Reflections from the Dome

Gipp on the practice field with Eddie Anderson and a friend from home, O.J. Larson.

Gipp on the practice field with Eddie Anderson and a friend from home, O.J. Larson.

 

This is the real story of the Gipper.
by John U. Bacon
The Detroit News

George Gipp is one of the most legendary athletes of this century - and perhaps the most misunderstood. His brief life - which included an outstanding football career at Notre Dame - was filled with devilment and virtue, and eventually crushing heartbreak from the one woman he could not have.

The man most responsible for building Notre Dame's tradition was Knute Rockne. And the player most responsible for making Rockne famous was George Gipp, more commonly known as "the Gipper. "

Thanks in part to the famous phrase "Win one for the Gipper," and a 1940 movie starring Ronald Reagan, George Gipp is one of the most legendary athletes of this century - and perhaps the most misunderstood. The many myths of Gipp are undoubtedly entertaining, but the reality is often far more captivating.

George Gipp was more human than the sanitized, one-dimensional character Reagan portrayed, and deeper than the hard-living anti-hero revisionists have created since. Gipp's brief life was filled with devilish habits and angelic gestures, athletic heroism and crushing heartbreak. His death was preceded by a private act of honor, and followed by a national outpouring of grief.

This is the real story of George Gipp.

Fact and fiction

First, the facts: George Gipp was born on Feb. 18, 1895, in Laurium, Mich., located on the Keweenaw Peninsula, five minutes from Calumet. He enrolled at Notre Dame in 1916, earned four varsity letters in football, and died on December 14, 1920.

The 1940 movie, "Knute Rockne: All-American," solidified Gipp's reputation as an outstanding natural athlete and a clean-living character.

They got it half right: George Gipp was truly a phenomenal athlete, and he looked the part, standing 6 feet talI and weighing 180 pounds. He could run the 100-yard dash in 10.1 seconds, throw the old oblong football 50 yards accurately and drop-kick it 60 yards through the goal posts. He was also an excellent basketball and hockey player, and even won a gold watch for ballroom dancing. His best sport however, was baseball. "My buddies and I used to look through the knot-holes in the fence of the ballpark to watch Gipp play for the Calumet Aristocrats (a semipro team)," William John Foster, 88, a Calumet historian, said last week. "He was terrific. He could move, I'll tell ya. We idolized him."

Lillian Gipp Pritty, 80, is the daughter of Gipp's oldest brother, Alexander. 'I remember my dad telling me there wasn't anything Uncle George couldn't do, and do better, than the other guy," she says. 'Uncle George could throw a ball from his knees at home plate with just his wrist all the way to second base, and the second baseman would say, 'Hey, Gipp, not so hard!'"

Although Calumet had a number of athletes who went on to play for college and pro teams, Gipp was the best in every sport - and without much effort.

The devil's workshop

'He was quite a lazy guy," says Manilla Gipp, 94, who married one of Gipp's cousins. "My husband had to get him out of bed to play baseball games."

George Gipp was the seventh of eight children bom to Isabella and Matthew Gipp, a Baptist preacher [Editors note: There is debate on this question. Most believe Gipp's father was a decon of his church, but not an actual minister]. Gipp was considered very bright, but his grades at Calumet High were so bad he never earned a diploma or even a varsity letter. When he wasn't sleeping or playing ball, Gipp liked to smoke, drink, play cards and shoot pool. "George lived a very high life," says Ruth Maynard, 88, who still lives on Gipp's old street in Laurium. "He didn't take care of himself."

The revisionists who've written about Gipp's freewheeling lifestyle as a Notre Dame student generally assume he fell into those habits when he was blinded by the "big city lights" of South Bend, Indiana.

In fact, the opposite is true: when Gipp left Houghton County for South Bend in 1916, he left a booming area of almost 90,000 people for a town about half as big.

The first mining boom in the United States wasn't the California gold rush of 1849 but the Michigan copper rush of 1844. >From the Civil War to the turn of the century, Michigan produced 70 percent of the nation's copper, with Calumet generating more than half the state's total.

The place where Gipp grew up was like the Wild West, plus culture. Houghton County's population exploded from 9,000 in 1860 to almost 90,000 by 1910. The county had 10 trains a day going to and from cities like Milwaukee, Chicago and Detroit. It had 20 papers in four languages, seven theaters, two opera houses and street cars running every fifteen minutes.

