Bābol Watching the coal smoke billowing from the New York Central train less than 30 feet yet ten feet higher than his backyard, young Alvin dreamed about graduating from School 50 to attend Washington High School. It was slightly less than one mile straight down the railroad tracks heading east from his Hancock Street family home to GWHS.
can u buy neurontin online When he was born April 21, 1920 he was the seventh of eight kids. Oscar, Forrest, Barbara, Chet (long time west side lawyer who graduated from Manual H.S. while living in the first block south of Washington Street on Hancock, 3000 west), Orie, Mickie (mother of 1964 top student Janet Blake), and younger brother Norval (who would die in infancy) were his beloved siblings. (Mickie died in 2013. Al died Christmas Day 2015.)
http://redrooktattoo.com/wp/wp-login.php Casey, as he is affectionately known by Tom Carnegie and others, seems to be able to relate almost all things in his active life with his family and one of three things: Washington High School, Purdue University, the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Duke Snider or the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
School 50 principal Miss McCardle, all 100 pounds of her, seemed to represent what was both good and proper about society to young Al. And Mr. Kepner, the school custodian who was
in charge of discipline and seemingly respected by every kid year after year, reflected the stability of the Mt. Jackson-Hawthorne neighborhood. To understand that the paddling board was wielded by the school custodian seems unrealistic in the 21st century but was normally accepted in the 1920’s, ‘30’s, and ‘40’s. Mr. Kepner’s great-granddaughter, Kelly Faris, became a prominent basketball player at Heritage Christian leading them to four State Championships and was UConn’s #6 player as a freshman on their nationally championship team in 2010 before a professional career in Europe by the late fall of 2013.
Purdue football was nationally prominent during most of the 20th century. The Western Conference (as it was called before becoming the Big Ten) by Al’s 10th birthday was the top athletic conference in America. Once, when he listened to a Purdue loss, he cried over the radio broadcast. And when his childhood hero, Washington High’s Emerson Carter, headed to Purdue to play football Al was transfixed. More than once he had lingered outside Oren’s Drugstore at Belmont and Washington Street hoping to catch a close-up greeting from Emerson after games in the fall of 1929. Finally the meeting happened April 1, 2009 when he met his all-time hero at Mug ‘n Bun in Speedway on West 10th St.
But as a grade school student he admired fellow classmate Bob Kersey from 249 North Pershing Street. Al noted that he always admired Bob’s steady confidence as well as his academic and athletic abilities as a single-wing quarterback. So when Kersey traveled to Purdue along with Continental teammate Marion “Red” Carter, Emerson’s younger brother, Casey cemented a life-long love for Purdue even though he never attended college. Al reminisced that Kersey became one of the group called the Flying Boilermakers during World War II. He thinks that Kersey was among an initial naval fighter jet escort for the Doolittle Raiders in April 1942. Kersey would eventually marry the widow of a fallen pilot buddy.
Al was sports editor for the Washington High newspaper in 1937-38 where he first began to share his love for sports. About age 13 he had watched as future Purdue three-sport starter, Cliff Baumbach, pulled a long home run over the National Road in 1933. Home plate was located where the 1937 gym’s entrance would be built.
And the Bob Kersey-Red Carter leadership from the fall of 1936 through the early spring of 1938, Al noted, led to a dual-dual with two City Championships in both football and basketball for Washington High.
Al’s mom and dad had come to Indianapolis from Kentucky during the first decade of the 20th century. Older brother Chet, the future Westside lawyer, once was “whipped” by tomboy Georgia Carmichael while walking to Hawthorne School 50 in the early 1920’s. The Carmichael family had moved to 27 North Warman after Georgia’s older brother, Hoagy of musical fame, graduated from Indiana University. Soon the Carmichaels moved to 130 South Neal where Georgia would then walk east down the National Road to School 16 with none other than a young Jim Emerson Carter.
Sitting next to School 30’s Marion Carter in Miss Amy Keen’s Home Room in Continentaland gave Al a chance to debate a comparison between his School 50 buddy, Kersey, and the younger brother of his childhood hero, Red Carter. At different times in American athletic Common Culture the debate was Mays vs. Mantle, Chamberlain vs. Russell, Unitas vs. Starr, Louis vs. Marchiano, and even Manning vs. Brady. But for young Alvin it was a win-win argument. Both Kersey and Carter would star as athletes and students through Washington, Purdue and as World War II heroes.
Classmate-friend Marjorie Ryan attended Butler University and married Jim Hauss. Hauss played football for a young Tony Hinkle and would become line coach for Hink through his last team in 1969. And neighbor Carolyn Kord, class of ’32, would marry Cathedral’s Jack O’Neal, the brother of future Marion County Sheriff Bob.
After graduation Al took a job at Link-Belt on Addison Street and the New York Central RR. Among his many friends at work he was especially happy for the proud mother of 1981 Miss Basketball Cheryl Cook from Washington High. Years earlier he had befriended young Karen Armstrong during the war years. Miss Armstrong had traveled from Mankato, Minnesota seeking a job as the Great Depression was ending. Her connection to Indy was her brother-in-law, Jim Carter. She actually lived with Jim’s parents at 101 S. Elder and walked the three blocks to her new job. Eventually Miss Armstrong would marry Don Cox. Don later became the long-time spotter for NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.
