Friday, January 28, 2011

Thank you 1075 readers in 3 weeks

Please visit the facebook link ( on the left)  on my blog  for a complete photo expose' and historical information  on the women of the World Famous Texas Cowgirls Basketball Team  1949-1977
The young women played men's rules against men and  winning  80% of their  160+ games per season.

Like the page to view all of the historical  moments that changed  the world for women .

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Magic Our house was open seven days a week

Growing up for me was magic.

I was raised with two sisters and four brothers in a small Midwestern  town of eight hundred residents.
The two most famous men in town were Walt Williamson and my dad  Dempsey Hovland who were good friends. The difference between the two: Walt brought the world to Rockton IL. Dempsey took on the world from  little Rockton IL

Our house was open seven days a week  filled with magicians, musicians, athletes, politicians, and  energy.     I could wake up to a miniature scale of Great America on our dining room table with investors discussing plans with my dad- to Satchel Paige and his family visiting and staying for dinner -to a team of Cuban male dissident baseball players eating lunch with us to a team of female basketball players sleeping in bunk beds in our basement  to  a  Chicago Bear playing my mom in basketball on our court in the backyard or Goose Tatum former Harlem Globetrotter teasing her and taking her on in a ball handling competition to Donkey's that played  baseball wearing Converse eating my moms  revered gardening before their owners loaded them up for a game.

I know now that we stuck out like a sore thumb when I was a kid I thought my home life  was equally normal to  anyone elses.

The downtown storefronts of Rockton, Illinois  were replications of the old wild west. My dad had one of his offices on top of the police department with a western storefront.

Obvious that Illinois was not  geographically a western state, there was a reason for this. Walt Williamson  was that reason.

Williamson  built the Wagon Wheel Resort in 1936 . The resort continually grew offering more usual and unusual guest amenities. The resort was a popular stay for people from Chicago and Lake Geneva.  Five years later, fire forced him to rebuild, using timbers salvaged from railroad trestles, utility poles, antiques and mostly unwanted items. Those second-hand items became part of his business model.

“Everything I buy is junk nobody else wants and I make something out of it,” Williamson said in an April 7, 1974, Sunday Register Star article.

DOWNTOWN ROCKTON ILLINOIS


After Williamson’s death in 1975, which coincided with the beginning of the retreat’s demise, the Wagon Wheel was bought and sold numerous times. But the new owners couldn’t re-create Williamson’s magic. Two suspicious fires  two weeks apart in the nineties was the end of the Wagon Wheel Resort.The Key Club a five star restaurant where steep  outdoor steps were taken  to an oddly  raised building that resembled a house in the bayou on stilts managed to stay open for a few years after the resort burnt down. The  resort was destroyed by arson twice after Walt died. The first arson burnt some of the resort two contractors were convicted, within weeks the second arson in the 1990's destroyed all 300  acres . Lucky Luciano's nephew was the proprietor. The arson  was never solved.
The ice rink was home to Olympic skaters and trainers. that included Janet Lynn, Peggy Flemming and  Scott Hamilton.The N.H.L.  Chicago Blackhawk's   team utilized the Wagon Wheel Ice Rink as their training practice  facility, a 180 mile round trip from Chicago. The  Chicago Stadium was flipped back and forth between ice rink to basketball court  to event hall, limiting practice time for the team . Pre -season games were also played at the rink.




The Wagon Wheel boasted a  bowling alley, swimming pools, candy factory, arcade and shooting range, golf course, numerous bars and restaurants, an airport, horse jump training facility , horse back riding trails,  indoor tennis facility, wedding chapel, Viking hall  ( held wedding receptions to boxing events). Celebrities and family members of organized crime  were frequent guests. The Jazz icons all played there. Thousands of newlyweds  spent their nuptial night in the antique sleigh bed in the honeymoon suite. As kids we would run the halls, open the door to sneak a peak at the unoccupied "Love Room" squeal and run away. The  room was bigger than sneaking a peak of actual  nude people.  Which there were plenty of in the coed steam rooms. The resort was like going back in time  the outside of town, with no press or distractions from the locals who were employed there. It was a town in itself.


For the children growing up in Rockton the Wagon Wheel was a town within a town with all of the best things to do in one place. It was our ticket to cheap or  free ammenities that guests paid for. We bowled, ice skated, swam, road horses, and hung out in the" old west" eating Wagon Wheel fudge. We all personally knew the talking Mina Bird that lived in the main lobby and how to sneak into rooms for our personal use. A hell of a lot us worked as dishwasher, lifeguards, desk personnel ,waitresses  stable caretakers, bartenders and 
house keepers. 


