Tuesday August 10th, 1977 Mercersburg

It's hot and the morning broke clear with blue skies and no wind. We took the posters off the walls. We folded our clothes and are living out of our bags, at least I am. I'm packed and ready to go. My plane leaves at 8:20 on Friday from Haggerstown Airport and Mr. B said he'll take me to the airport Friday morning. So I have a just a couple of days left. We ironed out all of the travel plans, Mr. B said he will have a check ready for me on Thursday and I am set.

We had a good day of teaching, I was on the beginners court all morning with Cathy Davidson. She is very good with the little kids and we had a blast. The pace is much slower and we play games to keep them interested. I made a game up called the "Slice is Right" where I have the kids hit underspin forehands and backhands back to me, they caught on so fast.
At lunch I chatted with the girls. We talked about the summer and Becky is so anxious to get back to Binghampton she'll stay there until September and then its off to Wellesley College. She's so bright and full of life and is a joy to talk to and so is Chris. Chris Russell-Vick is heading back to London and then its off to college. Pat will pack up her Honda and make the long drive back to Toronto.
When I get back to Idaho I have to meet with the coach, my Dean and academic advisor. I'll rent an apartment from Jack and Mary Hall, they have a great house a few blocks from the ISU campus. Jim Hall is one of my best friends and we will work on our cable access TV show and some film projects, and continue to work on our documentry film on Austin when I get back. Its a bit crowded at the Fredregill house with both Brenda and I there. I dont have a car and am on the bike so I need to live close to campus. I can pay my first semester rent from the Camp check and Ill be set for the semester. All the counselors have plans worked out and thats dominating talk at the camp.

I hit with Dunja Heinrichs, she takes lessons from Mr. B and is a fantastic hitter. She'll be a senior at Old Tappan High and is solid muscle, runs like a deer, and cute as a button. She has been playing the boys in the afternoon and can beat most of the camp. We played a set and I got lucky beating her 7-5. She was killing me from the baseline so I ran her with short angles mixed with deep balls to the corners, When I had her deep I dropped her and then hit the mouse trap lob to win point after point. Dunja hates to lose and we talked afterwards, I told her that she needs to keep me pasted to the baseline.

Mark Sanderson and I gathered up the balls tonight and concluded that this is the best session yet. We're only down 4 cans in two weeks. Every night we make the rounds to all the rooms and pick up rogue balls, that pisses the counselors off to no end. Feinberg and Solomon were watering the courts and FXB drove up. A couple other counselors were there and they were giving Sanderson and I a hard time for being such hard-asses. That pissed FXB off and he stepped up and said that it wasnt about the balls, it was about pride and doing a job well and that one day they might understand how important it is to do a job well no mater how trivial and unimportant it may seem.

Mr. B lapsed into a story about the ditch diggers in Patterson that he used to watch as a kid. He said they worked hard because it was pride with them. No one on the crew wanted to let the other down, when they worked they worked as a team. It was perhaps the only satisfaction they had because of the depression. Mr. B. said they were driven because they had families to support and jobs were scarce, he said they worked hard just to get home at the end of a day and have a meal with their families. I understood where FXB was coming from...I doubt the other did. Mark and I walked back to Fowle feeling pretty good, FXB could see how serious we took our assignment. Ball duty is not very glamorous duty but we broke our chops all summer out of fear, the pressure was on us not to lose balls. When FXB and I went to the warehouse yesterday he had 4 gross of balls left, he beamed that the year before he had to buy 5 extra cases.

We got the kids in bed and they were hyper, when I got back in the room at 10 there was a black trimmed Jack Kramer on my bed, the pro Kramer select. It had a broken string but was in perfect shape. FXB had given me his racquet, the same racquet he took to Camp David to teach the President. I was pretty excited about the frame, not that I will ever hit with it because its a piece of history.

I met Lenny at 10:30 and we went across the street to Tippetts Lounge so he could play the piano. All the girl counselors were there and it was festive, we broke out the cookies,candy and cokes and listened to Lenny play. He played everything from classical to jazz and pop, absolutely perfect.

At 11:30 I got back to the room and Mark was still up reading, he called home and his parents are coming down from Mass to pick him up. He's excited to see them and cant wait to get home and beat some of his high school teamates at East Longmeadow.

I drifted off to sleep, dreaming of Idaho and those wonderful Reed Gym courts on the ISU campus where I taught myself to play tennis on the backboard. In a few days Ill be back there beating the hell out of Mike Zaladonis and some of my ISU teamates.


Eileen said...

Jake, do you still have the racquet?

Jake said...

I know its at our farmhouse. My stepdad knew it was special to me and when I moved I left it there. My Stepdad put in a special place but he passed away a few years ago and Im still looking for it.
It has FXB's name on the side and the grip is huge...When I go home this summer Im going to do an all out search.


skip schwarzman said...

Jake, I remember Mr. B using a 5 heavy. Are my brain cells accurate (in this, at least)?