By Kevin Purdy
A few phone calls and a handful of emails went out early last fall, a restaurant was chosen, and less than one month later, at Docks Oyster Bar in midtown Manhattan, a roughly 53-year tradition among seven men was upheld.
Stuart A. Rouff missed this last dinner, but he will likely attend the next one. They all make the trip to Manhattan, on the subway or up from Long Island, or across the state from Binghamton, because they are brothers. Each round of drinks, jokes, meals, reminiscences and announcements binds them closer together.
Six of the seven are UB graduates (Rouff left UB early for dentistry school elsewhere), and all are members of Alpha Epsilon Pi. When they say they are brothers, however, they speak of a brotherhood that transcends a graduating class, a fraternity and postgraduate apartments.
“We’ve always been there for each other,” says Robert A. Wild (BA ’64). “It wasn’t by design—we just did it. No other way to explain it.”
“We’re a little bit old-school,” adds Michael A. Rosenberg (BA ’65). “Each of us appreciates just hearing the sound of the others’ voices. There’s so much that’s lost in email.”
Along with Rouff, Wild and Rosenberg, the group that calls itself “The Buffalo Boys” includes Alan R. Fields (BA ’65), Stephen S. Marks (BA ’65), Kenneth R. Seglin (AS ’64) and William Zelman (BS ’64). Many are active with UB alumni events and philanthropy, and both Rosenberg and Marks serve on the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council.
The dinners are held every few months. For three hours or more, they eat and talk about life’s happenings: births, deaths, children, grandchildren, divorces, new homes, mutual friends, funny stories. They discuss business, but not at length. They have not missed a year in more than half a century.
Occasionally, Buffalo stories come up. Rosenberg relates that the mostly downstate crew had never encountered a “half pie” or “half box” until they ordered pizza from Bocce’s. “I remember eating about half of it, then lying down on the floor and loosening my pants, because I couldn’t breathe,” Rosenberg says. “We learned by stuffing our faces. We had to learn the hard way.”
Some of the Boys occasionally make it back to Buffalo and return with even more stories. “We don’t live in the ’60s,” says Wild. “But our hearts are still in Buffalo.”
Do you have a lifelong relationship that started at UB? Email a brief account, subject line “Blue Bond.”