The Preacher, Creature, Reacher and Teacher

Grahm Jr College in Boston, circa 1964.  Photo from the Alumni Association Website
Grahm Jr College in Boston, circa 1964. Photo from the Alumni Association Website
Boston Garden takes up one side of the building - it's where the Celtics and Bruins play.  The other side of the building is the busy train station.
Boston Garden takes up one side of the building - it's where the Celtics and Bruins play. The other side of the building is the busy train station.
both gone now, "The Rat" was just around the corner from the deli.
both gone now, "The Rat" was just around the corner from the deli.
One of the Grahm Dorms - when we left Boston University took it over.
One of the Grahm Dorms - when we left Boston University took it over.

The Barbarians - led by drummer Moulty who played with a hand and a hook

Andy's puppet show at Grahm Jr. College

Andy said he studied TM at Grahm, though there was no such course.  The Creature claims he studied Gloria Lynn and Jazz at Grahm though there was no such course.
Andy said he studied TM at Grahm, though there was no such course. The Creature claims he studied Gloria Lynn and Jazz at Grahm though there was no such course.

Andy's Classic Mighty Mouse routine

by Bill Russo



They didn’t have to say please to get me to come to Boston. Going to school there was a pleasure more than a chore - just like it is for the 150,000 students that annually enter one of the 36 colleges and universities in the Athens of America.

Not the class part. The bother of fussing with the books and studying is an unpleasant fee that must be paid if you wish to obtain the ticket to the real fun of college life – the dorm, the parties, Fenway Park, Boston Garden, and most of all a collection of questionable establishments that the Boston newspapers called “The Combat Zone”.

For me and three of my friends the 1964 school year promised to be historic – for we four were poised to become the first men ever admitted to a ladies sorority!

I’m not kidding. The girls had set up a task for us to do, and if we were able to complete it, we would be admitted to the sorority of the Kappa Alpha Betas. We were to be taken in as associate members with the title of DD - a phrase which I will explain later as I tell you the true story of how we four - the Preacher, The Reacher, The Teacher and The Creature competed as hard as we could to become full-fledged ladies men.

The caper starts, as did most of our adventures, in the Kenmore Deli, a fabulous all night eatery near our dorm in historic Kenmore Square. We had been summoned to a meeting at three in the morning by a message from Emily Sphere – none other than the beautiful president of the Kappa Alpha Betas (aka the ‘Kabs’).

In response, I and my pals straightaway left our dorm rooms in the old Kenmore Hotel and walked down Grahm Street (so named for our school, Grahm Junior College) to the well lit oasis just a minute’s walk away.

The usual pre dawn crowd was there; an eclectic blend of all nighters out late and morning workers just starting their day.

There were a couple of guys from The Who hanging out with the local heroes The Barbarians whose chart topper, “Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl?” would make them icons to every super-group from the Dave Clark Five and the Beatles to the New Kids on the Block.

I gave a nod to Moulty, the one armed drummer and leader of the Barbs, and he banged out a little paradiddle with his fork, striking his plate in classic alternating single and double strokes.

“Cool beans man!” I affirmed to the musician as I peeked over to the table where the Kabs were seated. Happily I noticed that they noticed that the Barbarians and the Whos had given me a little salute.

Before sitting down with the Kabs, I stopped to speak with a statue – a living statue.

“Hello Andy,” I said quietly. “You’re doing a great job. The whole room is admiring the way you just stand there looking silly.”

“Thanks Creature,” the statue said without moving his lips, in the manner of a ventriloquist. “Are the tuttets ready? (he couldn’t say the letter “P” without moving his lips so puppets became tuttets).

“Yes they are. I finished outfitting them this afternoon so we can film the show tomorrow and schedule it for broadcast on WCSB next week.”

“Thanks nan. This show is going to de great. I think I will de on the Tonight show dy this time next year.”

“Okay pal,” I said “I’ll see you in the studio tomorrow.” I mentally translated his closed lip sentence to “Thanks Man. This show is going to be great. I think I will be on the Tonight Show by this time next year.”

“Who is that guy?” The Preacher asked me.

