February 25, 2006

Anthony DeLucia - August 1984, New Orleans

As a newly arrived freshman at Tulane, I’d been checked into my room for about a half an hour. Next on my list was to head over to Phelps and put in my paperwork and pick up my rental refrigerator. What dorm room at Tulane would be complete without a refrigerator?

I’m standing in a line that’s not moving, wondering what’s holding it up. It’s about ninety degrees, and humid. I turn around to survey the scene and find someone taller than me standing behind me. Of course he’s got a big smile and we strike up a conversation and shake hands. I learn his name Ray O’Neal from San Francisco. I tell him I’m from Connecticut and am also starting my freshman year.

Now besides Ray being a couple of inches taller than me, there are a few notable characteristics in his attire. He’s wearing a white V-Neck Undershirt, cut off jeans which have uneven, brand new cuts with no fringes on each leg and no shoes. Even in New Orleans in August, students are at least wearing flip flops. I’ve seen no one else at this point who is shoeless.

We continue to talk back and forth, as the line is going no where fast. Ray’s dad is a commercial pilot for Republic, so Ray arrived first class, on standby to start his freshman year at Tulane. Well, flying standby on Republic, requires that you wear a tie and jacket. So Ray had dutifully arrived at the San Francisco Airport wearing his jeans, blue blazer, dress shirt and dress shoes that morning. He admitted he was pushing the dress code with his jeans, but they were brand new (and full length at that point).

He managed to secure a seat, as it wasn’t nearly as hard to fly standby in 1984. After one layover he arrived in New Orleans. Ray’s luggage wasn’t quite as fortunate. It was still somewhere in Texas and wouldn’t arrive till the following day.

So here’s Ray, his first day at Tulane, with nothing but a blue blazer, dress shirt, v-neck undershirt, jeans and dress shoes. It’s only 100 percent humidity and walking around in a jacket and tie is just unthinkable. Raymond, being the ultimate innovator, cuts off his jeans with a pocket knife, loses the blazer, long sleeve dress shirt and dress shoes and heads out to get his refrigerator. I strongly suspect his next stop was Bruff Stuff to get some barley and hops to fill that refrigerator.

We spent well over an hour, waiting in line, talking like we’d known each other for years. Ray was the first friend I made at Tulane. We agreed to meet up in about an hour for beers and left for our respective dorm rooms.

After I got back to my dorm room, I called Dan Tarman who had finally arrived on campus and prior to me heading to Tulane was the only person I knew in our class. I told him I met I really cool surfer dude from California, Ray and to head over to my room. Dan, and I, incidentally went to nursery school together, and both grew up in North Haven, Connecticut.

Dan arrives at my room in Sharp Dormitory and we’re hanging out and shooting the breeze. Ray arrives a few minutes later, barefoot and with a six pack of beer in each hand, minus one. He later explained that beer was easier to carry if you pulled a can out and drank it, there by leaving a “handle “.

To this moment I can still envision Ray walking through that door in my dorm room, a huge grin on his face, dangling a five pack in each big hand. His large feet had no shoes; he was sporting the white V-neck T-shirt and his brand new cutoff jeans.

His words as he walked in the door, “Hey dudes, let’s get shitty!”

The rest is history…..