A remembrance by Jack Waldron '53
It was the second week of September, 1949. I arrived at Bucknell for the start of Freshman Week. My friend Dorothy Harvey's parents drove us up. Her dad was a judge and a nice person as was Dorothy's mother. I brought a single suitcase with me, leaving room for Dorothy's stuff.
They dropped me off at the Administration Office. I checked in and was advised my dorm was called the Temporary Dorm. It was a leftover from the Navy V-12 Unit based at Bucknell during World War II. A guide took a few of us down the Hill, past the football stadium and the gym, across Route 15, and we were there at the dorm, a large Quonset hut. The guide showed us the study rooms and bathrooms. He said there would be seventy six freshmen men staying in this dorm, consisting of scholarship football and basketball players, military veterans, and late applicants to the university. Lastly, he advised us to pick whatever bunk beds, top or bottom, that were empty. Each man had a wardrobe locker and a bunk bed.
I walked along the row of bunk beds with my suitcase, and I spotted a guy lying in his bunk with his hands behind his head and a miraculous medal hanging on a chain around his neck. I stopped and asked him if he was a Catholic. Yes was his answer. I told him I was too, asked if anybody was using the top bunk and he said "Take it." I tossed my suitcase up on the bed, told him my name was Jack Waldron and I was here on a basketball scholarship. He replied that he was Ray Pettit, football scholarship. We shook hands.
Ray had been at Bucknell for three weeks for football practice. I could tell from his strong accent that he was from New England and sure enough Waterbury, Connecticut was his home town. He'd gone to Cheshire Academy where he played football for a post-graduate year. I told him same for me going to Malvern Prep outside of Philadelphia for a post-grad year for basketball. Also, I had a brother named Ray. So we had some things in common, which was a nice way to start what turned out to be a great friendship that lasted our entire lives.
Ray confided to me that he was very homesick for his beloved girlfriend, Miss Peggy Murphy, and that he was thinking of going back to Waterbury, leaving Bucknell. I knew at that moment I would do my best to encourage this big good looking guy to stay at Bucknell. Ray stayed, became a great football tight end, in 1952 played on Bucknell's undefeated team, and saved our beautiful SAE fraternity from financial ruin with his brilliant leadership as our treasurer for two years.
Ray married his sweetheart, Peggy. I had the honor of being his best man at the wedding. He went on to have a great life. So here's to Ray wearing the miraculous medal!
Goodbye my friend, Ray Pettit.
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