Telford’s Telescope

October 2, 2014


I had meant today’s Telford’s Telescope column to be entirely about my son Steven Telford’s September 20 marriage and the multiethnic heritage of the wedding guests.  However, before I write about Steve’s wedding, I need to say that in my last column about the Detroit Public Schools Sports Hall of Fame dinner at Bert’s Marketplace Restaurant a week earlier wherein I was inducted with Miller High School’s Jocko Hughes, King High’s George “the Iceman” Gervin, Southeastern High’s Marchel McGehee (my former student), and other old-time PSL stars, I listed some track sprinters who should have been inducted with me—and a few of them before me.  Now three readers have reminded me that in that list I overlooked Mackenzie’s Charlie Robinson, Northwestern’s Stan McConnor, Mumford’s James Grace, Kettering’s Deon Hogan, Ford’s Mike Holt, Osborn’s Don Robinson,  and old Eastern’s Willie Atterberry—my 1950s rival with whom I traded wins.   Since I’ve now included them, I should also add Cass Tech’s Paris (Sandy) Whittington, plus Andre Broadnax, Elliott Haskins, and Tom “Outlaw” Jones—all three luminaries whom I coached at Pershing in the 1960s.

Those oversights having been duly noted, let me tell you now about my son’s wonderful wedding at the little White Wedding Chapel in Fraser.  At the advanced age of 48, Steve married Patty LaDuke, a pretty young lady who now adds Scots and English to her Irish/Polish heritage, my father having been born in Scotland—and Steve’s mother, the former Corinna Ditta, being of old Kentucky-English stock.  At the reception at the Fraser Lions’ Club, my first wife Lynn, an Irish girl to whom I was married for 28 philandering years, and Judith—my longtime lady throughout those years—sat at our table with their escorts.  Also seated with us were my Danish/French/Native-American godson Rick and his lady Janice and my Scottish cousin Jeff and his Scottish wife Betsy.  My Russian Jewish wife Adrienne sat on my right, with the Balkan/Polish Judith on my left.  My son’s mother, who had happened to be married to someone other than me when Steve was conceived, also attended with her former Italian in-laws.   My second wife Gina had been close to my son, but she wasn’t invited for fear it would upset Adrienne, a retired DPS principal.   Had Gina attended, she would have been the crowning ornament of multiculturalism around the table, being of African/Irish descent.

When Lynn surveyed the reception seating, she joked to me, “If Gina had been invited, you’d have nearly your entire harem sitting around this table!”  For a moment I feared her edgy observation that two of my former lovers and one former wife were present at the festivities—and that my second wife Gina’s presence would have made my ‘harem’ nearly complete—might anger Adrienne.  If it did, she didn’t show it—and a good time was had by all (except for my 40-year-year-old daughter Katherine, who attended the wedding but not the reception).  Nor did Katherine bring my granddaughter Tori or my grandson RJ, because her relationship with me remains semi-inexplicably strained.

All of this drama brings to mind my 1998 poem entitled ‘On Philandering’:

Unfaithfully meandering / Toward practicing philandering / Has four extremely hurtful sides / That will not sit well with your brides: / One of them portends, of course, / The chance that you may well divorce; / Two’s the gladless, gloomy badness / That there’ll be some tears and sadness; / Three’s the chance that your friends’ wives / Might decide they want to ‘pound’ you; / Four’s the fact that during their lives, / They won’t want their spouse around you. / (These are wives who think the practice / Hooks their husbands like a cactus.)  

Be all that as it may, Steve and Patty’s wedding proved itself a truly joyous affair.  Also, I’m sure that Steve will be a far more faithful husband than for many years was his father.


An NCAA All-American quarter-miler in 1957, Dr. John Telford is also a recent DPS Superintendent. Four of his explosive books are available on Amazon, including Poetic Prancings, which features hundreds of his poems, including the one in this column.  His website is  Contact him at (313)460-8272 or at  to invite him to speak  or to sponsor or appear on his Sunday afternoon show at 4:30 on NewsTalk1200. 

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