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What do we eat? Red meat!

Contrary to popular belief (and what was reported in the July 2008 Bulletin), Swarthmore has not been continuously without a mascot until the recent selection of the Phoenix. In 1968, a time of sweeping social change by any measure, a movement of another type also arose—principally among winter off-season jocks—to provide greater support to those athletes who were competing during that season. The support was determined to consist of a band and later a mascot. Curly Jon and His Tin Pan Band made their debut during the basketball season in the old field house. Armed with ice trays, pots, pans, washboards, and devices of a similar nature, the band provided substantial support from the top of the stands.

Given the existence of “The Garnet” as a team appellation, it seemed only natural to adopt that symbol as a mascot. The Garnet was born of a refrigerator box, duct tape, and purple paint. All that remained was to find the appropriate body and cover the bare portions in a balaclava, turtleneck, and cordovan shoe polish. Someone was needed who was not married to McCabe on Saturday nights, who did not suffer from “mild ego,” and who was willing to roast in a refrigerator box for the duration of the game. The “volunteer” was found, and The Garnet rose. Unfortunately, after several games, the Tin Pan Band was the subject of great complaint by visiting teams (primarily Muhlenberg) and Curly Jon and company were banned from the field house. The Garnet went the way of the band, never to rise again.

Eric Bressler ’72
Cutchogue, N.Y.

Bressler provided the following quiz:

1. Who was Curly Jon?

2. What so upset Muhlenberg?

3. Who was the short-lived Garnet?

Answers: 1. Jon Messick ’72. .. 2. “What do we eat? Red meat!” .. 3. The author.

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