Walt  originally purchased furniture building materials from burnt out structures and  others financial losses of the depression.The site evolved into a miniature city, but the entertainment complex began modestly. Walt Williamson started the Wagon Wheel in 1936 as a hamburger stand and gas station. His first building was a hamburger stand, "Your  dad ran that for him . He would give bags of hamburgers to needy families, giving away more than he sold." according to an old timer.
'Your dad would then take his pay and buy kids shoes and drop them off at bars .
Your  dad  was not  out to embarrass anyone. He was upset about fathers spending money to drink when their kids went without. He always had a soft spot for kids."

 My dad continued throughout his life to give . He raised money to open the Boy's Club. and the first city baseball league diamond,in his hometown. Mooseheart Orphanage , and hundreds of community service organizations benefited financially from his philanthropic heart.

Philanthropic Barnstormer

My dad was not typical- so I realized as I aged. 
Growing up with him there was no line between business and family.
My dad  was a barnstormer, a one man band his job was filling seats for the athletes and entertainers who sent out to tour cross country. He did not punch a clock he did not have the guarentee of a 40 hour weekly paycheck. Our family was large nine people to feed and shelter. He employed and paid the salary and operating expenses  for five basketball teams, two baseball teams, dozens of entertainers, and a staff nation wide of pageant coordinator employees.
He was a promoter his entire life. As a teen booking the Swing Orchestras.As a kid  organized marble tournaments that drew hundreds at local parks . Running away from his hometown in Wisconsin in 1933 he survived employed for brief stint in Chicago as a teen numbers runner/collector for the Irish Mob  run bookies.

In his early  thirties expanded  his 2Oth Century Attractions  business after  serving in World War II into a national phenomena.


My mom played basketball on his World Famous Texas Cow Girls basketball team, she later managed 26 states of his Miss American Teenager Franchise,  and continued  to recruite and train his basketball teams.



My dad owned numerous sports teams, coached , booked, and promoted them. He managed booking engagements for other team owners, Satchel Paige, Pee Wee King, Ruth Hill Marionettes , The Harmonica Rascals, and hundreds of other athletes, musicians and acts.. I am still amazed how he kept it all straight and never missed a beat.


At 5 we were old enough to be put to work labelling, licking, and stamping hundreds of booking fliers on Saturday mornings watching cartoons and Sunday evenings watching Walt Disney. On Monday we would hall them by wagon to the post office. If one of my dads teams  baseball or basketball game was within 100 miles he took us or put us in an RV or auto with the halftime acts. As children we spent every summer in a station wagon with my mom traveling from Illinois to every state west of the Mississippi River to recruit new ball players and run the state finals for Miss American Teenager. My dad stayed behind to manage the other end of business.




My mom and all of us kids lived in hotels in the summers from state to state traveling in a station wagon. She had lived the barnstorm life with my dad on the road before we were born. She was no Sally Daisy she was tough enough to be out there alone with half a dozen kids in tow.  Our school years end was cut short of our classmates ,taking our lessons and finishing the assignments on the road and mailing them in. My dad lived on the road in hotels state to state for the rest of the year and my mom when she had to cover . Us older Hovlands by 15 we were sent out  on the road to handle business across the United States on our own .


7 of us  ready to go to a  booking
My DAD  WHEN HE WAS A LITTLE BOY 1920'S
                                                                         





 My dad grew up as an only child raised by his grandparents when his parents decided not to stay married when he was an infant. My dad survived that, born during  the Spanish Flu pandemic and World War I , the Depression , fighting in Normandy, Bastogne and The North African Campaign in World War II , his first wife being murdered raising his son as a single father on the road. To him a 9 to 5 job was never an option he was not cut out for it.

My mom was born 17 years after my dad  by midwife in 1934,during the Great  Depression in Arkansas, She survived that and and her family anchored down during the Dust Bowl. Her older brother fell into a fire at their dad's cotton gin he died at 12. Two other siblings died as toddlers. Her dad moved the family farther south from Malvern to Winthrop. When his  oldest son  died they moved deeper south from Winthrop to  to Gillham. Her daddy pulled trees with a horse and chains sawing them into poles he shipped on trains selling as utility poles. My mom was sent to work the fields in the summers at age eight with her sisters to help support the family of 9. An outhouse, coal for heat and brushing  teeth and an orange in a sock at Christmas was a far cry from the world my dad opened up to her, when she joined his World Famous Texas Cowgirls ( originally from Chicago, then Bismark, then Beloit ,WI where he was born  lastly run out  and Rockton , IL where the Wagon Wheel Resort was) female basketball team 1949-1977.

She came from rural Arkansas ,a town with a general store where she everything from clothes to farm tools were sold. My dad had her in the company of Bob Cousy, George Mikan, The Harlem Globetrotters and news reporters within a month out of Arkansas. She fit right in she sparkled and had a way abot her that captured attention in any forum. She was special and he knew it.