The area attracted such luminaries as John Phillip Sousa and actress Sarah Bernhardt. Civic leaders could also boast 30 churches, 30 schools and 60 bars - ratios that suited Gipp's lifestyle.

In the midst of unprecedented prosperity, the miners went on strike in 1913, which marked the beginning of the end. The strike lasted nine months, culminating in disaster.

On Christmas Eve, 1913, the strikers packed a local hall for a holiday party. The revelry was interrupted when somebody yelled "Fire!" The alarm was false, but the resulting panic was real. Hundreds of people ran to escape, but there were only two doors and they opened inward. When the people by the doors couldn't get the doors open, the people behind them started to push harder, crushing and suffocating the people in the front. Fifty-three children, 11 women, and nine men died - 73 total. The Calumet town hall was used as a morgue.

"The union blamed the company for yelling 'fire!' and vice versa, but to this day no one knows for sure," says Foster. The rest has been downhill. Houghton County's population today is about a third of what it used to be. Says Foster: "I saw it go up, I saw it go down. "

The Keweenaw Peninsula's surprising boom and tragic demise closely paralleled the life of its most famous son, George Gipp.

 

Gipp in a rare photo wearing his football letter sweater. It's hard to believe but ND gave this, their only momento of Gipp, to then president Reagan in 1988. What should never have left the Notre Dame campus is now at the Reagan Library in California.

Gipp in a rare photo wearing his football letter sweater. It's hard to believe but ND gave this, their only momento of Gipp, to then president Reagan in 1988. What should never have left the Notre Dame campus is now at the Reagan Library in California.

 

Late bloomer

After Gipp dropped out of Calumet High in 1913, he worked construction in the winter, drove a taxi in the summer, and played semipro baseball - in addition to keeping up his nocturnal rounds. When three of his Calumet friends left for Notre Dame, he was persuaded to join them.

Because a high school diploma wasn't necessary to enter college at the time, Gipp was able to accept a scholarship to Notre Dame - for baseball. Gipp's collegiate baseball career lasted all of one game. According to a 1985 Smithsonian article, in that single contest Gipp disregarded the manager's bunt signals, electing to blast a towering home run instead.

Back in the dugout, the irritated manager asked Gipp why he'd ignored the signs. Gipp replied, "Because it's too hot to be running around the bases after a bunt." The other players chuckled, until they realized their new teammate wasn't joking. He quit the next day.

Rockne discovered Gipp when Gipp and a friend were punting a ball to each other in street clothes. Gipp's kicks were so prodigious, Rockne invited him out for the freshman team. [Editor's Note: Jim Harper, son of Notre Dame's coach at the time Jesse Harper, says this is "bunk." His father noticed Gipp when he came out for the Freshman football team in 1916]

Smart move. Against Western Michigan's freshman squad, the Notre Dame freshmen were deadlocked 7-7 late in the game. When the Irish stalled on their own 48, the quarterback ordered Gipp to punt. Gipp characteristically disregarded the order, and drop-kicked a 62-yard rocket for the victory.

In 1917, at age 22, George Gipp finally made Notre Dame's varsity football team, earning his first varsity letter- in any sport for any school.

The hustler

The skills Gipp mastered on Calumet's fields helped him conquer Notre Dame during the day, and the skills he learned in Calumet's pool halls helped him conquer South Bend at night. Gipp eschewed the dorms for city hotels. He rarely showed up for practice before Thursday, and ignored curfews to give himself more time to break other rules for smoking, drinking and gambling.

In a 1992 Sports Illustrated article the late Hunk Anderson, who played with Gipp in Calumet and South Bend, said, "Every once in a while some of the hotshot pool players from Chicago would come to South Bend looking for action, and George would play them at $100 a game or more. They were crackerjack players who made their living shooting pool, but George would take them almost every time.

Keep in mind, $100 in 1916 was equivalent to $1,460 today. Gipp obviously didn't lack for nerves. In an ironic boast, Gipp once said: "I'm the finest free-lance gambler ever to attend Notre Dame." Joking or not, he had a case. The late Fred Larson, another Calumet friend who played for Notre Dame, recalled a typically brief conversation with Gipp in South Bend. "I once asked him how he was doing at poker, and he told me he had made at least $5,000. That's $73,000 in 1997 dollars, for those scoring at home.

