Staff Writer Jack McCallum says that in his story on roommates, which begins on page 70, he deliberately left out tales of Odd Couple pairings. "There were simply too many of them," says McCallum, whose profile of lightweight boxer Edwin Rosario also appears in this issue, starting on page 50. "Probably every professional team has at least one Oscar and one Felix living together."
This is an article from the May 2, 1983 issue
McCallum spent his undergraduate years at Muhlenberg College playing Oscar Madison, the slob of a sportswriter in Neil Simon's The Odd Couple, to the Felix Ungar of his four-year roommate, Everett (Reds) Bailey.
"I can close my eyes and see Jack's side of the room," says Bailey, who still socializes with his former roomie—they live 10 miles apart, McCallum in Bethlehem, Pa. and Bailey in Allentown. "There were stacks and stacks of things piled up on top of his typewriter: clothes, books, sneaks. I don't know how he ever found the typewriter, but he did. How do I know? Because he pounded on it at all hours of the night."
Of Bailey, McCallum says, "Up to that point in my life I had never met anyone who arranged stuff on his dresser at certain angles so he'd know whether someone had touched anything. Naturally, I'd usually touched something. The first time I saw the hospital corners he had put on his bed, I asked him if he was in pre-nursing. Actually, though, we had so many things in common that we found it easier to stay together and work around the differences in our personal habits."
McCallum and Bailey were not assigned the same room as incoming freshmen. They met early in the first semester during a pickup basketball game. "I noticed this guy wearing high-top black Converses," says Bailey. "I was the only other one who wore them at the time. High-top blacks say a lot about a man."
Within weeks, Bailey and his high-tops had moved from his own room to a mattress on the floor of McCallum's and his assigned roomie's quarters. "We all became expert at walking around this guy on the floor," says McCallum. "It was extremely hazardous, though, if someone who'd had a few beers stumbled into the room when Reds was asleep."
McCallum and Bailey had the room to themselves during their sophomore year, "and we acted properly sophomoric," says McCallum. the dorm counselor's patience with McCallum's predawn visits around the house and Bailey's practical jokes—his specialty was locking people in their own rooms by wedging nickels between the door and the jamb—grew thin, so they spent their last two years as roomies in a fraternity house.
They still share the things that kept them together as roomies—a love of playing hoops and throwing the Frisbee and an offbeat sense of humor. Apparently their tastes in women coincide, too. Years after Bailey dated a Muhlenberg coed named Donna Kisselbach, McCallum married her. "They're the only two roomies I've ever had," says McCallum. "Her hospital corners aren't nearly as good as Reds', though."