Once upon a time there was a character named Homer Bedloe who appeared in a couple different sitcoms in the 1960s, primarily Petticoat Junction.
Bedloe was the uncompromising vice president of the CF&W railroad that ran through Hooterville. Incidentally, Homer Bedloe was played by actor Charles Lane, whose real life stretched like a long train — he lived to the ripe old age of 102, until his death in 2007. Our railroads sometimes remind me of Homer Bedloe — uncompromising, stubbornly sitting without movement on the tracks. (read more…)
It has been an entire half century since the Detroit riots of 1967, a watershed mark in history for the largest city in the state of Michigan. The impact was felt throughout southeastern Michigan and local authorities had to take action. (read more…)
To be a successful love story, it has to have a happy ending, no matter how long it takes. Throughout history, contained in novels, and scripted in Hollywood movies, a romantic love story must have twists and turns and unforeseen circumstances and irony. A love story sometimes has strong conflict. Shakespeare said, “The course of true love never did run smooth.” Bill knew a thing or two about love. (read more…)
In the fall of 1982, while attending a Red Wings game I spotted Harold Ballard, the outspoken owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the press box. So I climbed the flight of steps to get his autograph. I greeted him with, “You have a very interesting team, Mr. Ballard. May I have your autograph?” He smiled and took out a photo of himself with his facsimile autograph with the inscription: “Have fun, it’s later than you think.” No one will confuse Ballard with Plato or Aristotle, but these words are great advice to pass along. (read more…)
The Trenton Trib is a monthly publication, so I try to focus on a variety of topics and this month I tried not to write about baseball because I’ve written a number of them lately.
But I couldn’t avoid it with the tremendous success of our Trenton natives in professional baseball — not only here but around the world.
In 2016 the Land of the Rising Sun witnessed a rising star, 2005 Trenton High School graduate Anthony Bass. During this time I asked Anthony’s mother, Linda, what is the name of the team Anthony plays for in Japan? Her answer was the Hokkaido Nippon “Ham Fighters.”
With that reply I laughed hysterically and thought, “What’s a Ham Fighter?” Is it a Wild Boar with a machete? Is it a Warthog trained in Martial Arts? Later I discovered it was the nickname from a major Japanese food processing company. (read more…)
This past November, Joe Porreca, Jerry Brown and George Mans, two former Trenton mayors and one former mayor pro-tem, were inducted into the Trenton Educational Foundation Hall of Fame. All three rose to prominence within our community.
Jerry Brown served as a police officer and reached the rank of police chief before he was elected mayor. Joe Porreca and George Mans served in the Michigan Legislature after being in Trenton government. The three inductees spoke of their experiences of public life in Trenton and beyond, and they acknowledged the great honor bestowed upon them.
When they were finished speaking, retired educator Jack Doyle turned to me and said, “These three have one thing in common — integrity.” (read more…)
A massive group from the family Cervidae have settled and are quite visible all over the Downriver area. In other words, there are a lot of deer around here. Their presence has garnered emotions ranging from the likes of wonder, annoyance, dislike and appreciation — quite a variation of opinion.
A group of deer are commonly referred to as a herd of deer, and sometimes a mob of deer. I guess you might call a group of male deer a stag party. In these parts nothing begs our attention as much as these four legged creatures — certainly their larger frames stand out compared to the smaller animals in this habitat.
No one ever says, “Hey, look at those three squirrels!” But when deer are sighted you often hear, “Quiet, look at those three deer!” If you’re driving through a neighborhood, you might pull over just to watch them in action.
There are some areas deer seem to prefer Downriver; they love all the local golf courses, not because they’re enthusiasts of the sport, but for the abundance of grass and foliage that attracts their appetites. A lovely sight on the golf course is watching them chowing down, or gliding gracefully across a wide fairway, and then disappearing into the brush. I once saw a doe and her two fawns in the distance before teeing off. I paused and waited. I know it is proper golf etiquette to yell, “Fore,” but the deer wouldn’t understand, because there were only three of them. (read more…)
Watching a Tigers game with family recently, it was noticed some of the players’ batting helmets have been reinforced with an additional piece that extends over the jaw area.
Historically, safety features added to any sport have sometimes been met with ridicule when first introduced, but in time they were accepted and became accustomed to.
The first baseball helmets were the 1952 innovation of Charlie Muse, a Pittsburgh Pirates executive. “The players called them minor hats (coal miners), laughed at them, called players sissies for wearing them,” Muse said.
By the 1960s it became mandatory for all teams to protect the batter from an errant pitch ball. A decade later it was extended for the base runner as well. There have been suggestions for pitchers to wear helmets, too. (read more…)
Area native one of the oldest living major leaguers
The New York Yankees are history’s greatest professional sports franchise. I loved reading about those who wore the pin stripes, their feats and their personalities. I was born less than a mile from Yankee Stadium, which probably added to my interest. My first baseball game was the Yanks and the Tigers when I was 8 years old. I’ll never forget walking up the ramp at Tiger Stadium and reaching the grandstand and peering at the entire well-manicured green field — it was the best thing next to heaven.
Television broadcasts do an injustice to the sport of baseball. Unlike football where you can see both teams line up, or basketball where you can see all 10 players in action, baseball cameras focus on the pitcher, batter, and catcher. When you are actually at a game you get a greater perspective by being able to see the entire field of play, all the fielders in positions, and if there are base runners you see their every motion. (read more…)
Playing “hooky,” or “hookey,” can be defined as “being absent from school without an excuse.” There are many theories and explanations of this term. I tend to believe that dating back to the one-room schoolhouse days, it was the bait and the “hook,” thus the term “playing hooky” was derived.
In 1848 the theme of playing hooky was adopted in Mark Twain’s masterpiece “Tom Sawyer.” The playing hooky term has been used for missing work as well. Harry Truman once said, “I played hookey from the appropriations committee this morning.” A modern day comedy film with a playing hooky theme was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Ferris Bueller played a rascal who outfoxed the school Dean, Ed Rooney, by pretending to be ill. The Dean was completely humiliated in the end, trying to catch Ferris in the act of skipping school.
One individual a student couldn’t humiliate at Trenton High School in the 1960s and 70s was a truant officer named Harold Schmidt, for he was always one step ahead of any rascal. I was introduced to the legend of Harold Schmidt coming off the school bus in my freshman year. As I was walking toward the school a companion educated me on the determination of truant officer Harold Schmidt to catch kids skipping school, “Mr. Schmidt posts himself on the roof of the school with a giant telescope.” (read more…)