Finally a story that’s both hilarious AND heartwarming.
Bernie Matlaw is an 88-year-old widower and a Phi Epsilon Pi brother from the University of Connecticut. On July 1st of this year he moved into the The McAualey, an assisted living facility in Hartford, Connecticut. It’s uncertain whether or not Matlaw was initially looking forward to moving into an assisted living facility, or Purgatory Lite as those places could be more accurately classified. But after finding out that several of his former fraternity brothers were also residents at The McAuley, Matlaw was undeniably enthusiastic about his new living situation. Matlaw and most of the brothers he will be living with joined Phi Epsilon Pi in 1941, before the attack on Pearl Harbor threw the United States into the war. Matlaw joined up in 1943, eventually seeing action on Okinawa as an Army combat medic. The rest of his brothers served in various branches as well, in both Europe and the Pacific.
Matlaw will be sharing the assisted living facility with former fraternity brothers Bob Tucker, Marty Fierberg, Joel Kalafa, and Donald Deitch. The men were brothers and friends in college but lost touch over time. The fact that they are all back living together now was a complete surprise to the men. Time to rage balls. Really old balls. As Matlaw said, “We all came to McAuley at different times, unbeknown to each other. We figured out, ‘My goodness, there’s a fraternity here.'”
You’re Goddamn right there’s a fraternity there. Now tear that assisted living facility apart. In fact the elderly Phi Eps have already started. They spend their nights at The McAuley happy hour pounding wine and no doubt destroying more withered bush than a landscaping crew replanting after a drought.
If there’s any doubt that Matlaw and the Phi Ep crew have the ability to rage, one has only to look to their past. Matlaw fondly remembers his hazing, because compared to Okinawa hazing probably is a fond memory, which included the ordeal of being blindfolded and driven thirty miles out to the middle of nowhere in the dead of night. They were then forced to walk all the way back in time for the next day’s football game.
Matlaw cited social life as one of his biggest reasons for rushing Phi Ep. “That was one of the reasons you joined — your social life,” Matlaw said.
But again, the Phi Eps’ days of raging are far from over. When Matlaw was asked why he chose to live at The McAuley he cited a number of reasons, including the excellent food and spacious apartments. But his number one reason McAuley gave with a devilish, frat smirk. “McAuley had the best-looking women residents and staff.” He added, “it’s a TFM.” Well, he should have.
May we all be this awesome at 88-years-old. While elderly GDIs are playing bingo, having lemon parties, and dying alone, these Connecticut fratters are riding the TFTC train until their final stop. I hope these guys rage so hard at The McAuley that their children have to ask with legitimate concern whether or not it would be appropriate to bring the grandkids on certain days.
“Tuesday? No that’s no good. We’re hittin’ the pool with a cooler full of wine and not leavin’ until all the silver foxes are drunk or dead from sexual exhaustion. This many loads haven’t been dropped thanks to blue bombers since I watched those Navy Corsairs smoke out Jap bunkers on a hill on Oki.”
“Okay dad, well that’s a bit much…we’ll come some other time.”
Good, old sirs of Phi Epsilon Pi, may you live out the rest of your days as if you’re in college all over again.