Thursday, August 09, 2018

Warren Sparrow's WEEKLY READER

The Weakly Reader
Volume IV, Number 1
1 August 2018
Forest City, North Carolina
Time Traveler
Soon I will be 82, having lived a charmed life ever since that first morning at St. Peter’s
Hospital in Charlotte. It was August 13, 1936. Mind you, my life has not been without setbacks.
In fact, my daughter Dora died unexpectedly last November, three days after her 52d birthday
and two days after outpatient surgery to repair a ligament on her left knee. With heavy hearts her
children and the rest of our family soldier on.
At this moment, more than eight months after Dora’s death, things are going quite well.
There have been some big changes: Mary Sandra and I were married on January 8, 2018. Four
months later I sold the Winston-Salem house where I had lived for 46 years. Clearing it out was
a major accomplishment, achieved through the unselfish efforts of family and friends.
Most of the remnants of my life are resting five miles from Forest City in a “climate-
controlled” facility patriotically named “All American Storage.” Last week I retrieved from
there an old scrap book, one with smelly, crumbling pages. You know what I mean. You turn a
page, its edge flakes off. Nevertheless, I kept turning. Every story I had written in 1950 for The
Charlotte Observer is glued to those brittle pages.
The stories are about football games played by A.G., Piedmont, Harding and Tech. Here
are some of the headlines:
Harding’s Juniors Bump A. G., 13-0
Graham Down Tech’s Wolves By 6-0 Margin
Piedmont Drops Bulldogs, 18-7, In Junior Tilt
Baby Rams Are Junior Champions
Then there are the names within the stories: Ed Myers, Alton Widenhouse, Neil Jones,
Bobby Wells, Jack Campbell, Buddy Matthews, Johnny Thomason, Bobby Hord, Louis Farmer,
Bud Witherspoon, Jimmy Rowland, Donnie Cates, Marion Justice and more.
Here are the lineups for the second game of the 1950 season between Piedmont and A. G.
as they appeared in The Observer:
Piedmont Pos. A. G.
Matthews LE Hurt
Kidd LT Johnson
Householder LG Norman
Brazzell Center Broadway
Shaver RG Richardson
Evans RT Farmer
Moss RE Stone
Campbell QB Hord
Myers LH Polk
Widenhouse RH Foard
Burris FB Thomason
Like the song says, “Those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end….”
But, end they did. We moved on. Sixty-eight years after Harding won the championship and
Johnny Thomason played for A.G., it is more important than ever to keep moving.
This is not always easy. Fortunately, I am in fairly good health even though my arthritic
knees limit my mobility. It has been a year since I played tennis. “Couch potato” best describes
my exercise routine. A weekly stroll through the grocery store is about all I can handle.
One of my favorite “pastimes” is TV. Did you see Peter Sellers in his final movie, Being
There? He watched much TV. So do I, including a daily dose of Wheel of Fortune. “What are
you doing?” is one of the show’s categories. I would like to know, “What are you doing?”
Meanwhile, here is what I have been doing…. Eating and sleeping well, paying bills
when they come due and making car payments (lease) for the first time in almost 15 years. Life
is good for Mary Sandra and me. The old Winston-Salem Victorian barn I bought in 1972 was
sold on May 18, 2018. It was on the market three hours when a bankruptcy judge and her
husband (school teacher) made an offer to purchase it. After some haggling, the realtors closed
the deal. I lived in Winston-Salem for almost 56 years.
Freed from the heavy chain associated with a 114-year-old house, Mary Sandra and I
quickly went off the deep end. For openers, we leased a new car. The Winston-Salem dealer
delivered it to our Forest City door on the day after July 4 th . For us old people it is no ordinary
car. It is a 2018 Accord Sport. Having gone off the deep end, naturally we needed a blue car.
So, the car is blue, not gray, white or black. It is not Carolina blue. Far from it. It is what I call
Aquafina Blue. My friends say we will have no trouble finding it in a parking lot.
We wasted no time in trying out the car. After all, we had leased the car without ever
seeing it. On the day after the car was delivered, we drove it to Asheville, which is about 60
miles from Forest City. We had dinner at the Stable Café in the Biltmore House. Our goal was
to see the Chihuly glass sculptures. Unfortunately, it rained. Gene Kelly, who delighted in
singing in the rain, would have enjoyed dancing around the Biltmore grounds that evening.
Mary Sandra and I were less enthusiastic but we still marveled at Chihuly’s unique artistry.
The following week we gave Aquafina a big ride… to Chesterfield, MO, and
back—1,404 miles. We cut the trip into two segments. Our way station was Lexington, KY,
where we were treated to dinner by Randy Barker who is a retired advertising guy. Many years
ago Randy worked for the Winston-Salem ad agency that created the Joe Namath pantyhose TV
ad. Remember?
Chesterfield, a St. Louis suburb, is the home of my oldest daughter Cathy Peele and her
husband Alex. While in Chesterfield we got to see all 10 midwestern members of the family.
The stars of the event were Brock Krier, my 2-year-old great grandson, and Kate Kinkade, my 7-
month-old great granddaughter. There is nothing like a 2-year-old in a baby pool, especially on
a 97-degree day. It was a joyous time, making the drive well worth it.
One final note: Thank you for joining me in this “backward glance.” Hopefully, it has
been unlike the one Vaughn Monroe told Ballerina she could not afford. “Go on with your
career,” he advised her. Yes, “go on” is what we all do. Fear not. Try the deep end. Go see
Mamma Mia, Here We Go Again. Just think: If your car is Aquafina, it will be so easy to get out
of the parking lot.