In “Nate and Adel and Other Stories,” I needed to invoke the memory of one of the boys of summer. That is, I needed to borrow the image of one of the Brooklyn Dodgers of the mid 1950’s as a theme — if not character — important to the people I created, people who had to deal with the severe crises of troubled lives. Of course, I had many well-known players to choose from, not the least of which was my own childhood hero, Duke Snider, who battled against an unfair press, fickle fans, and knee injuries. And I could easily have chosen other heroes of that great team for whom life seemed to hold as many impossible-to-hit curve balls as fat pitches: Gil Hodges (the best first baseman by far of the 1950’s, who has been wrongly denied his well-earned place in baseball’s Hall of Fame), Jim “Junior” Gilliam (National League Rookie of the Year in 1953 and second baseman on four World Championship teams, whose selfless play kept him out of the headlines he deserved), and Roy Campanella (catching great whose career ended when he was paralyzed in an automobile accident in 1958), to name but a few. But Adel, as it turns out, fell in love with Jackie. You will need to read the stories to understand better what he meant to her.
I did not completely appreciate the spiritual connection between Adel and Jackie until long after he entered my stories, but the more I wrote about Adel and the sharper an image she became in my mind, the more I saw the wisdom of her “choice,” if she can be said to have chosen how her mental illness would manifest itself. Jackie did not speak to her in the chaos of her diseased mind without good reason. Did she in some way grasp parallels between her own troubled life and the hardships that Jackie faced? Did she aspire to emulate the strong yet quiet dignity that Jackie exuded? Look for “Nate and Adel and Other Stories,” to appear soon on Amazon’s Kindle.