Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Yogi's Place


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©2015 by LeeZard


On The Hill, St. Louis, MO, August 2013.

She is sitting and reading a book. I don’t know what I expected but it wasn’t an attractive young woman in shorts and a college sweatshirt lounging on Yogi Berra’s front porch. I glance down and the bronze plaque embedded in the sidewalk tells me I’m at the correct address.
“Excuse me,” I call, “I’m sure you hear this a million times but I’m still another tourist and Yogi Berra fan. Can I take a picture?”
As a youth, Yogi Berra lived here
for 18-years
She smiles brightly, “Sure, go ahead.” I snap away but I’m not done yet. I take a few steps up the short walk, “Listen, I’m sorry to bother you but I’m driving cross country and writing a book on my travels. Can I interview you?”
She marks her place in the book and throws me another killer bright smile, even friendlier than the first, “Sure but I only have a few minutes.” I cannot believe my luck.
She introduces herself as Courtney Brown and then, my luck gets better. “I’m Yogi’s grandniece. I grew up here” she informs me.
“How many tourists like me stop by every week?” I ask her.
“Oh, hundreds. We get tour buses.”
“How often do you talk to Uncle…..,” I hesitate. “”Do you call him Uncle Larry or Uncle Yogi?”
“We call him Uncle Yogi,” she says laughing.
“How often do you speak with him?”
“We used to talk to him a lot more; he used to come visit at least twice a year. It’s not as much since he got older and my grandma passed away. Grandma was Uncle Yogi’s sister.”
A horn honks behind me and Courtney says, “That’s my sister, I have to go.”
Grandniece Courtney Brown
“One last question, please?” My mind is racing, searching for a good one. I can only come up with, “Uncle Yogi is iconic as a slow thinking guy who never paid his syntax. I know he’s not dumb; you can’t be and catch for those great Yankee teams. What’s he really like?”
“He’s a very nice guy, very funny, he’s always got a comment to make about something. He likes to talk a lot. He never minded getting bothered by people for autographs and whatnot. Uncle Yogi now lives in New Jersey. He is a healthy 88-years old (May 12, 1925) and just opened the new Yogi Berra Museum.”
As Courtney gets up to leave I can’t help but ask, “Are you a baseball fan?”
“Of course!” Big smile.
“Yankees?”
“Cardinals!!”
So much for family loyalty.