When Barry Frett ’12 texted me his address (“42 Moorland, just right off Southworth Street”), I had no idea that the place he calls home would be a destination I would need my iPhone’s GPS application to locate.
And in sandals and a rain slicker, I’d underestimated both the wind-chill and the walk. But there, tucked into a quiet Williamstown neighborhood, was 42 Moorland Street. After over 10 minutes of walking, I had finally arrived – shivering and jubilant – on their doorstep.
The ghoul that grinned from its peg on their front door was my first clue that this interview would be nothing like I’d expected. I had initially passed the house, figuring that any front stoop with Halloween decorations must belong to either a family with kids or a pair of empty-nesters. How wrong I was. “Oh the ghoul?” Frett responded later when I asked. “My mom sent it to me, although we’re thinking maybe it’s a goblin.”
“Yes, but what’s a ghoul to a goblin?” Charlie Gephart ’12 quipped, snagging from me the laughter that served as the soundtrack to our whole interview. “We also had two jack-o-lanterns,” Gephart added. “Sadly, the sun eventually melted them.”
Gephart and Frett, both members of the men’s lacrosse team, described their haven on Moorland as “a diamond in the rough.” Gephart and Frett, along with lacrosse teammate David Doggett ’12 and Williams Ultimate Frisbee Organization (WUFO) player and longtime friend David Monnich ’12, were “pretty lazy in the process of getting houses,” Frett noted. “This one was basically the only one still available.”
Oddly enough though, the boys look pretty at-home as they slouch onto ’80s furniture in a living room framed by fuchsia drapery. “Those were here,” Gephart said, abdicating any responsibility for the pink curtains. And the house is clean, much cleaner than its football counterparts on Meadow Street.
A trash can in the corner reads ‘Carter House’ (Gephart later explained they were simply “borrowing” it … for the year), and a folded table in the corner looks oddly similar to those used for campus-wide picnics on Paresky Lawn. The faint and familiar smell of Keystone gave me the sense that the table had taken on a purpose other than presenting sandwiches and cider. And despite a few posters here and there (the one above the mantle displays the silhouette of an armed soldier and reads, “America Keeps Its Promises”), the first floor is pretty bare.
The exception to the Moorland men’s Spartan style is the centerpiece of the living room, and perhaps the whole house: a mounted deer head that I’m still convinced was making eye-contact with me throughout the interview. Though neither Frett nor Gephart knew the deer’s exact origins, they reported to me that Doggett’s older brother swiped it from a fraternity house at Denison. The deer piece was created as a gun rack, but now the deceased’s antlers bear only softball bats and old lacrosse sticks. “It’s pretty elegant for a deer. I don’t know why it looks the way it does. Maybe it’s a mule-deer,” Frett mused.
The kitchen is stocked with the bare essentials: Honey Wheat Cheerios and MuscleMilk. But when I joked that their massive dining room table was used for civilized dinner parties, they were quick to change my mind. “We’ve thrown a couple dinner parties,” Gephart told me. “Monnich likes cooking for people so the dinner party thing is really pretty fun for us,” Frett added, shattering my pre-conceived notions of the foursome as a collection of athletic cavemen. “Monnich’s actually a really great cook!”
The crew seemed less affected by the hike to their new home than I did. Rating their location at a seven out of 10, Frett argued that “the hike really isn’t that bad; it only takes me about 12 minutes to get to Greylock for class every day.” Gephart admitted he’s more likely than his teammate to drive: “I’ll take my car everywhere,” he explained, “especially once it gets really cold.”
It seems the distance hasn’t deterred guests either; Frett and Gephart estimated that 45 students have come to check out their place in these first six weeks alone.
And as for whether or not they’ll be hosting weekly parties when the snow thaws and lacrosse season begins, the boys were ambivalent. “It’s all about what our landlady will allow,” Frett said. “We’re trying to keep from getting another strike.” (A WUFO party the night before I arrived earned them their first demerit).
But for an “athlete house,” 42 Moorland Street does a fantastic job of evading clichéd expectations. The current foursome is a motley crew of tidy, witty athletes with an affinity for pumpkin carving and mule-deer gun racks. When I asked Gephart to give me a slogan for their humble abode, he opted for “Good Men, Good House.”
“We’re the perfect blend of sweet and salty, almost as good as popcorn and M&Ms,” Frett told me at the end of our interview. And as I grinned at the ghoul on my way out, I couldn’t help but agree.