Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I have a confession to make:

Dick the Bruiser

I used to like professional wrestling.

It all started when Daddy practically lost a foot in a fork-truck accident at work. He loved wrestling and boxing as far back as I can remember, and I guess with so much time on his hands while he was off work, he needed some sort of recreation. We went to St. Joseph, Missouri, one Friday night and took in the wrestling matches. We were hooked, all of us.

Looking back, I don't know how anything so fake could have seemed so real. I think maybe it's a little like Santa Claus... you just WANT to believe, so you do.

After my dad was healed up and back to work, Mother and I started going to the wrestling twice a week: Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas, on Thursdays, and the Municipal Auditorium in St. Joe on Fridays. Every couple of months some really big-name wrestlers like Dick the Bruiser came to wrestle at KC Municipal Auditorium, and we went to those, too. Yeah, three times a week. To watch wrestling.

Sonny Myers

I took my camera and collected pictures and autographs of my favorites. I recall names like Sonny Myers (who was the Buchanan County sheriff for a while and ended up a Walmart greeter); Cowboy Bob Ellis; Taro Myaki; Bobo Brazil, whose head-butt knocked his opponents out cold. There were, of course, the "good guys" and the "bad guys"; midget wrestlers and lady wrestlers. And lady midget wrestlers!

My mom was into wrestling every bit as much as I was. I recall her swinging her purse one time to hit an evil wrestler on the head. At Christmas she'd make pounds of fudge and other Christmas goodies and take a small package of cookies and candy to every single wrestler we liked, as well as to Gust Karras, the promoter in St. Joe.

Good grief, we were lower-middle-class at best. I just realized what a huge portion of my parents' income must have gone into this craze!

There were a couple of white-haired ladies, identical twins: Mertie and Gertie Hite. They were at every match we attended, dressed to the nines. I googled them and found this tidbit of information: "Television captured it all. Some ringside fans were seen so often that they became celebrities in their own right. Two of the most recognized were Mertie and Gertie Hite. The seventy-five year-old twin sisters invariably occupied ringside seats, where, dressed exactly alike, they usually sat calmly, the picture of rectitude. When some mysterious force moved within them, however, they would leap to their feet and race screaming to the edge of the ring, where they would pound wildly on the canvas and curse like drunken sailors."

I found this picture of them, much younger than I knew them.

So there you have it. We all have shameful secrets in our pasts. Now you know one of mine. While other girls my age were dating and flirting and worrying about going to the prom, I was going to wrestling matches. With my mom.

What a loser.


Hollie said...

LOL Hubby & Colt love watching wrestling!

MissKris said...

Oh, I loved it, too!!! Back in the 50s and 60s when it was mostly local or regional and they looked like a bunch of thugs, lol! The kids of today don't know what they're missing. Every Saturday nite it was regular viewing in our house. As well as Friday Night Fights...remember those?

loopymamain06 said...

Donna ...that's a cute story, and hey there were a lot of worse thing you could have been doing....:)

madcobug said...

Cute entry. I can't imagine your Mom loving wrestling like that. Making candy for them LOL.I have been to a couple of matches myself. I didn't believe that they were fake until I went to the first one. The best man was caught with a wadded up piece of paper rubbing the other one's face. What a dissapointment that was. I bet those two older sisters were a hoot to watch at a match. Helen

DesLily said...

Ummm well.. my X and I went to madison square garden to see wrestling once and to another place I can't remember.. I did get to see Andrea the Giant and Chief Jay Strongbow..loved them both! lol

Doc said...

you know, when I was a kid a neighbor down the street from us was really good friends with Handsome Harley Race and there was one summer when sometimes Race would come over on Sunday afternoons and take on the entire neighborhood of kids.

(10 and under was the rule. He'd 'wrestle' older boys singly in order to not hurt anyone)

Sometimes he'd bring Rufus Jones with him and "tag team" a match against the kids.

It was the most hilarious thing that ever happened in our neighborhood.

Becky said...

My jaw has never dropped so low!!! I am speechless! This is something I never would have guessed in a million years about you. And I must confess...I was a wrestling fan for a short time in the 80s. At the height of Hulk Hogan's career. And Rowdy Roddy Piper. Hee hee!

Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee

Scene: Hospital room in 1970s

Character: My grandfather with my uncle sitting at his bedside. Granddaddy is watching his all- time favorite pasttime which was hands down wrestling or "raslin" (sp?)....Anyhoo, they're watching the match.....

Action: Doors to the hospital room fly open with nurses and attendants following, rushing into the room. (A Whole Bunch of nurses. Imagine that today as understaffed as hospitals are today.) Grandad and uncle startled.

Conclusion: My wonderful and sweet granddad was "hooked up" to various heart monitors and boy, oh, boy....watching that wrestling match had set those heart monitors off. Laughingly, my uncle explained that my granddad ALWAYS got "involved" (huge understatement)with each and every match he watched.

Good memory for me, Donna....Thanks!

Lori said...

I LOVE that bit of information about you. What a great story and what great memories! No wonder you are such a unique and fun person!

Marlene said...

Wow, when we were fist married, we used to watch wrestling too. And another complete waste of time and money was ROLLER DERBY. That was a big thing on TV. I remember driving to Wildwood NJ one winter in a snowy blizzard just to see Judy somebody skate for the (I think) Bay City Bombers. We were reaqlly hooked!

Rechelle said...

That is hilarious!

Lisa said...

Being my Nick is in wrestling right now I really enjoyed this entry. I had no idea I was going to love this sport so much... but maybe it is just that I am watching my son beat out all the other kids. Nick is REALLY good!
He took first place recently and I was so proud... but then that other kid ended up with a broken arm so I was also sad. ANd so glad it was not my son with the broken arm. Yikes!