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March 2012 Archives

Blake Cullen Talks to Strangers

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NORFOLK, Va.---Several months ago I sauntered into Prince Books in downtown Norfolk. People don't saunter anymore.

The bookstore is on the ground floor of the century old orange brick Towne Bank Building, a block from the Elizabeth River. Prince is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. I always look for local literature, music and WPA guides when I travel.

Instead, I found an old friend from Chicago.

Tucked away in a corner of sports books I saw the 2008 autobiography "You Should Have Seen The Ones I Turned Down (Tales from a Life Spent in Hotels and Locker Rooms With Everyone from Jerry Vale to Leo Durocher)" [$20,] by Blake Cullen.

The book opened the door to my youth.

Blake Cullen was traveling secretary for the Chicago Cubs between 1965 and 1975.

He made travel arrangements, booked hotels for the team, kept statistics, assigned uniform numbers, wrote press releases and handled daily business management. I remembered Cullen's name from the 1969 Cubs team that broke my heart, the team that taught a 14-year-old about life's unexpected disappointments........

Baseball's desert baths

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MESA, Az.---Let's say you are operating a roadside motel and mineral bath on the dusty outskirts of Mesa, Arizona.
Horace Stoneham finds your Buckhorn Mineral Baths, Motel and Wildlife Museum in 1947 when he owns the New York Giants.

Ted and Alice Sliger are running the operation with the wild west panache of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.
Ted likes to wear cowboy hats, fish and hunt. He is an amateur taxidermist. Over time more than 400 animals native to Arizona become preserved for time in the motel's "Trophy Room." Dolly, a rare four-horned sheep hovers over the room's fireplace.

Ted and Alice are homesteaders in the most honest sense. The baths begin as a 1935 trading post and the Sligers live there for seven years before electricity arrives. Stoneham is from New York and knows the best of times. Ted and Alice are from rural Arizona and know the worst of times.

Their paths cross on Highway 60 (The Apache Trail) in East Mesa.......

Dave Hoekstra

Dave Hoekstra has been a Chicago Sun-Times staff writer since 1985. His collection of Sun-Times travel columns, "Ticket To Everywhere," was published in 2000 by Lake Claremont Press. He was lead writer for "Farm Aid: Song for America" (Rodale Press, 2005) which commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Willie Nelson inspired effort.
He won a 1987 Chicago Newspaper Guild Stick O-Type Award for Column Writing. Hoekstra wrote and co-proudced the WTTW-Channel 11 PBS special: "The Staple Singers and the Civil Rights Movement," nominated for a 2001-02 Chicago Emmy for a documentary program/cultural significance.
He lives in Chicago.


Chicago's Record Row In addition to being a resource for archived stories, this is a place to share anecdotes about Chicago's Record Row, to network about Record Row developments and an opportunity for locals and tourists to comment on their experiences along Record Row.


About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2012 is the previous archive.

April 2012 is the next archive.

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