COFFEE TALK #36
 
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COFFEE TALK #36

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George Schire
(@georgeschire)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 3579
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From a recent post here in the Lounge about FRIENDSHIP I got to thinking about one of my most cherished friends.  It's a rather long story I'm sharing below, but I think many of you can relate to the power and importance of FRIENDSHIP.  
 
 
As a kid in the late 1960's I attended wrestling cards in St. Paul and Minneapolis, and on the night of July 13, 1968 I purchased a magazine titled Matmania, that at the time I never realized would have a enormous impact on my life forever.  The magazine was state-of-the-art publishing featuring stories on wrestlers and their results from all over the country.  
 
Inside was information on how to subscribe and get every issue.  My reaction was WOW!  I sent off $5.00 for a one-year subscription and the wait began for my first issue to arrive.  The month of August passed, as did September and October, and no Matmania came.  Then in late November an issue showed up.  
 
BUT HOLD ON!  It was NOT Matmania!  It was a bunch of pages stapled together with hand-written printing on the cover sheet.  And that cover read "Rasslin Results".  The next page shared an explanation that Matmania was no more.  The editor Burt Ray was unable to continue publishing the magazine, so he turned the list of subscribers over to a guy named Jim Melby, who going forward would honor all subscriptions with his Rasslin Results bulletin.  
 
I WAS FURIOUS!
 
Noticing that Mr. Melby lived in St. Paul, I angrily wrote and sent off a letter of disappointment on receiving this very unprofessional looking bulletin instead of the expected Matmania.  
 
Three weeks passed and I received no reply to my letter.  Then to my utter surprise I got a phone call.  When I answered, the voice on the other end identified himself as Jim Melby, saying he was calling about my letter.  He told me immediately that he'd be more than happy to refund my $5.00 if that is what I wanted, then went on to say that he was more interested in getting to know me personally because we both lived in St. Paul and obviously we had wrestling in common.  We talked for TWO HOURS!
 
Jim and I were close in age, I was 17 and he was 19.  We'd both been attending Twin City wrestling cards for about the same number of years.  We decided it would be fun to meet up at an upcoming card.  Before that meeting took place however, I was in the hospital with pneumonia in January 1969 and to my surprise, Jim came to the hospital to visit me.  And get this, he brought with him eight back issues of Matmania magazines to give me.  
 
A month later on February 17, 1969 I was invited to Jim's house and from that day on, we were the best of friends.  We each shared our (at that time) small collections of programs, photos and magazines.  
 
Little did I fathom then, but I would come to love Rasslin Results.  Jim and I began researching results together with the goal was to make the publication something fans would find interesting when finding out they could see what their favorite wrestlers were doing where ever they wrestled.  
 
Jim and I also enjoyed doing was trading 8 x 10 glossy publicity photos of all the wrestlers.  We'd spend hours swapping photos, wrestling stories, and memories.  Soon we discovered that we had things like music, movies, comic books, old TV shows, and baseball in common too.  
 
Jim had a unique character trait that I admired about him.  He always excepted everyone he met at face value.  No one ever had to put on a front with him or try to be something they weren't around him.  He liked everyone and everyone liked him.  He was a very kind and soft spoken man, who would always be there for a friend and he never asked or expected anything in return.  
 
Over the next four decades Jim and I attended many wrestling cards, music concerts, and baseball games together.  Many of these ventures were road trips that always brought about tons of laughs and fun.  One baseball trip in particular was forever memorable that we took to Milwaukee to see the Brewers play.  It was a spur of the moment decision to make the trip, so we didn't make any hotel reservations in advance.  We figured we'd be able to find lodging when we got there.  Not a good plan, as we'd find out later.  
 
On the way to Milwaukee we passed the miles away while driving with each of us naming our "Top 100" most beautiful women of all time.  And being guys, we even shared our fantasies about many of the them as well.  Hey, it's a guy thing and isn't that what guys do?  
 
We arrived in Milwaukee just minutes before the start of the game, very excited and relieved that we made it.  We of course knew that after the game, we'd have to find a hotel, but figured that wouldn't be a problem.  Okay flash-forward, game over, and now to find that hotel.  The first one we pulled in to said, "Sorry we're full up".  We got back in the car and went about a mile up the road to another hotel.  Oh boy, same story, "Sorry guys, we have no vacancies".  Back in the car again, drive another mile or so, stop at the hotel and this time we figured, third times a charm.  WRONG!  The desk clerk told us that, "There is an Italian Convention in town, and every hotel in Milwaukee is booked to capacity".  WHAT!!!  "An Italian Convention" we responded, "What the heck is an Italian Convention?"  
 
