“We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.”
MartinLuther King 1963
One day more than 25 years ago, my Dad picked me up from my college apartment and asked if I’d help him with a project.
“I need to find Lionel,” he said.
Dad had heard a report that Lionel was homeless and living on the streets of Milwaukee. Though we spent that afternoon visiting Milwaukee homeless shelters looking for him, we did not find him that day. The shelters took my Dad’s contact information, though, and a short time later my Dad reunited with his old friend.
From that day until his own death in 1993, my Dad kept close tabs on Lionel, a gifted speaker whose battles with schizophrenia have been well documented.
We last saw Willie Davis at the Packer Alumni Brunch earlier this year. The only surviving member of the line greeted us with a big smile and a hug.
I think often about how fortunate these men were to play during the Glory Years, when they lined up against a backdrop of such tumultuous historical events but alongside the same fellows year after year.There are all kinds of ways to measure a team’s success and, in the number of rings they wore and friendships they maintained, the 1960’s Packers topped them all.
|This Packer defensive line played together for six consecutive years.|
|Lionel Aldridge sat with my dad at my 1987 wedding.|
|Here is Willie Davis with my nephew Michael Kostelnik
at the Alumni Brunch earlier this season.