I have more subscriptions than most. But I do have a pet peeve. Regardless of the search engine one uses, for me, it’s google. You are reading a story on a website or looking up something to read the rest of the article, you are directed to the linked source, and what pops up, you have to buy a subscription to read this article. Annoying!
After the extreme heat, we had last week, we headed out for a lovely walk this morning. The temperature was 68°, the humidity was 51%. Mixed in with the walkers are the bicyclist. I am also a bicyclist. As an adult bicyclist, I understand the rules, unlike growing up in the 1950s. So, bikers put a bell on the handlebars, slow down, say on your left, and wear a helmet! August 2019, I’m riding on the Bronx River Park path. I’m slowing down as I see a walker off in the distance. As I veer left, the walker veered left. I veered further left, and he also does, and now he’s directly in my way. He and an older person so I crashed my bike. I hurt myself, but it would have been far worst if I was not wearing my helmet. My head hit the pavement and snapped up, and my head hit the pavement again. I do not want to think about where I would be today if I did not have a helmet on.
I start my day at the gym next breakfast and The New York Times Time Machine to the year 1961. This year on Twitter, I’m tweeting the daily history of the New York Yankees 1961 season. The 1961 Yankees season is recognized as one of Major League Baseball’s greatest teams. Propelled by the Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris home run chase of Babe Ruth’s 60 home run record set in 1927. An as great as the Yankees were that season, the Detroit Tigers kept pace and the pressure on the Yanks into early September
On July 3, I opened Time Machine to the 1961 New York Times, and on the front page was ‘Hemingway Dead of Shotgun Wound; Wife Says He Was Cleaning Weapon.’ This headline is not the first one from 1961 that stirs up the memory bank. Other than astronauts, political, and sports events, Hemingway’s death influenced my reading habits at that time.
We like visiting Key West Florida. We love the drive getting there. On our first visit and subsequent visits, we tour Ernest Hemingway’s Key West home. After the official tour, we revisit the house and the grounds. Around the grounds are burial markers for the six toe cats that roamed the property from the 1930s’ to this day; six-toed cats still roam grounds. All of Ernest Hemingway’s cats in Cuba also had six-toes. The Key West cats have one other distinguishing trademark. All were and still are named after famous people.
Both of Hemingway’s homes have many stores and unique touches. At Key West, it’s the pool. Ernest Hemingway himself planned the pool. Construction on the pool began while Hemingway was in Spain, covering the Spanish Civil War writing dispatches for The North American Newspaper Association. In Spain, he traveled with fellow reporter Martha Gellhorn. Hearing rumors of an affair with Gellhorn have been attributed to Hemingway’s wife Pauline’s extensive pool construction cost. Upon Hemingway’s returned from Spain in May 1938, he started complaining about the $$20,000 cost to build the poll. As the legend goes, he tossed a penny onto the patio, saying, “you’ve taken all my money; you might as well have my last penny, too.” Accounting for inflation $20,000 in 1938, translates to $381,836.88 in 2021 dollars. That famous penny is encased at the pool for all to see. Hemingway, after divorcing Pauline, married Martha Gellhorn in 1940 and left Key West foreve
Hemingway’s Cuban home has two features the first one is his fishing boat. After Hemingway died in 1961, the family donated or gave the house to the Cuban government. In 1962 it became a museum. The home was preserved intact. Hemingway’s fishing boat was an American flag, and it was the only American flag on display in Cuba for decades.
The second feature is in his bathroom. Every morning while visiting his Cuban winter home, he weighed himself and recorded his weight on the wall in pencil.
Mom and dad would let me stay up on Friday nights when I did not have school the next day and watch The Jack Parr Show from 11:30 pm till 1 am and in the summer months. I believe this took place after Hemingway’s death. Jack Parr had on four Brooklyn Dodger players as a guest on the show. One or two were still playing for the LA Dodgers. In 1947, the Dodgers held Spring Training in Havana, Cuba. It was Jackie Robinson’s rookie year, and the Dodgers were building Dodger town at Vero Beach. The Dodgers did not want Jackie Robinson segregated from the team.
So, the four players tell of their night out and meeting Ernest Hemingway. Lots of drinking telling of stories. As the night grew on, Hemingway invites the players to his home. The drinking and story tell continued. The players did not recall precisely how it started, but Hemingway and one of the players got into it. Hemingway then announces, let us settle this with a duel, and gets up and leaves the room.
The four players now realize this is out of control and gone too far. They immediately open the window and run away, never to reencounter Ernest Hemingway.
Whenever I walk past the door of the Charles Scribner and Sons, building on 5th Ave, N.Y. City I think of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.
Putting this together inspired me to reread A Moveable Feast and read Ernest Hemingway; A Biography by MaryDearborn.
Our first stop was Santiago de Cuba. Is the regarded as the root of the Cuban Revolution. It streets were teaming with people, motorbikes, and cars, lined by colorful building and shops.
We walked the neighborhoods, and to my regret, we do not speak Spanish, but we were able to communicate. There is much see in Cuba, and not doing some ot the tourist attractions would be a mistake.
Castillo de San Pedro del Morro is one of the best-preserved Spanish fortresses of the 17th century. It is situated at the entrance to the Bay of Santiago, and the fortress lies about 10 kilometers southwest of Santiago de Cuba.
Everywhere we traveled we were greeted warmly by the Cuban people.