We left the lobby grumbling to each other while walking back to our car, repeating over and over, "What the heck is an Italian Convention?"  Our next bright idea was that we would head westward (towards home) for 5 or 10 miles and surely we'd find a hotel to spend the night.  DAMN, WRONG AGAIN!  You guessed it, all hotels were full due to that Italian Convention in Milwaukee.  Now we were not just frustrated, we were downright angry!  But with nothing else we could do, we got back n the car and decided to continue driving west.  It was after midnight and we were tired, but we had no other choice.  To pass the miles way, we decided to do another Top 100, but this time we were going to name all of the Italian wrestlers that we now hated due to that convention making our lives rough back in Milwaukee.  Many of wrestling's greatest Italian wrestlers were on our lists.  We took turns listing a wrestler, first me, "Bruno Sammartino", then Jim, "Joe Scarpello", back to me, "Domenic DeNucci", and then Jim again.  When we ran out of Italian wrestlers names, we started started saying that we didn't like their wives, their children, or their dogs either.  And for many miles we continued driving.  
 
Eventually we put in a music cassette (yea, no CD's yet back then) and it wasn't long after that Jim started to nod off to sleep.  Being the driver, I made an executive decision to just continue driving and listening to music.  Each mile led to another and at 5:30am I pulled up in front of Jim's house.  I woke him up and told him, "I found a hotel for your sorry ass".  We both had a laugh over that, said our good-byes and said we'd see each other at the wrestling card at the end of the week.  
 
The above adventure with Jim was one of hundreds of the many awesome times we shared together.  Whether it was those road trips, wrestling, baseball, or whatever else we did, our friendship was forever.  
 
On February 9, 2007 Jim and I talked for a couple of hours on the phone, just like we had done zillions of times over the years.  We set up our next trading (of photos) date for Saturday February 17, 2007 at 10:00am.  Little did I know after talking with him, that two days later on Sunday February 11th, Jim would be gone.  
 
His passing wasn't a complete shock, but on the other hand it still was.  He was only 57.  Since the age of 21, Jim suffered through Diabetes and in the last few years of his life it had taken its toll on his body.  He had lost both of his legs and much of his eye-sight.  As he endured this on-going ordeal, I witnessed another quality in Jim that I respected so much.  Through it all during his struggles with all the pain and hardship that came with the Diabetes, never once, never once...I'll say that again, NEVER ONCE...did I ever hear Jim complain.  He was always an upbeat and positive person and still thinking of his friends first.  
 
On Saturday February 17, 2007 at 10:00am, the very day and time that Jim and I set up to trade photos, I was delivering his eulogy and saying my final "good-bye" to him at his memorial service.  The irony of this day and time was that it was the exact date and time that Jim and I had gotten together for our first meeting back in 1969.  It gave me goose-bumps.  
 
I concluded my eulogy saying, "Jim, in every wrestling program we have in our collections, there are the words 'PROGRAM SUBJECT TO CHANGE'.  You and I set up today to get together.  I'm here Jim, and you're not.  Yes indeed, PROGRAM SUBJECT TO CHANGE.  Until we meet again, save me a ringside seat in heaven and thank you for your friendship".  

George Schire
Oakdale, Minnesota


   
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Frank Reed
(@frank)
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☕️☕️

Frank Reed
Chesapeake, VA


   
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Jack Dodds
(@jack-dodds)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 7031
 

George;  What a true friend!  Friends like that guy are so rare; I know you realize just how fortunate you were to share life with him for all those years.  It is worth mentioning that a big part of the reason he was able to share such friendship was that you did your similar part in respecting the trust being built over the years.


   
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George Schire
(@georgeschire)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 3579
Topic starter  
Posted by: @jack-dodds

George;  What a true friend!  Friends like that guy are so rare; I know you realize just how fortunate you were to share life with him for all those years.  It is worth mentioning that a big part of the reason he was able to share such friendship was that you did your similar part in respecting the trust being built over the years.

I totally agree Jack.  Friendship like any relationship is a two-way street.  Each party needs to always be going the same way and always respect and trust the other.  Without that, it won't last.  My own personal goal in life has always been to try and be the kind of friend I'd like others to be to me.  I take friendship (and all relationships) very seriously and give thanks regularly that I'm blessed to have all my friends in my life.  

 

George Schire
Oakdale, Minnesota


   
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Jack Dodds
(@jack-dodds)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 7031
 
Posted by: @georgeschire
Posted by: @jack-dodds

George;  What a true friend!  Friends like that guy are so rare; I know you realize just how fortunate you were to share life with him for all those years.  It is worth mentioning that a big part of the reason he was able to share such friendship was that you did your similar part in respecting the trust being built over the years.

I totally agree Jack.  Friendship like any relationship is a two-way street.  Each party needs to always be going the same way and always respect and trust the other.  Without that, it won't last.  My own personal goal in life has always been to try and be the kind of friend I'd like others to be to me.  I take friendship (and all relationships) very seriously and give thanks regularly that I'm blessed to have all my friends in my life.  

 

Your recipe for a happy life makes perfect sense to me George.  


   
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