Mom told me Daddy was an all-around athlete in high school, and was captain of the football, basketball, and track teams. He broke the school record for pole vault at a track meet. Opposing football teams and fans learned “Leland” and “Ernest,” and began heckling them. Daddy and Ernest took the nicknames of Bob and Steve to confuse them. The names caught on, and they kept using them.
In the basketball team picture, Daddy is center left in the grey shirt. In the football team picture, he is lower left. I am guessing that he was wearing a different shirt than the others because he was the captain.
After high school Daddy and Steve played baseball for the Ionia team, with Steve as pitcher, and Daddy as catcher. Because Mom was so laudatory of Daddy’s playing baseball, I thought he played for the Detroit Tigers.
Daddy and I played “catch” in the driveway. I had an old glove so thin that it hurt my hand when I caught the ball, so Daddy let my use his old catcher’s mitt, which was probably two inches thick, and as big around as Mom’s apple pie. But, to catch the ball, it had to hit the center hole in the middle of the glove. Most of the time, the ball hit the glove outside the hole, and bounced away, so I had to go get it.
Leland’s (Bob) first job was Janitor at the Ionia State Savings Bank, where Steve was a bookkeeper. Then Steve went to school, and Bob moved up to bookkeeper.
1914-15, Daddy’s father John worked for the International Harvester Company, repairing farm equipment. The records show that John Hicks, acquired a farm south of Ionia in 1900, with 160 acres, and had 3 children, 6 horses, 20 cattle, and a Ford. Nothing was ever said about Daddy and Steve having a sibling, so she/he must have died young.
Because Daddy had been so involved with sports in high school, I wanted to please him by playing sports. I went out for everything. In baseball, I didn’t know I needed glasses, so I couldn’t see the ball coming in time to hit it. In football, I was too small, and I didn’t like getting hurt. I was on the third team in basketball, but my arms didn’t seem strong enough to get the ball to the basket. At last, I played all season on the tennis team, but we never won, so I didn’t get a letter.
My career in sports was embarrassing, but Daddy seemed proud that I did well in music, working my way to First Chair trumpet in the marching band. After I was paralyzed, the band director put me in a tuba on a stand, so I could play in the concert band. Daddy bought a stand, so I could practice at home with his big tuba.