As close readers of The Best American Sports Writing know, the Guest Editor makes the final call each year. Unless I am asked, I stay out the selection process. That keeps the book from getting stale, but sometimes one gets away. The late Jeff Felshman of the Chicago Reader wrote a story in 1994 called Blind Alley, which was cited in “Notable Sports Writing of 1994.” I went to school with Jeff many years ago, and don't recall whether I had put 2 + 2 together at the time and realized that CR's Jeff Felshman was the same guy I had known in college, although I became aware of it later. It was an empathetic, slice of life account about a group of people who bowl, despite not being able to see.
Earlier this year Jeff Felshman contacted me through some mutual friends on Facebook, and reminded me that I had selected his story on the notable list, but what he really wanted to tell me was that some years ago he had interviewed a someone who had worked with me at the Boston Public Library, and Jeff just wanted me to know that this person had spoken highly of me, a kind gesture he did not need to make, but did, and also the kind that tells you a great deal about someone.
Two days ago Jeff Felshman passed away of a heart attack. This morning, the day after Thanksgiving, I looked up the story in the Reader archives and read it again. Now I wonder how the hell it didn’t make the book. The Best American Sports Writing 1995 was the shortest edition BASW ever published, and now I wish it had included one more story.
So what am I thankful for this season? Among many things, writers like this:
"...There's been a steady stream to the bar, but even among those who don't drink the scores drop off as the day goes on. The third game is the worst. Diane hasn't struck once since the first. Howard hasn't yelled "Mark it!" in a while, either. Beverly dropped from 104 to 46, around Andre's average. Her partner Jim Regan, the only bowler wearing shades (besides Kai Okada, who can see), rolls at the same time as Andre, who says she can't tell which pins go down "but I can hear a gutter ball pretty well." Regan's roll was his last of the day, and he says it didn't make any difference that Andre was on the line next to him at the same time. Bowling in tandem doesn't bother the blind bowlers.
"It probably bothers the sighted bowlers," Regan points out, "but they haven't said anything."
"Well, they're probably just being polite," Beverly says, "but we should watch out for that."
"If they don't say anything, how are we going to know?" There's such a thing as being polite to a fault. Regan goes on, "It's the old thing where you're sitting in a restaurant with somebody and the waitress asks, 'And what does he want?'"
"What do you mean?"
"It's like you're not there--"
"Oh yes," Beverly laughs, "I know what you mean. My daughter has a good line for that. She says, 'She's blind, not brain dead!' I like that."
"Anyway," Beverly continues, "this game, it's just luck. I'm just waiting for these lying excuses about why things went wrong. I'll hear 'em before the end."
But the end is here. Kai collects the score sheets and reads them off to Virginia, who enters the scores into a hand-held tape recorder. The bowlers gather around the bar to wait for the results. Three couples take over a table to the right of the bar. Mike and Jodi are engaged to be married. Mike, a partial who bowls with a monocular, rolled a 242 in the midwest tournement, and with Jodi is odds-on favorites to win today. Jackie and Howard are swirling their stools, hugging and laughing. Howard's in high spirits. "I've been living with this woman for ten years, and still got no piece of paper. You know why? Because I love her, that's why! We don't need no goddamn piece of paper."
To read the rest of the story, or more of Jeff Felshman, a writer worth remembering, and reading, follow the link to the Reader archives or Jeff's own site.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Over the past decade I've periodically made visits to schools talking about writing and motivating kids to read. There is nothing more gratifying in my line of work that to have a teacher tell you that your books have turned a non-reader into a reader, or inspired someone to study writing. Educators tell me that my presentation is unique in that it reaches students from age eight or nine thru those in high school and that it targets male students as well as females. As some teachers recently wrote me after a visit, "Thank you for emphasizing the importance of reading as well as having goals in life and working hard to achieve them. Our students really enjoyed meeting you... It was great for the students to see a real world connection to what we talk about every day... You have really inspired a great number of our students... thank you for saying ALL the right things to my students."
Next October, the first title in my new juvenile non-fiction sports series, "GOOD SPORTS," will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. After penning thirty-nine titles in the Matt Christopher sports biography series for Little Brown from 1996 thru 2006, I'm ecstatic to be writing for this market again. Each title in the GOOD SPORTS series will profile several athletes, historical and contemporary, highlighting inspirational "life lessons" in their life and career. The first title, Breaking Baseball's Barriers, profiles Hank Greenberg, Jackie Robinson, Fernando Valenzuela and Ila Borders and explores how individuals have dealt with bigotry and still pursued their dreams.
