Sunday, April 22, 2012

"Say it ain't so, Joe"

Shoeless Joe Jackson
 As the great Chicago baseball player, Shoeless Joe Jackson, who got caught up in the “Black Sox" World Series of 1919 scandal, was leaving the courthouse, a young fan uttered that immortal phrase, “Say it ain't so, Joe.” Everyone is familiar with that line, but no one knows who the kid was who said it.

 Until now.

As a lifelong student of detective science and having read the entire series of Hardy Boy Mysteries TWICE, I feel that I'm uniquely qualified, and have indeed solved this mystery after all these years.

 It was a kid named GEORGE.

The time frame fits perfectly. George was 10 years old and living in Chicago in 1919. He was a huge fan of his hometown team. He hardly ever missed a game. He was always hanging around the ballpark. Every player in the lockeroom knew him. The phrase, “leave us alone, kid,” meant nothing to him. It just went right over his head every time. The players once agreed to sign a bat he owned on the condition that he stop bothering them.

 He didn't. But he kept the bat.

 When George grew, correct that, he never grew most men he just became an older kid. He moved to Washington in the early 30's, started raising a family and by the 1950's had become a very successful Television executive. But his true love was still sports. As you know, the word “fan” is short for fanatic.

That was George.

Eddie LeBaron (L) George Marshall (middle), George (R)
He showed the Washington sports teams the Chicago way of “fandom." and gave them a taste of what it must have been like for the Black Sox. But the major difference was the Senators and the Redskins couldn't just say, “Get lost, kid “ like the Chicago players could. “The kid” was now the one who signed their lucrative TV contracts.

Ted Williams and George
Richard Nixon, George, Mike Nixon
(Redskin Coach in 1959)
Besides, George was very likable and the “Skins” and the Senators soon learned that he knew as much or more about their sport than they did. So no one objected to his being part of Redskin's training camp for two weeks each summer and traveling with the team for all the out of town games or regularly helping out with batting practice during the Senators Spring Training Camp.

 George became my father in law when Linda and I got married in 1963. Neither of us were surprised when in 1965 our son John's first words sounded remarkably like he was reciting some one's batting average. As he grew older it was obvious that some kind of “baseball card gene” had been passed from Grandaddy to grandson. John's card collection became a legend among his friends , thanks to grandaddy George, who was the ultimate collector. He saved everything!

Honus Wagner
 He once had cards going back to the earliest days of baseball. And yes, his collection included a Honus Wagner card. (The most valuable baseball card in existence because it was originally printed by a tobacco company and Wagner hated tobacco so he made the company “pull” the card. As a result, only 25 or so still exist. One sold recently for 1.8 million dollars.)

 I asked a sports memorabilia expert one time how much that autographed Black Sox bat would be worth today....and his best guess was, “priceless.”

 Like I said, George never threw anything away! Unfortunately, though, he came home from college one weekend to hear his Mother proudly proclaim that she had finally “gotten rid of all that junk in the attic”

" Say it ain't so, George."


Even though the "priceless" bat and the Honus Wagner card were included in the "junk" that George's Mom threw away, he started his collection all over again.  Those were the cards that our son, John, inherited. I'm no expert, but I believe the entire collection would be much more valuable if George had kept the "gum" instead of the cards.

During the 1919 series Joe Jackson had 12 hits (a Series record) and a .375 batting average—leading individual statistics for both teams. He committed no errors and threw out a runner at the plate. The Pickins, SC native was later acquitted by a jury, but the legendary outfielder remains an outcast from the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

And Now for my Next Number...

Frank Sinatra

My interest in popular music atrophied after the late 50's and early 60's. Frank Sinatra is no longer played on the radio; except perhaps on some oldies station in New York or L.A. But if you ever get up to the Falls Church, Virginia area and are in need of a Sinatra fix, you're welcome to drop by my grand kids house and listen to their CD boom box. However, it's not Sinatra ALL the time. They'll mix in some Rose Mary Clooney, Mel Torme, Tony Bennet, and Steve Lawrence and Edie Gome tunes spiced with a little Count Basie, Dave Brubeck and things like that.

