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Of an American sports icon, a Supreme Court Justice, a murderer and more. [View All]

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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-14-13 02:07 PM
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Of an American sports icon, a Supreme Court Justice, a murderer and more.
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Edited on Wed Aug-14-13 02:20 PM by No Elephants
"Where have you gone, Giuseppe Joe DiMaggio?

Giuseppe is a common name in Italian, almost as common as Maria and Mary-and for similar reasons. San Giuseppe is St. Joseph.

DiMaggio's parents had both been born in Sicily. His father, Giuseppi, was a fisher. His wife was Rosalia.

Rosalia's parents had come to California and written their daughter that her husband could make a better living fishing in California than he could fishing in Sicily.

I don't know what year Joltin' Joe DiMaggio's father came to the USA, but Guiseppe DiMaggio worked as a fisher for four years before he could afford to bring Rosalia and whatever children had been born to them before Guiseppe had left left Italy.

The man America knew as Joe DiMaggo was born in Martinez, California, in the San Fransisco Bay area, in 1914. He was born the eighth of nine children, delivered in parents' home by a midwife. The name on his birth certificate is Giuseppe Paolo DiMaggio, after his father and his father's favorite saint.

Joe DiMaggio, the embodiment of his parents' American Dream, was excelling at the iconic sport of America, baseball. Two of his brothers, Vince and Dom, were also major league baseball players, but, needless to say, Joe overshadowed them.

During World War II, mom and apple pie were supposedly the two things most symbolic to our troops of the America for which they were fighting. Maybe DiMaggio, of the New York Yankees, and Ted Williams, of the Yankee's arch rival, the Boston Red Sox, were somewhere in the top ten, though.

Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon
Going to the candidates debate
Laugh about it, shout about it
When you've got to choose
Ev'ry way you look at it, you lose

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio
A nation turns it's lonely eyes to you (Woo, woo, woo)
What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson
Joltin' Joe has left and gone away
(Hey, hey, hey...hey, hey, hey)

Those words were part of Mrs. Robinson, a song named for a cougar in the movie, The Graduate, made when Dustin Hoffman was young enough to play a kid who was being graduated from college.

The song inspired a much more recent movie starring Jennifer Anniston, one of America's current sweethearts.

I once saw sometime on TV--don't remember who--talking about DiMaggio and that song. DiMaggio thought the song insulted or mocked him and wanted to sue. Someone explained to him that his role in the song was a great one. Joe then calmed down, but thought he should have been compensated. The man added that Joe was fond of a dollar. (Not surprising for someone who had lived through the Depression.)

Not only was Joe an American Dream and an American icon, playing America's iconic sport, but he had married Marilyn Monroe. I mean, how "American iconic" can one guy be?

I knew a lot of the above because Dom DiMaggio was a figure in Boston until he died. Not like his brother, Joe and not like his good friend, Ted Williams, but a figure nonetheless. Among many other things, Dom DiMaggio's name appears prominently as a donor in the neighborhood health center of my neighborhood. So, even though I am not much of a sports fan, my ears perked up whenever I heard about any of the DiMaggios. But I didn't know much more.

Today, I was wondering today if James Lee DiMaggio, the 40 year old Californian who was shot recently, on being found with the 16-year old whom he'd abducted, was any relation to Joltin' Joe DiMaggio, aka the Yankee Clipper. So, I started by reading DiMaggio's wiki. The wiki of the guy who so represented everything that was pure about America and the world to Simon and Garfunkel that he made it into their song.

And, I found stuff I never knew, including this:


DiMaggio enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces on February 17, 1943, rising to the rank of sergeant. He was stationed at Santa Ana, California, Hawaii, and Atlantic City, New Jersey, as a physical education instructor. He was released on medical discharge in September 1945, due to chronic stomach ulcers.<30> Other than now being paid $21 a month, DiMaggio's service was as comfortable as a soldier's life could be. He spent most of his career playing for base teams and in exhibition games against fellow Major Leaguers and minor league players, and superiors gave him special privileges due to his prewar fame. DiMaggio ate so well from an athlete-only diet that he gained 10 pounds, and while in Hawaii he and other players mostly tanned on the beach and drank. Embarrassed by his lifestyle, DiMaggio demanded combat duty in 1943, but was turned down.<13>

Parents as "enemy aliens"

Giuseppe and Rosalia DiMaggio were among the thousands of German, Japanese and Italian immigrants classified as "enemy aliens" by the government after Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japan. They carried photo ID booklets at all times, and were not allowed to travel outside a five-mile radius from their home without a permit. Giuseppe was barred from the San Francisco Bay, where he had fished for decades, and his boat was seized. Rosalia became an American citizen in 1944, followed by Giuseppe in 1945.<30>

OMG. And I never heard about that?

The AG of California during the War was responsible for enforcing a lot of these horrible laws and for interning California's Japanese. During the war, of course, Eisenhower was in Europe, leading the troops. After the war, of course, Eisenhower became President. As President, Eisenhower got to appoint a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He chose that California enforcer, Earl Warren.

Warren was probably the most liberal Chief Justice the SCOTUS has ever seen. Among other cases, he presided over Brown v. Bd. of Ed., win which an African American lawyer from the NAACP argued that the SCOTUS should overrule the "separate but equal" doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson, providing the Court with massive data showing that "separate but equal" was not equal at all.

The SCOTUS agreed with the NAACP lawyer. Later, President Kennedy nominated him for the Supreme Court and he became the first African American to sit on that bench, Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Meanwhile, Eisenhower dragged his feet on integration. Eleanor Roosevelt went back to the White House to beg him to act. Finally, pressure from all sides resulted in the iconic photos of African American children, immaculately dressed and groomed, attending the "white" school, protect by the might of the us. And Eisenhower actually gets credit for that. However, Eisenhower cited his nomination of Warren to the SCOTUS as the worst mistake he (Eisenhower) had made in all eight years of his Presidency.

In his autobiography, Chief Justice Earl Warren recounted how he and Eisenhower went to a gathering of Southerners. According to Warren, Eisenhower said to him something like this: "See, Earl? These are nice people. They just don't want their little girls sitting next to some big black gorilla in school."

Those are not the exact words, but the sentiment. I had originally seen the exact quote from Warren's autobiography online. However, I have since tried to find it and been unable to. But, the above is the gist.

And now, I will return to googling to see if James Lee DiMaggio, who made horrible headlines until the police shot him, is any relation to the revered and iconic Hall of Famer.
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