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Mondays with Melitas – August 5, 2013

READY FOR SOME SOFTBALL IN PALM SPRINGS?               AUG. 5, 2013

 

Far right standing:   Second person is Fred Clampett our Sponsor, peeking between 2 players, then 2 over behind gal in jacket and barely visible is my oldest friend --- in those days, Amy Lemmon, great outfielder and home run hitter --- but now Anne Lund.  Then on bottom row from right, maybe you can figure out that's the World's Greatest Catcher......

Far right standing: Second person is Fred Clampett our Sponsor, peeking between 2 players, then 2 over behind gal in jacket and barely visible is my oldest friend — in those days, Amy Lemmon, great outfielder and home run hitter — but now Anne Lund. Then on bottom row from right, maybe you can figure out that’s the World’s Greatest Catcher……

 

In 1939 when the girl’s softball season ended in September, an Automobile Agency in Los Angeles threw their hat in the ring — or more aptly their glove out on the diamond — deciding to sponsor a new team in our League.  Marshall & Clampett Chrysler Plymouth dealership was the Agency, and Fred Clampett was the driving force of the company. I never did know who “Marshall” was. Clampett had his scouts out and about amongst the other softball teams lining up some very good players — and I was among 5 or 6 “signing” up from our team, the Orange Lionettes. So, it ended up to be a very outstanding team.

 

We never called Clampett “Mr. Clampett,” he was Fred. A good looking guy, I might add, graying hair, dressed very neatly, sometimes in a cowboy outfit — just like his Palm Springs buddies who were from the “horsey” set like the forever Mayor, Frank Bogert, or the owner of Rogers Stables. Fred was probably in his late 50’s or early 60’s, and you can see I was very impressed with this very classy gentleman.

 

I would guess that Fred thought he had better get things going to be ready for the 1940 season starting in the spring.  We all went off to see Susie Myers, who would whip up our new uniforms.  She had spent years in the film industry as a seamstress, and here she was keeping the softball teams looking great in our heavy satin tailored uniforms. We would go to her apartment above the Sunset Strip in Hollywood for fittings. So now what’s next? Where can we be introduced? — certainly not in the softball stadium in Los Angeles in the middle of the winter? But Fred had to take us somewhere for a trial run.  He must’ve had this Plan B in mind all along:  take these gals to PALM SPRINGS, where it is now the SEASON from October to May, and show them off.  He was already a regular in The Springs, and knew all the right people, so what does he do but arrange for a game with the Palm Springs Men’s Softball Team with us.  This team would have a few celebrities thrown into the line-up:  City movers and shakers, and if some were too old, their son would play, also Mickey Rooney and Frankie Darrow, former child stars from the movie colony.

 

I tell you when the newly-formed Marshall & Clampett gals heard all this hoopla they were overcome — half of them had never even been to Palm Springs.  As for me, I had been going to Palm Springs for many years, and can remember one of the very earliest times we had gone.  It was Aunt Mae and Titán, Mom and Dad, Viv & I; and the only thing I recall is driving from Palm Springs to Indio with all that SAND in between, and the road was old wooden planks.  Not too many cars out on that road, but plenty of sand everywhere you looked.  Sand everywhere, no shopping malls along the way, no TownCenter, no El Paseo.  Just SAND.

 

The Team was whisked off to Palm Springs on a Friday. Everyone

was so full of vim and vigor with high expectations in an unforgettable setting doing what we loved to do.  We were put up at the Desert Inn which was one of THE places to be.  We settled into our rooms, then the next thing was to go out to Palm Springs Stadium.  It wasn’t Angel Stadium at that time — not until they started spring training there a few years down the line. We did some warm-ups, and ran around a little bit to limber up, took a little batting practice, then back to the Desert Inn to clean up and dress up for dinner, and early evening out.  Well, we had to get our rest for the big game on Saturday.

THERE’S BEEN NO SOFTBALL SO FAR, AND I AM PACKING IT IN FOR THIS WEEK.  I HAVE MUCH MORE TO RELATE AND WILL CONTINUE NEXT MONDAY.  WHO KNOWS HOW MANY MORE MONDAYS ON THIS SUBJECT?  MY BATTERY RAN DOWN.