I'm proud to say that I'm responsible for their taste in popular music. Being brainwashed by your Grand daddy, who has a pretty good ear for  music, is a lot better than the kids growing up thinking that mindless, tuneless, dissonant banging and screaming is good music.

Steve Lawrence and Edie Gorme
At Easter dinner a few weeks ago, one of the boys asked me if I had ever met Frank Sinatra. “No, I never met him, but I saw him live in a concert one time.”

“How about Steve Lawrence. Did you ever meet him.”

“No, I'm afraid not. However," I added, "I once replaced him on a national radio music show.”

The rolling of the eyes began. As you know I love telling stories, true stories, but my grand kids don't believe them and they won't listen long enough to hear, as Paul Harvey used to say, “the rest of the story.”

This time neither boy even finished dessert before both announced in unison, “We love you Grandaddy, but we're outta here.”

Here's the rest of the story:

Around 1963 or 64 the US Air Force Band, based at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington decided to expand their very successful “Serenade in Blue” show which was played on over 2200 radio stations in the county at least once a week (The shows were on records that were handed out to the stations by the local Air Force recruiters.)  The radio stations got “brownie” points from the FCC for playing these “public service” programs. All the services had a show like this back then...with names like “Here's to Veterans” "Your Navy Show," "This is the Army," etc.

The Air Force decided to expand their audience even more by producing a new show for FM stations, which were just coming into their own, with a show called “Serenade in Stereo.” They chose Steve Lawrence as the host of the show.. However, because of some sort of contract difficulty, he wasn't allowed to sing on the show, just announce.

After the first album was cut (13 shows) someone high up (no pun intended) in the Air Force said, “Wait a minute. It sounds very strange to have Steve Lawrence hosting the show....and NOT sing. Plus, he never was in the Air Force. He was in the Army!

So the search for his replacement was on, and I was fortunate enough to be chosen. The big brass liked the job that I did, so decided instead of two shows, one in stereo and one in mono (for AM stations), they would produce only one show that could either be aired in stereo or mono and go back to their well established title, SERENADE IN BLUE with me as host.

I did that show for 7 years. Being heard in almost every city and small town in America was an announcer's fondest dream. It was certainly the highlight of my radio career. Not only that, but for years people who had served overseas would tell me about hearing me in Germany, Bangkok, or Vietnam, anywhere Armed Forces Radio was heard.

Lee Shephard 1964
Each show featured at least one outstanding singer of the time such as Jon Hendricks, Carmen McRae, June Christy,  Matt Monroe, Joe Williams, Sarah Vaughn, Lou Rawls, and you name it. And there has never been a better Jazz band than that edition of the Airman of Note. Remember, this was the Vietnam era.  The Air Force picked the cream of the crop of young American musicians just as their predecessor, the Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band did in WW2.

What an honor it was to be associated with such rich musical history.

Am I bragging?  Yes.


Saturday, April 14, 2012


I think I had one of the greatest jobs in the world. From 1966 til 1969 I hosted a local TV show in Washington, DC that allowed me to interview almost every celebrity who showed up in this town during that time.

It was a “dream job.”

But it still was a job. Not only did I have to try and ask reasonably intelligent questions of my guests and hope that their answers were good enough to keep the audience interested, but I was in charge of lining up and booking the guests as well.

Five days a week.

In an era in which everybody was obsessed with “getting on TV,” you would think that was the easiest part of the job.


Ed with leaders of USAF Band
Next to getting enough interesting and entertaining guests to fill all those shows, weeding out the uninteresting and boring hoards who were constantly pestering me to get on the show, was the next hardest part of my job. Friends and even co-workers would lobby me on behalf of a friend or relative who would make a “fantastic guest.”

