In Memory

Jan Good

Jan Good

MY FRIEND JAN (from Bill Gaines)

 None go back farther than Jan Good and I do.

 Jan was one of my first special friends. I can’t really remember where we first met, but my guess would be on a basketball court.  In the fifth and sixth grade, and probably 7thgrade, too, Jan was what I wanted to be, as a  basketball player. The only thing that kept Jan from being my equal, or better, in basketball later in high school, was the fact that he did not grow in height.. His skill level and talent early in life, helped me become a better player. I loved Jan Good; but didn’t know it until he died, off North Main Street, in a trailer park at Forest Park shopping Center. How I would love to see him again.

 Jan was a student of ALL sports. He loved Frank Robinson, or as Jan would say, quickly with emphasis, ”Frank ROBISON”-- with exactly that spelling. He also loved Jimmy Brown--the best running back in the history of the game!

 Jan and I were famous for skipping school at Van Cleve Grade School every year, in order to stay home to watch the REDS on Opening Day! It was un-American to miss Opening Day in Cincinnati! Jan’s mother would always let us stay at her house to watch the game--then, after the game, Jan and I would go down from his house on Mary Avenue, to Mary Park to play whiffle-ball, or baseball, with a tennis ball. We’d pretend we were Wally Post, Gus Bell or Roy McMillan. I think the school called my mother when I was in the eighth grade, the day following Opening Day. Must have been the first “Gotcha”!

 Jan and I played basketball at Van Cleve for Jim Begley during our seventh grade. In the eighth grade we played for Nick Nicholas, who had played guard at Miami University. Coach Nicholas in trying to get us to concentrate on our free throws, at the end of each practice, challenged us with this: “The first guy who makes 10 free throws in a row can pick one friend and go out with me for a steak dinner”! The only one who did it was Jan--and he picked me to go with him! I think Coach Nick lives in Sarasota now.

 Jan taught me many ways to avoid getting “educated” at Van Cleve. One way was a “football game” he invented, which required a wadded spitball paper, which had to be “kicked” with your finger, through the “uprights” formed by your opponent’s {Jan}, thumbs and forefinger’s. It was a great game until your “kick” landed in a girls hair, and the teacher saw it. It was truly amazing that I ever graduated from there.

 Jan and I, with Dick Dillon, of Chaminade pitching fame, went to Cincinnati on a bus for physicals to be drafted into the armed services, when I was not in college. The very last doctor I went to asked, “Is their anything else you want me to know about?” I said, “Well, this ankle doesn’t bend as well as the other does.” My football injury at Eastern made me 4-f, which kept me out of Vietnam. The very last doctor! Neither Jan nor Dick passed, either. None of us really realized what we avoided.

Jan was not college educated, which in my opinion, doesn’t always indicate wisdom, or lack thereof. Jan Good was liked by many people.  He was good at people skills. He didn’t really find himself, until he went to work for Tuffy Brooks Sporting Goods in their sales department. A perfect fit.

 He had his buddies.  Drinking buddies… Bank Cocktail Lounge, Ivy Lounge, North Town Bar. Many of them were softball buddies, too. Jan played a lot of softball through the years. He was very knowledgeable about THAT game, too. Anyone who played it understood the differences between it and baseball. You had to play a lot of it, to be efficient at it.

 Jan and I lost touch a few times through the years, but we would somehow always reconnect. I played for his softball team at the” Bank”; and would stop in to see him, at his Mom and Dad’s place, where he lived for many years, since he never married.

 Then, during one of those times when we lost touch, I heard through the grapevine, that Jan was found dead in the trailer that he lived in near the North Town Bar off North Main Street. I have often been saddened, by imagining what had occurred-- and wondering if he had died completely alone, and why…

 Jan was always my friend. One can always tell who are their real friends. Rest easy Jan, I hope to see you again someday.

 Bill Gaines