In support of this new series, I've decided to make school author visits much more regularly. I've recently sought input from educators and made several successful visits. For more information please see my website www.glennstout.net, and click on "Author Visits" on the right side of the page or follow this direct link:
[Note: the photo is of young Trudy Ederle]
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I am pleased to announce that the guest editor for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's The Best American Sports Writing 2010, the twentieth annual edition which was first published in 1991, is noted author, baseball authority and occasional guitar hero Peter Gammons. For submission guideline and other information, see www.glennstout.net or The Best American Sports Writing on Facebook.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
On April 16, 1945 the Red Sox held their infamous tryout of Jackie Robinson. For the next fourteen years - and for some years beyond it - the question of race during the tenure of Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey loomed over the Red Sox franchise as palpably as the Green Monster. While it is undeniable that the Red Sox were the last major league team to integrate, since that time there have always been apologists – both in the press and among Red Sox fans – who have sought somehow to explain away the franchise’s long-standing recalcitrance and failure to put a black ballplayer on the field.
[NOTE: IN THE WAKE OF THE RED SOX DECISION TO CONSIDER RENAMING YAWKEY WAY, THIS POST HAS BEEN UNDATED AND APPEARS IN THE SPETEMBER 2017 ISSUE THE UPDATED VERSION APPEARS HERE: https://verbplow.blogspot.com/2017/09/tomyawkey-race-and-smoking-gun-ii.html]
History has tended to place the blame squarely upon Yawkey. He was, after all, the man at the top and the one figure in the franchise who could have integrated the Red Sox in an instant, yet he did not. But some have argued, both before and after the Red Sox finally put Pumpsie Green on the field in July of 1959, that not only was Yawkey not bigoted, but that he, in fact, wanted to have African American on the team, and that the failure lay elsewhere, either among the organization’s scouts, or the structure of its southern-based minor league system, or upon others in the organization, from general managers Eddie Collins and Joe Cronin, to manager and general manager Pinky Higgins.
The late Boston Globe sportswriter Will McDonough was among Yawkey’s most staunch defenders and his arguments are representative of those who believe Yawkey bears little responsibility over the issue. In 1986, after the club had fired coach Tommy Harper and Harper filed a successful suit through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, McDonough rushed to defend Yawkey, writing that “They smear the man and his memory with the legacy of Pumpsie Green and Tommy Harper.... I knew Tom Yawkey, the Man to whom they trace all of this alleged racist history. I never thought he was racist. But I wasn't as close to him as Joe Cronin and Dick O'Connell were. These two former Sox general managers knew him as well as anyone in Boston. Over the years, I asked both if Yawkey ever suggested they do anything racist. The answer was no." In 1991, after Globe reporter Steve Fainaru authored a three-part series on race and the Red Sox, McDonough once again distilled the issue question down to a question of who within the organization "was racist," as if that was the only question worth asking. He attacked Fainaru's story and sought the name of a racist who had ever worked in the organization, asking, "Was it late owner Tom Yawkey, or his widow Jean who now controls the organization, was it a series of general managers–Joe Cronin, Pinky Higgins, Dick O'Connell and Lou Gorman? Are we to believe it is the scouting department ...? Once again, no names.... Yawkey was so sensitive to the Jackie Robinson issue and criticism of the Sox' lack of blacks that he wanted them on his team."
A decade later, following the publication of Red Sox Century, a comprehensive survey history of the club this author co-wrote with Richard Johnson that addressed the racial question head on, McDonough again went on the offensive, calling me at home and scoffing at the notion that racism ever played any part in the history of the team or that Tom Yawkey played any role in the fact that the Red Sox waited fourteen years after Robinson integrated baseball to put a black player on the field at Fenway Park. "The only problem the Red Sox have ever had with blacks," he said to this author, "was finding blacks who could play. All right?"
A few years later Howard Bryant’s book Shutout, a comprehensive look at the question, appeared to be final word on the subject. Yet both Bryant and I have continued to hear periodically from those who steadfastly hold to the notion that Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey is blameless and continue to ask for evidence that goes beyond the circumstantial. Most ask essentially the same question. “Where,” I have been asked, in a variety of ways and in a variety of forums that range from letters and e-mails sent directly to me to anonymous message board postings, “is the evidence, the smoking gun, the definitive statement the exposes Tom Yawkey as a racist?” Indeed, Yawkey himself rarely spoke about the matter himself on the record, and, like other club owners at the time, was careful not to leave any written record of his attitude in regard to race. While I have always offered that the evidence, the so-called “smoking gun” was in plain view, on the playing field for every day of the fourteen years between Robinson’s tryout and Green’s appearance, some who still choose to view Tom Yawkey as some kind of benevolent, lovable old coot and defend him as a “man of his times” have clung to the lack of this supposed “evidence” as evidence in itself of both Yawkey’s innocence and that of the Red Sox franchise itself.
