Sunday, March 4, 2012

Silent Mary, America's Past Time & The POGIE Rites of Spring

There are some stories that have a stronger effect over the reader and for some reason this one did to me. Maybe it's because Mary Walters was perfectly stolid with her place in the world and wasn't going to complain too much despite the fact that she would live her life out in the confines of Eloise.

As she grew older and weaker the burden seemed to increase on her face and body but still she remained reticent and reserved. Then on March 27, 1909 she failed to show up for breakfast in the mess hall and her roomies found her dead in bed, silent as she had been all those five years in the big house.

If she went to the potter's field it's in an unmarked grave because the only Mary Walters there died in 1920. I suppose there could be a mix-up but that seems unlikely since the latter wasn't even admitted to the hospital until months before her death in 1920.

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Amateur Aall, eh? Haha. Yeah, baseball apparently was not only America's past time but also its passion as is evidenced by all the amateur leagues that were around at the turn of the 20th century.

I knew that Eloise had a team at various times but this short blurb at the bottom of the amateur league baseball section suggests that both the asylum and the county house had one. Judging from the score the asylum nine weren't quite as proficient with the tools of the trade as were the county boys.

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from The Detroit Free Press, May 6, 1912

This story seems rather familiar to me so if it's a repeat then forgive the error. As was the custom at Eloise every spring the great migration of able-bodied derelicts began in earnest as the weather warmed and the pay to stay plan kicked in. The POGIES (Poor Old Guys In Eloise) who were able to work a regular job would hitch, walk or ride to the city for their seasonal labor and return in the late fall as the weather prevented them from earning steady pay.

This article also mentions one of those POGIES, Jim Walters, who was killed at Congress and Randolph streets, apparently, after being hit by a car. It doesn't really say that he was but it makes the most sense considering that it gives out the cross streets where his death occurred.

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