Herm Weiskopf is the kind of man of whom, when something good happens to him, people say, "Couldn't happen to a nicer guy." They're right, too. Something good has been happening lately to Weiskopf, and we'd like to tell you about it.
Weiskopf is a gentle, taciturn, modest sort and, for that reason, not too easy to get to know. He's been with us for 22 years and has written features on a wide variety of subjects, but mostly he does the weekly roundups that we run on baseball, college basketball and college football—a task requiring specialized journalistic skills at which Weiskopf, we believe, has few peers.
The job obliges him to work late into Sunday night and, often, well into the wee hours of Monday, when we close many of the magazine's pages. Rather than drive or take the bus to Lahaska, Pa., where he and his family live—a trip of two-plus hours—Weiskopf stays at a hotel in the city, so he can easily get back to the office at 10 a.m. on Monday. For many years now, his favorite hotel has been the Royalton, on 44th Street in Manhattan.
The Royalton is an aging (built at the turn of the century) establishment with a personality that matches Weiskopfs—unassuming, decorous, tidy. The interior runs to nooks and crannies and odd-shaped rooms, and the front floor is locked at midnight; a guest must identify himself before he is allowed in by the night clerk. That worthy is 74-year-old Gordon Hope, who lives in a tiny one-room apartment on the top floor, from which he can step out onto the roof and take the sun on pleasant days. Gordon also takes a drink; indeed, he believes that Irish coffee will cure most, if not all, of man's ills.
Over the years, slowly, as befits these two men, Weiskopf and Hope have gotten to know something of each other. Weiskopf knows that Hope's father was vice-president of the Jersey Central Railroad and that Hope lost about $500,000 in the crash of '29. Hope knows that Weiskopf works very late on Sunday nights and often, too tired to seek out a restaurant that's still open, goes straight to the Royalton and to bed—hungry.
One Sunday night a few months ago when Weiskopf checked in, Hope ushered him up to his top-floor apartment—for a superb late dinner of chilled lobster. A friend of Hope's had dropped by the Royalton that afternoon with a sack of lobsters. Hope had prepared them, eaten some and saved the rest for Weiskopf.
Since then Hope frequently has tossed Weiskopf the apartment key when he has checked in and sent him up for a satisfying meal after a long day's—and night's—work at the typewriter. Anyone whose occupation condemns him to similar lonely, bleary-eyed 4-a.m. bedtimes will appreciate the pleasure in this. Twice Weiskopf has savored Hope's filet mignon and several times a concoction of beef with every vegetable known to man, including okra, which Weiskopf calls Hopeless Stew. And while Hope was in Florida recently, on a brief vacation, Weiskopf stayed in the top-floor apartment on Sunday nights. At no charge, of course.
Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.