Friday, August 24, 2007

Sunday Aug 24

Took Blanche to a Ball
game at Yankee Stadium
and later one hour rowing
at Central Park and then
the Concert at the Mall, and


Matt's Notes

I'm still not sure who Blanche is, but in this, her second appearance in Papa's diary, she enjoys veritable 1920's New York montage of a day with Papa.

Things started off on a fine note with a Yankee victory over Detroit at the Stadium. New York sluggers Babe Ruth and Bob Meusel had quiet days, but the Yankees still scored eight runs while giving up only one. Was Blanche a baseball fan, or did Papa explain the game to her, show her how to keep score, lean in close to whisper during suspenseful moments? Did he wonder, on this pleasant August day, if this would be the first of many games he'd see with her?

I questioned a couple of days ago whether Blanche was an old friend of Papa's or someone he'd just started dating, but today's post-baseball row in Central Park leads me to think that romance was in the offing. Happily, Papa had practiced rowing in the Park earlier in the year, and perhaps he felt it paid off for him now. Was Blanch impressed by his comfort with his surroundings, his easy way with a rowboat, his rakishly-tilted straw boater?

And after rowing, a stroll over to the Mall, where they joined 60,000 others to see a concert featuring, among other selections, a couple of pieces by Wager and, luckily for Papa, his beloved Tchaikovsky. (I'm taking some liberties with the photo below since it's from 1894, but it's the best I could do.)

This concert was not, we should note, the August 24th performance at City College Stadium that Papa had thought about attending with the lively "Miss R.," a woman who had expressed a matrimonial interest in him last week. Still, it was an outdoor show and it did take place on the same day, so perhaps this is further proof that Blanche and Miss R. were, as I speculated the other day, the same person.

Since I've said what the concert wasn't, I should probably now say what it was: the summer's final outdoor show conducted by the popular Edwin Franko Goldman, who received an award at intermission in honor of his triumphant season. Goldman likely wrapped up the show with a performance of "On the Mall," a catchy march he'd just written that would go on to become his most famous composition. I wonder if, in later years, Papa felt proud to have been among the first to hear Goldman's signature work. I wonder, too, if the strains of "On The Mall" always made him think of Blanche and the perfect day, full of potential, they shared together in 1924.



Image Sources:

"Babe Ruth crossing the plate after making his first home run of the season today," April 21, 1924. Library of Congress # LC-USZ62-97945. No known restrictions on publication.

"New York City views from Central Park. Across lake at 77th St. VI," 1931. Library of Congress # LC-G623-T-15618

"The Mall, Central Park, N.Y. (looking south), 1894. Library of Congress #LC-USZ62-69575

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