It was very hard for me to say “no” to these people. I tried to avoid some of the more persistent ones, but that wasn't always possible.. One of those, for example, was Margaret Runyon. She was the switchboard operator who sat only a few feet from the entrance to the lobby of the station directly in the path of everyone who entered the building.

Ed with Mission Impossible star Gregg Morris
Margaret wanted me to interview her ex husband, with whom she was still friendly and who she said was a very good writer; even though some people thought his poems were a little strange.

I'll bet.

So hardly a day went by when Margaret didn't bring up Carlos, that was his name, and how his writing career was going.

Margaret Runyon
She was good hearted and sincere and I hated to keep saying “no,” but I knew that I had to keep the level of guests up to the highest standard possible. I needed people who were nationally known and who would give my audience a reason to tune it.

But there was no way of avoiding Margaret (unless I entered the station through the window) so I had to keep telling her that the show wasn't going to survive very long if I started featuring unknown writers of strange poetry and so forth.

I guess the message finally got through because she stopped mentioning her ex to me.

Then, one morning about a month later I arrived at the station and greeted Margaret and the other switchboard operator and as I passed by the reception area she removed her headphones, turned to me and announced that someone had written an article about Carlos.

“How nice, who did it?”

“Time Magazine,” she replied.

Yep, there it was:

The Mysterious Carlos
On the cover.

The most mysterious man in America:

Carlos Castaneda.”

That picture of Carlos with his hand over his face could well have been taken of me at that moment.  Only, I wasn't trying to be mysterious.

Just embarrassed.    -Ed

(NOTE: Now the punchline of this story may fall flat on those who either were not around or who did their best to ignore the popular culture of the 1960's. I would have been a cheerleader for the latter except that I was in the Television business, which was a major player in those theatrics.)

From Wikipedia:

“Carlos Castaneda was an author and anthropologist born in Cajamarca, Peru in 1925. He burst onto the scene with a popular book about entheogens (drugs used in spiritual ceremonies) and the magical world-view as reality in the middle of a time of academic and cultural upheaval.

His stories of a wizened old sorcerer, a man who came from a long line of peyote and mushroom-using wise men with extraordinary powers, captured the imaginations of students, hippies, and scholars. His original book is presented as a "UCLA PhD Anthropology Thesis", but it was a highly radical, postmodern piece of anthropological 'field work'. Castaneda's work was a watershed for critique and thought by cultural anthropologists and brought many new, excited minds into the field.

There is a cult of personality that is associated with Castaneda; he is sometimes called the godfather of the New Age movement. -Wikipedia”

(PS-During his early days of "fame" Carlos cultivated the "mystery" about who he really was. Heeding Margaret's advice, he avoided being photographed  lest, she argued, that people discovered that the  "purveyor of the new mysticism was a guy who looked like a Cuban bellhop."   -Ed)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

LDL #42

Marlene Beaty


Naw, just dislocated.

Jerry Gaudet has the details:

By Jerry Gaudet
Theme by Mary Sue

Yet another Central High Class of 1954 "LDL" (Let's Do Lunch) is in the books.  This one was number 42 and as always on the second Tuesday of the month, we gathered at Jimmies Restaurant in Mint Hill.  Mary Sue met us with cheerful decorations acknowledging the arrival of spring...

John Young

The very first arrival was John Young, a graduate of Tech High in 1954, who had gone through Piedmont with those of our class who had travelled that route. He had "heard" that CHS'54 "LDL" were just the very best and came to see for himself.  He didn't seem to be disappointed and we certainly enjoyed his being with us...

Thomas Beaty
Marlene Beaty
While we have missed all of you who have not made it to an "LDL" lately, there are many who come regularly and in some case "no matter what".  Marlene Beaty was our "no matter what" winner this month, attending in spite of having suffered a fall that resulted in her elbow being dislocated...

