“Bobby, you have to get out of this crowd. You can do more with your life. You can say those big words.” It was best friend Carmine Cresenta giving Dean a heart-to-heart talk.
Following high school Dean was part of a crowd that moved from Herm & Lou’s luncheonette on Broadway in Passaic to Leo’s Bar and Grill across the street. Most of the so-called “crowd” were lovable, Passaic “dese, dems and does” guys.
Phil Vance, whom I met in the Public Information Office in Bad Kreuznach, Germany in 1954, enjoyed many of the privileges growing up that Dean didn’t, but somehow they bonded and formed a friendship which would last for more than 65 years.
Phil, who was born in Springfield, Illinois and did post-graduate work at the University of Oslo, was non-standard. He had everyone in the PIO office convinced, including Dean, that he was Norwegian; he pretended not to understand any instruction he was given with which he did not agree.
Meeting and having Phil and Jan Carlsson as friends, combined with Dean’s Army experiences in Germany, was a gift, a Divinely Inspired education in itself.
Watch for more stories of Divinely Inspired events. Also learn how, in just a few hours a week, as numerous studies have shown, the sport of table tennis can provide the exercises needed to add years to your life.
Also watch for Dean’s new book A Table For Two launching in May.