My heartfelt condolences to GIANTS’ WILLIE MAYS and his family, in the loss of his lovely wife of 41 years, Mae Louise Allen Mays, who, after a long 16 year battle with Alzheimer's disease, passed away peacefully in her sleep last Friday morning at the couple’s Atherton home. She was 74 years old. The couple met in New York. They were married in November, 1971, during Mays’ last year as a San Francisco Giant and retirement. A wonderful love story as I remember.
Last time I saw Mae was at the OPENING Day celebration of the Giants new AT&T ball Park, April 2000. Prior to that, met her some years ago when visiting their friends home in Atherton for dinner. Always found her to be a down to earth lady. One who fell in love with the Say Hey Kid in his playing days with the New York Giants.
During the years always looked for Mae on Opening Day; disappointed when I did not get a chance to say hello. Felt Mae had been ailing, for she would have been by Willie’s side on many occasions.
GIANTS Press Release filled me on a lot of admirable things about Mae. Born on May 26, 1938, she grew up in the racially segregated Homewood section of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania where she was an accomplished sprinter. She attended the University of Pittsburg where she was a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and earned a degree in sociology . She went on to graduate school at Howard University where she obtained a master’s degree in social work. Mae worked in child welfare and according to the San Francisco Chronicle, she eventually became a “pioneer in getting single adoptions started in San Francisco.”
Mays family attorney Malcolm Heinicke stated, “Mae died peacefully and without pain. Willie is now grieving the loss of his beautiful wife of more than four decades, but he is staying strong by remembering all of the many experiences they enjoyed together. Mae was a beautiful person, and although her illness took some of her memories late in life, Mae passed with full knowledge that Willie loved her dearly. Willie appreciates all of the well wishes of his friends and fans during this difficult time.”
“On behalf of the Giants partnership, front office, team, alumni and fans, we express our heartfelt condolences to Willie and his family with the passing of his beloved Mae. I was honored to know Mae and to witness how Willie loved and cared for her,” said Larry Baer, Giants president and CEO.
A private funeral service will be scheduled in the near future. In lieu of flowers, it is requested that donations be made to the Say Hey Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box #2410, Menlo Park, CA 94026.
MOVING FORWARD with “42” - Received an E-mail from JERRY PRITIKIN of Chicago who shared his remembrance, as a 10 year old kid who was there when JACKIE ROBINSON made his Wrigley Field debut on May 18, 1947, “Remembered there were many Blacks and most dressed in their “Sunday best clothes.”
A former San Francisco resident, he has lived in Chicago for the past 25 years, shared he got to know the black players by name, and as time went on it was their stats, and not the color of their skin that defined them as ball players.
Reference the movie “42”, Pritikin expressed, “I think of this movie like I did about the Academy Award winning movie “Milk”, Harvey happened to be a friend of mine. The most important factor in the “Milk” movie is the fact that millions of people, young and old, gay and straight here in America and around the world were introduced to HARVEY MILK and that era in the gay rights movement...and many were young gays who really had no idea what Harvey went through in that era of the movement.
I’m sure the same is true for “42”, youngsters black and white, take for granted it’s always been the way it is now in both movements.”
Pritikin was curious if I happened to be related to RALPH METCALFE, the former Olympian and Chicago politician - YES, through marriage. Metcalfe was a great athlete, and won election to serve in Illinois 1st Congressional District in U.S. House of Representatives, elected 1971 held office until he passed in 1978. Also co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus.
MAKING THE ROUNDS - PIER 23 Cafe on a recent Sunday evening, to see my friend FLICKA McGURRIN, owner of the popular waterfront spot. My, it had been quite sometime since I’d ’visited the spot, hung out years ago to enjoy the sounds of legendary saxophonist JULES BROUSSARD and funkin’ music (he played clubs on the old Fillmore scene).
Lucky Flicka was on the scene, she burst in surprise squeal to see me as we embraced. Much to my delight legendary saxophonist BOBBIE “SPIDER” WEBB and his musicians were performing. ...Sunday jams start at 5 p.m.
Bobbie played the Fillmore clubs, and STILL on the new scene. As a young kid, he sold Sun Reporter newspapers. Often ended his route at the Texas Playhouse, where the blues was jumpin’ off the hook! Owner Wesley Johnson would sit him on a corner of the bar (laden with silver dollars) , order customers to buy the paper (those were some good old days!).
Joined by DEBBIE HEARNE, sat near the bandstand. These day Bobbie's hair is more a mix of gray than black, but definitely NOT aging in his talent. He blew a mean “Honky Tonk,” strong blowing pipes; still maintain a husky voice vocalizing on “The Thrill is Gone,” backed by a swinging group. Smiled, thinking to myself, Bobbie is a SOUL SURVIVOR!!!
Flicka, also a survivor, heir to the place her family bought in 1984. Teased, she definitely is in the heart of the America Cup Classic, which will start in the summer - bleacher seating already set up. Ah, so much excitement along the embarcadero. Port is building a brand new CRUISE ship terminal at the Pier right outside the Cafe... at the next pier down, there are flags and banners for the America’s Cup Race starting this summer and fall.
LAST THURSDAY night at SF’s YOSHI’S to catch vocalist ZAKIYA HOOKER and bluesy band, featured vocalist Chris JAMES, Founder of Oakland's’ famed NATURAL FOUR band. ONE show only! Didn’t realize Zakiya was so sweet and sassy, good dancin’ moves, quite a performer. Band entourage included smooth Lloyd Gregory on guitar, Janice Maxie Reid, BAAAD lady on keyboards, Marlon Green on drums, Bobby Young, guitar.
Chris James, opened the evening with a lot of love, R&B hits, “What’s Going On,” “Me and Mrs. Jones,” - ah, yes, he STILL got it! The group took me back to those old school groove days of Oakland. Blues singing daughter of the late JOHN LEE HOOKER, Zakiya sung her dad’s favorite, “One Bourbon, One Scotch, one Beer,” followed by foot tappin numbers like, “Big Bossman,” “ended the evening with “C. C. Rider.” Zakiya and group ROCKED the house!
HEY, IT’S NICE TO BE NICE AND TO ALL OF YOU OUT THERE...LOOK FOR ME...I’LL BE THERE...
E-mail Rochelle at firstname.lastname@example.org