"Every day is heavy. Runs the gamut of all subjects. Other than letters pertaining to business, my correspondence is from all ages. From people in all walks of life—some from inmates of penal institutions—people with problems, etc. etc....
"Try to keep current with reading material.
"Attempting to write my autobiography."
Apropos of the latter, it all seems like only yesterday. Events of, say, 1909 or 1932 are recalled as clearly as those of Tuesday past. References to the present Bears, whoever they are, are trotted out in the same tone employed for the tales of Red Grange or Bronko Nagurski. Moreover, because Papa Bear has an extraordinary ability to recall all street addresses he has ever visited in "Ellanoy" (the state Chicago is located in), his discourse has a distinct tour-guide ring. It is distracting, in the same way the Old Testament would be if it were studded with such workaday postal minutiae: 84 North Pharaoh Court, Horeb; 2163 Tabernacle Blvd., Jericho; and so on.
Also, whatever Papa Bear thinks of Chicago sports journalism, he has been reading it for so long that his speech has taken on the properties thereof. In Halasian argot, people of all ages really do hail from all walks of life; America, a football hotbed, is that part of God's green earth which stretches from coast to coast; one's heart goes out to the less fortunate; athletics formulate character, as they have produced the stars of yesteryear, and have also given us the stars of today (the Bears themselves are coming of age under Finks, who is as sharp as a tack). Then, too, Halas can communicate in other subcultures when that is required, e.g., "Forget the roll-overs. I'm just interested in the Double A, with a minimum of eight and a quarter." Not for nothing was Papa Bear also known as the Bland Bohemian. Maybe this is how you get to 82, memory unimpaired.
It is easy to forget that this man across the desk is a certified institution. Papa Bear was tackled by Jim Thorpe and struck out by Walter Johnson. He played six games in right field for the Yankees in 1919 (the Babe settled in that very realty the next season), and Halas was also there in Canton, Ohio, sitting on a running board in a Hupmobile showroom on Sept. 17, 1920 when pro football was created. It was a Friday, one of the last things to be created in just one day. And this fellow across the desk was right there, live. Then Papa Bear won 326 games, 12 more than Stagg, more than anyone in the history of the pros or the colleges. He is the only man Vince Lombardi would embrace and one of the few he would call Coach.
Coach, what makes a good coach?
"Complete dedication," Papa Bear declares straightaway. And another surprise: "He must know football." Hmmm. "And he must apply himself. And he must have the right temperament."
Which is what?