It was common in Gipp's day for opposing football teams to eat together the night before a game and place friendly wagers with each other. Gipp took it to a new level, frequently betting hundreds with bookies and bar patrons on Notre Dame games - always to win.

Because there was no TV back then, many fans didn't recognize Gipp in person. So, he made large bets that "that Gipp fellow" could outscore the opposition single handedly. Gipp would then go out and do just that the next day, and return to the bars that night to collect.

Despite his obvious flaws, Gipp was remarkably well-liked by teammates, students and coaches - if not his professors. Gipp ignored team rules not out of contempt, but indifference. He made no attempt to hide his weaknesses, and never sought publicity. Gipp rarely read his own clippings, he often avoided interviews and occasionally pulled himself in blowouts so he could stand on the bench to cheer the second-stringers.

Most importantly, Gipp had no artifice. He freely displayed his worst traits, while keeping his better sides private - the antithesis of today's athlete.

"He let the wrong side show," says one niece. Gipp pursued his sins openly, but performed his charity quietly, away from the press.

According to one former roommate, Arthur "Dutch" Bergman, "Nobody around South Bend could beat him at pool, billiards, poker or bridge. At three-pocket pool, he was the terror of the parlors. I've seen him win $500 in a crap game and then spend his winnings buying meals for destitute families. " Since steak- cost 25 cents a pound at the time, $500 bought a lot of steak dinners. "No wonder he was idolized by the South Bend townies.

He was also idolized by his teammates. During Gipp's time, the total cost for one semester at Notre Dame ran about $500. Gipp was known to cover the amount for his friends to see them through another term.

For all Gipp's street smarts, he had one notable blind spot: He failed to distinguish between games of skill - such as pool, poker and football - and games of chance, such as dice. With his inflated sense of invincibility, Gipp gambled as boldly on things he could control as on those he could not. It would truly be his fatal flaw.

Playing off the field

Gipp's off-field interests didn't distract him from athletic excellence. By the end of his junior season, Gipp's play had begun to attract national attention. His team fared even better, going 9-0 to steal the title "Champions of the West" from Michigan. Rockne knew his team's chances of repeating the next season depended largely on Gipp.

What came hard to others, like sports, gambling and casual charm, came easily to Gipp. Conversely, what came easily to the average man was difficult for Gipp, like getting up, going to class and staying out of bars. Gipp seemed as content to squander his opportunities as exploit them.

By his junior year, Gipp's aversion to rules included not just Rockne's, but also the school's and the NCAA's. His lack of class work finally got him booted from Notre Dame. [Editor's note: there is debate on this point also. Read Robert Burn's Being Catholic, Being American pages 202-213 for the best account of this incident] He returned to semipro and industrial baseball leagues for cash (the same sin that cost Jim Thorpe his Olympic medals), and played football with some Irish teammates for money one day in Rockford, Ill. Fortunately for Gipp, the NCAA never found out about any of those paychecks.

When revisionists consider Gipp's "drop-out" mentality, they often portray him as a happy-go-lucky playboy with little depth. True, it's tempting to wink at his disregard for convention. But his flurry of off-field distractions seem to cover a broken spirit. Look a little closer at George Gipp, and you can't help but think there was something essential missing in him, some lack of zest for life, some part of him that could not be happy.

"He was a strange person, fun-loving in a way, yet withdrawn," Fred Larson said. "George had no real close friends - Hunk (Anderson) and I were as close as any. He was friendly enough, but I always got the feeling he didn't want to get too close to anyone, even those of us who had known him for years. He was a very complex person."

Tolstoy wrote that all happy families are the same, while unhappy families are all unhappy in their own way. The Gipp family seemed to be in the second category. Matthew Sr. was a strict German preacher who gave off little warmth; his wife, Isabella, was remembered by one granddaughter as being very "domineering" with her children. Another granddaughter recalls Gipp's oldest sister "never seemed a real happy woman, and Uncle Matthew never seemed happy."

Perhaps that explains why Gipp never seemed too happy, either. His apathy almost cost him the one thing that genuinely inspired him: a woman named Iris Jeanne Trippeer.

