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Tue., Oct. 8, 2013, midnight

Writing your parents’ lives

Paul Merkel for Endnotes (Courtesy Walline / The Spokesman-Review)
Paul Merkel for Endnotes (Courtesy Walline / The Spokesman-Review)

In Monday's Boomer U, we ran an excerpt of the book Rain Delayed by Linda Merkel Walline. Her father Paul Merkel led a Whitworth College baseball team to a national championship in 1960, against great odds and on a shoestring budget.

Walline researched and wrote the book in her spare time and self-published it. It's a fascinating read because she captures the era her father grew up in, which led to choices he was forced to make. For instance:

He was good enough that he had his eye on obtaining a baseball scholarship from Washington State University, anticipating that a successful stint at WSU would provide his best opportunity to one day play professional ball. He initiated contact with the head coach and sent letters of reference, including an impressive tally of his accomplishments and leadership positions throughout high school...But my father had underestimated the strength of purpose with which his mother, a fundamentalist Christian widow and stern disciplinarian, approached the idea of her son attending college.She had forbidden him to play on any summer league team sponsored by a town tavern and had no intention of permitting her son to attend a state university, athletic scholarship or not. No, Whitworth was the college she had chosen for him; the fact that Whitworth did not have a baseball program in 1940 did little to deter her resolve.

If you were to research and write one key event in your parents' lives, what would it be?

(Photo of Paul Merkel courtesy of Linda Merkel Walline)

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