MY MOM ON THE LEFT  HOF BOSTON CELTIC BOB COUSY IN THE MIDDLE








Billboard - May 11, 1959 - Google Books Result 84 pages - Magazine The baseball show is handled by the same agency as the Texas Cow Girls, and Dempsey Hovland, who heads the agency, reports the girls' basketball team will ... books.google.com/books?id=nh4EAAAAMBAJ... -

Billboard Magazine Article May 11 1959  Dempsey Hovland his female Texas Cowgirls basketball team 1949-1977 playing and beating men in basketball
Satchel Paige and Virgil Trucks , and Cuban men play on Hovland's Baseball Team.






Monday, January 24, 2011

Historical Moments Female Basketball Team 1949-1977 playing mens rules beating men









Legacy of a H.S. COLLEGE, AND BARNSTORMING PRO ATHLETE

Hall of Famer Stankewitz was one of a kind




Stankewitz

By Jim Franz
Published: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 4:05 PM CDT
Additional Information 
by Erin Hovland-Moffitt
erinhovand@yahoo.com







Well-liked Beloiter left an impressive sports legacy

People are making a pretty big deal about Brett Favre playing football into his 40s.

Obviously they never met Vince Stankewitz.

Vince, who passed away last Wednesday at the age of 81, was a member of two state championship teams at Beloit High School in the 1940s and five decades later, in 1995, won another title playing basketball in the U.S. Senior Olympics.


Vince was a Hall of Fame inductee in his hometown as well as two different colleges, an armed service star athlete, a world traveler as a player and coach of barnstorming basketball teams in the 1940s and ’50s and father to a pair of outstanding athletes.

In 2007, on the eve of his induction into the Beloit Historical Society’s Sports Hall of Fame, Vince said, “I was lucky to be able to be a part of some really good teams and I’ve had a great time.”

Truth be told, those teams were lucky enough to have the affable Beloiter on their roster.

“There was only one Vince Stankewitz,” said Bill Watson, who played on barnstorming basketball teams with him as well as city league teams from the old Pop House. “He was a legend. He was very well-liked. He never had anything bad to say. Vince’s philosophy was, ‘Don’t worry about anything because tomorrow is a new day.’”

Born in Beloit in 1929, Vince excelled at Beloit High in golf and basketball. He was a member of the school’s 1945 state championship golf team that included co-state medalist Bill Goessel, Ted Perring and Lloyd Larrabee.

“They only took the top scores so they didn’t count mine,” he said in 2007. “But I got them in the conference tournament the following year.”

Vince shot a 76 for medalist honors in the Big Eight Conference Tournament in May, 1946.

“I was lucky they played that tournament at Muni that year,” he said.

Vince was also a member of Beloit’s fifth state championship basketball team in 1947. The team started a colossal front line — for that time — that included 6-foot-4 Vince, 6-3 Al Parker and 6-7 Big Eight scoring champion Bob Wegner.

“When we went to a zone (defense) it really made it difficult on teams,” Vince said.

After tying for the Big Eight title, Beloit breezed through regional competition in the one-class tourney and won a sectional title at Lake Mills. In the first round at state, Vince and Co. avenged an earlier loss to Madison East by winning 45-38. Vince scored a team-high 14 points. He added 11 in a 63-36 rout of West Allis Central in the semifinals and 13 more in a 56-37 rout of Hurley for the title. Beloit finished 18-6.

After high school, Vince played for the House of David basketball team, traveling with the squad on junkets to South America and Europe. Not a single member of the team was actually affiliated with the real House of David Colony, a religious sect in Benton Harbor, Mich., but to add to the illusion that they did, each member of the team was required to grow a beard. Dempsey Hovland had played for the House of David which required a vegetarian diet and not shaving. He and  Doc  Witte  who had also been a House of David basketball squad member were allowed to put a ball club together on their own, running it out of Beloit, Wisconsin.
Members of the Colony never cut their hair, shaved or ate meat. Vince said growing the beard was the extent of the authenticity for team members.

“People really looked at you funny when you grew those beards,” he said. “Not many people were wearing them back them.”

The team traveled by plane throughout South America.

“The planes were big cargo-type planes,” Vince said. “There weren’t roads to travel. We brought our courts along with us and it took about a day to set up. We set up in bullfighting rings..”


The team was good enough to routinely dispatch local all-stars, but also served as the “straight men” for the Harlem Globetrotters. Winning then was not only discouraged, it was forbidden.
One team beat them and they sent them home,” Vince said.

That doesn’t mean he always played nice.

“The Trotters hated to play against Vince,
” said Watson, another former Beloit High star hired to play House of David ball. “He couldn’t really jump, but he was a big guy and he’d jump into them. He was pretty rough. Around the basket, He was very strong.”

