Famous attorney Jack Norman retired from practicing law in 1981 but often wrote articles in both the Tennessean and Nashville Banner about his memories of his hometown. Born in Nashville in 1904, his “The Passing of the Nashville I Knew” appeared on a regular basis in the Banner and led to the publication of “The Nashville I Knew” (Norman, Sr., Jack. Nashville: Rutledge Hill Press, 1984).
Fred Russell wrote in the Foreword, “Jack Norman looked back over the years, his zest for life undiminished and reasoned that Nashville was just about the best place on earth, with some of the most vibrating chords of remembrance.”
Each chapter of Norman’s book is written in snapshots of Nashville life that few would remember today; Nashville citizens with an attachment to his descriptions are long-gone. His recollections follow one-after-another as if each step he ever took had a memory attached to it, and he relates each one in rapid-fire recall.
On page 25 and continuing through page 27 in a section with the heading, “Old Sulphur Dell”, our friend Jack reminisces as if the ballpark still existed at the time of his writing.
The “pass-gate”, rightfield dump, batboy Mickey Kreitner and players are all there. Sports writers “Blinkey” Horn and Ralph McGill, managers Roy Ellam, Jimmy Hamilton, and Larry Gilbert, and club owner Fay Murray are all there, too, as is an entry about a man walking with two jugs of sulphur water from Morgan Park.
The most telling description of Sulphur Dell goes like this:
“What a great part the old park had played in the entertainment and pleasure of Nashville. How it had helped to relieve the strains and pressures of a young city.
“How its benefits were available to even those with small incomes. How clean and wholesome were its contributions. How satisfied we were with such simple things.
“As the deer and buffalo had gone there for the pleasure of sulphur and salt, Nashville had gone there for the pleasure and relaxation of our national pastime.”
Entertainment and pleasure; relieving the strains and pressures; benefits of those with small incomes; satisfaction with simple things; the pleasure and relaxation; our national pastime.”
These are things that wise Jack Norman knew about his Sulphur Dell. We must know them in our Sulphur Dell, too.
© 2014 by Skip Nipper. All Rights Reserved.