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Unformatted text preview: f them I never knew what was next. In the announcement, under my smiling face, was my new name. Willie Traynor. I was horrified. I had never dreamed of anyone calling me Willie. I went to a prep school in Memphis and then to college in New York, and I had never met a person named Willie. I wasn't a good ole boy. I drove a Triumph Spitfire and had long hair. What would I tell my fraternity brothers at Syracuse? What would I tell BeeBee? After hiding in my apartment for two days, I mustered the courage to confront Spot and demand he do something. I wasn't sure what, but he'd made the mistake and he could damned well fix it. I marched into theTimes office and bumped into Davey Bigmouth Bass, the sports editor of the paper. "Hey, cool name," he said. I followed him into his office, seeking advice. "My name's not Willie," I said. "It is now." "My name's Will." "They'll love you around here. A smart-ass from up North with long hair and a little imported sports car. Hell, folks'll think you're pretty cool with a name like Willie. Think of Joe Willie." "Who's Joe Willie?" Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abclit.html "Joe Willie Namath." "Oh him." "Yeah, he's a Yankee like you, from Pennsylvania or some place, but when he got to Alabama he went from Joseph William to Joe Willie. The girls chased him all over the place." I began to feel better. In 1970, Joe Namath was probably the most famous athlete in the country. I went for a drive and kept repeating "Willie." Within a couple of weeks the name was beginning to stick. Everybody called me Willie and seemed to feel more comfortable because I had such a down-to-earth name. I told BeeBee it was just a temporary pseudonym. - --- TheTimes was a very thin paper, and I knew immediately that it was in trouble. Heavy on the obits, light on news and advertising. The employees were disgruntled, but quiet and loyal. Jobs were scarce in Ford County in 1970. After a week it was obvious ev...
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- Spring '10