Tidbits - Bits of information about
This is a collection of small items about Mepham fraternities and sororities, some of them published in the 2003 issue of Scuttlebutt and some from correspondences and the Mepham Web Forums. If anyone would like to share more in-depth information about these or others, please contact:
Mepham Fraternities and Sororities
Dr. Fred Stunt commented in reponse to a letter from Jerry Worthing that asked about regulations on fraternities when the school was founded:
Fraternities & sororities were not allowed in school. They could not
meet or have any activities as a group in the school facilities. It was one
of Mr. Calhoun's basic ideas that all school activities should be open to all
students. We felt that cliques could lead to improper competitive procedures
in usual high school activities. There were groups with limited selection
and common interests outside, the administration and staff did not recognize
them. There were no yearbook pics or mentions in other school publications.
Recognizable insignia, emblems, jackets etc. were not to be seen in school.
Joe Savino '70 recalls fraternities and sororities playing an active role in social life (1967-70). The four frats he remembers were DA Crew, Athleta, Omegans, and the Tritons. One had to be voted in (a confidence-breaking procedure); pledging consisted of pushups and dumb pranks in Mepham's hallways; then "hell night" usually took place at a deserted park: Bengay down your pants, eating a concoction of food and drink, paddling. Teachers and coaches did not support the fraternities. "I felt more pride and camaraderie wearing the wrestling robe than I ever did wearing my fraternity Jacket."
Mikki Hannan Wilbert '51, one of the guests of The Dukes at their 4/03 gathering in SC, sent information and a picture.
Roy Probeyahn '56 told us that he had written on various boards about the Social Athletic clubs of the 50s. "We didn't call them or think of them as fraternities, which was more of a college thing. They were actually gangs, but the school wouldn't allow that.... so they were SACs!
Steve Bashagas writes: Many clubs frat jackets were purchased new from Wolf's Sporting Goods in Rockville Center. Most jackets were purchased from graduating seniors and sold to new members. Old jackets were more desirable than new. Where did the ladies get their sweaters?
Calhoun's frats in the 70's were Marquise, Excalibers & Apollos and there may have been more. At that time some of the Mepham clubs had members who were Calhoun and Kennedy students. The Mepham frats had sister clubs as well.
Tall stories were common during TRITON meetings. Sometimes moments before a meeting was over, a member would begin a story and part way through the story everyone would get up and leave. The member always continued to tell his story even when he was the last one in the room. Didn't TRITONS have burger eating contests vs DA CREW?(Bashagas)
Held hamburger-eating contests at Wetson's (pre-Burger King). (blue jackets) (Savino)
Yes, I do believe Paul Schmidt won one year. (Ed Tietz '72)
TRITONS sister club was TRI DELTAS. (Bashagas)
It wasn't just the Tritons at the Rez (drinkin)...We all were there... (Raimondi2)
I can remember one more thing about the Tritons. That was BQS. The teachers thought that it stood for the Bee Q's. The Bellmore Quenching Society was all about drinking here and there and especially at The Rez. We even made tee shirts with a Triton Logo on one side and BQS on the other. (Bashagas)
DA CREW was the original football frat, named because the coach referred to the team as "The Crew." (burgundy jackets, gray sleeves) (Savino)
DA CREW, wore "cool" garnet and grey jackets; members were "jocks"-mainly football players. (Eileen McNulty '57)
ATHLETA (green jacket, gray sleeves with Athleta written in bold script across the back) had weekly meetings in a member's home and then at La Splendia Pizzeria in N. Bellmore; mostly hung out, talked, joked, sometimes "let your girl wear it." Sports and girls were hot topics. (Savino)
ATHLETA was big in Kennedy during the years I was there (67-69). After that I am not sure how long it lasted. (Mike Greco JFK '69)
ATHLETA was a frat that started at Grand Ave. Jr High in 1961 and went to Mepham from there. It was made up mostly of football players, wrestlers, and their friends. The same crew that started it continued through HS. I was president in 1963-64. After we grduated it remained around for a couple of years and then faded. We had green jackets with white leather sleeves. Some of our members were: Charlie Grody, Jack Paz, Tom Gleason, Don Friedenson, Lloyd Krosser, and Tony Abruzzo.(Goef Harben '64)
OMEGANS (gray jacket, dark lettering and dark sleeves) the original "tough guy frat," were regular guys, doing their thing, trying to be cool, playing harmless "sophomoric" pranks. (Savino)
In the 70's and earlier some of the OMEGANS had to have their head's shaved for initiation. (Bashagas)
OMEGANS sister was GREEN AND WHITE. What was GREEN & WHITE's club name?(Bashagas)
THE DUKES all participated in varsity athletics as well as other school activities from student government to Senior Planning Committee to Honor Society.
