Omega Mu Voice
Wayne A. Robbins,
Wayne A. Robbins
Omega Mu, 1965
Fall of 1962: I was one of 20 pledges trying to make sense of all the things that were Omega Mu and brotherhood. One brother stood out to me as he was a returnee after several gap years. Doug Johns reentered as a junior at age 26, I think, as a psychology-art major. He was from New Jersey but had spent several years testing Mercury outboards in Florida. He drove to Orono in a tricked out 1954 Chevy convertible that he had put in a ’57 Chevy V-8 and a four-speed floor shift. The paint job was 17 coats of candy-apple red paint. In it he had everything he owned which was not much. To help finance his stay he became the kitchen steward and claimed the small storeroom in the basement across from the pantry closet for a store where he sold snacks, smokes and soda.
Since he didn’t really know any of the brothers, a fellow zobie became good friends with him. Leon even supplied matched lumber to redo the storeroom. Leon’s father had owned the big lumber company in Fort Kent. He was a jack-of-all-trades who could carpenter, work on autos, design projects wheel and deal with the best of them. As an artist, he would draw a Fiji man in different configuration on tee shirts and sweatshirts for parties and other events for 50 cents or a dollar. He designed and built homecoming displays on the lawn like the one made from cow bones and a big paper mache Fiji man eight feet tall and a stew pot.
In the spring Doug another guy and I purchased scuba-diving equipment and taught ourselves how to dive on weekends at Bar Harbor. Even with wet suits the April water was so cold we couldn’t feel the mouth pieces and hands became painful beyond endurance after just a few minutes. Because of Doug’s idea we could make money capturing marine specimens, he ended up spending the summer with my folks and me trying to scrounge a summer’s wage out of the ocean. The specimen operation did not pan out so we did everything from raking sea moss, bailing out fishing boats at the factory wharf in Sebasco, selling driftwood on route one. He finally took a job in construction, and I became a painter in a factory in Bath.
The fall of 1963 brought some problems. Social pro made rushing a very difficult process. No parties in the house and many of us were too young to hit the local watering holes; we had little to offer except good food. We had a new cook that just happened to be a woman who kind of adopted us. She would make 12 loaves of bread at a time and had pot with a pound of melted butter on the back of the grill with a little paint pastry brush in it. When you painted the hot bread with the butter it would run down your fingers. We all gained a couple of pounds that first semester.
Marshal Stern ran for campus mayor as Hugh Hefner and there were scantily clad bunnies scampering around the house and campus. The campaign was loads of fun, and he was an excellent mayor. Get the rabbit habit was the motto that resounded all over campus. The next year we helped Bob Harrison run as Snuffy Smith but just did not have the right stuff.
“What if the space be long and wide,
That parts us from our brother’s side
A soul-joined chain unites our band,
And memory links us hand in hand.”
(Phi Gamma Delta fraternity song)
Chip Chapman, 1982