A little porch sittin'
As any Flyer will tell you, some of the greatest conversations in life can happen on a front porch.
Golden Flyers Frank Maus ’62 and Genie Vogel Maus ’64 found that out one afternoon last August as they sat in rocking chairs on their front porch in Kettering, Ohio.
“As we were sitting, this nice-looking young man pulled up, and I said to Frank, ‘Do you know him?’ He said, ‘No, do you know him?’” Genie said. “He just asked us, ‘Are you Frank and Genie Maus?’ Then he explained.”
The couple has volunteered as Golden Flyers for more than a decade with the Dayton alumni community. Starting in 2020 they began writing letters to graduating UD students on behalf of the alumni association. The letters include a welcome to the alumni community and usually a fun UD anecdote or two.
Genie remembers writing, “We welcome you as Flyers forever. Your degree from UD is a treasure that you’ll appreciate forever.”
The Mauses’ note arrived in the hands of Jared Beach ’21 just after he graduated with his business degree in operations and supply chain management.
“It was a really nicely written letter, really thoughtful, just congratulating me on graduating and welcoming me into the Dayton alumni family,” Jared said. “It touched my heart.”
Jared quickly wrote a letter back to the couple, but before he had a chance to mail it, he got busy moving into a new apartment. Jared had just signed a lease in downtown Dayton so he could be close to campus where he would pursue a master’s degree in business analytics.
He rediscovered the note while he was unpacking and, rather than mail it, decided to hand deliver it. As he pulled up to the house, he realized he’d probably driven past it hundreds of times.
“I saw them on the porch just enjoying the cool afternoon.”
“I saw them on the porch just enjoying the cool afternoon, and I’m saying to myself, ‘Now this is funny,’” he said.
Jared introduced himself, and the three began talking. Genie shared that she lived in Dayton her entire life, and her father practically grew up on campus in a house on Evanston. “Our whole family has always been close to the University,” she said. “I have been going to Dayton basketball games for, let me think, 74 years.”
She attended UD while Marycrest, a women’s dorm, was still under construction. “I had to tell him stories about us coeds on campus,” she said. “You always had to have a skirt on, or a dress — you were never allowed to be in slacks or shorts. It was a different time.”
Genie said that after sharing several stories, she realized Jared was still standing up and said, “You need to sit down here because you seem to be interested!”
She said she and Frank encouraged Jared to share more about his time at UD, but said he was more eager to listen. “We wanted to hear about why he decided to get his master’s degree, but he was more interested in Frank talking about living at Founders Hall,” Genie said.
The couple shared the story of how they met thanks to Homecoming 1961. Genie was friends with Frank’s roommate, who asked Genie for a favor: Can their girlfriends stay at Genie’s parents’ house over Homecoming? A few weeks later, the men stopped by to offer thanks and a crystal vase, bought at Rike’s department store downtown for Genie’s mom.
“Unbeknownst to me, this girlfriend of Frank’s was just a friend — I didn’t know that at the time,” she said. “So, a few weeks later, he called me to go see Breakfast at Tiffany’s. And that’s how it all started.”
After spending more than two hours talking and laughing together, Jared finally had to leave to meet friends for dinner. But before he left, he did share about where he lived on campus; a house at 1518 Frericks. Genie thought that address sounded familiar, and she immediately called her granddaughter, Ashley, a junior at UD, who was moving onto campus that same weekend.
“I said, ‘Ashley, is 1518 Frericks where you’re moving into?’” Genie said. “She said, ‘Yes!’”
“Are my roommates having a porch party?”
But then Genie laughed, and said her granddaughter asked, “Why? Did you drive by? Are my roommates having a porch party?”
Illustration by Dan Zettwoch.