The following afternoon, when I was in line for lunch at Newing Dining Hall, I saw Angel way ahead of me up the steps. He didn't remember my name, but recalled that I was from out of state, and shouted down to me with a big smile, "Hey, Massachusetts!" Thus began 42 years of lunches and our lives came full circle when we were married four years later to the day in September of 1971.
Our happiest moments revolved around the great events we attended at Harpur. I remember embarrassing Angel by crawling through the window of the gym to crash a newspaper interview with my favorite band, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, after their concert; and, who could forget the all-night party with Jerry Garcia and The Grateful Dead who played and mingled with us until the sun came up? Belonging to the Film Society was an inexpensive way to expose ourselves to lots of interesting, absurd, and fabulous films we would never have seen on our own and which made Angel a devoted film buff, an interest which trickled down to both of our sons. Listening to Allen Ginsburg reading "Howl" opened up a whole new world of experience for me.
Many of our memories involve becoming politically active in the late sixties. We canvassed door to door in conservative Binghamton asking citizens to sign petitions to impeach Richard Nixon. We demonstrated passionately against the war in Vietnam and the invasion of Cambodia, the draft, the murder of the student at Kent State, and participated in the closing of the campus in a moratorium against the war. We developed our ethics, our sense of justice, belief in civil rights, our identities and principles together.
The most life-changing events centered around people we met at Harpur College who sincerely influenced us. A course about Existentialism in Literature taught by Prof. Spanos inspired me and changed the way I perceived life and interpreted literature. Angel's life was changed by an upperclassman named Dave Lewin who lived across the hall. When Dave heard that Angel was majoring in biology, he suggested he take the MCATs and apply to medical school. This was the best advice we ever received. After graduation, and three days after we were married, Angel began his career in medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. I continued my education with a master's degree in literature and a career as an editiorial assistant.
Food and friends rounded out our happy times in Binghamton. Drinking sangria at The Villa, shopping at Vestal Plaza, late night pancakes at Aunt Jemima's, ice cream at Pat Mitchell's, romantic dinners at Scotch & Sirloin, movie and date night at Little Venice downtown, and of course watching Dark Shadows in the lounge in Endicott. Lasting friendships include my still best friend Maria Falantano-Kendall '72 and her late husband Bob '72, who were also a Binghamton couple, Angel's housemate, Tom Weaver '73 who is now in Chicago, Lynn Takas '71 in Charlottesville, Jana Fredrickson Catuccio, who moved nearby and whose sons are best friends with ours, and last but not least, our dearest friend Michael Olshan '72 who left us way too soon.
Angel has been practicing pediatrics for 31 years and we have two sons: Nathaniel, a Harvard graduate, and Zachary, who received his bachelor's degree in fine arts from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.
Our lives were enriched by our time at Harpur College and we feel fulfilled and truly blessed. Where do we reside now? Where else, but "hey, Massachusetts!"
About 40 years ago, we entered Harpur College of SUNY Binghamton. About four months ago, we returned for Homecoming at Binghamton University. We found that more than the name had changed.
As we celebrate our 38th Valentine’s Day together, we have the fondest of memories of our school. We met in September 1970 in Bingham Hall – she on the first floor, he on the second floor. How sad we are now to see preparations to tear down Bingham and Chenango. We recall tobogganing and sledding on trays down the hill behind Bingham. There was even a tow-rope. Now, a huge dorm complex is planned for that area. That’s progress.
We recall our first date – seeing “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” in the main auditorium in the “Student Center,” now called the “University Union,” currently undergoing reconstruction. We recall every spring enjoying the Stepping on the Coat ceremony at the esplanade near the main quadrangle. Now the esplanade is long since gone.
We vividly recall going to many concerts in the Men’s Gym - John Sebastian, Procol Harem, Sha-Na-Na. Now, there is a huge Events Center, more reminiscent of Madison Square Garden than a small college gym. We recall varsity basketball games attended by a handful of students who wandered in. Now tickets are sold in advance for a Division I team. That’s progress.
We remember the woods. Now there is a College-in-the-Woods, Mountainside and other residential complexes. We remember large open areas and parking lots where multiple new buildings now stand, including new science buildings and an engineering school.
Mostly, however, we remember good times with great friends and the terrific education we received in Binghamton. We can see that students today are still very much the same as we were - still young, energetic, curious. Young men and women still walk hand in hand. Frisbees are still tossed around the campus. We saw our old dorm rooms – nothing has changed. We toured the Lecture Hall and Fine Arts Building – nothing much has changed. We could still imagine the same students and professors being there.
We remember our parents crying as they said "good-bye" to us as beginning freshmen. This surprised us, as we would be home soon enough. Now, we can also remember saying "good-bye" to our two children as they began college. We were not surprised by our need to cry at those times, even though they would be home soon enough. Possibly, our intimate college, which has grown into a major university, has not changed as much as we have. Despite the years gone by, it still holds a very special place in our hearts.
