Bob Wheeler’s Return

This week Jim Thorpe’s biographer returned to Carlisle to pick up his new suit. Mose Blumenthal was a tailor at the Carlisle Indian School and also outfitted students in civilian clothes at his haberdashery, The Capital.  Today that store is operated by Freddie Wardecker and sports Indian School memorabilia on its walls. My hope was that in the basement or attic Freddie would find a suit of the style worn by Jim Thorpe for Bob. But that wasn’t to be.  Bob had to settle for a dark business suit that is appropriate for almost any occasion. He topped it off with a Lone Star Dietz signature tie that is perfect for wearing at book talks. It should also be a hit in his home state of Texas. Although photos were taken they can’t be posted because they turned out too dark, probably due to photographer error.

While in town Bob and Florence visited several sites related to Jim Thorpe. Their first stop was Carlisle Barracks to see the former Indian School buildings and, of course, Indian Field. It was too late in the day for taking photographs so Bob returned the next day before leaving town. Prior to visiting the graveyard we mistakenly thought the graves were all of students who died while attending the school. However, we noticed that a couple of rows of the graves appeared to be for soldiers who had been stationed at Carlisle Barracks. Surprisingly, some of the dates on a few of the tombstones were relatively recent, after the Indian School had closed. Sadly, most of the grave markers contained little information about the person. Having more information would helpful. For instance, one marker only provides the name, Paul Wheelock. From researching a cousin who played football and was a pallbearer for Paul, I know that he was the infant son of Bandmaster Dennison Wheelock. Did the baby’s death cause the father to leave Carlisle or was it coincidental with another opportunity arising? The shortage of information makes it difficult to answer that question.

Bob and Florence also visited Whistlestop Bookshop and Cumberland County Historical Society. It would be great if we could get Bob, Flo and our local folks to coordinate a talk the next time they are in town. I, for one, hope we don’t have to wait until next tennis season.

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