Friday, June 29, 2012

Sepia Saturday: Tennis anyone?


Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.




This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt shows Dinah Shore and Burt Bacharach playing tennis. This is an especially fitting theme since Wimbledon, the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world, is underway. 

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, my family used to have Breakfast at Wimbledon. We didn’t always have strawberries and cream as is the tradition at REAL Wimbledon, but we’d make a party of it and gather around the television to watch the games. Of course, we had to cheer for Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Billie Jean King, and little Chris Evert.  The most enthusiastic cheerleader was always my dad.

Daddy was an avid tennis player and very GOOD at it. He played every Sunday morning no matter what.  Sometimes he played with men his own age but more often than not he was giving the boys on the tennis team at my high school a real workout. 


Cradock High School Tennis Team 1968
scanned from the yearbook
All of them knew my dad. Most of them played with him and against him in a Sunday morning pick-up game at some point in their high school tennis career. 


Daddy liked to play back. Sometimes it looked like he was standing still making everyone else run to answer a lob in the corner or scramble to fight a wicked backhand shot in the face. And undoubtedly the boys were confronted with his sarcasm and trash talk. Unfortunately, that did nothing for my social life. (And there were some cute guys on that team!)


from Google Images
When Daddy’s matches were done for the day, he stopped by the 7-11 and brought Slurpees home for my sister and me.  When they first came on the market in the mid 1960s, we couldn’t get enough of that sweet cherry goodness.  


One time Daddy had to stop by the grocery store on the way home.  When he arrived with all the items on the list, Momma noticed he wasn’t wearing his favorite floppy tennis hat.  “Where’s your hat?” 

“JESUS!” he exclaimed.  (He was very religious.)  “I must’ve lost it in the store.”

So Daddy retraced his steps and, sure enough, there was his tennis hat lying in the frozen food case. In the days before the stand-up freezers, you had to bend over to reach that box of peas. Apparently the hat slipped right off without his noticing.    

Not THE hat of the frozen food story -
probably a new and improved version
given as part of a Christmas gift

I don’t know if Daddy’s head was just too big for the hat or if the hat had shrunk in the wash. But it’s a good chance the hat shrank. Daddy always washed his own tennis clothes. He’d throw just about anything together and call it a load. Even red wrist bands. In with tennis whites. In no time Daddy had a full supply of pink shorts and pink v-neck shirts for his Sunday match. And he wore ‘em too. (Maybe that’s why the boys on the tennis team took no interest in me. Yeah, that had to be it.)

You’d think Daddy would have appreciated receiving a nice pair of Rod Laver tennis shorts or a simple Wilson shirt for his birthday or Father’s Day. No. He never wanted to look too good. And he didn't. But a fresh can of yellow Penn or Dunlop tennis balls was always greeted with a big smile.  Then open the can. PSSSHHHHH.  Now sniff.

Daddy continued to play well into his 70s. 

Norm Kozak, a nice man whose name we can't remember, and
Daddy (Fred Slade).  Jerry Shackleford probably took the picture.


Go to Sepia Saturday to see what everyone else is serving up.  Be careful not to step on the white line.


47 comments:

  1. My local grocery store still has some of the open "bend over" freezers. They are remodeling the store now--I wonder whether they will replace those freezers.

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    1. Our stores have both. Usually the bend-over ones have meat.

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  2. Cherry Slurpees! I haven't had one of those in years! I remember begging my parents for them whenever we went shopping in the "big city." (I come from a very small town.)

    Wonderful story about your dad!

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    1. I haven't had one in a long time either. But I have had a frozen margarita which is similar (HA).

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  3. Oh poor Dad, losing his treasured hat in the freezer! How wonderful that he continued to play in his seventies, the game obviously gave him a lot of pleasure.

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    1. Tennis and grandchildren -- God's greatest gifts to man according to Daddy.

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  4. We sure had similar stories this week - the dad tennis players.
    You really brought me back with your description of opening a can of tennis
    Balls. Makes me want to get to the courts right now!
    Nancy

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    1. We did have similar stories. Funny!

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  5. Oh, Wendy, you crack me up. I did date a tennis player once; his parents even had their own tennis court. He was actually pretty nice (and rich) ... ahh, the one who got away.

    This whole post is wonderful. You have a great memory.
    Your Dad sounds like a lot of fun. I had forgotten about boxes of frozen peas, and that was so nice that he brought you girls home Slurpees each week. I loved this blast from the past!

    Kathy M.

    Kathy M.

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    1. My Dad was a lot of fun. He had a quick wit and loved a pun.

