Is fifty years a long time? Depends, on your memory and how enjoyable or painful that memory is.
The top picture is 50 years ago in Putnam County in July, me, Uncle Mickey & Aunt Barbara. The second picture is me, Vito D'Amico & Uncle Mickey this past July after our first radio show together at Giovanna's Restaurant in East Harlem. Mickey passed away three month later in October 2010.
This week, the Super Bowl in Dallas involving the Green Bay Packers brings back a strong Mickey memory.
Around noon, December 31, 1967, Mickey and Barbara came into our 83rd Street apartment, Barbara stayed in the kitchen with her sister, Mom, and Mickey walked into my bedroom where I was alone writing down the lineups for the game.
"Go get your father's black polish and shoe brush." Mickey said.
"Huh?" I said.
"Do it!" He ordered.
He's nuts and usually a lot of fun so I go get Dad's shoe box. On the way back to my room Mom gave me a look.
"Shine my shoes." Mickey ordered.
I looked at him like he is nuts.
"And here's a little something for your trouble."
He handed me a crisp ten dollar bill.
I tried to figure out something to say or ask but he beat me to it.
"I won two bets last week and picked up this morning, don't tell Barbara."
I was 13, thrilled for the bill and happy Mickey was over the house, he was an on and off actor and had 100 voices. For Christmas, Dad bought me my first reel-to-reel Tanberg tape recorder and I was taping all the songs off the radio but I needed a partner in crime to use the new gray microphone. Rory didn't like sports and Mickey was a perfect choice to do pre-game with me. Even though Ray Scott, Jack Buck and Frank Gifford were CBS announcers that day, Mickey decided to take it another way.
"This is Chris Schenkel live from Lambeau Field in frozen Green Bay where today, Tom Landry's Cowboys face off against the NFL World Champion Green Bay Packers. The Dallas team is looking for revenge for last year's defeat. I'm here with New York Giant Golden Boy, Number 16, Frank Gifford, say hi, Frank."
"Hi." I did as told.
"This is the coldest assignment I've had since I covered the bobsled championship in Saint Moritz, Switzerland in 1952. It is thirteen degrees below zero, I had to take off my glove to itch my nose, and my finger turned into a twig. What do you think Frank?"
"It's going to be tough on the players, but these are two great teams."
"Well said, Gif!"
"Thank you, Chris."
And the idiocy went on for seven or eight minutes, I never had that much fun on a microphone again until Mickey and I did the two radio shows together this past July. I still have the tape from 1967. I hope I find it, if I do I will put it up on the blog. Picture below is the microphone from that first tape player.
That day Bart Starr followed Jerry Kramer into the end zone on a sneak with sixteen seconds left to seal the Packers victory in the Ice Bowl.
ps Chuck Mercein, a former New York Giant Baby Bull, caught a pass and ran 19 yards on the final Packer drive, then Mercein carried the ball eight yards to the three to set up Starr's sneak. That was my personal highlight for the game, outside the Cowboys losing.
pss 20 years ago this week, "No good! Wide right!" Giants 20 Bills 19