By Ben Pilla
No, it wasn’t learning about the “Birds and the Bees;” that was a few years before this story.
Here I was, a young sheltered teen from a middle-class family who attended parochial school and knew nothing about the worldly things of life, but I was to quickly find out.
One day, my cousin Lew’s father told us he had arranged for us to meet the New York Yankees in person.
Imagine that. Young boys from modest homes in Philadelphia could actually meet the World Series Champions – The New York Yankees in person.
Lew’s father worked in a fine hotel where the Yankees were staying overnight after they’d played the Philadelphia A’s (No longer there, moved to K.C. and now, to Oakland.)
After hearing the news, the first thing I did was buy an autograph book. I went to Kresge’s 5 & 10, a small store that later became Kmart.
The special day arrived. Lew and I went into center city to that fancy hotel where we were to meet the Yankees.
We waited in a small room, chatted and played cards to pass the time until the game was over.
It seemed like hours until my uncle arrived and told us, “Sorry boys, but you won’t be meeting the team.”
The Yankees beat the home town Philadelphia A’s and were at a bar celebrating!
I couldn’t believe it. How could this be? My heroes Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra drinking, and not drinking milk or soda.
What about eating Wheaties, “the Breakfast of Champions?” I was crushed.
Sadly, we went home with a lesson learned. People were not always who they appeared to be, especially in the newspaper or magazines.
Edgar Allan Poe wrote, “Believe one-half of what you see and nothing of what you hear.” This is the day that I became the cynic I am today.