Watson also played with Vince on another barnstorming team, the All-American Indian All-Stars. Owned by Dempsey Hovland .

“We did have one actual American Indian (on the team),” Watson said. “Vince went by a couple of names on the team, including ‘Tall Bear.’” That Native American was Harry McGlauphlin  an expert trick ball handler who was recruited from the Sioux Reservation by Hovland for his team.
Another former “Indian” as well as Beloit College player, Howie Katzenberg, said he remembers Vince’s nickname on the team as “Vinny Soo

“He was a super great friend of mine,” Katzenberg said. “Off the court, he was the quietest, nicest guy in the world. On it, he was a rugged ballplayer. Guys would go in for a layup and he’d just knock ’em down. He wasn’t dirty, but he was really rough.”

Loras College and then was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1953.

He had grown to nearly 6-6 by 1953, but the Army took him anyway. His height and athletic ability allowed him to stay state-side, where he played for various post football, baseball and basketball teams. During his Army service, he became good friends with future big leaguer Tito Francona, whose son, Terry, now manages the Boston Red Sox.

After leaving the Army, Vince returned to Milton, played ball and finished up his degree in 1956.

“They didn’t watch transfers too carefully back then,” Watson said. “Rumor had it Vince played for a couple of other colleges, too.”

Vince was inducted into the Milton College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1983 and joined the Loras College Athletic Hall 10 years later, going in as a member of the 1949-51 basketball teams that went a combined 45-16.

Vince coached the Texas Cowgirls for Dempsey Hovland in 1960 when they played at U.S. Army bases in Spain, Italy and North Africa on a tour arranged by the State Department. The Cowgirls, decked out in western apparel, complete with six-shooters in holsters strapped to their sides, were the nation’s No. 1 female basketball attraction at the time.

Vince played for the old Pop House teams in the city league and returned to the basketball court to play and win the Illinois Senior Olympics title in 1995 with Katzenberg. They earned a fourth place in the national tournament.

The Stankewitz legacy didn’t end there. He and his wife Delores had a daughter, Dori (Hughes), who was a record-setting All-American fast pitch softball pitcher at Florida Southern University and a son, Larry, who has won four City of Beloit golf championships, most recently this past August.

Friday, January 21, 2011

OLD SPICE AND SWAGGER

Old Spice was originally a scent for women in the nineteen thirties.

The Shulton Company, original producer of Old Spice, was founded in 1934 by William Lightfoot Schultz. The first Old Spice product was a fragrance called Early American Old Spice for women, introduced in 1937. Old Spice for men followed in 1938.
The early men's products were dominated by shaving soap and aftershave lotion, marketed with a nautical theme. Sailing ships, in particular were used as a trademark. The original ships used on the packaging were the Grand Turk and the Friendship. Other ships used on Old Spice packaging include the John WesleySalemBirminghamMaria Teresa,PropontisRecoverySoolooStar of the WestConstitutionJavaUnited States, andHamiltonProcter & Gamble purchased Old Spice from the Shulton Company in June 1990. The clipper ship was replaced by the yacht logo in February 1992. In the late 2000s, Procter & Gamble introduced many forms of deodorant sticks, body washes, and body sprays in several scents under the Old Spice brand.
In early 2008, the original Old Spice scent was repackaged as "Classic Scent," both in the after shave and cologne versions. Sadly the traditional white glass bottles gave way to plastic, and the grey stoppers to red. And Old Spice Classic shower gel is sold using the slogan "The original. If your grandfather hadn't worn it, you wouldn't exist."
My 25 year old Rap Artist son Adrian  wears Old Spice Swagger, His grandfather Dempsey wore Old Spice original.
Times have changed, fads have changed but  Old Spice remains as one of the tried and trued favorite fragrance's for males. I am wondering though what happened to the rage of soap on a rope? In the sixties and seventies it was on every males Christmas wish list. 
There may be no understanding if you are purely a designer scent connoisseur. 
I still have the last bottle of Old Spice my dad owned. I have kept it for 31 years. 
It reminds me of dancing with my 6 year old  feet placed on top of his to Moon River and  Red Roses For A Blue Lady. He would turn all of the lights out in the living room except the corner lamp. I was taken from there to the ballrooms of Chicago in my head . The scent of Old Spice magically brings me back  to those nights in 1963. Now my son steps on stage and shows his Swagger  in his talent.  There are  magic memories his little girl Sophia will be taken back to: her papa   when her senses  as an adult are  delighted with the scent of  Old Spice Swagger . She will remember her daddy"s love. She will remember more how he held her , did everything to make her feel loved and safe and put her first. She will remember that unconditional love from your daddy is the greatest gift that  can be given. It is  an unselfish place in the heart. And all the years of compromise and  dedication  it takes to do that for your daughter   is the magic she will remember.
  





