Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Reconnecting with the man who introduced me to beer on Facebook

I have a talent for finding people on the Internet that I knew years ago.  I rarely try to contact them, but I found Joe Viel through Facebook.  If you go back to   I talked about my City College years, but I didn’t mention anything about Joe.  I must remember Joe for introducing me to beer.  Remember back in those days we could drink at age 18.  Joe transferred to City College from St. John’s University and joined our Sigma Beta Phi fraternity.  He brought us to a bar on Union Turnpike near St. John’s called the Frontier Palace.  He would mix his beer with apple cider and called it “Special Sauce”.  Back in 1969 the fraternity brothers went to a now defunct restaurant called “Steak and Brew” where you can have all the beer you can drink.  We walked back to the fraternity house on 6th Avenue and 28th Street in Manhattan all drunk.  I started dancing with Eugene the Puerto Rican kid who dated Jewish girls and yelled out “Announcement, Eugene and I are engaged”.  Joe laughed so hard.  Some time later we told fraternity pledges that Sigma Beta Phi stood for silly boys funhouse and that we were a gay fraternity.  I said I became engaged to Eugene, but had to break it off because Eugene wasn’t Jewish.  Attitudes toward gays were a lot different back then.  In October 1970 we went to a bar in Wantaugh where Joe lived called Mulcahy’s .  I remember that I had 7 beers and threw up my pretzels outside the bar.  I remember Barry, a fraternity brother walked around the block with me to sober me up.  There was a year when Joe phoned my home just as Yom Kippur was ending and asked me if I wanted to go drinking.  Joe, not just after a fast!  Oy vey!

I also remember Joe as a womanizer.  He always bragged about how far he went with his girlfriends.  There was one time he said he went out with Jane and that girl did not go all the way (he did not use that language).  I then asked Joe if he got a handshake instead of a kiss.  I was last in touch with Joe until1973 when he was rooming with Bill Bernstein another fraternity brother in Middle Village Queens.  I am sending Joe a private e-mail about what I know about the fomer brothers of Sigma Beta Phi


Anonymous said...

Nice to meet you, Bruce!  Funny story about your old college days.  Seems just about everyone who goes to college should be declared minoring in drunkeness.  ;o)  -  Barbara

phoenixellen said...

I went to SUNY, New Paltz, the typical college post office, two grocery stores, seven bars. I was never much of a drinker and. to this day, I can get high on a half a glass of wine. But one night I was determined to find out what it felt like to get drunk. I drank 7 rum and cokes....and threw up 7 times. That was the LAST TIME I ever got drunk!!

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