This past week, while researching another topic, I came across an article in the June 28, 1965 issue of Sports Illustrated written by Jack Mann entitled “The Great Wall of Boston.” I am embarrassed to note that the article has somehow escaped me over the twenty years I have spent periodically mining Red Sox history (and, apparently, virtually everyone else, for I have not seen it cited elsewhere in regard to this issue). But now that I have read it I feel I must correct the record: For those who need one, it provides the smoking gun.
Mann, who died in March of 2000, was a staff writer at Sports Illustrated and his article presents an overview of then recent Red Sox history, offering that the main reason the team has failed to compete for a pennant for more than a decade is because of the left field wall, because the Red Sox, as a franchise, have sought to build a team to take advantage of the wall, and as a result have been unable to win on the road. That observation is hardly unique, but Mann, a thorough reporter, entertains other possibilities. He interviewed Yawkey and explored some of these other reasons, such as Yawkey’s misplaced loyalty, which caused him to hang onto favored players for too long and hire old cronies as scouts, many of who simply received checks and did no scouting at all.
But Mann also brought up the question of race to Yawkey, and the owner responded with his most telling- and damning - statement ever.
“One way to win,” wrote Mann of the Red Sox, “is to have the best players. The Red Sox did in 1946, but coincidentally that was the year Jackie Robinson—who had been tried in Fenway Park and found wanting—played his first year in organized (white) baseball. In the parade of Larry Dobys and Roy Campanellas and Elston Howards that followed, the Red Sox brought up the rear. Brooks Lawrence had pitched and won for five years in such pseudo-southern cities as St. Louis and Cincinnati before Pumpsie Green became the Red Sox' first Negro big leaguer in 1959. Writes Mann:
It is easy now for Bostonian critics, seeking a policy man behind such a self-defeating pattern, to point fingers at Mike Higgins, an unreconstructed Texan with classically Confederate views on Negroes, but it is too easy. Higgins, who did not become field manager until 1955 and did not take a desk in the front office until late 1962, could hardly have been the Caucasian in the woodpile.
Then Mann allows Tom Yawkey to weigh in on the subject:
"They blame me,” Yawkey says, ‘and I'm not even a Southerner. I'm from Detroit.” Yawkey remains on his South Carolina fief until May because Boston weather before then is too much for his sensitive sinuses. “I have no feeling against colored people,” he says. “I employ a lot of them in the South. But they are clannish, and when that story got around that we didn't want Negroes they all decided to sign with some other club. Actually, we scouted them right along, but we didn't want one because he was a Negro. We wanted a ballplayer."
Read the statement closely, for it tells us everything we need to know.
Yawkey first tries to throw his Southern employees under the bus, by intimating that because he is from Detroit, he is obviously not a racist, and that because they are from the South, they presumably are. But he doesn’t stop there.
He next offers that he has no feelings against African Americans, and as evidence cites the facts that he employs African Americans on his South Carolina estate, a former plantation. But that is hardly the equivalent of putting a ball player on a major league field. After all, in their own way, even slave owners “employed” African Americans.
But then comes the first of two smoking guns: “But they are clannish,” Mann quotes Yawkey as saying of African Americans, “and when that story got around that we didn't want Negroes they all decided to sign with some other club.”
No single sentence could be more revealing – or more pathetic. First Yawkey offers that all African Americans share the same characteristics – in this case, being “clannish.” That kind of stereotyping is damning enough, but when he states that “when that story got around that we didn't want Negroes they all decided to sign with some other club,” he is in fantasy land. Yawkey is making the claim that the reason the Red Sox remained white is the fault of the black ballplayers themselves. He is saying nothing less than “African Americans erroneously thought we were racist so therefore they refused to sign with us.”
The notion that an African American ballplayer in the late 1940s and 1950s would turn down an offer to sign with any major league team over any issue, even money, sounded spurious to me, and in a survey of the Negro League history books that I have in my possession, I could find no such accounting. But I wanted to be sure.
