As I’m rereading a book about Mickey Mantle, I don’t recall the problems he had had with Joe DiMaggio, who, as The Mick was beginning his career, Joltin Joe was ending his. I also don’t remember what a light touch he was money wise, and how even his friends took advantage of him. The way he quietly visited sick kids, and despite a 44 year marriage, went after women like dishes on a buffet table. My hero partied hard, dying of alcoholism at the age of 63.
Leavy’s prose is fresh as if there were pages missing the first time around, my consciousness shifting, sifting through the past revisiting it.
A book on World War II, not my first, left me stunned at the way our soldiers were treated as Prisoners of War by the Japanese. Tortured, beaten, fed so little their teeth loosened from lack of nutrients. How didn’t I know this? Perhaps the complete horror was too much to initially take in, where now, an opening existed for the truth in all its awfulness to penetrate.
George Washington is always commended for stepping down as head of the Continental Army at the peak of his power, saying a heartfelt farewell to his troops at Manhattan’s Fraunces Tavern that still, as a museum installation, can be seen.
I reread, it wasn’t due to humility that the Father of our Country stepped down, it was because he was broke, not taking a salary for 7 years leaving his farm in the hands of a relative that let’s just say, wasn’t Mr. Green Jeans, allowing it to fall into desperate disrepair.
Right when he was bringing his beloved Mount Vernon back to life, we called upon him again to be President because he was the only one everyone trusted.
Patriotism trumping home sweet home, he came to New York having to borrow money for his inaugural suit, the fashion plate that he was. No careworn threads for George, he was taking his Oath of Office in sartorial splendor, and that was that.
Though reading about him many times, these facts flashed anew.
I marvel at that, since now I’m even more acquainted with him, our heroic POWs, as well as The Mick.
Here’s a poignant tale I’ll end with.
When you consider the Civil War’s Battle of Gettysburg is my favorite to read about, I wonder how this escaped me.
In the hours before Pickett’s Charge when close to 2,655 casualties of the Southern Army, many merely boys, were killed, wounded and captured, marching through an open field, they sprawled beneath the trees staring up at the blue July sky, knowing that they were more than likely to not ever see its beauty again.
Yet their love of the south was so great, they marched, 498 to their deaths, with I’ve heard it described as…divine dignity.
Now I ask you, as a passionate reader, how did I miss that?
Was I drunk?