Maybe next month will be a good time for you.   To come and join us, that is...not to be our "no matter what" attendee.  -JG

Bob Ellis Comments:


Looking at the LDL photos tonight, I noticed that John Young was in attendance. John and I were in the 4th grade together. In the attached photo John is the 6th from the right on the 3rd row. That nice looking boy 7th from the right on the 2nd row is non less than ME... Small, small world..

As I have said before and is worth repeating---BOTH of you do a great job. This person really appreciates all the time and effort that both of you do for the class of '54.


Mrs. White's 4th Grade Class at Villa Heights 1945 - 46

Donna Waltz Beard Passes

By Jerry Gaudet

Donna Waltz Beard

   It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of classmate Donna Waltz Beard.

Charlotte Observer Obituary

Donna Waltz Beard, age 75, passed away at home Monday afternoon April 9th, 2012. Donna was born in Charlotte, NC to Reid and Mabel Waltz. She is survived by her husband of 49 years Robert Beard, her son Ken Beard, both of Charlotte, and her brother William Waltz and his wife Gail, of Aiken, SC. Donna's passions were her family, reading, quilting, art, and nature. She had a longstanding interest in researching her family's history, and was especially proud of being a descendant of William R. Davie, former governor of NC and a founder of the University of North Carolina. The family will receive visitors from 1:00-2:00 pm on Thursday,...
Donna Waltz Beard, age 75, passed away at home Monday afternoon April 9th, 2012. Donna was born in Charlotte, NC to Reid and Mabel Waltz. She is survived by her husband of 49 years Robert Beard, her son Ken Beard, both of Charlotte, and her brother William Waltz and his wife Gail, of Aiken, SC.

Donna's passions were her family, reading, quilting, art, and nature. She had a longstanding interest in researching her family's history, and was especially proud of being a descendant of William R. Davie, former governor of NC and a founder of the University of North Carolina.

The family will receive visitors from 1:00-2:00 pm on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at McEwen Funeral Service at Sharon Memorial Park, 5716 Monroe Road, Charlotte, NC 28212. A service to celebrate her life will follow at 2:00 pm., in the funeral home chapel. Interment will be in Sharon Memorial Park Cemetery. Notes of condolences and encouragement may be sent to .

Husband Bobby and the family can be contacted at:
Mr. Robert Beard
4215 Donnybrook Place
Charlotte, NC 28205

Monday, April 09, 2012

March on the Capitols

(EDITOR'S NOTE:  I wrote recently about the Sparrow's epic trip to Washington, DC and Annapolis, Maryland . As exciting as their immersion into the workings of the political history of the Free State as a guest of one of its premier players, Senator Jennie Forehand was, that was only part of their unforgetable adventure.
Here is “The Rest of the Story!”  -Ed)

By Warren Sparrow

Our oldest granddaughter, Lydia Peele, teaches math at Wheatley Education
Campus, two miles northeast of our nation’s Capitol. She
invited Becky and me to spend some time with her and visit her school. Therefore,
we planned this trip which covered 800 miles, including not only the Washington
visit but also one to Annapolis.

General John  Logan Statue

It was five days of “fun” except for the agonizing minutes I spent during four
spins around Logan Circle, praying for some kind-hearted DC driver to let me out.
Alas, we escaped and ultimately found our way to our granddaughter’s apartment
which is about a mile from the Wheatley campus.

As we drove close to where she lives, we noticed many police cars with their
blue lights flashing.

 When we got directly in front of her apartment we noticed some “Emergency No Parking’ signs on the posts. It was about 4 p.m. The signs
warned motorists not to park there until 7 p.m. We defied the signs and parked
directly in front of Lydia’s place. Why not? We had lots of bags. Surely, we
thought, we could wait there until she got home from school.

Meanwhile, the blue lights kept flashing at the corner up ahead. Then a tow truck pulled up and stopped next to our car. The driver was a policeman. He was
polite but intimidating when he said, “Any of these your car?” I confessed. He said you will have to move it. “You can park across the street and be OK (even though the temporary no-parking signs covered both sides),” he said.

