Jack Baker was a San Francisco fencer and administrator. He was instrumental in the growth of Nor Cal into the largest division outside Metro New York. Jack fenced at just about every club in the area at some point and was both well-loved and highly respected. Southern California’s Cavaliers Fencers Club once bestowed upon him the “Most Honored Opponent” award as voted by their members. He was a member of the US National Sabre team championship squad with Pannonia Athletic Club in 1962 alongside teammates Gerard Biagini, Dan Magay and Alex Orban and also held positions in the then-AFLA national governing board. Upon his death, Jack left almost half a million dollars to the AFLA. One of the USFA’s Hall of Fame service awards is named in his honor.
The Latin meaning of that, according to Google Translate, is “Wine of the Spirit”. As a philistine in the ways of Latin, I’ll have to accept it. No clue. Truly.
A number of people over the years have done impersonations of the inimitable Hans Halberstadt and they range wide in both style and substance. Charlie Selberg knew Hans well and would often quote him during fencing lectures or footwork drills.
Some interesting pieces of memorabilia got floated in front of me and I had to scramble to collect all the loose change under the floor mats in my car and count out pennies from the change jar, but I couldn’t resist making a deal for them.
There is nothing in the world quite like Jerry Biagini’s greeting to me when I visited him about two weeks ago. Me: “Mr. Biagini, how are you?” Jerry: “I’m 90 years old and cranky!”
It’s so much fun to have your expectations and assumptions blown to bits. That happened to me this week when I had the great fortune to meet the daughter of long-time Letterman fencer Colonel Laurance Brownlee.
In the woods of Southern Oregon off a dirt road and across a valley from the winding I-5 was a fencing salle d’armes built by Charlie Selberg in an old barn. It was stuffed to the rafters with fencing memorabilia dating back decades.
As a member of the Hall of Fame committee for USA Fencing, I get a chance to participate in the annual ritual of determining, in the fairest way possible, who is to be considered for inclusion into that prestigious body. But in the long run, just like every member of USA Fencing, I only get one vote.
Harold Hayes of The Pacific Fencing Club on Alameda Island, Oakland, CA has been a generous contributor of cool things for the Archive. Among other things, he transferred possession of two long boxes of material he received from Mary “Demi” Huddleson, past editor of...
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