Didrikson Zaharias entered the hospital recently with new complications in her
continuing struggle with cancer, she and her husband George received Joan Flynn
Dreyspool at their Tampa, Florida home. This is the story of that visit, a warm
and moving picture of the great woman athlete's happy marriage, and of her
quiet and courageous battle with the illness which so unexpectedly struck her
down in her prime.
George Zaharias cautioned. "Babe is sleeping. Yesterday we went to St. Pete
to the Ladies' PGA. Babe presented the prizes. When she walked up on the green,
they all applauded for the longest time, the kind of applause that makes goose
pimples—and Babe had 'em.
"She wants to
go everywhere," he added, "but she pays for it."
His gaze strayed
frequently to a black intercommunicating box in the kitchen wall of the
Zahariases' modern redwood ranch house in Tampa, Fla. A similar black box was
at his wife's bedside. When she awakened, she would call him.
designed this whole works here," he said, lighting a fire under the
The kitchen was
big, airy, bright; full of copper and knotty pine and electric appliances. A
round, Lazy Susan breakfast table was placed by a bay window that looked out on
a patio and green lawn sloping into a small lake. To the right, a brassie shot
away, was the Tampa Golf and Country Club which the Zahariases once owned but
sold when the Babe became ill.
was finished around June last year," Zaharias said. "We lived in it a
week and had to leave. We were in the hospital ever since and just got back a
couple of weeks ago. We were back once before for a month, and then she had to
go away again."
wrestler spoke softly, quietly. His poised, ingratiating manner and the easy
fluidity of his speech seemed in strange contrast to his ponderous size and
drinking out of that Spode," he observed, pouring the coffee. "Babe
loves that Spode. Must have been 17—18—years ago, I said to her, 'What's the
matter with that other kind of dishes?'
" 'This is
the kind I want,' she said."