Just a reminder to ask you to keep responding to the items you read here on BOLLI Matters. It means a great deal to our bloggers to know that you are reading, but several have indicated that they wish they’d hear more from you in terms of what you’d like to seem them provide. Want more book, tv, and movie recommendations? More dessert recipes? What sort of tech issues do you want to know about? Are there features you’d like to see us add?
Your participation is deeply appreciated by all of us–so, as they so aptly say, “keep those cards and letters coming!”
As a medical intern, I helped care for a man who was the professional at a nearby golf course., and when he learned of my passion for the game, he invited me to come and play there. I did.
When you finish your round,” he said as he escorted me to the first tee, “come to the clubhouse for beer with some friends of mine.” So, after my usual mediocre round of golf, I trudged up the hill to the white-framed building where the dining area was empty save for four laughing guys sitting at nearby table: my host and his friends–Bill Russell, K.C. Jones, and Bill Russell’s brother. With my dropped jaw, I could only mumble a few words in response to their hearty welcome.
Although not a rabid basketball fan, I did tend to follow the Celtics on a near-daily basis, and I was eager to hear them talk, to glean the kind of inside information I could gloatingly share with friends. And yet, they suddenly centered on me, the doctor. I was asked about the treatment Russell had been receiving for his ankle sprain. I was told about the games K.C. missed because of appendicitis when they both played college basketball for USF. We also joked about golf, how the water holes had overflowed their banks after we were done with them.
It was one of those “experiences of a lifetime.” And yet, I thought later, we had enjoyed ourselves at what was really a rather second rate club. Unfortunately, the Russells and K.C. Jones were unlikely to ever be invited to any of Boston’s elite clubs. That was the way it was in those days. Color colored a lot of attitudes. Russell made little effort to disguise his feelings about how shabbily he was treated by Boston fans. Their hero, for sure–that black guy, for certain. His sometimes unsuppressed insolence didn’t help.
Years later, I found myself sitting first class on a trans-continental flight, thanks to an upgrade. The compartment was almost empty. When I glanced across the aisle, there, believe it or not, was the impossibly long frame and unmistakable face of Bill Russell. My immediate instinct was to go over and sit next to him, to remind him of the beers and jokes we had shared at that golf course so long ago, to immediately recapture the kind of kinship one can slide into so easily over drinks at the 19th hole.
But a rush of propriety (or was it reality?) overcame me. Why do a thing like that? Would he even remember that remote, trivial, 40 minute episode in his life? And If by any chance he did, would it trigger a memory of the bitterness that permeated his Boston years? And who is this asshole, anyway, to want to strike up a conversation?
I returned to my book. Best to settle for one experience of a lifetime than to try to create another that could go horribly wrong.
Since joining BOLLI two years ago, after a long career in medicine, Steve has been exploring his artistic side. He has been active in both the Writers Guild and CAST (Creativity in Acting, Storytelling, and Theatre) as well as the Book Group.
I have been acquiring precious, useless stuff for over 60 years, but I am periodically forced to clean house to make room for more. Yet, somehow, the following items have managed to survive each successive purge.
A rubber “Froggy the Gremlin” squeeze toy I had when I was five. Froggy was a leading character on Smilin’ Ed’s Gang, a children’s TV show sponsored by Buster Brown shoes. The show was one of the earliest TV broadcasts, beginning around 1948.
The King Tut magic trick, a tiny blue mummy in a yellow plastic casket. The mummy usually rested quietly, but, as the Magician, I could make the mummy pop out and refuse to go back in. I can’t disclose the secret.
An olive drab rubber snake bite kit slightly bigger than King Tut, containing a razor, antiseptic, a tourniquet, and an instruction sheet. The container also functioned as the suction cups needed to suck out the viper venom. I carried this kit when hiking and camping in New Mexico in 1958. Happily, I never had to use it. I also managed to keep the ornate 24” leather belt with brass Philmont buckle that held up my Boy Scout shorts that summer.
A small silver bell attached to a rawhide thong. Eileen and I shook a bunch of these bells all throughout our 26-mile hike through a grizzly infested section of Glacier National Park in 1976.
A leather-covered jewelry box containing a solid gold key engraved with the initials D.I.G. The key opened the Partner’s liquor cabinet at Mintz Levin and was presented to me when I became a Partner in the law firm in 1979. It is a relic of another era, as am I.
A square piece of cardboard with the words “Duncan Creek, Yukon Terr,” a small piece of scotch tape that once held several flakes of the gold my girls panned on a trip to the Yukon around 1989. I managed to keep the cardboard but lost the gold.
A bag containing 13 MBTA subway tokens.
Seven two-inch square waxy cardboard “Playroom Portraits” of Howdy Doody, Clarabelle, Dilly Dally, the Inspector, and the Flub-A-Dub. Beginning in 1950, I and several other first graders would arrive at my friend Rosemarie’s house just before 5:30 each weekday to watch The Howdy Doody Show on the only TV in our neighborhood. We were the first TV generation, and we all used Colgate Toothpaste.
A clay pipe heavily used during the period from 1970 through 1974. There are still remnants of some illegal substance in the bowl.
A glossy identification badge with a picture of a scantily clad seductress and an affable looking dragon, indicating my status as a Volunteer at the 2013 Dragon-Con in Atlanta, Ga. Fifty thousand sci-fi and fantasy fans, many wearing elaborate CosPlay costumes, took over the five largest downtown hotels for five days. I was about 45 years older than the average attendee, but I had a blast.
A black case with a “Showcase Live” logo sticker, containing a harmonica engraved with the same logo. Showcase Live is an entertainment venue located at Patriot Place created by Shari Redstone. I represented Shari when the place opened, and the harmonica was among the gift items distributed to guests. I have never been back.
I have no idea why these random items survived while so many others, probably more valuable and meaningful, were discarded. I do know that each of these items serves as a prompt. I could tell you stories.
Whether it’s pop culture, sci fi, memoir, or whatever is on his mind at the moment, Dennis provides us with his own blend of engaging humor–and, clearly, he has more stories to give us!
A blog devoted to the interests of BOLLI members and potential members