But Al’s May-job at the Motor Speedway began in 1946 and continues through 2010 and has allowed Casey to attain a level of popularity best expressed in the following press release in May, 2009:
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Centennial Era—Fact of the Day:
Alvin Case, 89, is working his 64th Indianapolis 500 this May and is one of the longest-serving employees at the track. Case runs the fire department office located in the infield near Turn 1. He worked for Link-Belt, a chain manufacturing company, from 1939-84, starting in the mail room and retiring as a process engineer. A conversation with Case reveals four loves: the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Purdue University, baseball and his grandkids.
(About his start at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway): “The first two years I worked at the gates and took tickets at Gate 3. I remember the
first year, 1946, the race was half over and we were still taking tickets. The cars were overheated and everything. It was a mess. The next year we took tickets again and, just as the bomb sounded, we heard a horrible noise and just about every motorcycle in Indiana jumped ahead of the crowd. Some of them had tickets and some of them did not. I thought, ‘this isn’t for me.’ Clarence Cagle moved next to me in my apartment complex and we became good friends and he put me on the fire department. I’ve been there ever since. That was in ’48. For maybe 12 years I worked on the track. At that time we had what we called the crash truck and it operated out of the pits. Whenever there was a wreck they’d sound the bell and we jumped on and went around the track. It was not like it is today. It was a little Studebaker that they put fire equipment on. We had a regular fireman that drove it. One time, I think it was 1950, a car caught on fire as it came out of the fourth turn and ended up on the straightaway right before the pits. It was the Brown Motor Car Special. By the time we got all around, the thing had burned up. The owner, he was mad. He said he had spent $19,000 while we were riding around the track. That little old Studebaker wasn’t very fast. From then on, they put out much better trucks. Today, they’ve got them all over the place.”
(About his office role after 1960): “At that time I took attendance because back then we didn’t have these swipe cards. I issued equipment, always kept a count of all of our extinguishers and just ran the office…(now) we’ve got over 1,000 extinguishers…What I liked (was that) our fire office was under the stands right going into the first turn and victory circle, at the time, was right in front of the fire station office. We were practically on the track. All these interesting people would come in. I remember Red Adair, the guy who puts out all these oil fires, he came in. Nicest guy in the world. The favorite was Jim Garner. Joe Garagiola came down here one time and he was really nice. Even when the race would start, before all these new buildings were built, Mari and Tony and young Tony George would come in and stay for a few laps.”
(About growing up on the west side of Indianapolis): “I lived in Speedway, so you had to love racing. I grew up on the west side….and lived in Speedway since 1948. I’m the only one on the fire department from Speedway. Before the war, we came out and watched. If you lived on the west side…..we came out and watched (driver) Billy Arnold and all the big names. My first memory was 1928 or ’29 and Billy Arnold, he was my hero, he won the 1930 race. I met George Souders. He won the race in 1927. I came out to qualifications and practice. It was something.”
(About his love for Purdue): “But I’m a Boilermaker fan number one. I went to Purdue extension, just couldn’t afford to go (to Lafayette). It was the height of the Depression. When I was about 10 years old, Washington High School was brand new then, and (one of our first) graduates went to Purdue. He was a great ballplayer—Jim Carter. He was one of the ‘Touchdown Twins.’ He still holds one record up there. They’re putting a book out on him now. I guess my highlight was when Coach Keady came in and saw us (last year). He came in here and took pictures with us and then sent us a bunch of hats.”
(About his love of baseball and the Dodgers): “Why was I a Dodger fan? I don’t know. I was born and raised right here in Indianapolis. I finally went out to Brooklyn to see them play. And then they moved to LA and they’ve been there for 50 years. For some reason, Duke Snider was always my favorite player, number 4. Every time I’d go gambling or at horse races, I’d bet on No. 4. I kept a record. That sucker has cost me about $1,500 over the years. He’s the only person I’ve ever asked for an autograph for myself. He was so nice. When he went up (to the majors) in ’47, the same time Jackie Robinson did, they both went up for $5,000 a year and they both made the Hall of Fame.”
(About family): “I’ve got two grandchildren and a son and a daughter. In fact, my son-in-law worked 25 years out here. He worked the crash truck out of the fourth turn until three years ago when he thought he should spend more time with his kids. They’re girls who play softball over here in Speedway. Believe it or not, they don’t like it. They like sports but, for some reason, they don’t care for the track. And they live a mile from here. Isn’t that something? But their father sure did. My daughter isn’t interested either.”
(About other highlights at the track): “I got to be honorary starter last year. That was fun. I was scared to death; thought I would fall down between the (pit wall). That was awful nice of them.”
By the 21st century Al has become a “500” icon and was honored in 2006 in celebration of 60 years at the track with a memento including signatures from many national personalities, including broadcaster Brent Musburger.
From Harris Street friend Harry Sullivan (who became Marshall High School’s first AD in 1967 and had been a POW of the Nazi’s in World War II) to the “protector” of Washington High’s Johnny Williams during his many years at IMS, Casey has had a productive and happy life. He’s clearly another Continental success story.