I’ve been saving some responses to Karl’s columns about the old days……here are a few, mainly referring to his piece on the Squaw Olympics and the Vagabond Bus.
Ty Cobb

Bill Rose:

I was thinking of our Squaw escapades last week.  In the context of “what are these jerks thinking of bringing Winter games back to Squaw/surrounds.”  There were so few attendees (I think at least 10% of the entire fan base stayed at Madsen’s Brockway house)  that it was hardly worth mentioning.  As you allude to — can you imagine what kind of a nightmare that would be in today’s setting? 

A couple of things I remember, other than getting into the USSR/USA hockey match — I know you remember the Russian hockey player walking by us as we piled out of the bus looking at us and saying,  “Nyet. nyet”!!   The other one is watching Carol Heiss doing compulsory figures in the open at Blythe.  I stood 10 feet from her.  Badges, badges?  We don’t got to show you no stinking badges.




Larry Heward


Thanks. I remember some of it. Do you remember the official hostesses for the Olympics? Michele and Michon Cardinal.

Lovely girls.



Sharon Quinn

Oh yes, I did have a pair of black Bogner ski pants. They were stretch and cost $50, my mom had a fit. My friend Joanna Quinn Darrow from Newport, also had a pair. Fun memories.

Dave and I drove to Squaw, parked in someone’s driveway, snuck through a backyard, crossed a creek and entered the Olympics and enjoyed the day with no tickets.



From Bob “Bubbles” Brown in Washington, DC


    Many thanks for forwarding Karl’s RGJ col on “Little known Facts About the 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley.” Fondly remember many locals–most Sigma Nus–such as Dorworth, Bosta, Ericksen, Wetzel, ad infinitum!


    However, my congratulatory e-mail to Karl did take issue with one fact, re: “Mouthwash Toni Sailor” taking more gold than anybody. My question to Karl was had he ever heard of a crazy young Frenchman named Jean Claude Killey (see ’68 and ’72 Winter Olympics). I believe Jean Claude is the guilty party!  [NOTE TO BUBBLES FROM KARL: KILLY AND SAILOR TIED FOR MEDALS, I DISCOVERED; SAILOR ACTUALLY IN THE LEAD WITH ONE MORE SILVER TO ONE OF KILLY’S BRONZES. AND NOTE THE SPELLING! PS YOU EVER GET THAT BOOK I SENT???]


    The Vagabond Bus at Blythe Arena was new to me. Of course, during the ’60 Games I had a job of much lesser importance, as the chauffeur and gofer for the 4 top UPI correspondents covering said Olympics. But the job had its perks–a parking place 3 spaces from the front door of press headquarters at Squaw; the run of the International Olympics Press Club at both Squaw and the Mapes Hotel (which is Olympiceese for the comp bar and food station). I also had a ski pass for all of the hills, allowing me to go up on the downhill, giant slalom and slalom course to watch–up close and personal. I recall meek and sweet Joan Hannah, a USA alpine skier, on a tough flush in the slalom, hitting the ice, taking a nasty spill, and declaring–not for attribution, of course–declaring loudly “f—in’ bumps” prior to finishing her run.


    Your Vagabond Bus at Blythe did stir memories of my association with the Vagabond Bus: For instance, sneaking the Bus into old Kezar Stadium at the East/West football game, and using my press card to get back in, after parking the Bus outside. Also, a Vagabond Bus visit to the Mark Hopkins on New Years Eve. Also, the Vagabond Bus as an entry in the Portland Rose Parade. And, for a local angle, giving the Security Guard at the Gold & Silver a spin around Reno on a Fourth of July weekend, enough said.


    Some ought to write a book about these treasured moments in “The Days in the Life of the Vagabond Bus.”


    How did the “Three Tys” gig go. I would liked to have been present, because I have many fond memories of “Georgia Peach” stories that your dad shared with me.


    I enjoy your col in the RGJ; gives me better insight–from a real expert–on foreign affairs. Keep in touch. Happy New Year!!!


        Bob Brown (in Washington)


From Allan Myer in Connecticut:

Yea while you were f~~ing around at the Olympics I was protecting your ass at Ft. Bragg.  


From Len Baldyga in Chicago:

Ty. Tsk, tsk. We used to use the same method to get into movie theaters in Chicago in the old, old days where the concession stands were outside the theater. I also had a press pass for the Chicago Bears and then Chicago Cardinals football teams representing the suburban Berwyn Beacon newspaper except the paper had been closed for more than a year. In preparation for this year’s U.S./Russia game my wife and I watched the “Miracle” about the Lake Placid game. Good flick. Cheers.Len

Triggers a lot of dusty memories! Thanks for sending it, Ty.



And this from Jackson Stephens:


I’ll bore you with only one personal incident that this piece brought up:

Fifty-one years ago next month my only child drew his first breath at

St Mary’s.  At that time fathers were not allowed to be present at the

birth, so I spent the night like George Gobel pacing the hallways (without

his copy of War and Peace, however) until Kris’ triumphant emergence.

