March 30, 2011

Jim Ayres has led a life in full; he has taught, coached, was an MP in the Army, belongs to the Ancient Order of Blue Dragons

A daring Jim Ayres on a winter day in his Audi convertible

A comment was posted on the blog concerning a wonderful story written by Jack Jacobsen, class of 1962, that appeared on March 19. Jim Ayres, Division Avenue High School class of 1963, had submitted the following:

"All the time you spent over at my house next to Don Kanarvogel's playing APBA baseball, stinking up the house with smoke (and getting me in trouble for it), eating my food, playing stickball on Gun Lane, and I didn't get a mention as a friend? What's up with that? ... lol. Lost track of you after the Navy --I went into the Army as a Lieutenant in the Military Police and spent a year in Nam. Email one time, buddy (gave his address) -- like to catch up. Jim Ayres Class of '63."

I wrote to Ayers and included Jacobsen's email address. In my note, it was mentioned that my buddies in Levittown and I had an APBA board game baseball league in the late 1950s. Ayres replied with the following:

By Jim Ayres, class of 1963
My, that was a fast response. Was having lunch the other day with Louie DeFrancesco, Tom Conway, Paul Flechner (all '64 grads from DAHS) and Armand Tarentelli (Mr. T from woodshop) and your blog came up. We are all part of a group of Division grads and athletes who call ourselves the AOBD (Ancient Order of the Blue Dragons) with emphasis on the ancient part.

We were chatting about people we remembered from school and I brought up Jack Jacobsen's name. He spent lots of time lounging around my house (next to his buddy Donny Kanarvogel's) and we got waaaayy into APBA baseball. Jack and I even constructed our own cards using a version of their formula, which was not too hard to figure out and to shape in such a way that Jack and I became the two best hitters in the National League ... lol ... though we seldom used those two cards.

Yes, we had a draft, kept stats, but never got too "artsy." I recall Jack had terrific handwriting when he put his mind to it and so he became our statistician. He used to smoke (cigarettes, of course -- pot was unthinkable in our crowd back then) quite a bit as we played, and in fact got me into it, hence the "smoke in the house" comment. Think I played APBA a few times at Tim Lavey's (class of 1963).

Like you, many of the AOBD guys also have a Hofstra connection, as do I (Class of '68 -- I was red-shirted one year ... lol). You wrote for the Hofstra Chronicle I think, did you not? Sorry was in a hurry this afternoon to find the Jacobsen piece they told me about and did not read your bio, though I know it's there.)

If you are interested I could get you the names and email addresses of some of our attendees for your blog mailing list; some regulars, some "guests," so to speak who stop in from out of town or still work (most of us don't) and can't make many of the luncheons. One of our regulars is Bob Ellerkamp from my class, whose brother Jack was in your class (1960).

I only work part-time as a public address announcer for East Rockaway High School, for which I coached four different sports and wound up in their Coaching Hall of Fame, so I have the time to follow it.

The big benefit of my coaching stint has been the announcing gig for football, basketball and, on occasion, volleyball and soccer. Also coached and announced at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, and have announced three times at Madison Square Garden (what a fabulous sound system -- could make Mickey Mouse sound great).

I am working slowly on my second novel (the first went "unloved" by the publishing industry), and recording CDs (oldies, of course) for an R & R hobby band (sing lead and bass backup on separate tracks) and those don't take much time either. Trying hard not to age (losing battle there), and to not look or feel my 65 years. Enclosing a recent picture -- always wanted to drive top-down in the snow, but not for long ... brrrr .

Thanks for putting me on the mailing list for your blog. I shall be a frequent visitor.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jack Jacobsen class 62

I was a contributed to the smoke not the main cause!! I am thinking of purchasing an APBA game and start my own league.