While StoryCorps’ new team of Facilitators and Site Supervisors were training in our Brooklyn Office, our two Mobile Booths were preparing for their next stops in Fort Wayne, IN (East Booth) and La Crosse, WI (West Booth). Working with the Mobile East Team in Fort Wayne during their first week of recordings, I facilitated a conversation between business and life partners Harriet Miller and Monica Wehrle who talked about organizing an exhibition game with the former players of the Fort Wayne Daisies in their efforts to promote equality for women through the Fort Wayne Women’s Bureau.
A week later I joined our West Booth Team, new Site Supervisor Eloise Mezler and new Facilitator Jackie Sojico, for Opening Day in La Crosse, where we are partnering with WLSU Wisconsin Public Radio and the La Crosse Public Library in downtown.
One of our first participants during that week of recordings was Susan Colliton, who came in to interview her friend and co-worker Dolly Vanderlip. Dolly, it turns out, was a Fort Wayne Daisy.
“Lippy,” as she was known by her teammates when she joined the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, grew up in Charlotte, NC, and signed her contract with the Fort Wayne Daisies when she was 14.
During her interview, she remembered their uniforms: Miniskirts, socks to your knees, and spikes, shoulder-length hair, and make-up. “They wanted feminine women playing baseball,” she said with a grin, though according to her, by the time she signed up the League had relaxed some of their rules and the women no longer had to attend charm school-like classes, as the older players had done.
“We didn’t have to go, because we were already charming,” she’d tease some of her older teammates at later reunions. “When we see each other we always give each other a hard time,” she told Susan.
It’s this sense of camaraderie, and the opportunity to meet different people, living and working together as they traveled around the U.S. that became one of her favorite things about playing in the League. “I liked the team thing.”
In addition to pitching for the Fort Wayne Daisies, Dolly also played for the South Bend Blue Sox and has had the chance to reunite with former teammates on various occasions.
We look forward to hearing many more stories like Dolly’s while in La Crosse and are thrilled to be working with many local community organizations. Our Mobile West team will be doing recording here through August 7th, 2010.