“Don’t you know Andy? I thought everybody knew Andy Kaufman. He’s in my TV Production class here at Grahm. He calls himself a performance artist. Most everybody else calls him a nut. Mr. Kaufman is very different. We’re putting together a puppet show for the college TV station. It’s a comedy program for adults not kids. In one part of the show Andy simply stands like a statue next to a record player while the song “Mighty Mouse” is loudly playing. He keeps his mouth shut during the entire song except when the singer intones, “Here he comes to save the day, Mighty Mouse is on the way”; which Andy lip synchs. It’s very funny but I don’t think that my pal Andy Kaufman will ever have any commercial success with it.”

Emily was Marilyn Monroe Blond

Maria was Liz Taylor Sepia

Rayleen was Rhonda Fleming red

Emmylou's hair was liquid silver

The Creature in the 1950s

Meeting the Ladies

We went over and sat down in the seats offered by the Kabs. We didn’t say anything, waiting for them to explain their plan.

Just then the waiter brought us plates of grilled cheese sandwiches with pickles and chips piled up high on the side; along with the steaming hybrid espresso/americano coffee that made the Kenmore Deli famous.

“I ordered for you boys,” smiled elegant Emily Sphere. She was sitting with three other Kabs who were nearly as stunning as she.

With their long curly hair reaching their shoulders, between them the girls had all the colors of the rainbow covered.

Emily was Marilyn Monroe blond, but fuller and softer than the fragile movie star ever could be. Her figure reminded everyone of the road sign on Route 128 near the quarries – Dangerous Curves Ahead.

The girl to her right, Maria, was Liz Taylor sepia – her thick black tresses battled for supremacy with diamond eyes so sparkly that it required sunglasses to even glance at her.

Next to her was Rayleen Ransom from Atlanta, Georgia who was Rhonda Flemming red. Her bright red curls slinked down her forehead and caressed flashing green eyes that gave men a single thought, “All I want for Christmas is Rayleen Ransom”.

The fourth and final young lady was Snow White. Her real name was Emmylou Snow but she became “Snow White” due to her flowing silver locks. Silver was her hair, not white. Its color was remarkable, but what made it even more so is that her hair appeared not to be hair at all but smooth flowing rivers of soft, liquid silver.

“Hello Preacher, Creature, Teacher, and Reacher. You gentlemen are probably wondering what task is in store for your initiation into the sorority.”

Author’s note. Dear reader, To reveal the boys’ task I will keep you waiting no longer than episode two of this series. In that episode you will learn not only of the daring deeds the lads must do to earn their 'dresses' but you'll also discover their real names and how they came to be called, The Preacher, The Creature, The Teacher and The Reacher.

Stay tuned.”

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Comments 8 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

Great authenticity...."cool beans" I haven't heard that phrase for a long time....you captured the feel of Boston so very well....a very nice read, Bill!


Billrrrr profile image

Billrrrr 5 months ago from Cape Cod Author

Thanks Bill. Those cool beans came from a great friend of mine who played guitar in the Fletcher Henderson band in the 1940s. If he gave you a 'cool beans', it was a high compliment.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 5 months ago from Queensland Australia

Great trip back in time here Bill. I love the "Liz Taylor sepia". We always said "cool bananas" but that maybe due to growing up in Queensland (we are called Bananabenders by the other states of Australia).

Can't wait for part two to find out what your assigned "task" was.


Billrrrr profile image

Billrrrr 5 months ago from Cape Cod Author

Thanks John. I don't know the origin of "Cool Beans" but I suspect it has something to do with Boston Baked Beans and the fact that the city is nicknamed 'Beantown'. My pal who played for the big bands in the 1940s, and who later was lead guitar for Diana Ross during her Billie Holiday period, always said "Cool Beans" as a reward for either good guitar work or a good story. I never got a "Cool Beans" from him for my axe work but I got a few for my tales and jokes.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

"The Athens of America." What a great metaphor. I was intrigued with this trip back in time through the City of Boston -- through your words and photos -- and I definitely plan to "stay tuned."


Billrrrr profile image

Billrrrr 5 months ago from Cape Cod Author

Hi Genna. From one Bostonian to another, "Thanks pal".


johnmariow profile image

johnmariow 4 weeks ago from Connecticut

Unique, highly descriptive, enjoyable read. I've never read about a sorority before though I heard about them. Thanks for sharing. Well written.


Billrrrr profile image

Billrrrr 4 weeks ago from Cape Cod Author

Thanks john. I very much appreciate that you took the time to read and comment.

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