Historical Moments Chicago Stadium In It's Glory Included Hovland's Female Basketball Team 1949

  • "The Madhouse on Madison"


    Last basketball game at the old Chicago Stadium. Michael Jordan came out of his first retirement to play this charity game. At the end of the game, Jordan knelt down to kiss the Chicago Bulls logo at half court.

    In addition to the close-quartered, triple-tiered, boxy layout of the building, much of the loud, ringing noise of the fans could be attributed to the fabled 3,663-pipe Barton organ that was played during hockey games there, earning it the moniker of "The Madhouse on Madison (Street)". In the Stanley Cup semi-finals in 1971, when the Blackhawks scored a series-clinching empty-net goal in Game 7 against the New York Rangers, CBS announcer Dan Kelly reported, "I can feel our broadcast booth shaking! That's the kind of place Chicago Stadium is right now!" The dressing rooms at the Stadium were placed underneath the seats, and the cramped corridor that led to the ice, with its twenty-two steps, became the stuff of legend.
    It also became traditional for Blackhawk fans to cheer loudly throughout the singing of the national anthems, especially when sung by Chicago favorite Wayne Messmer. Denizens of the second balcony often added sparklers and flags to the occasion. Arguably, the most memorable of these was the singing before the 1991 NHL All-Star Game, which took place during the Gulf War. This tradition has continued at the United Center.
    In 1992, both the Blackhawks and the Bulls reached the finals in their respective leagues. The Blackhawks were swept in their finals by the Pittsburgh Penguins, losing at Chicago Stadium, while the Bulls won the second of their first of three straight NBA titles on their home floor against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Bulls did not clinch another championship at home until 1996 (when they did so against the Seattle Supersonics), their second season at the new United Center, and the Blackhawks would not reach the Stanley Cup Finals again until 2010 (in which they defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in six games), their 16th season in the new building.
    It was also the last NHL arena to retain the use of an analog dial-type large four-sided clock for timekeeping in professional hockey games. Boston Garden and the Detroit Olympia (as well as the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium in its pre-NHL days) had identical scoreboards but replaced them with digital timers in the mid-1960s. Built by Bulova and installed in Chicago in 1943, each side of the clock had a large face that kept the game time and a smaller face on the left and right for penalty times. It was difficult to read how much time was left in a period of play on the large face. Each minute of play was marked by a longer line on each third second increment on the dial. The difficulty was compounded because both a black minute hand and a red second hand were also turning around during play.
    That clock eventually was replaced by a four-sided scoreboard with a digital clock in 1976 by the Day Sign Company of Toronto, much like the one used at the end of the 1960s to replace the nearly-identical dial-type clock in the Boston Garden, and then in 1984 by another, this one with a color electronic message board. That latter scoreboard was built by White Way Sign, which would build scoreboards for the United Center.
    The Stadium was also one of the last three NHL arenas (the others being Boston Garden and the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium) to have a shorter-than-regulation ice surface, as their construction predated the regulation. The distance was taken out of the neutral zone.

    After the Blackhawks and Bulls moved to the United Center, the Chicago Stadium was demolished in 1995. Its site is now a parking lot for the United Center across the street. CNN went so far as to televise the demolition, showing devoted Blackhawks and Bulls fans crying as the wrecking ball hit the old building. The console of the Barton organ now resides in the Phil Maloof residence in Las Vegas, Nevada. Also, the center of the Chicago Bulls' floor resides in Michael Jordan's trophy room in his house.

    A plaque with the words "Chicago Stadium 1929–1994, remember the roar" is located behind a statue of the Blackhawks greatest players on the north side of the United Center.
    Two friezes from Chicago Stadium were incorporated into a building at St. Ignatius College Preparatory School, 1060 W. Roosevelt Road.

