Posted by: dave1949 | 2012/01/21

That Day in 1972

if you read the last post then you know our university is going to honour our 1972 crew for winning the rowing championship that year. In his letter the current coach said he hoped we could find everyone involved and have a party to celebrate. Pete wasn’t alive the last time we did that.

There are a series of quadruplexes on Glenridge ave that used to be Brock’s first residence and in 1972 were rented out mostly to students after having been sold off by the university a few years earlier.

260 Glenridge had been an unofficial jock house for a few years. 3 oarsmen in the upper left, 3 Basketball players upper right, 3 women Basketball players lower right and two volleyball players and a hippie boyfriend lower left.

I and my buddies were going to host the year ending party there after the final regatta. The others, who we all knew had been invited and accepted. The rowing final party over the last few years had become legendary around Brock. In previous years we had witnessed attempts to fly, marriage breakups, dwarf tossing, etc. Hey it was an era of sex drugs and rock and roll. Mass quantities of recreational substances were consumed, mostly booze and pot but there was some more potent trace elements available and no one looked too closely at it.

As rowers we really did very little partying the first 2 months of school. The training started right at the beginning and there were races every weekend through October. We had parties usually on Saturdays but at away regattas we didn’t get home till late in the evening after leaving as early a 4 in the morning. We had practice again on Sunday so the parties were pretty subdued till the final.

With no practice the next day and a regatta at home the stage was set for a blow out and we willingly obliged.

On top of our own crew an the other jocks around Brock there was always a group of rowers from St Catharines who might be rowing for the other universities. AS small as Brock was virtually all the varsity athletes knew each other so there was always a lot of cross pollination at any of the team parties.

With that in mind the crowd started growing about 7 pm and continued for the next 6 hours. The apartments were pretty standard sized 3 bedroom units. Maybe 1000 sq ft certainly no bigger. By the height of this particular party we had about 200 people who spilled onto the lawn out front and a bit more alarmingly onto the roof on top of the building.

Several had climbed up from the balcony railing and were sitting up on the roof watching the traffic on Glenridge and at times teasing the cops that were called a couple of times to quiet us down.

I can report now that there were no serious injuries although a little alcohol poisoning was suspected in the aftermath.

Our stereo system at the time happened to be my own underpowered little unit. Record player, radio, and 8 track,( ask your parents) with a couple of speakers. We had wired in 4 extra speakers and had them playing in the living room and 2 of the bedrooms. It was cranked to 10 on volume, bass, and treble for the entire night.

As one of the hosts and also one of the senior participants I stayed relatively sober for most of the party.  I noticed among other things before time was suspended that the group that lived right below us had not come to the party and thought that a bit odd because we were quite friendly and they had been to other parties with us.

I didn’t have too much time to think about it and rational thought was becoming a bit of a chore anyway so I continued to enjoy the night and though no more about it.

Next day we had the usual, hangovers, cleanup duty, discovery of overnight guests on the balcony and living room. As the day wore on Nancy one of the girls down stairs appeared to ask if we were ok.

I asked her why she hadn’t come to the party and was told they were afraid to come in. I asked why and she tok me down to their apartment. All around the corners between their ceiling and walls the plaster was cracked. Nancy said that as the party had got wound up the dancing upstairs, something I personally never contributed to, had started their chandelier swaying and bouncing and then they had noticed that the whole ceiling, our floor had been bouncing up and down and plaster dust started coming out at the edges. Nancy said she had come up and warned one of the other residents and then fearful that the whole house was going to collapse they had left and spent the night at her boyfriend’s place to avoid the catastrophe.

Of course there had been no final catastrophe and the building is actually still standing. Over the years the balcony has been removed from the upper floor and it has remained largely a student rental unit. The bunch of us have surprisingly all grown older so I expect any party this year won’t have the same energy or abandonment we had back then. Still I can’t help thinking we had a lot more fun in our university life than the kids today have.

I suppose they however probably think our times were pretty lame and they are having the time of their lives too.


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