The good-bye girl

"The girls around South Bend would have given anything to meet and go out with him," Larson said, "but George stayed aloof, more interested in his poker, pool and football. " That was only partly true. Gipp's late teammate, Paul Castner, once said Gipp enjoyed the company of a few bar girls.  But nothing awoke Gipp from his complacency until 1919, when he met Iris Trippeer at a postgame dance.

Trippeer, a 20-year-old secretary, apparently visited a friend at St. Mary's College, Notre Dame's sister school, after the game. Iris's niece, Gloria Trippeer Lyons, 60, recalls her aunt as a "pretty nice looking lady, in an upper-class, classically elite manner. That's how she carried herself. a lady through-and-through. A bar girl, she was not.

"Aunt Iris was very smart but soft-spoken," Lyons adds. "She was kind of sensitive, which is probably one reason George and Iris thought so much of each other, because they were both quiet, sincere." Gipp was smitten. Iris' parents were not. "I think they both disapproved," Lyons says. "Most people in those days thought athletes were kind of wild and ne'er-do-wells.

With good reason. In 1919, college players had no NFL to jump to. Pro baseball players often had to work in the winters and even at night, professional golfers were decades away from being allowed in the clubhouse, and the Black Sox scandal (the fixing of the 1919 World Series) was just coming to light. The idea of marrying an athlete, even one as notable as Gipp, was not something an upright father wished for his daughter.

Lyons says the young couple intended to get married, but "my aunt was given pause because Gipp wasn't sure what he was going to do with himself after school. She wanted him to become a regular person and get a regular job and be a regular Joe - and he was not the kind of person for that."

After Gipp left South Bend in the spring of his junior year, the conflict tore them apart. He sold his services to a number of teams before settling in Flint. He worked in the Buick factory by day and played baseball for the factory team at night.

His letters to Iris that summer chart his struggles to "go straight," and also foreshadow the illness that eventually killed him. In his writings, Gipp shows two facets of himself rarely seen  elsewhere: commitment and passion. [Editor's note: for the full text of three of George's letters to Iris, and one from Gipp's sister to Iris after his death are printed at the end of this article.]

On Aug. 21, 1920, Gipp wrote to Iris in Indianapolis:
"Have been considerably under the weather since Tuesday. Never had an experience quite like this before. Didn't miss a day at the factory tho but oh I wanted to. "

Two days later, Gipp sent another letter, in which he mentions the 'little war" between them - no doubt over Gipp's lack of direction:
"Iris honey I'm mighty lonesome tonight. Just think of you all the time dear and oh I've been waiting and waiting for some little word. Don't you believe dear that I'm being good? I want your life to be always happy but if you refuse to believe in me I don't see how it can be. I'll do anything to assure your happiness honey but dear don't please don't treat me as though I was an object of contempt. That isn't fair because I've been true to just you for a long time honey and oh don't let our little war overbalance the love that is yours ever yours."

On Aug. 27, Gipp claimed he'd find honest work- after graduating. He poured his heart out to her again, special delivery:
"Came home at four today expecting to play but it started to rain so once more a postponement. Iris dear you know what thoughts the rain drops accentuate? The sunny happy days we had together. Some day we'll have them all again forever tho this time not just a few sweet hours. But those little hours dear changed my whole life. I've conquered every little doubt honey because of you so there will be only one little year and then honey oh you'll never doubt me any more."

Whether the incorrigible Gipp could have kept his promise to straighten up, we'll never know. One thing is certain: Modern biographers don't give Gipp his due. One claimed Gipp couldn't possibly have given the famous "Gipper" speech to Rockne on his deathbed because "such a romantic notion would have been completely out of character for a pool player and gambler like Gipp."

Distinction and destruction

After getting expelled from Notre Dame his junior year, it was no small task getting Gipp back on campus - especially with Michigan and the University of Detroit vying for his services. An early myth held that Gipp passed a stiff oral exam to get reinstated, but the reality is alumni and students simply pressured the administrators until they buckled.

When his efforts to impress Iris apparently fell short he moved back into South Bend's Oliver Hotel for good, and redoubled his efforts at self-destruction.

