Hot enough for you?
No doubt air conditioning felt mighty good during the past few months. But taking a look back at some events that crossed my path recently, the word “cool” seems to fit pretty well.
Enjoying a little of this and a little of that added up to some cool memories from Louis, George, Ron, Morrie, Mitch and more.
“Hello Louis.” Jazz legend Louis Armstrong celebrated his birthday on the fourth of July. He and his wife Lucille lived for decades in a house on a busy street in Corona in the New York City borough of Queens. Visiting his home on July 4th meant enjoying a celebration concert in the garden which featured a look-alike and sound-alike group that musically entertained the hot outdoor audience with some cool sounds. But the highlight of the day was touring Louis Armstrong’s home room by room. The knowledgeable docent told fascinating Satchmo stories and even played taped recordings that the jazz legend himself had recorded. It was fascinating to learn that Louis Armstrong used about 50 trademark white handkerchiefs a day. What most people don’t know is that he wore a Star of David around his neck to symbolize how important his early life with one family. was to him. As a child growing up in a poor Louisiana area, Louis happened to meet the Karnofsky family. They were Russian Jewish immigrants who befriended young Louis. They made sure that Louis could get his first coronet, helping him begin his road to worldwide musical greatness. The Star of David he always wore helped him remember the cool family that helped him when he needed it most.
“Mr. Stein. Mr. Brenner.” There was no shortage of news coverage in July when New York Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner passed away. But there was one interesting story in particular from The New York Times that I wanted to share. There haven’t been many Jewish ballplayers on the team during the Steinbrenner era but Ron Blomberg was one. So when Blomberg met the team owner for the first time, he thought he knew everything that mattered. “I thought he was Jewish,” Blomberg said. “Steinbrenner” I said, ‘I got this thing made.’ I mean, this is great. Jewish ownership. New York. He’ll let me do anything.” There was a slight pause. “Then I found out he wasn’t Jewish.” By the way, did you know that Ron Blomberg was baseball’s first ever designated hitter? “Boomer,” as he was nicknamed, faced Boston Red Sox pitcher Luis Tiant and was walked. Just some super cool baseball trivia I learned over this super hot summer.
“Bookings.” Bibliophiles and lovers of the graphic arts have had their own organization since 1864 when the Grolier Club opened. Housed in a wonderful building on East 60th street in New York City, the very well air-conditioned Club welcomes visitors to its special exhibitions, including its summer exhibit called “Bound for Success” which showcased designer bookbinders. Twenty one countries and 117 examples were represented showing off some the world’s best bookbinders and designers in one super cool exhibition.
“Morrie and Mitch” Mitch Miller’s TV show from the 1950s wouldn’t be called “cool” today but back then, the “Sing Along with Mitch” host seemed to have the whole country singing. And chances are, some people could have been watching the show while snacking on Cheez Doodles, which was created and named by a Long Islander named Morrie Yohai. Both Mitch and Morrie passed away the same week in July leaving us with cool memories…and yellow fingers.
During some of the hottest days in memory, enjoying a little of this and a little of that has added up to one super cool and very interesting summer.
Hope you’ve been enjoying a cool summer, too.