    Notable events



    1932 - Due to a snow storm the Chicago Bears played the 1932 championship game inside the Chicago Stadium against the Portsmouth Spartans (later the Detroit Lions). The Bears won 9–0 on an 80 yard dirt field.
    1932, 1940, and 1944 - Democratic National Conventions, in which Franklin D. Roosevelt was nominated the first, third and fourth times.
    1932 and 1944 Republican National Conventions
    1933 - the site hosted the funeral of Chicago mayor Anton J. Cermak.
    1949- The stadium held the first exhibition game for the Texas Cowgirls Women's professional barnstorm basketball team. The team played against men winning 80% of their games, coast to coast and overseas until 1977. The owner Dempsey Hovland of Chicago partnered with boxing manager Jack "Doc' Kearns . Hovland owned the team he passed away in 1979. The Texas Cowgirls played the pre games for the NBA in the fifties and sixties. They returned to play men's teams and men's rules on the Chicago Stadium hardwood for decades.
    1961, 1974 and 1991 - NHL All-Star Game
    1961 - Scenes from the 1962 version of the film The Manchurian Candidate depicting the Republican nomination convention, were filmed in the stadium. The scenes are set in New York's Madison Square Garden.
    1972 - On June 16-17, 1972, Elvis Presley played 2 sold out shows at the stadium during his 15 city tour.
    1975 - In January 1975, Led Zeppelin played three shows here during their 10th North American Tour.
    1977 - In the spring of 1977, Led Zeppelin played four shows here during their North American tour. Two more were scheduled for later in the tour but were cancelled due to the death of Robert Plant's son.
    1973, 1988 site of the NBA All-Star Game
    1992 - Great Midwest Conference Men's basketball tournament.
    1992 - Chicago Bulls win the second of their first of three straight NBA titles in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. This would be the only time the Bulls clinched the championship while playing on the Stadium's floor, though they did it twice at the new United Center (in 1996 and again in 1997).
    1994 - The final concert at Chicago Stadium was held on March 10, 1994. The concert featured Pearl Jam, Urge Overkill, and The Frogs.
    1994 - The final hockey game at Chicago Stadium was played on April 28. The Blackhawks lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs 1–0. eliminating them from the 1994 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The only goal in the game, and last goal ever scored, came from Mike Gartner in the first period.
    1994 - The final event at Chicago Stadium was Scottie Pippen's Ameritech Classic charity basketball game, which was organized through Rev. Jesse Jackson's Push-Excel program and was held on September 9, 1994. Michael Jordan, despite being in retirement at the time, participated and scored 52 points, leading the White Team to a 187–150 victory over Pippen's Red team. At the end of the game, Jordan kneeled and kissed the Bulls logo at center court.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I TALK TO STRANGERS

I cannot help it. I talk to every and I mean every person I come near. Gang Members to Senators are the same to me and I have made non strangers of both. I know I  learned this during my child hood . I had access to great thinkers, story tellers. dare devils and  history shakers, and creative forces. I have always  believed everyone has something important to say to me. I  feel like really there are no strangers. just some one I haven't talked to yet.
I learn a lot in a minuscule amount of time when I talk to strangers ,then they are not strangers. It is embarrassing to my four sons, irritating to my husband and admired by my friends. My friend Barb has said  "you go somewhere you have never been before, you travel back to that town and people remember you and are excited to see you even if it has been 7 years you have met them once and they have seen thousands of people in between . And they remember your fucking name!" I thought that was normal she instructed me it is not the norm.
I speak in run on sentences I write in run on sentences. That is a train wreck for the treatment I have been struggling with in ions of time. I think this came from growing up in a family of nine. On top of that basketball teams,  and  baseball teams bunked in our house with us when I was young. It was do or die spit it all out or never get heard. I was tested last year  for attention deficit disorder at the insistence of my younger sister Beth. Negative however the test revealed when I was asked to draw what I saw I drew objects disconnected that were connected and visa verse. So I am long winded on paper it is what it is .
When you grow up with
Donkeys  that wear shoes to play baseball in your front yard one day, (and you
sip on coffee wearing your dad's boxers pinned up with a diaper pin, no shirt,adult cowgirl
boots and my pixie haircut stuck together with Vaseline and ratted to have hair like Dr Zorba on the Ben Casey TV show), at age six. I ask the tiny man and the large women who lived on the red bus with their traveling donkeys  "can I charge kids a nickel to pet a jackass, a dime to  pet and feed a jackass, and twenty cents to feed pet and  sit on a jack ass" The woman carrying her miniature dog between her giant bosom replied "sure make a sign , no writing jackass ,it is donkey can you spell it , and don't you ever where a shirt?'  The   first answer was yes the second only if I am made to.
Satchel Paige and his kids playing with you in your backyard while you listen to your dad's
one up each other with wild tales another day,
Goose Tatum and Marquis Haynes of the Globetrotters letting off steam in your dad's office. I ask
 "did you fellas eat today" how else do you learn if someone is just hungry? I learned they were leaving the Trotters starting their own team on another day
Miss American Teenager in the family car with Olympic Skater Janet Lynn and
future Miss America Judy Ford. Judy threw up from car sickness. My mom gives her her old traveling tip from years on the road " put your head between your knees". Janet Lynn never talked we were two much, the brood of us for her she was shy on another day.
Paula Zahn future CNN correspondent  wearing a banner and tiara in your hotel room on another day.
A Chicago Bear walking into  your house as surprise and attend your brothers 7th and 8th grade sports award banquet in our tiny town on another day. "Gary Hough want to take my mom on in basketball outback on our court?" He looked at me like I had two heads. He should have taken the cocktail offer instead of the court . I learned in her forties she was in better shape than an NFL player. You never know what you will get but if you don't ask you can't  learn a damn thing from anyone.
Hawaii Five O's Cam Fong  reaching his arms out to make me feel safe as the secret service escorts me and my younger siblings off of a bus from death threats toward my  family in Atlanta. The chartered bus on its way to meet with my dad's friend Hank Arron. "Mr. Fong  is it is it my dad did he have another heart   attack".  "No miss you will be safe with me, I'll take you to your dad he is waiting for all of you by the pool you can't go to your rooms."on another day.      That is a story for another day.
Roy Clark calls and asks for your dad at the same time you are seeing
him on the boob tube on Hee Haw and  tells me
"your daddy tells me you are chip off the old block"  "I ask him if knows he is on TV?" His answer well am but I'm not now..... is your dad there?
'on another day
 You  and your mom are  asked  by Johnny Mathis to share  his table  when you are 14 go for lunch in the hotel
in Indianapolis while on the road  and I tell him " I am   bigger fan of Satchmo he has pipes.
I don't go for the lovey dovey songs."  Johnny said "she is nobodies sucker " to my mama . I decided that is a good thing on another day.

