IKE IN MAINE
This is an article from the June 27, 1955 issue
"Next sunday Dwight Eisenhower is going to lose himself in the sport of presidents. He is going fishing, and he has chosen a remote corner of western Maine, one of the loveliest spots in a state noted for wilderness scenery. To fly fishermen it is almost sacred, for the log cabin Ike will occupy is on Parmachenee Lake, after which those two celebrated brook trout flies, the Parmachenee Beau and the Parmachenee Belle, were named.
Ike will probably be using these patterns in dry flies, though not on their namesake lake. Even when fishing a president's safety must be considered, and Secret Service has expressed an unwillingness to permit Ike to fish the lake from a small boat or canoe. Instead Ike will fish the nearby Magalloway River for squaretails, as Maine folk call the brook trout.
The Magalloway is a rippling jewel set among the blue-green of spruce and fir. The banks are brush-free and much of it can be waded. Just now it is sparkling clear but a trifle high. It is a small river of pools and broken water. At the beginning of a fine day the mist will lie along it until the sun warms it a little and then the May flies will start to dip and dance. This is dry-fly water of a caliber to make a man ache afterward in remembrance.
Guides of the region have been tying their favorite fly patterns for Ike. Among them he will probably find some small Brown Wulffs and Cahills, along with the more glamorous-looking Parmachenees. Whatever he uses, he should find some willing trout, for when the May-fly hatch is on, the squaretail is a grand fish for the man who can float a dry fly the way Ike can.
Later, with perhaps a fire crackling in his cabin, the President may look out on lovely Parmachenee and note the fish rising in the last of the evening's light. He'll feel better for having fished, and that night he may hear the loons in their wild loneliness, which in itself is worth the trip to Maine.
HOW TO BEAT THE RACES
There were 5,591 persons at Buffalo Raceway, harness enthusiasts all. After the second race one of them stepped up to the cashier's window and presented two daily-double tickets. He collected $984.40. As the third race began, the cashier discovered he had paid out on the combination of 3 and 5. The winning combination: 7 and 5.
It is safe to say that nobody who sat in the University of Kansas stadium during commencement exercises this month listened quite as intently as black-gowned Senior Lawrence Loftus. Graduate-to-be Loftus seemed almost entranced, in fact, by the words of McGruder E. Sadler, president of continued on next 'page Texas Christian University, who spoke during the baccalaureate service. This solemn attentiveness moved some of the more restless to open curiosity; they noticed with a sense of shock that Loftus was wearing a hearing aid.
None had suspected that he was deaf, and they were startled to think that they were seeing a man who was caught up, not so much by the sentiments of a speech, but simply by the miracle of hearing fully for the first time. It was a moving moment—until a less sentimental colleague discovered that Loftus' earplug was actually connected with a pocket radio concealed beneath his gown. He was listening to the second game of a double-header between Kansas City and the Red Sox. The Red Sox won 4-3.
The water of Lake Onondaga at Syracuse, N.Y. is not fit for drinking, swimming or fishing, but last week a dozen crew coaches dreamed of being tossed headlong into it. Such a bath awaited the victorious coach in the Intercollegiate Rowing Association's 53rd annual regatta.
Only five coaches had a reasonable chance of fulfillment, but for Cornell's Harrison (Stork) Sanford the dream had at least an even chance of becoming a reality. Sanford's great freshman crew of last year was now his varsity, a powerful combination of sophomores averaging 6 feet 3½ inches, 187 pounds. Pennsylvania, smaller and less strong, yet impeccably polished from seven solid months of daily practice as a unit, was also rated a co-favorite. But some of the best opinion, including that of Navy's "Mr. Rowing," Rusty Callow, was that the 1955 regatta looked like Stork Sanford's baby.
Stork himself was not so sure. A 6-foot 5-inch scarecrow of a man listing slightly to starboard under his bashed-in felt hat, Stork was a worried bird up to race time. He hadn't had a chance to work his crew enough because of rough water and a late spring in Ithaca. In earlier races (they were beaten by Navy and Penn) Stork's sophomores had tensed up, failed to put their tremendous power to use.