I drove around the block, confronting more police cars and more blue lights as I turned the corner. “If this is a drug bust, it must be a big one,” I thought.
Perhaps somebody had been murdered. As I turned another corner to get around
the block my cell phone rang. Instinctively, I answered it. It was Lydia who said
she was nearing her place and she had seen my wife up ahead. That would have
been fine except for one thing: It is against the law in DC to talk on the phone while
driving, especially when a police officer is five feet away. Fortunately, I “got off”
with a warning. I continued around the block and parked on the other side of the

Marine One and Decoy
By the time we had unloaded our stuff and stored them in Lydia’s
apartment, we noticed helicopters buzzing around. They went directly over us.
Being more than curious at this point, we scrambled onto the street and asked the
tow-truck officer what was happening. He said he knew but could not say. The tow-
truck guy was really cute about things. We chatted with him about being from
North Carolina. He said he was from Danville, VA, and all these police were in the
neighborhood just to greet us. He said for us not to worry, our car would be fine in
its new spot.

We went inside for a few minutes and listened as the roar of a helicopter got
louder. Back outside we went. As we reached the sidewalk we saw the Presidential
limo zoom through the intersection. By the time we got to the corner, the limo had
parked under a temporary canopy in front of a restaurant a half-block from the

A large crowd had gathered at the corner. It was not long before folks
began to tell each other that the President and First Lady were having dinner at
the neighborhood’s newest restaurant. What a hoot. We noted the snipers on the

That was the second day of our “March on the Capitols.” It was also the day we met with the CHS54 website Bored of Directors
 at Clyde’s Restaurant in Friendship Heights, MD.

Becky at Wheatley Educational Center

Becky and Lydia
 The following morning we visited Lydia’s classroom at Wheatley Educational Center which is about one mile from where she lives. Becky and I
gave a wide-ranging presentation to Lydia’s 8th grade math class, telling them some
Winston-Salem history as well as some personal history.
Naturally, because it was a

Einstein and de Sitter (New York Times photo 1933
math class, we gave the class a picture of Willem de Sitter (Becky's grandfather) with Albert Einstein. 

We left Lydia’s class and drove to Annapolis where, thanks to Senator Forehand, we got floor-level seats during a Friday session of the Maryland State Senate.

I cannot say enough about what a wonderful time we had!

 (EDITORS NOTE:  According to Wikipedia, Willem De Sitter made major contributions to the field of physical cosmology. He co-authored a paper with Albert Einstein in 1932 in which they argued that there might be large amounts of matter which do not emit light, now commonly referred to as dark matter, or "dark holes."
Washingtonians call it, "The Logan Circle effect. -Ed)

Friday, April 06, 2012

April LDL

Bring a friend 
Jerry's email arrived today announcing this month's LDL meeting. His timely reminders have been especially helpful this year because the weather has been so unlike itself. We didn't have winter up here this year so I had to count on Jerry's LDL announcements to keep me from being calendrically challenged.

The April LDL will be held on

Tuesday, April 10, 2012, 11:30 AM

at "Jimmies" in Mint Hill.


"We hope you'll join us. Spread the word! Invite other classmates to come! Even better, bring someone with you! Be sure YOU, come!

For answers to any conceivable lunch questions, please contact Mary (Sue Banks) Burnett,


Plan to join us. You'll be glad you did!  -JG"


I'm sure Mary Sue will enhance the event with her creative theme and decorations.  She's good at that stuff.

Flowers for Mom

 Now, if it were up to me...and you're very fortunate that it's not...I would decorate Jimmies on Tuesday with my favorite flowers,


Those are the real flowers of spring.  At least in my yard.  The name comes from the French word for describing the sharp, "lion's tooth" shape of their leaves, "Dent-de-Lion."

 Dandelion Facts from the Internet:

"The dandelion flower opens to greet the morning and closes in the evening to go to sleep.