Original members were (Class of '51): Worth David, Sal DiFazio, Putt Kolber (dec.), Bruce Lyons, Greg Maushart, Bob Meyer, Tom Miller, Jim Rosencrans (dec.), and Frank Turley (dec.); (Class of '52): Tom Brady, George Ellis, and Dick Hunt (dec.). Getting together with their wives almost every year for the past 52 years, for a little golf, a lot of socializing, friendly "debates" between people who have shared the joys and sorrows of nearly 60 years of friendship, they remember a "great time" at Mepham and belonging to a group that enhanced it. (Wilbert)
JOKERS, which was made up of guys from the Bellmores mostly, was formed by my brothers. Their rival was the TUDS from White City & Bellmore harbor, mostly. Newsday ran a feature article about the JOKERS a couple of years ago, since they still keep in touch after all these years. (Probeyahn)
JENASENS, was formed by me and my friends after the JOKERS, whose last members graduated in '54; in '55. There was also the KODAS, which started in '53/'54, also of guys from the Bellmores." (Probeyahn)
APOLLOS Pres was
Mike Greco JFK '69. There was branch of the APOLLOS at Mepham for a while (if I remember correctly George Rheinhart, Tim Noone, Don Chaffey, John Marzigliano and Buzzy Conway were a few members) - but interestingly enough,there was an APOLLO fraternity in Mepham a few years before we in South Merrick started our frat with the same name, without ever hearing about the first APOLLO frat. I think Joe Dunne might have been an APOLLO junior from the original club. (Greco)
DEBETTES We would all hang out at Friendlies on Newbridge Road in N. Bellmore and meet up with the frats from Calhoun. Cars would be filled with at least 5 to 6 people yelling. I don't remember if we actually ate at Friendlies or just made it our after meetings hang out. To find a Debette house for a meeting, we hung our sweater on the front door. At our meetings we always collected dues (we had to really trust the treasurer, which I was once before becoming vice pres for 6 mos. (long enough for me..ha ha) I believe it started to go downhill after '73 It just wasn't like it was the prior years. We gave great dances, did charity work but the thing that was the scariest was PLEDGE NIGHT!!!! That was a horror...we had to do anything they asked us to do and get things thrown on us (you had to wear an outfit that you couldn't use again)and then we had to show our ugly selves at Friendles with the rest of our sisters. Once pledged, things got better. (Donna Raimondi '73)
I was a member of DEBETTES at Kennedy. I remember we had a few meetings with the Debettes from Mepham. You're right, those were some of the best times in HS. Our colors were brown & gold. Our sweaters were gold with a brown trim. Most of our members were either on cheerleading or kickline. I really don't know why the frats & sororities died out. Maybe they were too cliquey. Funny, as much as I enjoyed it in HS, belonging to a sorority in college never appealed to me. But when we had our 20th reunion, I sat with most of my sorority sisters from Debettes! (Marsha Neiman JFK-'70)
My friend was a DEBETTE, but that was back in 1980(10th grade). I don't recall hearing about them after. (Melanie Marcus '82) (Note: Melanie was said to have done the DEBETTE shimmy dance at one point.)
MAHJA SORORITY was started by 5 girls, their initials forming the name: Mary Charlton Gallo '42, Alice Charlton Gilleland '39, Helen Charlton Dean '40, Josephine Pinsdorf Ernst '39, and Agnes Jacobson '40. Later members were: Margie Pratt Puff, Adrienne Hummel Wolf, Frances Bredekamp, Emily Pinsdorf Hinkson '41, and Victoria Hummel '42.
They met once a week, paid 10 cents dues, did needle work on baby clothes for the Needlework Guild of America to benefit new mothers. They met at a different house each week; each mother or father making their special snack; [someone's] was cheese biscuits; Mr. Charlton made buttered popcorn - warm and yummy memories! (Emily Pinsdorf '41)
SUB DEBS was a social club, and Pepsi was the drink at all meetings. Members: Betty Lee Frasse '42, Lydia Lee Ball '42, Dolores Robinson Wilson '42, Marilyn Maker, Dolly Sarrapede '42, Marie Cracco Volz '42, Helen Meyer Noa '41, Selma Shifrin Penna '42, Dorothy Ruschaupt Nelson '41, and Mildred Verity Henderson '42 (Henderson)
KAPPA GAMMA CHI carries memories of knitting sweaters for boyfriends (poor skills on Mildred's part resulting in a long scarf) and a benefit dance in conjunction with other KGC's after graduation, during WW II. Members: Evelyn Liell McCauley '41, Evelyn LoRusso Gallacher '41, Pat Gaffney, Jean Gaffney Rose '41, Evelyn Biganoc, Anna Vlastnick Schaeffler '41, Dolly Fileti Bourne '42, Mary Koehn, and Mildred Verity Henderson '42 (Henderson)
ARISTAS had rings and white sweaters with "Arista" handwritten in white on a big green "A"; members were involved in sports (including cheerleading, twirling, and the kickline) and music. (Eileen McNulty '57)
EMANON (NONAME backwards) sorority members wore red sweaters with absolutely nothing written on them because one of the member's father was on Mepham's faculty and sororities/fraternities were "officially" banned.
SIGMA SAADIUS: I don't recall more than that it existed. (McNulty)
SIGMA PHI OMEGA in '72-'74. There were two sororities who used the colors Green and White. Sigma Phi Omega used the dark green and white, then there was another sorority who used the colors kelly green and white... do not know their name. (Lynn Schnepf '74)
DELTA EPSILON IOTA (DEI)was kelly green and white. (Dianne Mau 1971)
THETA PHI, had a photo album,with material in it dated from 1962 to 1970, that the Mepham Alumni Association has inherited. Can anyone tell us more about them?
TOPHETS - Trade Secrets 6/5/40 said: "Amy Cohen is the latest addition to the Tophets." (5/03)Amy didn't recall the group having a name but remembers the other members were: Anne Kaiser, Martha Weed, Muriel Carey, Maxine Ferstl, Shirley Preston, and Jeannette Kuhne.
Carol O'Keefe House '54 remembers there were the CHERUBS, and SUGAR and SPICE or the AVALONS.