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Not Just a Game for a Fan, 102

March 12, 1989|DICK RORABACK

By rights, she should be a Cleveland fan. At any rate, she was born during Grover's Administration--the first term, mind (1885-89), not the second go-round (1893-97).

As it turns out, though, Rose Mitchell, 102, is a remarkably rabid Dodger supporter. Wouldn't miss a game, radio or TV. "They'll win again this year," predicts Rose, a recent resident of St. Elizabeth's Toluca Lake Convalescent Hospital in North Hollywood (a "clean, friendly" affiliate of Holy Cross Medical Center, Rose says; "I never thought I'd like this kind of place, but there's nothing like it. I have my own radio here, my TV, my telephone, my own little kingdom. Not very big, but it's great").

But back to baseball. The Dodgers will win the Series, she says, "because they have to. I'm living for the season. I can't wait."

Rose is a Laker fan as well--with a custom-made jersey sporting the number 102, a birthday gift. "I don't know basketball as well as baseball," she confesses, "but my grandson says, 'Grandma, just follow the ball. . . .' "

Baseball, though, is something else. "I've been a fan since I retired; what was it, 25 or 30 years ago?" And she follows the Dodgers daily. "We went crazy here when they won last year," but she's still a little miffed by an off-season trade. "(Steve) Sax was my favorite. No more, of course. Now I'm just rooting for Tommy. I guess."

An Iowan who came to California in 1927, Rose worked 35 years as a seamstress for Bullock's, who "retired me at 77. Wouldn't let me ride the escalators. Afraid I'd fall or something, and die. So when I retired I rode all the escalators in town--except at Bullock's."

As for President Grover Cleveland, she remembers his second term but he was far from her favorite. "Theodore Roosevelt," she says, " there was a man. Now he could get things done. There's nothing wrong with the world today that they couldn't straighten out by resurrecting Teddy."

Celebrities Give Them a Run for the Money in Marathon

Marathon afterword: The Celebrity Team ran for charity, of course, but also for bragging rights, and when the smoke cleared, it was still Sandbag City.

Before the race, Jack Scalia ("Dallas") swore he was out of shape. Two-time winner Brian Clarke ("General Hospital") said, " Sure he is! Like last year, when he almost ran me down." Ernest Hardin Jr., a character actor, told Clarke, "Oh, I don't run much. I haven't really trained at all." Clarke, ever solicitous, offered pointers: "Don't go out too fast. Watch those hills. . . ." Reigning women's champ Susan Walters ("Nightingales") denied any rivalry with Jo Ann Willette ("Just the Ten of Us"); both said it would be nice just to finish the race."

In brutal heat for a marathon, Willette ran the race of her life, nipping Walters by 4:35.35 to 4:36.52. Buck Taylor ("Gunsmoke") stole the show by clocking 3:37.14 at the age of 50. Scalia, who wasn't woofing, ran 3:44.43. And Clarke, whose mile times had wilted to 8 1/2 minutes, looked up at Mile 25 to see a relatively peppy Hardin cruising by. Clarke, an old (36) football player, somehow found another gear, ran the last mile in 6:35, passed no fewer than 50 other runners in the burst and finished 626th (of 18,000 starters) overall: 3:09.37 to Hardin's 3:10.58.

"It felt like someone had shot me in the legs," Clarke said. "That's it for me. Next year I'm going to find someone who wants to run a 3:30 and I'm going to run beside him, helping him. I'm going to chat with the fans, wave to the people. . . ."

Sandbag City.

BRAVO: Three Art Teachers Have a Brush With Excellence

One was a short-order cook and a carnival clown, and has crossed Mongolia's Gobi Desert on the back of a camel. Another, in her spare time, shepherds tours into China, Nepal and Bhutan. A third migrated from Missouri to Rhode Island and finally to California, where she is busy raising "my own ballerina, 9-year-old Erin May."

Respectively, they are Taffy Patton, Phila McDaniel and Barrie Becker; what they have in common are the Music Center's 1988 BRAVO Awards for excellence in arts education, presented last week at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

Patton, who teaches at Pacoima's Vena Magnet School, won the award in the general-education category. The vote in the arts-specialist category was tied between McDaniel, who teaches art at Gardena High School, and Becker, who instructs in ballet, modern dance, jazz dance drama and social studies at Dorothy Kirby Center School, located within a Los Angeles County juvenile-detention facility.

Of her sixth-grade art class, Patton says, "I am content knowing that Manuel's gang isn't quite so important any more, that Brian is doing his homework, that Sarah is becoming braver. . . . The arts have made their worlds a brighter, more accepting, place to be."

McDaniel has "adopted an Asian idea that all of the arts are equal, the art of the past as well as the present. . . . A key is to let children know the joy of creating art. My thrill is to see what some of my students have done."

"The last thing a student has on his or her mind upon entering Kirby Center is taking a dance class," says Becker, "but there's an artist in all of us that needs to grow and develop. I've seen the joy and the wonder . . . As one girl said to me: 'It's kind of hard to go back to being a car thief after you've been 'Sleeping Beauty' . . .' "

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