As Roger Angell approached his 100th birthday, the Friend Memorial Library on August 8 honored him, its best-known and probably oldest supporter, with a band, a governor, a proclamation, a parade, a speech and plenty of well wishes.
His actual centennial doesn’t happen until September 19. “I crossed my fingers,” he said from the steps of the library to the hundred or so people gathered below him.
“Roger Angell Day” wasn’t the first time Brooklin honored the writer. When he was just 90, the town held a parade to honor veterans, which he described in his book, This Old Man: All in Pieces. He wrote that he got to doff his cap at the appropriate moment, having served in the Air Force during World War II.
The description of a Brooklin parade in This Old Man could almost have described the scaled-down version that celebrated his birthday. “Families of every size walked in from their cars, parked along Route 175,” he wrote. They watched the “fire trucks…shined-up ancient roadsters and kid- and Lab-laden pickups” that, “honking all the way, streamed slowly past.”
Angell’s centennial parade came after a concert by The Treble Makers and the speech-making on the library lawn. Gov. Janet Mills read a proclamation honoring Angell as he sat above her on the porch. She listed some of the baseball stars Angell had profiled, mangling many of the names. “Mordecai Brown,” she said, using the pitcher’s given name. Angell shouted out his better-known nickname, “Three Finger!”
“Bill Mazurski,” said the governor. “Mazeroski,” corrected Angell.
“Dizzy Vance,” she said. “Dazzy,” he yelled.
“Always the editor,” Mills said. “Jeezum.”
Writer - Critic - Poet - Editor