Back in 1962, I was 9 years old and a huge fan of the Maple Leafs.
My oldest sister was a stewardess (nowadays called “flight attendants”) with TransCanada Airlines, the forerunner to Air
. On occasion she would come across famous people in her travels. (I seem to recall a wonderful picture of her with the very popular actor Gregory Peck.) Canada
But much more of interest to me in those days was when she would encounter hockey players. She was on a flight with Gordie Howe and Johnny Bower one time. The two great NHL’ers and western Canadian boys were fishing buddies, so I’m guessing she met them on a flight out to western
one summer in the early 1960s. In any event, she asked for—and received—personalized autographs for me from both future Hall-of-Famers. (They each signed one of those great old posed pictures that the team would have supplied them with for just such an occasion…I've included a neat old photo above of Howe and Bower in action in the NHL All-Star game from probably October of 1963.) Canada
I held on to those for years and years, yet, somehow, over the past decade or so, they’re just….gone—nowhere to be found.
But the big coup (this was huge) was the time she was on a flight with the entire Maple Leaf team in 1962, the year the Leafs began their run of four Stanley Cups in only six seasons.
Great stuff. I was so excited when she gave it to me.On a single piece of paper, she was able to garner the autographs of the entire team— Mahovlich, Keon, Armstrong, Imlach (the coach and GM), everyone.
I know I must have kept the piece of paper in some special spot. I say this because the spot was so special, at some point thereafter I was never able to locate that piece of paper again.
It is a tremendous memory (and a bit painful). I’m sure there would be some monetary value in such an item today in the world of memorabilia. Mostly, it would just be really nice to have, this many years later.
I have to believe (I want to believe!) I’m not the only guy this sort of thing has happened to. (My fault, for sure, but I’m guessing I’m not completely alone.)
If you’ve ever had this kind of experience, send your memories along (even if you’ve been wise enough to hold on to those treasured autographs…)
But I’m still hoping some of you will acknowledge you messed up, too!