Gatsby hesitated, then added cooly: He’s the man who fixed the World Series back in 1919.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby
My Father and Me
Julian “Jake” Willis was Boss Man Jake and Julian Willis, in my novels Louisiana Wind and Destiny.
Few years would have a more significant impact on my life than 1919 did.
In 1919, the third and final wave of the influenza pandemic occurred. The pandemic killed 675,000 people in the United States. That number included family members.
In 1919, President Wilson signed a proclamation commemorating the end of fighting in World War I as Armistice Day. My cousins and great-uncles returned home from the Great War.
In 1919, the Eighteenth Amendment was ratified, authorizing the prohibition of alcoholic beverages. It did not stop my namesake and Grandfather Randall Lee Willis. He would hide from my grandmother on Barber Creek and drink high-proof distilled spirits called Moonshine.
In 1919, Congress approved the 19th amendment to legalize women’s suffrage. The next year my seven-year-old future mother, Ruth Lawson Willis, received the right to vote when she came of age.
In 1919, Norman Saurage discovered the secret of making my all-time favorite coffee in the home of LSU, Baton Rouge. He named it Community Coffee.
I lived three years in Baton Rouge near the campus off Dalrymple Drive, attended the games, sat in “Death Valley,” and became a fan. Geaux Tigers!
In 1919, Arnold Rothstein paid members of the Chicago White Sox to lose the World Series deliberately. Babe Ruth said Shoeless Joe Jackson was “The greatest hitter I’d ever seen,” Shoeless Joe admitted that he cheated. The quote, “Say it ain’t so, Joe,” became famous.
In 1919 my all-time favorite sports hero, Jackie Robinson, was born. He was an American professional baseball player who became the first African American to play in the Major League.
And in 1919, my all-time hero was born, my father, Julian “Jake” Willis.
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To the Best of My Recollection is:
My journal—my memoir— my life—my biography—my experiences— my letters—my adventures—my experiences—did I already say that?