Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Encounter: Warren Hellman

Until his untimely death a few years ago from leukemia, Warren was a wise, generous, and wealthy person. Without his financial support, we would not have Freight and Salvage as prime local venues. He was an enthusiastic, but (as he admitted) very talented banjo player. He formed a group he called The Wronglers. He was the major supporter of my talented step-daughter Laurie Lewis. One day, she introduced him to me at the "Freight". Warren was the initiator of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. One day Barbara and I were walking around the perimeter of one of the meadows in Golden Gate Park used for "Hardly Strictly...", to my surprise, we came across Warren and a friend walking in the opposite direction. I blurted out "Oh, Warren: I didn't expect to see you here". He promptly replied "I don't know why not: It is my party". Of course what I meant was that meeting him there was a surprise, but I've always thought of his response as the "perfect squelch".

Monday, October 19, 2015


I played the position of blindside, wing forward for the first XV. My job was to ensure that the fly half of the other team did not sneak past the scrum by going to the blindside. I was lucky that "Tank" Adams played on the second row of the scrum, also on the blindside. This meant that I was not expected to give much of a push during a scrum. I could break away quickly to ensure that the opposing fly half didn't get very far if he chose to run on my side of the scrum. I had one unusual skill. I was an effective dribbler when the ball came loose, usually able to advance it several yards toward the goal before an opposing player could fall on it. These talents enabled me to be awarded my colors relatively early in the season, in contrast to the rather pathetic performance I gave in soccer.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


At Port Regis, the equivalent of earning a letter, was being awarded "colors." First XI colors were awarded to the ten other members of our first team, a fact indicated by wearing stockings with a bright red band at the top. Second XI colors resulted in red and white bands at the tops of stockings. I was the center forward for the first XI, but for several weeks, I played wearing the second XI colors I had previously earned. Finally, after several weeks, I became the last member of the team to be awarded first XI colors. If you draw the conclusion that I was really not a very good soccer player, you would be right.

Monday, October 5, 2015


The rules of squash are easy to learn, and it is great fun to watch two well matched players as they complete. There was a court at the naval college in Dartmouth, which is where I learned to play the game. Of course, the regime at Dartmouth virtually forced us to remain fit- and one needs to be fit to be successful at squash. For many years, I did not play the game, but soon after joining Barbara at 1000 Spruce Street, I suggested we try to take up the game. It was not a success. Although I believe I was in reasonably good shape at the time, I no longer had the stamina that I enjoyed as a teenager. I believe that we had access to the squash courts at the UC, but I think we only once tried to play a game there. I just could not move around quickly enough, and so I abandoned this excellent game before my 40th birthday.

Friday, October 2, 2015


Although American truck drivers were stationed at Filton, near Bristol in 1943. And we probably had an opportunity to see them engaging in some sporting activities, I did not play any softball until the college moved up to Eaton Hall sometime toward the end of 1943. All British boys knew how to pay "Rounders" the somewhat elementary form of the same game. I was a weak batter, did not pitch, and could not throw in from the outfield. I played short stop adequately and performed well in the game without displaying any particular talent.