Regatta day brought oppressive 92° heat and 18,000 spectators lining the lakeshore. Stork Sanford's plan was for the Big Red to get out in front at the start and stay there. Cornell's start was poor and it took the first mile to get them back into contention. They dueled the next mile bow-to-bow with surprisingly strong Washington, as Penn's light crew fell off the pace, never to recover. Exerting their weight advantage in powerful strokes through the glassy-still water, Cornell and Washington pulled away. Half a mile from the finish Cornell applied the pressure and moved half a length in front. Washington tried gamely to respond, but the heat was just too much. As the Huskies upped their beat, their No. 2 man, Fred Stoll, caught a crab, then collapsed from heat exhaustion, falling against his bowman, Bob Rogers, and nullifying two oars. Washington faded to fourth, finishing behind Penn and Navy.
Back at the boathouse, Stork Sanford happily endured the traditional dunking in Lake Onondaga's rancid water. (With the Big Red freshman and junior varsity crews also victors, the afternoon had produced Cornell's first IRA sweep.) Experts agreed afterward that Stork Sanford's kids, now suddenly grown up, loom as the best U.S. bet in the 1956 Olympics.
CROSBY ON FAULKNER
Bing Crosby's love for horses and racing was converted by his writers into material for radio jokes some years back, and so The Groaner never did get the credit he deserves for being a serious pioneer in development of the California-bred horse, now come to fruition in Swaps. He never asked for it, either. The jokes ran their cycle and eventually were dropped but Crosby's affection continued.
New evidence of it turned up again recently when Bing devoted large portions of three of his CBS radio shows to the reading of some just-foaled literature on racing by William Faulkner.
"I suppose many people—qualified people—hold William Faulkner to be our first man of letters," Crosby said. "Certainly he's right up there in the van of anybody's best-list of great writers." Then he told how a recent article by Faulkner "about Kentucky, about the days and events leading up to the Derby Day, about the Derby itself...really enthralled me."
"It's a stirring tribute to the great race, to the sport of kings. I think we could stand a reading of it over these facilities. Mr. Faulkner says..."
Then Bing began reading and, of course, he was reading from Faulkner's Derby article in SI (May 16): Kentucky: May: Saturday. He read it very well, too.
GREEN AND SASSY
Hunters' rifles occasionally sent echoes booming back and forth across Woodland Valley in New York's Catskill Mountains but, strictly speaking, its somnambulant quiet has been disturbed only thrice since the beginning of time. Tanners attacked its green hills for hemlock after the Revolution, quarrymen invaded it after that to blast out bluestone for the sidewalks of New York—and in the 1920s, after decades of calm, a couple of car-crazy teenagers named Phil Halzell and Joe Clark spent summer after summer racing each other down its winding, stream-bordered dirt roads in protesting family automobiles.
The competition reached its peak in 1929. Halzell, a Philadelphian, arrived at his parents' summer home in a red Buick roadster with yellow wheels and found Clark ready with a huge and ancient Marmon roadster. The Marmon had been "supercharged" with the blower from a blacksmith's forge—a device one of Clark's brothers hand-cranked while lying on a front fender. According to local legend, dozens of trees along the Woodland road still yank their branches up out of the way at the first sound of an open exhaust.
The exigencies of adulthood both calmed and separated the two speed maniacs, but it did not cure them. Two years ago Phil Halzell left Philadelphia, found a comfortable old house in Woodland Valley and settled down in hopes of spending the rest of his days amidst the hills and trout streams of his youth. He promptly bought an MG and joined the sports car club at Woodstock, the famed Catskill artists' colony. But somehow or other the MG left something in him unsatisfied. He traded it in on an Austin-Healey. The Austin-Healey did not make his blood sing either. He traded in the Austin-Healey on a Jaguar. But his love affair with the Jag had hardly begun when his head was turned by a machine with an appeal as heady as an old dance tune—a 1936 Buick Century sedan with only 85,000 miles on the speedometer.
He bought it immediately (for $25) and set off, blissful at last, to find Joe Clark. "First Century they made," he said. "Same owner until now. Had a valve job only 20,000 miles ago." Clark, now a Hudson River Valley fruit farmer, understood instantly. Together they drove out on the New York Thruway to check the speedometer against the mileposts and noted, for future reference, that it was in error a plus 3%, with the tires inflated to 30 pounds and hot.