In 2017 photographing MLB Spring Training in Florida, the idea of going to Cuba seemed the thing to do. So reshuffled the luggage, off to Cuba, we went. A fantastic journey. You can feel the time warp; time stopped January 1, 1960. We will return to Cuba
Our first game back without COVID-19 restrictions started out the way we have traveled to the games for over thirty years on Metro North. Mask are still required on Metro North, and we are okay with that. The station platform was full of fans waiting for the train. It was good hearing the conductor say next stop 153rd St Yankee Stadium.
We treated as opening day with a few opening day ritualized,leaving Metro North; one is we walk over to River Ave to see what has or has not changed. Stan;s Sports Bar history goes back to 1976 under its old name, the Scoreboard. Always loud but not out of control. It’s been a few years since being inside, but I remember the days when the patrons would stand on the bar leading crowd in Yankee cheers.
For the past forty-two years, we have had a New York Yankees ticket plan. However, it’s our first game back in our seats since October 18, 2019.
After our first and only hotdogs, we eat at the stadium during the regular season. If the Yankees make the playoffs, we eat another hotdog first game. Yesterday, some of our other favorite foods were not available. Maybe the next game. After all, the teams are also adjusting to getting back to normal.
The most significant adjustment for us was the noise level. Life has been quiet for the past 15 months. This video is from first inning of the game. In the last three innings, I was thinking baseball not my iPhone.
For us getting back to normal started this past week.
Tomorrow June 19th, we will be taking the Metro-North Train to Yankee Stadium to see a ballgame. A first since March of 2019. The State of New York has lifted restrictions on the capacity for events. At Yankee Stadium tomorrow, we anticipate a large crowd in attendance. Though it will seem like old times, I think it will take time to get back to how life was before COVID-19.
3Rd Ave, Grandpa, My Sister, A Big Green Cadillac, and Red Cowboy Boots
Grandpa started as a chauffeur around 1905; it was the early days of automobiles. I recall seeing a few pictures of him wearing a fur coat and boots. The car was large, and the driver sat in the open. In the 1920s, grandpa was now driving a taxicab for a living. By 1930 had become an owner of a small taxi company. He worked long days inside the garage and still drove a taxi. Then after World War II, he sold the company. But grandpa was a car guy. 1952-54, his car was a Green Cadillac with whitewall tires. He washed that car all the time, and the white walls on the tires were painted white for that bright, clean look. After cleaning the car, I would ride in the front seat to the Mobile Gas Station; they had the flying red horse He would pull into the gas station, and three or four guys in blue uniforms would start working on the car. Each one would have a task, pumping the gas, checking the oil and water in the radiator, checking the tire pressure, and cleaning the car windows. All that for about 25-cents a gallon. Between 1951-54, mom would ask her father, grandpa, to babysit my sister and me. We loved it, and off into the back seat of the Cadillac, we would go. It always seemed enormous. It was.
Next, we would head down to Manhattan. From his taxicab days, grandpa had his favorite places. All over New York City, we would stop in businesses where he knew people. Many would give us candy. He especially liked 3rd Ave. Back then, the 3rd Ave still had elevated subway tracks, commonly referred to as the 3rd Ave El. Real estate under the elevated subway lines was not considered a prime location. On 3rd Ave, south of 42nd street, there were many bars, and grandpa took my sister and me to them. We would sit in the big (we were little) booths drinking sodas and eat bar food. Mostly what I remember of those places is they all smelled terrible. I don’t know what prompted this but, once grandpa bought us red cowboy boots. My sister and I still remember wearing them and often bring them up. When we arrive home wearing our red cowboy boots, I can still see mom staring at them and saying, “dad, why are they wearing red cowboy boots” and grandpa leaving as fast as he could. I think he just wanted to buy them for us. Through my work, I had daily meetings with clients on 3rd Ave. As I walked up and down 3rd Ave, often eating at some well-known places on 3rd Ave, I would think of grandpa, my sister, his big green Cadillac, and those red cowboy boots.
In March, on my Twitter account, with the help of The New York Times Time Machine, I started recreating the New York Yankees 1961 baseball season.
It was Major League Baseball’s first season of expansion to ten teams in a league. 1961, the American League is the first to expand to ten teams, with the National League expanding in 1962. This expansion also created an unbalanced number of the game each league would play in 1961. Ten teams had to alter the traditional 154 game schedule and extended it by eight games to 162. The addition of those eight games would haunt the 1961 season and Roger Maris for years.
Screen Grab One: Yankees Season
On Memorial Day 1961, the Cincinnati Reds sweep a doubleheader from the San Francisco Giants, leaving both teams tied for first place, with Los Angeles Dodgers just 0.10% behind. Until late September, the Dodgers teams would be chasing the Reds. In the American League, the Detroit Tigers, with a 4.5 game lead over the Yankees, continue to play well with their heavy-hitting lineup carrying them. The Yankees have started to improve. On May 30, 1961, Mantle and Maris each connected for two home runs apiece. From this point, forward Mantle and Maris would continue to hit home runs at a record pace, ultimately with Maris hitting 61 and Mantle 54 home run.
May 5, 1961—I’m a freshman in high school. It’s 10:34 AM. We were all standing huddled around a small TV in the classroom. Many of the teachers brought in TVs’ that day to witness and historical moment. We watched in silence as Navy Commander Alan Shepard lifted off. Next, you could hear the excitement of that moment in the school building.
October 4, 1957, is when the Space age began with Sputnik 1 by the USSR. This event led to the Space Race.
I was already an avid reader of science fiction; I started reading all the articles in the newspapers on Space.
Then in 1959, America and the world were introduced to seven astronauts. There was soon a flood of books to choose from about them, and I read as many as possible.
The New York Times—Time Machine news clips and timely placed advertising reflected what we woke up to on May 6, 1961.
I never lost my affection for science fiction or interest in Space.