 

MELITAS FORSTER                            MONDAYS WITH YOU KNOW WHO

 

 

Far right standing:   Second person is Fred Clampett our Sponsor, peeking between 2 players, then 2 over behind gal in jacket and barely visible is my oldest friend --- in those days, Amy Lemmon, great outfielder and home run hitter --- but now Anne Lund.  Then on bottom row from right, maybe you can figure out that's the World's Greatest Catcher......

Far right standing: Second person is Fred Clampett our Sponsor, peeking between 2 players, then 2 over behind gal in jacket and barely visible is my oldest friend — in those days, Amy Lemmon, great outfielder and home run hitter — but now Anne Lund. Then on bottom row from right, maybe you can figure out that’s the World’s Greatest Catcher……

8 Comments to “Mondays with Melitas – August 5, 2013”

  1. Can’t wait for the next installment!

  2. Dear Melitas,
    Tammy introduced me to your writings last week and I am LOVING them!! Driving on planks in the desert…what an adventure that must have been…you must have been eating sand for days afterwards!!! Please keep up your writings – you are a real talent!
    Cheers! JoAnn from Solvang, CA (and Desert Center in the winter – that is my favorite spot!)

  3. Dear Melitas,
    LUVED this story – especially the part of being in Palm Springs area in 1939. You have seen so many changes in the desert. I think the photo of the lovely ladies in short shorts was pretty salty! What a great looking bunch of gals.

    Looking forward to next week’s segment.
    Have a good week – hope I see you in class later in the week.

    Cheers,Eileen Bobbitt

  4. Dear Mena,

    You have my full attention. I loved the story so far; and can’t wait for the next installment.

    I love you,
    Maxine

  5. What a tease, Love your softball stories. Looking forward to them never ending!

  6. Melitas;

    The Dinuba Softball bunch (mostly myself,) would also love to hear about your days with the Orange Lionettes. After your rousing speech at our dedication of the Bertha Ragan Tickey Softball Field in 2009, we were hoping for some inside “dirt” from home plate about the legendary pitcher/catcher duo of Ragan and Forster and their cohort!

    I’ve been helping Bertha lately with a pictorial history of the Orange Lionettes (courtesy Ruth Sears estate), and although a picture speaks a thousand words, I thought you still might want to get in your “rebuttals” before Bertha and I send this version of history off to the Softball Hall of Fame. (how’s that for a writing prompt!) Hope all is well with you. We’d love to have you and the Warden back up to the Great Central Valley for another round of Margarita’s and general heck raising anytime!.. (any broken windshields lately?) Message me your email address and I will supply digital photos of the early Lionettes you may wish to use as incriminating evidence in your blog….

    Sincerely,
    Vicki Worthley
    “Master of Ceremonies”
    Bertha Ragan Tickey Field Committee

  7. Love it! Love it! Love it!!!! Thank goodness the second part is only five days away. Love You, my friend

  8. Hello Melitas,

    My name is Adam Chu and I am a documentary filmmaker from Chicago, IL. My current project is a film about the National Girls Baseball League (1944-1954) which was a women’s professional fast pitch softball circuit based in the Chicagoland area for eleven seasons. A few of the ladies you played with in Southern California were members of the league. I’d love to talk with you about them and your experiences playing softball. I have a website associated with the film (www.nationalgirlsbaseballleague.com) so if you’d like to speak with me please use the Contact Us page of the website. Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you!

    Best,

    Adam Chu

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"Because of Tammy I have found confidence in my writing and feel blessed to be honored in such a way. I have found my voice. I have found freedom! I recommend anyone for whatever reason to expand their life and sign up for her writing workshops or classes. You'll be amazed at how good you are and how everyone has a story worth telling. Sign up and set your voice free!"
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Tammy L. Coia is an AWA Affiliate, certified to lead workshops in the AWA method as described in Writing Alone & With Others by Pat Schneider, Oxford University Press.


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