The SAE Blind Date that Led to a Lifetime of Love

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we asked those of you who met their spouses or significant others thanks to an SAE event or through a brother to share your story with us.

Pete “Carp” Carpenter ‘62 was one of those lucky guys, and his story is as funny as it is touching.

“I had a few girlfriends—in fact, much to the dismay of my Brothers, a few pinmates. In the late '50s/early '60s we would present a new pinmate with a dozen red roses and the Ranch would serenade her with SAE songs at her sorority or Residence Hall. Having a 'few pinmates,' I was advised at a Chapter meeting that I had become a financial and time consuming... well, simply put the House would no longer pay tribute to my selected pinmates. My plea or defense was that I was just a 'friendly' guy. Didn’t work! 

Finally, in the winter of my junior year, 1961, a Brother who was aware I had recently gotten 'de-pinned,' asked me to go on a blind date with a KKG Sister of his pinmate. A younger Brother, George Kepler, was a local resident and came from a farm outside of State College. It had a pond and since it was winter, was frozen over. The Ranch was invited to have an Ice Skating party at George’s Pond. I took the blind date. Her name was Janet Buck, from Mt. Lebanon, PA. 

I did not know this at the time, but Janet, being a 'big city' gal, couldn’t ice skate. The night before, a number of her KKG Sisters took her to the PSU rink and gave lessons. Didn’t pan out for the good in that first time on the ice—she did a beautiful split. One would have thought she had been in the Olympics, however, her leg soon began to swell. I, being the expert, advised she walk on it... just 'a muscle pull.' Finally it got dark and time to return her to the KKG suite at Cooper Hall. First, being a nice guy, I dropped into the PSU Health Center with her to find out—after the doctor reprimanded me for having advised her to walk ON A FRACTURED LEG—that she would be in a leg cast for a few weeks!  Being a 'True Gentleman' and with the help of Brothers, we drove Janet to a lot of her classes. Certainly, it would not have had anything to do with a handicapped parking pass that permitted her driver TO PARK ANYWHERE ON CAMPUS!

Well, you guessed it… Our senior year, 1962, I gave my pin to Janet. She received no roses or serenade! She was the one for me, and now with a well healed leg. After graduation, I went off for a tour in the US Navy, Cuban Crises and early part of Vietnam. In the later part of my USN service, Janet and I were married and began a 49 ½ year marriage. Three Children and eight Grandchildren (two of our daughters are Kappa’s from the University of Arizona, son a Kappa Alpha) and a lot of experiences on the East Coast and now 45 years living in Scottsdale, Arizona. On August 20, 2011 my SAE Sweetheart, Janet Buck Carpenter, passed away after a brief illness. 

Oh, by the way: I managed to present her with many roses and serenades over our many years together!”

— Phi Alpha, Peter R. (Carp) Carpenter, SAE, 1959, PSU Class of 1962


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