I couldn't  fall asleep, The sweetest Cuban exiles men lived with us baseball players . At midnight nightly my dad's Texas Cowgirls basketball team performing basketball tricks

the Cowgirls really were  in my kitchen getting a midnight snack. I talked to no one during those nights. I just knew I did not want us to all die. The Cuban Missile Crises was an anxious time for the safety of the men. I crossed my fingers every night laying in bed repeating out loud "please don't let us die,please don't let us die" My fingers are still curved to this day. Across America children in schools were taught duck and cover like a desk would save them! Not my grade school they sent us right out in the open for air raid drills for months. The sirens would blare and we were all rushed out of the school with a time sheet and instructions in our hands. "Note the time your child or children made it home during this drill, turn all lights off and lay quietly on the floor until 4:30. Are you freakin' kidding me ?  On another day.
When you are traveling as the suitcase barnstorm family we were and hear Roger Miller singing
Trailer For Rent  on the car radio and then he is at our next stop where your dad booked him with the Harmonica  Rascals  on another day. I asked Roger "did you really ever live in a trailer?" in my
pre- adolescence his talking voice was as mesmerizing as his singing voice I just stared at him and did not hear him talking to me on another day. When Angelo Dundee went from stranger to having a conversation with me I was worse no one ever ever tongue tied me I felt like I was on acid,  and had that feeling like when you are a kid and dream that you forgot to wear your clothes and discover you are naked when asked to recite at the front of the class? (okay maybe I am the only one that had that repetitive dream, RIGHT!) The thing is I was an adult not that little pixie haired kid a grown women and Angelo put me in a state of awe  backstage at the Rosemont in Chicago at a Michael Carbihal fight. Shit I worked with hundreds of boxers. But Mr. Dundee walking up in his white trainers coat the man who trained ALI. He should always be called MR. Dundee
I have not one memory of what we talked about for an hour on another day.

This is where it began.  I wanted to know something about every person every person that came to my dad for something. I would lay on the front stoop of our rented home as a six year old eating the creme cheese and jelly sandwiches my dad paid me with. My job was to greet and ask what they were here to see my dad for, I was a mini gate keeper. Then I would say "Wait here" and run down the basement steps and say Jake the Uncle Sam stilt walker or Virgil Trucks the baseball player or Doc the magician or Pee Wee King the Cowboy accordion playing singer is for you dad. Our front door was as busy as a revolving door. This gave me plenty of time to say have a seat and ask every stranger a question so they were no longer strangers.  So if I call you or meet me in person you will not be a stranger anymore, I will have to go find more.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

