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Wednesday, 20 April 2011

What's in a Name?

By Terry Hamburg of boomer to you

Eleanor Roosevelt Stamp

I wasn't the greatest autograph collector of the 1950s but for a kid, I had an impressive portfolio.

I specialized in TV stars and baseball players. I'd write the personality and request a signed picture. Each was “my favorite star” or “the greatest talent on earth” and "please sign your name yourself, not use a stamp. Thank you very much."

My stable included Jack Webb, Herb Shiner, Dave Garroway, Arthur Godfrey, Lucille Ball, The Lone Ranger, Tonto, Lassie and Ran Tin Tin (paw prints), Julius LaRosa, Tony Martin, George Goebel, Sid Caesar, Red Skelton and on and on.

If there were a word or phrase associated with the celebrity, I would ask it be included in the signature. So I got “To Kimosabe, Tonto” or “Just the Facts, Jack Webb.”

I employed a clever tactic for baseball stars. Through trading cards, I discovered birth dates and mailed them a birthday card with a plea for an autograph.

My two greatest coups were Eleanor Roosevelt and Dusty Rhodes. I told Mrs. Roosevelt that I wished her husband were still alive, all my relatives voted for him and if he were still alive, I 'd vote for him, too, if I were old enough to vote.

I made my usual request for a real signature. In a personal letter back, she complied. I was very impressed that she didn’t need a regular stamp to send it.

In 1954, the Cleveland Indians won an astonishing 111 games and were heavy favorites to take the World Series. The team lost four straight to the New York Giants. The hero of the hour was little-known but instantly-famous Dusty Rhodes, who hit a record three pinch-hit home runs.

I send him a birthday card which was forwarded to his vacation spot in Florida. I received back a postcard with a hand-written message saying how nice it was to get my greeting.

The front of the card featured sun bathers around the resort pool. My mother saw it on my dresser. Regarding the picture as risque and suspicious of some funny-named stranger from Florida corresponding with me, promptly tore it up.

I finally forgave my mom on her deathbed 30 years later.


[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

Loved the whole story...never expected that ending though...I am 70 & have heard lots of people talking about some kind of contacts with Eleanor Roosevelt..what a thrill just to hear the stories, etc..and Dusty Rhoades, makes me remember the 50s too....write more....thanks for the delightful break...

The ending of your story to my breath away! I was so invested in your hobby through your telling of it. I'm glad you forgave your Mom.

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