Friday, August 05, 2016

The 'Vous


Who Knows Where This Is?

The 'Rendezvous (Vous) opened in College Park in 1962 (closed 12/22/96).  It quickly became the new favorite frat-sorority hangout, replacing the Varsity Grill which had "modernized" it's old high ceiling, "aircraft hanger with/ giant wood burning fireplace" motif,  with  paneled walls, etc., and losing it's soul in the process. 

Anyway. I remember that you had to walk down a few stairs at the 'Vous to reach the toilets, which were always overflowing; imparting the stench of urine to mingle with spilled beer.  It was raucous, fun, and full of memories and drunk co-eds. Much closer than the Town Hall, too.  After leaving the 'Vous,  one might stumble down the street to the Little Tavern and give hell to "Cyclops," the cockeyed cook while he fried up a bag of "death-balls."

ASIDE: Kenny Ambrusko scored a 101-yard, game-winning touchdown against Navy in 1964.    That TD saw MD linebacker Jerry Fishman run in front of Navy's team, giving them the finger.  "After playing a contractually obligated 1965 game, Navy and Maryland did not play again until 2005."

Ambrusko later was a bartender (maybe mgr) at the 'Vous.  He said that what was behind Fishman's anger was after sacking Navy QB Roger Staubach, Staubach called him a "fucking Jew."


Anonymous said...

Rodger - thanks for clearing my mind on the shuffleboard locale. The Vous building is still at the South end of College Park, but now a restaurant.

My main recollection is the stale beer smell you mentioned, as gallons were spilled on the floor daily.

It was also one of many places where I lost a watch over the years. Leaving the Vous late one night, walking to our car in the parking lot across the side street to the north, my roommate asked me what time it was. I looked at my wrist - my nearly new watch was gone. A hasty return and search turned up nothing.
It's also where my other roommate J announced to the table one late afternoon (about 1965) that he was failing out of school, was going in the Army and wanted to be a helicopter pilot. B, a Special Forces veteran already back from Vietnam, banged his beer can on the table and near screamed "You wanna do what? See this beer can - it has more armor than a helicopter! You know why all the tractors in Vietnam don't have seats? All the helo pilots stole them and are sitting on them to save their asses. All my ARVN troops sat on their helmets as we flew to save the family jewels. I was on one that took twenty nine hits -bang- daylight here (pointing to the floor) -daylight there- (pointing to the ceiling) -bang- daylight here (pointing to the floor) -daylight there- (pointing to the ceiling). Twenty nine fucking times.
You probably heard about autorotation, well you gotta have a working transmission to do that, and one hit in the transmission and the oil goes out and you got four seconds to put it down before it seizes.
After a while, every mission I sat in the door with a reserve chute on and made up my mind I was gonna throw it out the door and take a chance on the chute rather than ride that thing down after a bad hit.
Helicopters can't fly - they don't have any wings."

J , uncertainly - "Well...uhh...they're up there.."

B - "Yeah, they're up there.... on faith alone, and one day, one pilot's gonna lose faith and all those floating bubbles are gonna come crashing down."
J went into armor.

The Vous was also the place where I saw my college true love for the last time in 1968. Between senior engineering workload and a DC National Guard call up nearly every Thursday night ruining weekend after weekend, I just didn't have time to spend with her. I can still see her face in the crowd at the Vous. She married a dentist.

Those were the days....
Lt. Col. Gen. Tailgunner dick

Anonymous said...

I was thinking - I remember reading about Fishman and that Navy game, but I was in the Army then and missed the game. Nice to hear the back story after all these years.
I think it was the spring of 1963, at a Maryland-Navy lacrosse game, that the sky at Byrd Stadium was blackened by beer cans and booze bottles heaved at the Navy bench after the referee ignored a blatant foul by a Navy player. The Maryland-Navy relationship was beyond a rivalry - it was a hate. I used an athletic locker room facility at the USNA once in my college years, and saw a sign on the ceiling. It said "To beat Army is a tradition; to beat Maryland is a must"
We took great joy in going to the USNA on a Saturday afternoon in Maryland jackets, walking into one of their prissy "tea dances", offering our arms to girls there (we knew the girls and prearranged the insult), and walking out with them.

The Vous did have a lot more coeds that the TH. I think TH was more of a guy place.
And thanks for the Little Tavern reminder. Go down to "Club LT " late at night, yell out "Hey Cy, gimme three death balls." Fifteen cents each, IIRC. One of Cy's eyes looked at you, sort of, the other looked off into the ceiling. I always felt guilty calling him Cy and would try to avoid it if I could be heard over the din otherwise. I remember mustard - lots of it - in a squeeze bottle or one of those chrome pump things? They were really good. I could go for some death balls right now just thinking about it.
Lt. Col. Gen. Tailgunner dick

Juice said...

Google can only do so much, so you can imagine search results for death balls. Next up death balls food. Perhaps it's best to go to the source. What were death balls? And they involved mustard?

Anonymous said...

The Little Tavern featured a 15 cent burger, in the form of a ball, served on a really good little roll with mustard and a slice of pickle. In the wee hours of the am, LT was the only place open. The mini-burgers were delicious, each one two or three bites, and if you ate too many you were prone to get heartburn - hence "death balls". Sometimes one person from a dorm or apartment would make the run, and buy a "sack full", as Rodg noted, to take back. The sack was a white paper bag full of goodness for late night crammers or the dregs leaving the beer joints when they closed at 1 am.
Lt. Col. Gen. Tailgunner dick

Juice said...

Oh! Very good then. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I graduated UM in 1983 and remember a thing called "Vous Shoes" you should have on because the floors were covered in beer and the chances of more beer being dumped on it were high.

Rodger the Real King of France said...

Avec moi, will vous play?


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