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  • Remembering the Babe Ruth story

    Babe Ruth, a famous baseball player who was long gone before I came along, held a very special place in my family.

    One of my favorite stories of my mother’s time in the U.S. Coast Guard as a SPAR during World War II was her description of working as secretary to the captain of the port in Battery Park, New York City. She was one of the first — and few — women in the office and was quick to point out that the men were very respectful of the women.

    Her office overlooked the Statue of Liberty and most mornings she would hop on the Staten Island Ferry to grab a cup of coffee before work. She told the story of the day she was on the ferry deck sipping her coffee when two men got on and came over to chat with her. Picture a strikingly beautiful brunette in a sharp Coast Guard uniform. She used to say demurely they came to chat her up.

    The two men were Babe Ruth and Ed Sullivan.

    So the three chatted for a few minutes. My mother was a huge fan of both men, but with a strong love of baseball, she was especially fond of Babe Ruth. She didn’t have her autograph book with her but she told them she would love to get their autographs.

    One of the men, I can’t recall which one, pulled a dry cleaning slip from his pocket and they both signed it. She was ecstatic. And then the ferry whistle blew and she ran off.

    It’s fitting that I think of my mom today, the day that the baseball great received the Medal of Freedom in a White House ceremony, along with six other notables. My mom passed away seven years ago but she would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when the Babe, the Great Bambino, received this great honor.

    For a gal who never missed an opening day of the Washington Senators, I’m sure she’d remember to bring her autograph book.

    © Arlington Catholic Herald 2021

    @Ann M. Augherton