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May 08, 1974 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1974-05-08

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Wednesday, May 8, 1974

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Thirteen

I

Ford
frateri

By GORDON ATCHESON
Returning to his old fraternity
house last Saturday, Vice Presi-
dent Gerald Ford for a few fleet-
ing moments was able to shed
some of the stiffness, formal-
ity, and secret service agents
that accompany the high office
he now holds.
Yet even when visiting his old
cronies who had gathered at the
Delta Kappa Epsilon house to
welcome their most illustrious"
brother, he could not escape the
watchful gaze of a pair of fed-
eral agents who hung at hItis
shoulders.
THE MEDIA too hounded
Ford as he tried to have a cou-
ple of brief - and probably
private - words with his col-
lege friends. Still the Vice Pre-
sident visibly warmed to t h e
relatively relaxed situation.
Since becoming what he him-
self characterizes as "our coun-
try's first instant Vice Presi-
dent" close on the heels of Spiro
Agnew's resignation last fall,
Ford has been meticulously
scrutinized by the nation as he
tries to front for a President
mired in an unprecedented ser-
ies of political scandals.
A conservative during his 25-
year tenure in the House of Re-
presentatives, Ford has main-
tained an image of impeccable
honesty and forthrightness in
his work even among his poli-
tical opponents. But that pro-
jection has begun to erode as
he defends Richard Nixon on
point after point.
THE PUBLIC animosity to-
ward Ford has consequently
mounted and although it didn't
surface at the DKE fraternity,
some of the current members
hold less than kind opiaions
about the Vice President.
Those feelings remained cam-
ouflaged behind a v e n e e r of
hand shakes and smiles. Still
the facade occasionally cracked
with an aside behind Ford's
back. He never noticed or at
leat cared not to.
By the time Ford reached the
frat - known as Deke's shanty
- which is a small two story
brick building that looks re-
markably like a church tucked
away between a grocery store
and an office supply shop on E.
William St., he had already felt
the public outrage.
WHILE addressing the Uni-
versity commencement earlier
in the day Ford was continually
hombarded by taunts and boos
from a few vocal demonstrators
in the crowd. But the entire aud-
ience roundly derided his effort
to vindicate the President for re-
leasing transcripts instead of the
tape recordings of Watergate-
related Oval Office conversa-
tions.
Thus Ford welcomed the on-
portunity to make small talk
with his old fraternity brethren
who today remain somewhat in
awe of the man they knew be-
fore he became a household
word.
Besides, Ford is always at his
best dealing with people - be
they personal friends or politic-
ians with whom a bargain must
be struck - on an individual
basis. In that setting his firm
hand shake and open smile are
far more effectiv* than in deal-
ing with a basketball arena full
of strangers.
THE 60-YEAR-OLD Ford looks
about a decade youngr, per-
haps because he still exercises
daily - a carryover from the
days when he was an all-Ameri-
can football player at the Uni-
versity.
His blond hair is thinning and
a few lines are etched in his
face, but Ford looks like he
weighs in at just several pounds
over his playing weight.
Ford came attired in a navy

blue pinstrip suit cut m'o r e
conservatively than any other in
the room. He also wore a white
button-down shirt and a red,
white, and blues tie. A pair a
auns glasses had hastily been
thrust into his breast pocket.

. "
SIsits
nity
THE OLD DKE
mingled with each
present frat boys,
tourage of outsider
a vice president as
a punch of milk, ice
a touch of whiskey
been the major refr
ing their Saturday
ings.
"Having those p
was our alibi for n
a date for Saturda
Ford at one point,
little else that was
public consumption
However, someo
members reminisce
old days and Vic
Ford when he was,
"HE WAS the pe
mate," recalls Ear
who shared a room
during the Vice Pr
year at the Unive
clothes were alwa'
clean just like the
Townsend added
was 'also a good s
spent much of his
studying. "Jerry gt
the lower bunk toe
because he was a
was just a junior,"
ed smiling slightly.
As he circulated
group, Ford signed
graphs, shook mor
gesture that must
cond-nature to mo
politicnans - and<
good-natured ribb
near-legendary abil
washer.
WHEN HE lived
fraternity, Ford ea
portion of his coll
scrubbing dishes at
a reputation for spe
admitted the qualit
manship may have
times.