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  6. Fun tennis/dad stories. I hope I am still active into my 70's! I was never much for tennis but my black labs LOVED tennis balls and could find one no matter where we were. They would go nuts walking by the tennis courts! Your dad would have loved them!

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    1. From what I've seen on your blog, you'll be running and marathoning into your 80s. And you're right -- he would have kept those labs chasing tennis balls.

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  7. What wonderful memories. The hat story is great. And the sorting of the laundry. My husband must have graduated from the same laundry school. Yes, I agree with the other posts - your Dad sounds like fun

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    1. Maybe your husband and my dad were trend-setters and we didn't know it.

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  8. Mandy, it was a pleasure to read your tennis memoirs. Your father enjoyed himself. He was certainly not a Norm...the character on ABC who just watched never played himself!

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    1. You got that right! He did not sit still very long at a time.

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  9. I really enjoyed your post. Very heartwarming and also amusing. Thank you for sharing your memories.

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  10. Your dad sounds like quite a character, on the court and off of it. Nice story about the lost hat.

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    1. A character -- yep, that's my dad!

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  11. I've heard Slurpee's and Margarita's are similar, and good memory enhancers which surely account for your detailed memories and excellent storytelling. I really enjoyed this story about your Dad. As a younger Slurpee drinker and tennis player, I had a lesson or two from a guy in pink shorts and faded red wrist bands...he had fading red hair and a floppy pink hat, too. He and your Dad may be lobbin' Dunlops right now. Funny about the frozen peas!

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  12. That's a delightful story about your Dad's hat! I briefly tried tennis in high school. I did more running than actually connecting with the ball. ha

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    1. I did a lot of running too, but if I could hit one right along the sideline I was a happy girl.

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  13. The last time I played tennis was on indoor courts in Norway but problems with a gammy knee made me take uo golf instead. My latest tennis practice has been hitting tennis balls for my daughter's dogs to fetch. Your Dad obviously enjoyed his tennis and his hats.

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    1. Ending your tennis career in Norway at least makes for an interesting story in an exotic place. Playing tennis with the dogs sounds like a fine alternative.

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  14. Such fun remembrances of your father's experiences with tennis. Those boys on the team didn't know what they were missing -- all because of your father! Too bad for them.

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  15. Oh I enjoyed that story. I did not grow up with a dad and I love dad and daughter stories. Great photos
    QMM

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    1. I was my dad's girl in many ways. He taught me to catch a softball, and he took me to the local professional baseball games in addition to teaching me tennis.

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  16. A splendid combination of tribute and theme, with a frozen hat story too!

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    1. Yeah, I think I was the only one with a frozen hat story. Is there a prize?

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  17. Great story about your dad! I love the "pink" tennis outfit! That's awesome. I can't believe he actually would wear it on the court! Good for him!

    Yum! Slurpees! I haven't had one of those in years.

    Those are some wonderful photos too!

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    1. Oh he didn't care. He thought people who wore fancy tennis clothes were more concerned about how they looked than how they played.

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  18. I never played tennis--we never had any tennis courts around where I lived when I was growing up--but we did often set up a net in the backyard and play badminton in the summertime.


    Lee
    Wrote By Rote

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    1. Badminton is a fun game. I haven't played that in several years.

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  19. Once a player always a player! Keeps a person young and happy to do what they love! Great post!

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    1. I so agree that playing tennis kept my daddy young and happy.

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  20. What sweet memories of your dad. Enjoyed the story of him losing his hat - my local grocery store still has several bend-over freezers. Those slurpees were a treat weren't they? My favorite flavor was Coca Cola.

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    1. Thanks. Yes, I got the cola flavored Slurpee on occasion, but I always preferred the cherry.

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  21. Strawberries and cream? This is the first I'm hearing of what sounds like a very fine Wimbledon tradition.

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    1. Strawberries and cream -- good any time! I wouldn't wait for Wimbledon.

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  22. It great he was able to play a game he loved through his life. I can imagine a pink hat after an unsorted wash load, LOL.

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    1. Yes, Daddy made quite the fashion statement.

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    2. My favorite combination outfit was the gold and cream colored stripe short sleeve sweatshirt and the pink shorts.

      He was too cool for school...

      GREAT post girl!

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  23. Amazing story about your Dad, Wendy, such wonderful memories! He was really a man before his time if he washed his own clothes! And I too remember Slurpees from 7-11 fondly!

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    1. Thanks, Teresa. I had fun recalling these stories - my sister and I had some good laughs.

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