Up until the 1800s people would pull grass out of their lawns to make room for dandelions and other useful “weeds” like chickweed, and chamomile."

Every year Americans spend millions on lawn pesticides to have uniform lawns of non-native grasses, (no dandelions!) and we use 30% of the country’s water supply to keep them green."

Popular restaurant in Philadelphia
One other fact about dandelions, it's said that you can put them in salads and eat them.

However, I would strongly advise against it.   I tried it once early in the Spring back in the '60's and finally discovered what T.S. Elliot meant in the first line of his otherwise undecipherable poem The Waste Land...about April being the cruelest month.


"April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain."
- T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land, 1922

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Another Award for Jennie Forehand

Senator Jennie Forehand
Ellouise, our CHS54 official Maryland correspondent, reports that Senator Jennie M. Forehand (also known Senator Jennie Margaret) has won another award!

The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA) is pleased to announce that Maryland State Senator Jennie M. Forehand has been awarded the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s (NSVRC) annual Visionary Voice Award.

Ellouise covered the press conference for this website and reports that Jennie thanked all her "friends at the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA) for the nomination and said that she was deeply honored to receive the award!

On a personal note, your rapidly follically challenged webmaster is happy to see Ellouise back to blogging a little bit and hopefully, soon, will be back in the "storytelling" business!

Congratulations, Jennie!   -Ed

Sunday, April 01, 2012


Irv Edelman 1944
Coach Edelman's passing last week served as a fresh reminder of how lucky we were to have a number of the “best” of the Greatest Generation as teachers. Many came almost directly from the foxholes of battle to our classrooms.

Irv Edelman was one of them.

"So, I went overseas as a corporal. We fought our way up the coast of New Guinea and made the landing at the Lingayen Gulf in the Philippines"  -Irv Edelman

MacArthur Landing at Lingayan

He must have arrived at Piedmont around 1946. I first saw him in 1949 when I entered the 7th grade. We met for the first time in the fall of the following year when I ran into him in the hall one day and got up enough courage to introduce myself and tell him that I was going to try out for his football team the following year (only 9th graders were eligible.)

Well, son,” he replied, “I sure hope you pick up some weight over the summer. You're awfully thin.”

Those were his exact words. I've never forgotten them. I took it as a warning. I was sure that I wouldn't make the team if I didn't get bigger, like the Coach had asked me to.  And, I wanted to be on the football team more than I'd ever wanted anything up to that time!

Besides, playing the violin and being the drum major of the band wasn't getting me anywhere with the girls. (By the way, I've spent a lifetime trying to buy up all of the existing pictures of me in the Piedmont Jr High School drum major uniform.)

Try as I might, I don't think I gained more than 3 pounds over the summer that year and didn't grow an inch taller.

Although worried that the Coach would think that I had deliberately ignored his request, I went out for the team anyway.

I knew I had made it when he cornered me after practice one day and said,
“ You know, this means that you won't be able to lead the band at halftime.”

That was one of the happiest days of my young life.

Later, when we were both at Central, I was chosen to perform at one concert with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. However I was required to wear a tuxedo...which I didn't have.

The coach found out about it, and loaned me his.

I don't know if teachers do that kind of thing nowadays or not, but I doubt it.

Coach Edelman and I remained friends for the rest of his life. He made a number of business trips to Washington after I had moved up here, and each time he visited Linda and me and later got to know our children.

We've stayed in touch by phone and letter even after his move to Florida . After his stroke a few years ago, his letters continued although he was unable to use his hand and had to dictate them.

Jan Karon and Ed Myers
The last letter I got from him was a reply to my letter telling him of my visit with Jan Karon last summer...and passing on her glowing praise and fond memories of having him as our 9th grade homeroom teacher.

I sent him a picture of Jan and me, taken that day at her mansion in Charlottesville, VA.

This was the Coach's reply, which turned out to be.........the last time I ever heard from him:

I feel like the Coach and I came full circle.

Rest in Peace, Coach!