"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
My mother spent her childhood on Lake Quinsigamond, in Worcester, Mass., where her father was steward at a club, and where many rowing regattas have been held over the years. According to family lore, my uncle as a boy served as a mascot for the great Jack Kelly Sr., and it's possible, as the rowing nationals were held at Lake Quinsigamond in 1919 and 1920.
The oft-told story of Jack Kelly, Sr., is that the Irish-American bricklayer from Philadelphia, finest oarsman of his day, was not allowed to row in England's gentlemanly Henley Regatta in 1920 because he worked with his hands.
At that summer's Olympic Games in Antwerp, he beat the Henley champion for the gold in the single sculls, and a half-hour later rowed to a second gold in the double sculls. He is said to have then mailed his green racing cap to England's King George V with the message, "Greetings from a bricklayer."
He went on to make millions as a contractor. His son, Jack Kelly Jr., twice won the Diamond sculls race at Henley, avenging the snub of a generation before.
And his daughter, Grace, of course, went on to become princess of Monaco.
Turns out the legend may be only partly true, but it’s a wonderful story, nonetheless.