By the time our new little family of three was united, and mother and

child were sleeping, it was close to noon and I was starving.  How

could a proud new father celebrate the birth of his first child in style?!

I chose the $2.95 “La Favorita” (taco, enchilada, chile relleno, rice

and beans) at Miguels on South Virginia.  I can’t remember whether

he showed me all his “flying saucer” pictures again or not.

I recollect two key guys opening the gates to free entrance: a very alert security guard named Ed Aimone and a high ranking ROTC cadet named Whitney Brown.

Ted Schroeder

My mom was the interpreter for the Finnish ski team for the Squaw Olympics, so we did get in with passes. The one fellow I met (Kalevi Hamalainen) won the gold medal in the cross-country. It was pretty cool to walk around with him, even if I didn’t speak Finnish.

Joanne Pollastro Walen

Craig Morrison, inducted into the Reno High Athletic Hall of Fame

Craig HOFJohnCraig

This is not a post about the greatness of youth, athletics, the molding of young minds, the bonding for life that team sports accomplish, a litany of anecdotes about locker-room horseplay, favored teachers, coaches, but simply a post about a friend of mine; actually two, no actually three friends: Marilynn Burkham (Ma) Bell who proposed Craig to the Reno High Athletic Hall of Fame, to John Doyle, Craig’s (and Ma Bell’s and my) classmate, who is indeed the spokesperson and voice of the Class of ’59, and Craig Morrison, three-sport letterman at RHS who went on to lead the Arizona Wildcats (baseball). John, followed by Craig, gave the superior speeches, introduction by John and acceptance by Craig, that were heard last Saturday night at the Eldorado, and that includes six great speeches by the other nominees. I was damn proud of them.

We’re forgetting a few guys…


Work progresses in site work on Foster Drive across from Reno High School on what was once the home of the Reno YMCA. The new building will be the William N. Pennington facility for the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows.  This is a wonderful thing and has been appropriately ballyhooed wherever applicable, as it should be. Pennington did a fine thing endowing this building, and was generally a good guy (we were neighbors in the 1960s before our lives took separate courses.)

But it’s mildly annoying to some, in this case, to me, that with all the fol-de-rol over the new facility, little, as in zilch, has been said about how that little piece of dirt was transformed from a dairy farm adjoining Westfield Village, to a grand new building. A few steps have been left out of that site’s journey.

The journey started back in 1952 when the original Reno YMCA, pictured, blew up, actually a boiler in the basement blew up and took the building down to ground level in one quick hurry. I watched it. That YMCA, by the by, was the next building east of the Mapes Hotel and if you don’t know where that was you probably want to leave this site and go read the Mommy Files or the Sudoku page. Reno was without its Y.

So, a group of businessmen got together once, becoming weekly, if memory serves (I was 10 years old and don’t accurately recall; I have a faint recollection of them meeting at the Trocadero Room of the El Cortez but wouldn’t swear to it.) Some names I remember were Al Solari, Del Machabee, Buddy Traynor, Conrad Preiss, Jim Morrison, Gene Gastanaga, Ed Pine, Sr., and hell of a lot of others. Oh, and a young Realtor named Karl Breckenridge. (My dad, not me.) If anybody can think of some more, lemme know; there’s a plaque around somewhere with some names but I can’t find the plaque.

Those local men got on the bandwagon to beg, borrow, and steal, well almost, the funding to acquire a piece of property for a brand-new Y building. And my dad, being a real estate man, found the property, as I recall, with Del Machabee. And they all had fundraisers, barbecues at the California Building, virtual house-to-house solicitations, tail-twisting of the school districts (there were eight in Washoe County back then.) The city government, Stead Air Force Base, the power company, Nevada Bell employees, just an incredible, damn aggressive but all-in-fun fundraiser.

And they raised the funds, and bought the land, I think from the Vhay Ranch but don’t know at this writing. I traveled with my dad for 10 days in his 1952 Buick to a dozen YMCA buildings in northern and southern California, spent nights in them, swam in their pools, while he gathered ideas for the Reno building. And, the building was indeed built, Orville Wahrenbrock was hired to run it with Dick Taylor second in command, and Tom Hardester and Steve Rucker in the P.E. department. Reno had a Y.

What the hell happened to it I can’t say; some of the Ys in California that we toured preparatory to building it still stand (it was a well-built building.) My personal opinion, which I’ve learned is shared by many guys in Reno, is that something or somebody screwed up. It doesn’t matter – it’s been torn down. And we have no Y. And a new building is going up on its former site, a new building with a flagship name.

But, ya know what? There’s a long list of once-prominent people who did a great deal of work, and personal commitment, and personal expense, to get that site. But I don’t look to see their names being bandied about when the new youth club opens a year from now.

If they are, they’ll probably be right alongside Anna Frandsen Loomis’ name on the Lear Theater – my friend Anna who endowed the Christian Science Church in 1938, later the Lear, getting the same credit that Machabee, Solari, Pine, Breckenridge the Elder, and all the others will be getting on Foster Drive – none.

(Photo credit to “CardCow.com” on the web, it’s an old postcard that half of Reno has in their collections but I couldn’t find mine.)