Monday, May 14, 2007


My Minyan buddy Barry shared a little story with me this morning concerning a pair of musicians who visited Memphis State back when he was an undergraduate in the spring of 1966.

Seems the musicians were Fraternity Brethren - fellow members of Alpha Epsilon Pi - despite one having been graduated from Queens College in New York, the other a grad student at Columbia working on a master’s degree. School ties, it seems, pale in comparison to the ties ’twixt Fraternity Brethren.

This is an area of which I have little knowledge, having gone to college at a school that booted all the Greek-letter fraternities out in the mid-19th century, a ban that lasted well eighty years and one that, unofficially, continues to this very day.

Anyway, back to Barry. He and his frat brother were given the mighty task of making sure the Visiting Music Men were well taken care of, in a fashion suitable for Fraternity Brethren Who Have Made Good. Or were in the process of Making Good, at least.

You might, if you look at this contemporary photograph, recognize the two musicians:

S and G and Barry

Yes,’s Simon and Garfunkel. And the guy standing between them in the Nerd-Glasses - towering a full inch over Paul Simon! - is Barry hizzownself.

Simon and Garfunkel! It was at Memphis State that spring of 1966, for this select audience of Alpha Epsilon Pi guys, that the duo rolled out their new song, “I Am A Rock.”

And it was some three years later that I would see them, in one of the strangest concert bills ever to grace the stage at Madison Square Garden.

Of course, we all look a little...different today, 41 years later. Barry, at least, has lost those Nerd-Glasses...and I’m sure his Missus is grateful.

Elisson and Barry

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