I contacted my friend Lawrence Hogan, a Professor of History at Union College in New Jersey, one of the foremost Negro League historians in the country and the author of Shades of Glory, published by National Geographic and the National Baseball Hall of Fame, a book which has been referred to as a definitive history of Black baseball in America. In an e-mail I asked him, “Are you aware of any Negro League players, from the time Robinson signed to the late 1950s, who turned down offers from major league teams to remain in the Negro Leagues?” I asked specifically if he had ever heard of such a claim in regard to a player refusing to sign with the Red Sox.
The answer is no. Wrote Hogan, “I have never heard even the slightest suggestion of either thing you mention happening. I am sure there were players good enough to be signed who were not because of the glacial pace of integration. But I can ot imagine any Negro League player turning down an offer, other than on the normal personal grounds of not enough money being offered, or wanting to get on with life in a non-baseball way.”
But that is not all. Upon examination, Yawkey’s final statement - “We scouted them right along, but we didn't want one because he was a Negro. We wanted a ballplayer," might be the most telling statement of all. For if we follow Yawkey’s logic – “We looked for black ballplayers but we wanted talent first and foremost” – then compare it to the fact that from the time of Robinson’s signing through July of 1959 the Red Sox neither put an African player on the major league field who they signed themselves nor traded for one, the conclusion is inescapable: Tom Yawkey and his organization simply did not believe that any African American ballplayer had the talent to play for the Red Sox. This, despite the fact that they were playing on every other team in baseball, and that by 1959 there were dozens and dozens of African Americans winning championships, winning Cy Young awards and MVP awards and playing on All-Star teams throughout the major leagues, players like Henry Aaron, Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, Don Newcombe and many, many, many more. But none, apparently, were good enough for Boston. “We wanted ballplayers,” indeed.
There is your “smoking gun” - in his own words. Decades after they were first uttered, you can still detect the stench.
[Note: I have tried to keep this story contained to the question of Tom Yawkey and the statement cited from Sport Illustrated, rather than go through another full explication of the Red Sox organizations racial history. Further information on that topic can be found in some of the the sources cited below.]
Howard Bryant, Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston (Boston, 2002)
Lawrence Hogan, e-mail message to Glenn Stout, November 17, 2009
Glenn Stout and Richard A. Johnson, Red Sox Century (Boston, 2000)
Glenn Stout. “Tryout and Fallout: Race, Jackie Robinson and the Red Sox,” Massachusetts Historical Review, Volume 6, 2004.
Will McDonough, "Ticket Increase at Fenway Shouldn't Raise Fan's Ire," Boston Globe, Dec. 2, 2000 (contains McDonoughs and John Harington’s criticism of Red Sox century and defense of Yawkey).
Will McDonough, "Sox Racist? Says Who? Harper Case No Proof," Boston Globe, Apr. 17, 1986.
This story also appears in its entireity on my website, www.glennstout.net
(Copyright 2009 by Glenn Stout. All rights reserved.)
Thursday, November 5, 2009
The Yankees are good, but Trudy was first.
When the New York Yankees celebrate their 27th world championship on Friday with a ticker tape parade, few of the players will realize that they are following in the wake of the reception Trudy Ederle earned in 1926 when she returned to New York after swimming the English Channel.
From Young Woman and the Sea:
"As Trudy stood on the promenade of the Berengaria as it steamed into New York Harbor in mid-morning of August 27, she once again found her self completely taken aback. Since swimming the English Channel only three short weeks before, that was becoming something of a pattern.
She’d never seen anything like it. No one on board the ship ha ever seen anything like it. No one in New York had ever seen anything like it. As the Manhattan skyline came into focus and began to grow tall, the boat was greeted from all directions as vessels of every size and shape came out to meet it - fire boats spraying water high into the air, tugboats, cutters, motor boats, private launches and yachts, all with their sirens tied down wide open, creating the loudest din anyone on the water ever recalled hearing before.
At first Trudy didn’t understand, but as the Berengaria drew closer and Trudy saw banners flying on the boats that said “Welcome home Trudy,” and “Queen of the Seas,” she began to realize it was all for her, every bit of it. A few moments earlier, she’d been asked to go the upper deck. Once she arrived two bi-planes circling the ship dropped flowers overhead, their petals falling like rain all around her, the sky raining flowers.
It was all for her.