This month, when almost two dozen Austin-Healeys, Jaguars, Sunbeams, MGs and Ford Thunderbirds checked in for the start of the Windham Sports Car Rally—an affair held on Catskill roads—Phil Halzell's Jaguar was missing. He drove up instead in his 1936 Buick. Beside him, slide rule and stop watch in hand, sat Navigator Joe Clark. Working with a kind of fiendish joy, they put the old green sedan through its paces—160 miles of driving through check points at an average of 34.17 miles an hour, a semiclosed-course test in which the ancient car had to labor over a 3,000-foot mountain and through a "gymkhana" in which Halzell backed, turned and tramped on the brakes like a man possessed. Who won? Why Halzell, Clark and the old green sedan. Last week they were feverishly planning to enter their old campaigner in the granddaddy of all road tests, the 1,200-mile Great American Mountain Rally next Thanksgiving Day. And why not? The Buick, they report, has now been equipped with a new set of shock absorbers.
RED CARPET TREATMENT
The day Vyacheslav M. Molotov visited New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art to make the diplomatic ploy that he liked the Met's American paintings best of all, a team of American weight lifters was on tour in Russia, engaged in the first dual sports meet between Russians and Americans since World War II.
The Soviet press extended friendly greetings, a Muscovite band haltingly rendered The Star-Spangled Banner and Russian crowds went crazy over the American heavyweight Paul Anderson, "proud to represent the United States from 912 East Tugalo Street, Toccoa, Georgia" (SI, March 21).
An eight-page edition of the sports paper Soviet Sport gave a full page to the feats of the Americans. The Soviet Committee for Physical Culture and Sport entertained the athletes at a Metropol Hotel reception. A bus was assigned to take them sight-seeing.
While the official welcoming might be considered a calculated straw in the political wind that blows now hot, now cold, there was no questioning the sincerity of the Soviet little man in his admiration for 340-pound Anderson, the strongest man in the world. In Moscow he broke two records, to the honest joy of the audience. First he hefted 402.41 pounds in the two-hands press, 21.41 pounds better than the old record. Then he lifted 425.565 pounds in the clean and jerk. The record, held by Norbert Schemansky of the United States, was 425 pounds. Paul set no mark in the snatch but his three-event total was 1,164.2 pounds, against 996.6 for his opponent, Alexei Medvediev.
Tommy Kono of Sacramento, middleweight, and David Sheppard of New York, middle-heavyweight, won their events, but the Moscow meet ended in a tie as Stanislaus Stanczyk of Miami, light-heavyweight, and Joseph Pitman of Vero Beach, Florida, lightweight, lost and Charles Vinci of Cleveland retired with a strained back. And a few days later at Leningrad, Kono lifted 291.5 pounds, topping his own world mark in the two-hands press, as the Russians won four events, the U.S. three.
But the free expression of admiration for the Americans, in auditoriums and on the streets, was more amazing and certainly more encouraging from this distance than any records.
PEEPING AT PAR
Lou Riggio, a partner in the Madison Avenue advertising firm of Hilton & Riggio, was recently and accurately described as "a medium-sized guy with weak eyes who plays bad golf, real bad." Mr. Riggio's golfing prison is the even score 100. He broke out once, long ago, but since then his scores have consistently come in three figures.
All this changed a few weeks ago when Lou Riggio's oculist sentenced him to a pair of bifocals. Dutifully, Lou took the new glasses out to the golf course and, stepping to the first tee, he glanced down at the ball. As his gaze passed through the segments the ball leaped wildly out of focus.
After much craning and squinting Riggio discovered that by keeping his head down—a golfing technique he had previously ignored—he had a clear view of the ball through the top of the glasses.
Postured thus, he cracked out a fine, straight drive. Head still down, he belted a firm iron. This went on through most of the 18 holes until he arrived at the clubhouse with a score below 100 and a heart full of hope. He told his story to a friend named John Lannigan, a clever man who shoots in the low 80s and thinks commercially. In a matter of days Mr. Lannigan had parlayed the talents of another oculist and the world's largest manufacturer of sunglasses. The result was a pair of opaque black glasses with a small rectangular slot in each lens. Through the slots the golfer sees only the ball. If he moves his head it disappears from view. And since the physiology of golf dictates that the player must not look straight down at the ball except in putting, the slots are set at the left side of each lens.