Garry and I met on the first day of our sophomore year at Binghamton (Harpur College, to us) in Lehman Hall, although Garry keeps trying to convince me that he said "hello" to me once during our freshman year. During sophomore year, we lived across the hall from each other in suites on the second floor of Lehman. We became good friends that year. We were both biology majors, taking many of the same courses, and we were part of a wonderfully fun and creative group of students.
Over the years, as Hinman College residents, Garry and I participated together in the “Hinman Follies”, co-rec. football, Hinman Homecoming, and Hinman Little Theater; we lived in the first “cooking dorm” on campus (Roosevelt Hall) and even helped put together the first Hinman yearbook our senior year. We have been told that many of these activities that were started with our group of friends are still a part of the Hinman College culture.
The summer after graduation, Garry and I became engaged and followed each other to SUNY Buffalo to pursue graduate degrees, a DDS for Garry and a PhD in Molecular Biology for me. We were married Aug. 15, 1976 in the presence of a number of our Hinman College friends. Garry and I frequently take a look at the photos in that first Hinman College yearbook and are reminded of what a privilege it was to be Hinman residents all four years of our Binghamton experience.
It was Spring of 1979. I was a sophomore, still living on campus in Onondaga (College-in-the-Woods), Suite M (?) on the fifth floor. I actually had a boyfriend who was attending Syracuse University, and often my weekends were spent up there. I decided that I had had enough of commuting on the weekends, and wanted to take part in some of the Binghamton ”fun” – so I was giving my Syracuse relationship a bit of a break.
A friend of mine asked if I wanted to go see a band that was playing off-campus at Andy Capp’s Pub in Endicott. I think we may have even taken the OCC bus there. The band that was playing at Andy Capp’s was called “Old No. 7” and was a trio of three Binghamton students – Howard Cohen on guitar, Bruce Tucker on banjo and Jonathan Miller on fiddle. I was immediately attracted to not only the sound of the band, but to the banjo player. What a smile and what a style! There was lots of toe-tapping, beer drinking and dancing going on.
During the band’s break, my friend introduced me to the members of the band. Bruce invited us out to his van in the parking lot. I will leave to your imagination why we were hanging out in the van. But, suffice it to say that this was no ordinary van! This was a souped-up, shag-rug lined “Scooby Doo”- type van. Wow! A girl couldn’t ask for much more in those days than a guy in a band with a van. Sooooo cool.
After that night, Bruce and I started to spend more time together. I remember our first real date was to a French restaurant (don’t remember the name). He also took me to Number 5, a restaurant in a converted firehouse on the South Side. There was a Grateful Dead concert on May 9, at which we ran into each other. I had on my Indian print skirt, with my funky earrings, etc. (you get the picture), and we found ourselves dancing together on the floor for much of the show. Afterward, we hiked up a hill on the South Side, near his house on Euclid Avenue. We laid on a blanket and looked at the stars. It was quite romantic, and I think that evening was the beginning of a serious love.
Bruce graduated that May, but decided to stay in Binghamton and continue to play in the band, which was getting many gigs in local bars, including the Silver Dollar Saloon, the Xanadu Room (at the Ramada), and others. Also, Old No. 7 played several times on campus, in the Social Hall, in the Quad for the “stomping of the coat” and for several other events. Bruce and I spent my senior year as a couple. Many fun times, including gigs at Lake Empire, romps through the Nature Preserve and many trips to Pat Mitchell’s for ice cream. There was one memorable “road trip” of the band to neighboring Ithaca, Cortland and Owego. Many gigs, camping out, and packing way too much sound equipment into old cars on the verge of breaking down.
It took many years after college until Bruce and I actually got married. I graduated in 1980, and we married in June 1988. There were some rocky times in between, as we began our careers and tried to find our way in the “real world.” But our Binghamton friends and our Binghamton ties could not be broken. We have been married happily now for 20 years and have two sons, ages 16 and 13. We can only hope that their college experiences result in the kinds of solid friendships, and even love, that we found at Binghamton.
Our first “date” was at the Campus Pub, a place we continued to frequent on a regular basis the following year. The Pub had the best New England Clam Chowder we have ever tasted, or at least that is our memory of it.
My senior year, I moved off campus to 16 Allen St. in Johnson City along with Tony, Todd Katz '82, Brad Bachmann '83 and George Parlitsis '82. My room was on the top floor. Jo and I referred to it as the love nest.
Because I spent a lot of time on the road, wrestling for Steve Erber, Jo quickly learned the sport and became my traveling companion and attended all the matches.
Upon my graduation, Jo and I continued to date. Jo came down to see me at St. John’s Law School. She either traveled on the “Escape Bus” or hitched a ride from one of the many Long Island students who posted their name in the student lounge.
In 1985, we got married and now have three children: Gregory, 20 years old, who is starring as James in the national tour of Movin’ Out; Garrett, 16 years old, who is a level 10 gymnast, and Gabrielle, age 10, who is also a dancer.
We continue to keep in close contact with Binghamton. This November we came full circle as the Movin’ Out Tour was at the Forum.
Would you like to share your story on how Binghamton University brought you and your sweetheart together? Join the new Binghamton Sweethearts group on Facebook.