Write an essay, win a Baltimore treasure

This Just In...

February 21, 2003|By Dan Rodricks

I OWN A few pieces of Baltimore history - the pen Divine used to write her/his name in the sidewalk-of-fame outside the Senator Theatre on the opening night of John Waters' Hairspray, a brick from Memorial Stadium, the Rolodex from the city desk of the late Evening Sun, a Panama hat once owned by Milton Eisenhower, and about 20 tons of snow from the biggest snowstorm in the city's history. I have a lot of other treasures, and not one purchased on e-Bay nor bound for same.

Now, another opportunity presents itself. "You could own a piece of Baltimore History," announces our own old friend and intermittent TJI contributor, Ingmar Burger. "Enter the `Why I deserve Moco Yardley's Bar' Essay Contest."

A Baltimoron-in-noviate asks: Who was Moco Yardley?

Richard Q. "Moco" Yardley was The Sun's cartoonist from the 1920s to the early '70s. He was famous in this town. He was famous beyond this town. His cartoons entertained thousands of readers for half-a-century.

He lived much of his life on Sedgwick Road in North Baltimore.

Ingmar now lives in Moco's house - with his wife, Antenette, and they have a lovely club basement, which is key to the story.

"Moco was a man who enjoyed a cocktail, and spent a considerable amount of time at the knotty pine bar in his club basement," Ingmar says. "I have utilized the bar with gusto for six years."

He has utilized it with Angostura, too.

"Unfortunately, my father, no stranger to a cocktail himself, recently passed away. In his will, he left me his own bar in lieu of any real inheritance. Now a fitting custodian for Moco's bar must be found," Ingmar says.

The thing is, Ingmar is not selling Moco's custom-made bar. You won't find it on e-Bay, and you can't impress the man with money. (Mrs. Burger, on the other hand, will entertain bids on the side.)

Being a literate man, Ingmar offers this challenge: "Write a short essay, 250 words or fewer, on why you would be the best person to take charge of this souvenir of great libation."

So that's what we're doing. This columnist has agreed to serve as recipient and judge of the essays.

Send yours to: Closing Night at Moco's, c/o This Just In, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278. The winner will be selected by a panel of experts, and announced after Moco's 100th birthday March 11. The winner will also get to haul the thing out of the Burgers' basement.

Saving a spot in style

TJI reader Betsy Murray reports an upscale twist on the time-honored Baltimore tradition of using an old chair or laundry basket to mark your cleared parking space after a snowstorm: On Schenley Road on Monday, someone set out a cafe table and chair, and on the table a plate and a goblet, knife and fork, and a copy of Harper's Bazaar magazine. I grilled Betsy on this and she stood by her story: "I can't make this stuff up!" One of the great things about this city - you don't have to.

Dome saviors

Let's hear it for Bob Wall and the Friends of Patterson Park (FOPP) for saving the Mimi Dome. Seven winters ago, the dome over the Patterson Park ice rink - officially named the Dominic "Mimi" DiPietro Family Skating Center - came down in a big snow.

Sunday, when the storm of the century hit, Wall was anxious but ready. During the night, he and his crew were able to shake the pliable dome, section by section, to keep the snow from building up. And when the snow pressured the dome's base, more than a dozen FOPPers volunteered to dig it away - and there were places where the snow piled up and drifted to 16 feet.

It was a long, hard team effort that paid off. The Mimi Dome still stands. And Dorothy Hamill is due there March 1.

Maz gets his due

I messed up. My list of eventual Hall-of-Famers that Orioles pitcher Billy O'Dell faced in the 1958 All-Star Game in Baltimore should have included Bill Mazeroski. I left Maz out of the answer to Question No. 9 in the Winter Day Quiz the other day. The son of the former Rose Popolo regrets the error.

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