Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mike called a couple of days ago to report his concern about his nephew, Ethan.

Playing in the catcher position in a grade school baseball game, Ethan threw off his protective mask to field a throw as a base runner raced toward home plate. The errant toss missed his outstretched mitt and hit him dirctly in the head.

A quick run to the emergency room found him groggy but released as fit.

Mike asked me to report on an experience I had in high school football.

My father was not a football fan. My mother urged him to come to a game to support my efforts as a reserve guard on the Wa Hi Blue Devils team.

The assistant coach called my name and told me to "warm up". I did wind sprints up and down the sidelines for several minutes. I stopped. Looked to the coach. No sign. I continued my exercises.

Finally the nod came to enter the game. I raced to the point where the referee was placing the ball. It much further than it appeared from the sidelines and as I ran my asthma kicked in and I was in great fear I couldn't get there but I did.

We were in defense and I began chasing their runners across the field. As I closed in on one hapless ball carrier another tackler grabbed him. In my exuberance I flung myself to secure the tackle just as the whistle blew.

The young man had the wind knocked out and lay motionless on the ground as the opposing team coaches ran out to aid him.

The referee gave me a warning about late hits and an opposing player said, "You are next."

He was right. On the next play it seems that eleven young athletes of the opposing team attacked me. I was carried half conscious from the field. I still have a scar on my face.

My father ran out of the stadium vowing never watch me get mauled in a game again,

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Crazy Icebox

Grandfather B. had thought about settling in Philadelphia after rescuing his family in Europe after World War I but a recession had gripped the country and he decided to return to Walla.

While living alone, a room at a boarding house was O.K. but now as a family of five Grandfather needed more and permanent space. 28 West Chestnut was the answer.

A large white two story frame at the corner of Third and Chestnut. Four bedrooms, a bath, and a storeroom upstairs and bedroom, half bath with laundry tubs, kitchen, breakfast room, formal dining room and parlor on the main floor. Sitting on an elevated corner lot it is still quite impressive.

Quite by accident I found an old telephone book that indicated the name of the previous owner.
Time has erased his name from my mind. I did some research into his back round and discovered that he had been a "49er" but had come up empty handed in California and South America but had accumulated enough wealth in Australia to set himself up in the residential contracting business in the growing town of Walla Walla.

Apparently he had passed on a the purchase was made from his heirs.

One of the features of the house was a screened in back porch. There stood the majestic wooden icebox, a place to protect perishables from the summer heat. The iceman called on frequent rounds to refresh the melting blocks of ice a quiet sentinel standing guard just outside the kitchen door.

Just as progress dictated that the copper boiler and wooden paddle give way to the Thor washing machine with attached wringer, a sleek white electric refrigerator replaced the ever dripping ice box.

When her daughter asked her, "Mom, what do you think of your new convenience?'

The answer was, "The motor goes on the motor goes off, the motor goes on the motor goes off. What a crazy icebox!" and for many years that was a family laugh line

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Read Dan's blog on the "word".

Grandfather G.s idol was revolutionary war Admiral A. Philip Levy. In fact he chose Philip for his son's name.

One of Admiral Levy's legacies is that he holds to this day the record of receiving the most courts martial of any officer in the history of the U. S. Navy but that is another story.

He campaigned vigorously to abolish flogging in the service.

It was common in those days that after extended time at sea the sailors would be paid and given shore liberty.

Typically they would head for a waterfront tavern where a comely lady would invite one to her quarters. Once there, a potion known as a "Mickey Finn" would be added to his drink and after a confederate ransacked his pockets, he would be dumped into the alley to sleep it off.

The next morning the "wronged" lady and her confederate would present the "bill" to the ship's officer. The payment with the officer getting a bit of a kickback would be charged to the seaman's pay account plus he would be assessed a certain number of lashes with a whip.

The entry in the punishment book would be "For unlawful carnal knowledge" usually in acronym form.

Admiral Levy made attempts over the years to get Congress to outlaw the practice of whipping American sailors and was rebuffed.

This consensus was that a good whipping was needed once in awhile to maintain discipline.

Finally, Levy came up with an idea. He brought a navy Sargent at arms to the floor of congress with a cat-o-nine tails and invited any member who felt it was minimal punishment to step forward and the chief would demonstrate on him.

The vote to abolish flogging in the U. S. Navy was unanimous