.f.0
with his
brothers
members' Despite all the good will that
other, the flowed, an undercurrent of iIlI
and the en- feeling toward the Vice Presi-
s that trail dent existed among the current
they sipped frat brothers.
cream, and "I dislike him - not as much
ehbiems rd as Nixon - but that's because
eshmnent dur- he hasn't done as much," said
night neet- DKE member Howard Kress.
He also said he hoped to see
et toethers Nixon impeached in the n e a r
eever getting future.
y,' quipped
but he said ANOTHER brother conceded:
strictly for "I know I'd never vote for Ford,
1. but I guess I can still be nice
of the DKE to the guy"
d about the After about half an hour, Ford
e President hesitantly joined in a chorus of
jist Jerry. the DKE fraternity song and
erfect room- they all raised their punch glass.
1 Townsend, es high.
with Ford Then a stone-faced secret ser
esident s last vice agent tapped Ford on the
rsity. "its shoulder and suggested t h e y
vs neat and move to the next stop on the
room, itinerary to keep up with the
that Ford schedule.
tdent who FORD SLOWLY headed f or
spare time the door bidding the group fare
t to sleen in well and finally stepped through
. e .- tat's the door and back in to the rea
senior and I world.
le conminent- Outside, a crowd of severa
through the hundred people had gathered in
a few auto- the warm afternoon sun to catch
e hands - a a glimpse of the Vice President
become se- But even in this gathering ther
st longtime were hecklers who decried Nix
often took a on, facism, and U.S. imperial
'Ing for his ism.
ity as a dish- Ford didn't seem particularly
upset. He smiled and waved t
at the DKE the admirers and ignored the
rned a large protesters. The federal agent
ege expenses looked concerned as they scan
nd developed ned the crowd.
ed though he The Vice President was quick
y of his work- ly hustled into a waiting ca
suffered at while the agents muscled a pat
for him through the throng

Heckling, hostility
greet VP's speech
Csntinued teem wage s2l War' II returned to Grand
AFTER FORD retired from ids, where be has lived sirs
the podium to a modest round of early childhood.
applause, the ceremony fell into At Saturday's commence
a fitful - and frightfully dull - he received an honorary
pattern more charateristic of degree. Noted author and
such events. torian Bruce Catton and
Ford made little comment vard University Astra
abount the disruptions during the Prof. Leo Goldberg also w
rest of his stay in Ann Arbor but given honorary degrees.
claimed they "didn't bother me IN RECOUNTING his
because the people involved do aduation to the crowd at
not represent the views of the er Arena, Ford co amente
vast majority of American peo- ena, For comene
ple." He later added he had he could not remember
been "amused" by the out- speaker or what he said. I
bursts. record, it was then Secret
bursts.State Cordell Hull.
University President Robem tFordent Hu t a
Fleming, who introduced t h e But Ford wes on t
Vice President and felt the heck- am probably doing some
Iors' batrhs for refering to the American a disservice and
"cessation of the Vietnam war" pect the same treatmei
in his remarks, said he w as years from now.I' It wo
"saddened" by the protest. unlikely that the audienc
- * forget Ford, who dubbed
"I'M SORRY it had to go on, self "our country's instant
but that is apparently the price President" because he tool
of a free society," he said. the post following Spir
As the program ended, near- new's resignation last fall.
- ly two and a half hours after it Although the words he
r began, te Vice President w a a ilpoalybcm uz
- hustled out a side exit accom-will robably becme fuzz
panied by a wall of Secret Ser- crowd will recall the ma
vice agents and jumped into the protesters who hounded
a waiting limousine which, with Together they made the
I a police escort, sped off down mencement something out
the road.ordinary
Tight security characterized -
Ford's entire visit. Some 40 fed-
eral agents assisted by scores
- of city, county, and state police
personnel.
y AN ALL-AMERICAN center,
o Ford played varsity football for
e the Wolverines froml1932 tot1935
s and was named the team's most
- valuable player in his last sea-
son
r Ford later graduated from
h Yale Law School and after serv-
ing in the Navy during World 41 o

lRap-
le his.
sment
law
I his-
Har-
nomy
were
own
Cris-
d that
the
r the
ary of
Id, "I
fine
I ex-
at 39
ld be
* will
him-
t Vice
k over
o A,-
spoke
y, the
n and
d him.
com-
of the

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I

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He is considered
to be one of the
three best
flatpickers in the
country (Watson,
Crary, Blake).
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