Friday, January 4, 2013

"Keep on Goin'"!: Uncle Adolph is 101

This happily is another View from Brule Lake tribute to my uncle Adolph’s birthday. He turned 101 today. My tribute to #100 was penned one year ago. Here’s a few more anecdotes, but I’m saving some for the birthday #102 entry in 2014.

Adolph and Rabbi Steven Mason at last year's
birthday celebration at the temple (spot the typo on the cake)
Last October I received an email from Floyd Sullivan, an author writing a book about Comiskey Park for a series on baseball stadiums of bygone days. He saw my photos of the ballpark’s 1991 demolition on Flickr and wanted to use a few in the book. Because the proceeds are going to Chicago White Sox Charities, I agreed in exchange for a copy of the book. I also told him that because it will contain interviews with former White Sox players, executives and fans, he should interview Adolph. His reply was “this is too crazy”; he’d already heard about him and met my cousin Cathy at a Sox game.

 Floyd conducted the very interesting interview at Adolph’s house. As previously reported, Adolph saw his first Sox game in 1921. He did not, he noted, know anything about baseball before then and thus had no recollection of the Black Sox, whose nine members were banned beginning that season. The ballpark wasn’t double-decked around to the outfield until the mid-1920s, and he sat in the bleachers before then. Some of the highlights of his long (mostly suffering) career as a Sox fan included seeing Urban Shocker pitch complete-game victories versus the Sox in both halves of a doubleheader (1924) and Minnie Minoso and Mickey Mantle hit their first Major League home runs in the same game (1951). The book is scheduled for publication in the middle of this year.

Adolph made a request as I was leaving. “Please look up Ian Kadish on the Salt River team in the Arizona Fall League,” he asked. “I want to know if he’s Jewish.” Some ten years ago, Adolph journeyed to Arizona to the Sox’s spring training site. Upon his return, my brother Frank inquired about the outlook for the coming season. He replied, “I didn’t watch much of the team. I was more interested in the minor-league prospects.” That, Frank noted, is the definition of an “optimist.” At 101, he still reads Baseball America and other publications to keep abreast of what’s going on in Charlotte, Birmingham, Winston Salem, Kannapolis, Great Falls, Bristol and Salt River. And Ian Kadish is Jewish.

Finally, a story from a different age. My aunt Rosalind, one of the world’s greatest raconteurs (she passed away in September 2001; boy do we miss these tales!), told of a visit to Michael Reese Hospital, where Adolph’s aunt Lucy, was in the last throes of her 92-year life in 1974. She was in a double room, and the roommate was borderline delirious. “Oh Lord, I’ll be there soon! Sweet Jesus, have mercy on me!” she cried. Now this was in the days before pagers and cell phones, so Adolph, a pediatrician, needed to call his answering service. Having difficulty with the phone, he asked Lucy, “How do you get an outside line?” The next thing they heard was from the roommate: “God almighty, I’m in your hands! Dial 9 and keep on goin’!”
All I can add is: Adolph, celebrate #101 and keep on goin'!

No comments:

Post a Comment