The greeting was organized by a man known as “Mr. New York,” Grover Whalen, the city’s official greeter, who liked to refer to himself as the “doorman to the western hemisphere.” In 1919, when Whalen was put in charge of the city’s reception for the Prince and Princess of Wales, he came up with the notion of the ticker tape parade. Although the first few such parades were relatively modest, since then Whalen’s efforts had become ever grander. They culminated in the reception afforded Trudy, and, a year later, Charles Lindbergh. The scene Trudy was watching unfold in New York Harbor was just the beginning.
New York came to a stop. Nothing else mattered. America’s foremost film star, Rudolph Valentino, had died of peritonitis on August 23 and ever since his body had lain in state at Campbell’s Funeral Parlor under 24-hour guard by a phalanx of New York City police officers. But on the day of Trudy’s arrival, the bulk of the guard was transferred to Trudy’s home, and the crowd that had gathered around the funeral home for days suddenly disappeared. Trudy was bigger than any motion picture star.
New York was gaga for Trudy and in the days prior to her arrival Whalen and the New York press, particularly the Daily News, had whipped the city into frenzy. Now that the day arrived Whalen rounded up Trudy’s entire family – forty-two strong including aunts and uncles and cousins – and divvied them up aboard two tugs owned by the city, the Riverside and the official VIP vessel, the Macom. As the Berengaria approached, the Macom made it way alongside the gigantic vessel.
From aboard the Macom Mrs. Ederle spotted her daughters first, standing in an open window on the promenade deck, and began waving her arms back and forth, trying to get her their attention. She did, and Trudy nearly jumped out of the window to reach her. “Mamma,” she cried, “Mamma!” Even amid the din in the harbor, everyone aboard the Macom could hear Trudy’s voice above the tumult.
Trudy wouldn’t have to wait for the big ship to dock. A few minutes later the Macom pulled along side the big ship and Trudy and her entourage came aboard the Macom to be ferried ashore, reunited, at last, with her mother. She left in such a rush that she left all her bags behind and nearly knocked her mother to the ground as they met and hugged, tears streaming down both of their faces, Trudy wearing blue serge coat and a lavender felt hat, clutching her doll, her hair bronze from the summer sun, and her face tanned and healthy.
After the Macom docked at Pier A in the Battery on the southern tip of Manhattan, the same place Trudy’s swim for Sandy Hook had begun in virtual anonymity only a few months before, Trudy was hustled through a crowd numbering in the thousands, then into an open car for a procession to City Hall Plaza, but the crowds were so immense the car barely moved as everyone pressed forward to get a glimpse at Trudy. At City Hall Plaza the scene was even wilder, as ten thousand people crowded into the plaza and the surging crowd threatened to turn into a dangerous crush. Trudy and her family were pushed inside by a phalanx of police and the big iron doors of the City Hall closed and locked to prevent hundreds of onlookers from crashing the reception.
Trudy, her family and other VIPS were escorted to the Mayor’s reception room, where New York Mayor Jimmy Walker paid tribute to Trudy. “When history records the greatest crossings, they will speak of Moses crossing the Red Sea, Caesar the Rubicon, and Washington the Delaware, and frankly, your crossing of the English Channel will take place alongside these.”
Trudy hardly had the time to take a breath before she was taken back outside steps for a photo op. The flash of the cameras had barely gone off when the crowd surged, sending people tumbling up the steps, swamping over Trudy. A bulky policeman grabbed Trudy with both arms and lifted her in the air and carried her back inside the building as Mayor Walker called for reinforcements.
At 2:30 p.m. with a gauntlet of police protecting her, Trudy, with Dudley Field Malone at her side, was put into another open car in the midst of a motorcade. As the entourage made the turn from 9th street to Fifth Avenue, torrents of paper fell from the sky as New York witnessed its first, gigantic, no holds barred ticker tape parade. This was no modest celebration that lasted only a few blocks, like that which greeted the Prince of Wales. This celebration lasted all the way uptown, before crowds unlike any the city had ever seen as hundred and hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers lined the streets. At times onlookers rushed the car, stopping it in its tracks, rushed at Trudy and knocked her from her feet, backwards into the seat of the car, desperate for souvenirs. The crowd even tore a bracelet from her wrist and grabbed at her coat and hat, before police, mounted and armed with billy clubs, managed to free her.
Trudy stood in the car, her face tilted upward and spinning back and forth as if her eyes alone were not sufficient to see the entire scene, waving a flag, dizzy from the attention, absolutely, totally, and completely overwhelmed. Trudy waved and laughed and cried and looked up in wonder, almost drowning in the attention, knowing that the crowds, later estimated as at least a quarter of a million strong, were cheering for her, but barely able to hear them herself.
