Members of the San Francisco Olympic Club track team … we'd just won the 1941 championship in Philadelphia … were spending the night in New York City prior to going to Asbury Park for the national relays.
Teammate Clarence Barnes and I were walking in the theater district when we were approached by a small man, felt hat pulled down over his forehead and carrying something in a paper bag.
"You boys want to buy a picture book?" he whispered.
We thought we knew what "a picture book" meant, and asked how much?
"Ten dollars," he said. We nodded. Five dollars each for much anticipated pleasure, while expensive, was worth it.
Looking shiftily over his shoulder, he led us into an alley, took our ten dollars and promptly disappeared.
Unable to wait to see what we knew would be many obscene photographs we tore open the package.
Indeed, it was a picture book … "Little Red Riding Hood."
Another recollection of the 1941 championships involved teammate Phil Fox, excellent with the discus.
When measurements of his throws had been taken, he was just inches shy of a new national record. So, perhaps too strenuously, he insisted that the officials measure once again.
With some reluctance, they agreed; but they also included those of his closest competitor, Archie Harris.
The result – Phil hadn't set a record. In fact, he hadn't even won the event. Harris' best throw was 1-1/8 inches further. He was the new AAU champion.
Speaking of records, Clarence Barnes and I were on the 2900 meter relay team, which established a national mark. However, this was the first year the event had been run. Any team that finished first would hold the record. So, this was no big deal.
As to our "naughty" picture book, we gave it to the room maid. Her little girl would enjoy it much more than we.