list 15 films in less tan 15 minutes that left an impact on you

‎15 films in less than 15 minutes

Bill Veek, Dempsey Hovland, Virgil Trucks, Satchel Paige, Caribbean Kings

I’ve seen most of ‘em,” said  Bill Veeck, “Including Bob Feller and all the others, and he knows- and knew- more about pitching than any of them.  Satchel Paige is the greatest.”
            Then why didn’t you sign him, Smith wondered.
            “Because Staley and Lown were going good. They would have had to sit on the bench if Satch had been with us.  That would have made them angry.”
            By the time Paige reached the podium at the Madison Wisconsin  basketball banquet, it had already been a busy couple months.  After returning from Mexico, his wife Lahoma gave birth to a baby girl (Rita Jean) on February 9.  Then it was up to Wisconsin to finalize arrangements for a 150-game barnstorming tour (and attend the first of what would be dozens of paid speaking engagements). Around January, he had inked a deal with writer David Lipman and Doubleday & Company to pen his memoirs. It might not be the “easy” Hollywood money, but he was lining up a nice ten-to-twelve month revenue stream.  He now had a wife and seven kids to take care of.
            The man who got fogged out of the car with Satchel on the ride up to Madison was a booking agent from Beloit named Dempsey Hovland.  Hovland was putting together an outfit called the “Caribbean Kings,” who would travel the country and Canada,.  The Wisconsin entrepreneur had already secured the services of ex-major leaguer Virgil Trucks, and several young Cuban ballplayers. Hovland was also the Owner of the Texas Cowgirls a female touring team that played mens rules beating male teams 80% of their cross country seasons more tan 160 games a year. Paige often travelled with Hovland's Cowgirls entertaining the sold out crowds at halftime with his pitching exhibitions.  Hovland also arranged Paige's public speaking engagements.  Hovland and Paige's relationship began when Hovland played for The House of David Ball Club in the thirties.  

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

1949 Hovland's Dream Emerges

Dempsey Hovland's world-famous female barnstorming basketball team, the Texas Cowgirls (1949-1977) was endorsed by Converse and officially wore Chuck Taylor All-Stars on the court. The team opened for NBA teams and the Harlem Globetrotters. They were instrumental in paving the road of equality for female athletes in a male dominated sport , The pre WNBA  era  of this team team competed not against other female ball clubs instead against men's teams winning 70-80% of their games around the world.


There were a handful of other barnstorm female teams. Hovland  was the only team owner to  integrated his teams  refusing to abide by racist segregation  the others recruited by. If you were female and a superb athlete you were not turned away because you were Native American African American Hispanic or any race. Hovland's feamle team was also in the elite position of being the female team to open for the NBA in it's inception years.


Hovland's  athletic  experiences  and promotional  genius was recognized by the late Eddie Gottlieb mogel of the NBA startup and their  game scheduling manager for decades,  who booked Hovland's Texas Cowgirls on the game rosters of the original N.B.A. teams. Playing the pre game to sold out  audiences at the largest venues including Madison Square Gardens before 13,800 fans at the Knicks Celtics game,Chicago Stadium , Philadelphia Warrior's. Boston Gardens, San Francisco Cow Palace and many more, Gottliebs involvement with the Negro League Baseball teams and Hovland's tenure as a team member of the House of David Ball Club and their exceptional promotional abilities tied them together in the early years.  Abe Saperstein owner of the Harlem Globetrotters and Hovland were also cut from the same cloth. Abe often contacted Hovland to contract his Texas Cowgirls team to tour with and open for  his Trotters. Reese Goose Tatum and  Marquis Haynes and Hovland would develop a long lasting friendship  and a business relationship booking the barnstorming basketball  teams they developed  independent of Abe's Trotters. 


Dempsey Hovland's Texas Cowgirls who  were not from Texas , originated in Chicago with the assistance of Jack "Doc" Kearns aptly nicknamed Doc by World Heavy Weight boxing Champion  Jack Dempsey whom Kearns managed. Kearns  was known as the maker of champions Jack Dempsey, Mickey Walker, Jackie Fields, Joey Maxim and Archie Moore. He was also the first boxing manager to pull in a historical million dollar gate. Hovland was struck by the mystique of singing cowgirls and the heroin cowgirls in the movies hence the name,


Hovland was born Dempster LeRoy Hovland, changing his  name to Dempsey at Kearn's request. Kearns involvement in the start up was providing initial financial backers for Hovland and attaching his internationally known  name to assist Hovland in promoting the team. Hovland proposed his plan  to Jack Kearns in 1949 in a bar at the North Park Hotel Hovland managed in Chicago's Lincoln Park (known for the St Valentines Day Massacre and Irish Mob stomping grounds). Hovland premiered  the Texas  Cowgirls  all female basketball team playing full court men's rules against men  in October 1949 at the Chicago Stadium


Training camp and try outs   required physical endurance, learning how to play professional men's basketball rules, orientation on travel, how to interview on radio and television and indoctrination into the code of the road show business and the life of  barnstorming. The teammates were recruited  for tryouts by recommendations  from sports casters, , their coaches , and some  talent discovered through scouts, Barnstorming involved many cold dark nights on the road traveling distances of three or four hundred miles between towns for  games. Playing 160 games a season twice as many as professional NBA teams. By playing. living.traveling together the Cow Girls shared mutual experiences developing a sisterhood. With seven months away from their homes every year and players as young as 17 , it was always a welcome site to see a former player show up at a game or receive best wishes on the road  while playing coast to coast and abroad.


  All rights reserved.by Erin Hovland Moffitt W.G.A. registered and certified.