The motorcade finally made it way to its destination, Trudy’s home on Amsterdam Avenue, where 4,000 people crammed the single block that contained the Ederle’s home and butcher shop. Trudy’s family decorated the tenement in bunting and American flags, and a huge banner that said “WELCOME HOME TRUDY” hung from the sills. In the front window of the shop was a sort of diorama, an imitation of the English Channel cut from green cardboard, complete with cut-out waves powered by an electric motor that lifted and fell, and a cutout of Trudy, an automaton bobbing though the “water,” her arms fixed in the crawl stroke, a smile frozen on her lips. Along the side was a copy of poem that read “Pop Ederle by cutting meat made for himself a name,/His daughter Trudy by cutting waves won victory and fame./You see her now she fights the seas, and how she puts it over./ Hurrah for her, first of her sex to swim from France to Dover.”
Finally, at last, Trudy’s car pulled up before the house and the police cleared the crowd so she could get out, but before she did a young girl selected by the neighborhood stepped forward, climbed aboard the car, and tried to place placed a gold and white satin crown on Trudy’s head. Trudy didn’t want it, and pleaded, “I’m tired,” but when the little girl looked heartbroken, she finally agreed, and, as the cameras of news photographers flashed over and over again, turning Trudy nearly blind as well as deaf, someone draped a blue sash over her shoulders that read “Queen Gertrude the First.” Almost as quickly as the crown went on, Trudy took it off as the crowd of friends and acquaintances of a lifetime chanted “Trudy, Trudy, Trudy!” over and over and over, suddenly star struck.
Police made a corridor through the crowd and Trudy was hustled inside, Dudley Field Malone pushing her from behind, then Trudy upstairs to her family’s apartment. There, the scene was only somewhat less frenetic as dozens of people were crammed into an apartment that comfortably held only eight or ten people, but now, for the first time in three months, at least she was finally surrounded by people she knew. But when the crowd failed to disperse the police asked her to stand before the window for a while and wave to see if that would satisfy them. For the next hour and a half she periodically pulled the curtains back, and gave a short wave, but no one on the streets below budged. Almost lost in the frenzy was the red roadster, the promise of which had helped Trudy across the Channel. It had actually been waiting for her at the pier in the Battery, gleaming in the sun, but the crowds had been so large that Trudy had not seen it. It was a Buick, precisely the one she wanted, painted fire engine red with a big comfortable rumble seat in back. In exchange for a testimonial from Trudy, Dudley Field Malone had asked the automaker not only for the car, but $50,000. Buick found the price too steep, and offered Malone the car plus only $1000, which he turned down. For a time it appeared that the roadster would have to wait for Pop Ederle to open his own wallet but at the last minute the Daily News stepped in and bought the car for Trudy.
As the crowd finally began to thin out as New York’s finest urged everyone to move along, the roadster seemed to magically appear, parked along the curb on Amsterdam Avenue in front of the Ederle’s building. Dudley Malone had to remind Trudy it was there, asking her “Do you really want that car?”
The question startled Trudy – that’s how crazy things were - she had nearly forgotten the only thing she had hoped for when she swam the Channel. “Yeah,” she responded, sounding far more weary than excited. She went downstairs for a few moments, climbed in the car and sat back, spinning the steering wheel and fiddling with the dashboard, but there were still too many people on the street for her to take the car for a drive, and the crowd made her feel claustrophobic and she fled back upstairs.
For Trudy, it was all running together, the crowds, the parades the gifts and autographs and hand shaking, everything, but it still wasn’t over. She was placed in another motorcade and ushered to a dinner sponsored by the Mayor at the Roosevelt Hotel and made her first and only public statement of the day, speaking for all of twenty seconds. “My dear friends,” she said, “after all that has been said I must be polite and thank the Mayor and Grover Whelan for the wonderful reception that has been given to me. It will be remembered during my whole life. All the kind things that have been done and said have shown such a delightful appreciation of my efforts to make the Channel crossing for the sake of my country’s flag. I love you for it.” After the crowd watched the British Pathe newsreel footage of her swim, Trudy was then whisked off to a show at the Globe Theater featuring the Ziegfeld Follies and finally to the Club Lido where she danced with the Mayor before more cameras. At every stop she had to run a gauntlet as New York came to a standstill wherever she appeared."