Lannigan has named his product Par Peepers. Not that they carry any such firm guarantee, but here, at least, is one more gadget to help or hinder man's infinite pursuit of the obviously unattainable.
For eight years Father Hugh O'Connor, pastor of St. Cecilia's in Sunderland, England, had been trying to persuade a landowner of the neighborhood to sell him a small parcel of farm land as a site for a new church. Father O'Connor's parishioners said he was wasting his time, that it would take at least a minor miracle to make the landowner change his mind.
This year, as usual, Father O'Connor tried again, and the landowner came up with a counterproposition. "There's a movement on, Father O'Connor," he said, "to abolish the Grand National. Now I'll tell you what I'll do. I'm getting people to sign a petition to preserve the National and if you can get me 1,200 signatures, I'll let you have the land you're after."
In six days Father O'Connor was back with 1,400 signatures. Last week workmen were digging the foundation for the new church and Father O'Connor was feeling pleased on all counts; coming from a long line of Irish horse-breeders, he's strong for preserving the Grand National, too.
LOVE AT WIMBLEDON
Australian tennis is a grim, ascetic game to which a man is expected to devote himself entirely, undistracted by even thoughts of romance or any other diversion normal to less dedicated men.
Nonetheless, Lewis Hoad, Australia's 20-year-old star, entered a church in cold, rainy Wimbledon the other day and was joined in matrimony to Jennifer Jane Staley.
You would have thought he had hurled the Davis Cup with curses into the English Channel. The Aussie tennis entourage, battling it out in the London championships as a warmup for Wimbledon, was stunned. All next day its leaders conferred on what to do. At week's end there was no ready solution. All members of touring Australian tennis teams must sign an agreement that they will be accompanied by no wives or other family members. But the agreement says nothing about mergers in midstream. Hoad, it seemed, had served an ace.
Football teams from the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy, a pair of tradition-steeped athletic powers, are perfectly willing to play an upstart newcomer, the U.S. Air Force Academy, in the near future—but not in Colorado Springs (altitude: 5,980 feet). As well-trained strategists, both Army and Navy recognize the error of meeting a bunch of flyboys in the rarefied atmosphere of the wild blue yonder.
A cat watching tennis
Stars really whack it
Said, "Thank goodness
I'm not in that racket!"
CURRENT WEEK & WHAT'S AHEAD
London Tennis Championships at Queen's Club, traditional prelude to Wimbledon, were won by Australia's little left-hander, Ken Rosewall, and that hardy U.S. perennial, Louise Brough of Beverly Hills, Calif.
Jack Fleck, an unassuming Iowan, entered his name on the indelible tablets of sport by firing a clutch birdie 3 on the 72nd hole, tying Ben Hogan for the U.S. Open medal score and then beating the great Texan in an 18-hole play-off.
Squaw Valley, the handsome new resort in California's High Sierras, was chosen (over Innsbruck, Austria) as the site of the 1960 winter Olympics; and Rome, Italy (despite a Detroit offer to pay traveling expenses of athletes from all over the world) as the scene of the 1960 Olympic Games.
Coming from behind after three and a half miles, Yale's varsity crew nipped Harvard by five seconds on the Thames at New London in their 103-year-old four-mile classic, and in so doing gave the Bulldog its first three-race sweep since 1935.
Millionaire Brewer Gus Busch denied, in no uncertain terms, rumors that he proposes to sell the St. Louis Cardinals: "This is the lousiest, dirtiest, meanest thing that has ever happened to me. We're not going to sell that team this year, or next, or the one after that. My God, I'd sell the brewery before I'd sell the Cards."
Babe Didrikson Zaharias halted her golfing comeback for a session at St. Mary's Infirmary, Galveston, Texas—the Babe, apparently well recovered from her 1953 cancer operation, ruptured a spinal disc pushing a car out of heavy sand during a fishing trip to Port Aransas, Texas, a few weeks ago.