Many sports fans marvels at Green Bay Packer Max McGee's hung-over heroics in Super Bowl 1, but Gipp pulled the same trick almost every game - playing offense and defense, no less. On Nov. 6, 1920, the morning of the Purdue game, South Bend writer Walter O'Keefe saw Gipp stumble out of the Oliver Hotel's elevator unshaven, unshowered and clearly in a bad state from a night of smoking, drinking and gambling. A few hours later, Gipp ran for 129 yards, passed for 128, punted for 339 and returned a punt for 35. He capped the day by running 80 yards for a touchdown to seal a 28-0 Irish victory.

Gipp had already secured his status as the year's greatest player the week before. In front of the Eastern press, Notre Dame played a formidable Army team at West Point. At half time, with the Irish down, 17-14, Rockne gave a typically rousing speech, which sent the players screaming onto the field - except Gipp, who was leaning against a door, looking bored.

Rockne said, "I don't suppose you have the slightest interest in this game."
"You're wrong there, Rock," Gipp replied. "I've got 400 bucks on this game, and I don't intend to blow it." He didn't. Using his running, passing and punt returning skills to great effect, Gipp racked up a total of 323 yards - more than Army's team total - good enough for a 27-17 Notre Dame victory. This game, more than any other, established Gipp's legend.

Under the headline, "Gipp Plays Brilliantly," the New York Times wrote, "A lithe-limbed Hoosier football player named George Gipp galloped wild through the Army on the plains here this afternoon, giving a performance which was more like an antelope's than a human being's. "

Several accounts claim that two weeks later, on the morning of the Indiana game, Iris told Gipp they were through. Early in contest against the Hoosiers Gipp severely injured his shoulder, probably dislocating it. With his team down, 10-0, Gipp sat on the bench wrapped in a blanket, but couldn't stand to watch an Irish drive stall at the Hoosier 2-yard line. Against Rockne's protests, he threw off his blanket and entered the game. Two plays later, Gipp scored on a tough run up the middle.

A few minutes later, when another Irish drive slowed on the Indiana 15, Gipp came off the bench for a drop-kick. The Hoosiers rushed, Gipp faked, and then completed a pass to the 1 yard line. On the next play, Indiana keyed on Gipp, who smashed into the line to sell the fake convincingly, while quarterback Joe Brandy walked into the corner of the end zone untouched. Gipp's heroics helped the Irish win, 13-10.

Gipp's teammates noticed his complexion was sickly, he ached all over and he had a bad cough. Instead of returning to South Bend with the team, however, Gipp traveled to Chicago to give a lesson on drop-kicking to a former teammate's prep school team. There, the cold winds off Lake Michigan compounded Gipp's respiratory problems. Only a man with little regard for his well-being would have made the trip.

Gipp spent the following week in his Oliver Hotel bed, but left for Northwestern that Friday, Nov. 19. Gipp's late teammate Paul Castner said that, heading into that game, Gipp had fallen behind to his bookies. The bookies offered to clear Gipp's debts if he only stayed out of the Northwestern game. Since Rockne wanted Gipp to sit out anyway, it seemed an easy solution.

Gipp dressed for the game but stayed on the bench covered in a wool blanket, shivering with fever, while the Irish built a 20-7 lead. His teammates didn't need Gipp for a rescue mission this time - and surely the bookies didn't - but perhaps Gipp's conscience did.

In the fourth quarter, George Gipp once again discarded his blanket and ignored his failing health and gambling debts to complete 5 of 6 passes for two touchdowns late in the 33-7 Irish win.

Because people frequently died from strep throat and pneumonia at the time, Gipp probably knew that by entering the game he was tempting death. Once again, Gipp was gambling on something he could not control. Thus, Gipp's 55-yard touchdown pass that Saturday would be his last.

Dying young

Three days after the Northwestern game, Notre Dame organized a banquet for the team on Nov. 23, 1920 at the Oliver Hotel. The Irish were one game away from their second consecutive undefeated season, and with it, their second "Champions of the West" crown. They would accomplish both goals the following Saturday by beating Michigan State - but without their star player.

During the meal, Gipp's worsening condition gave him a cough he could not control. Gipp entered the hospital that night, never to leave. A week later, Gipp's doctors determined he had both pneumonia and strep throat. Today, penicillin will cure both in a week - but that wasn't invented until 1933. Over the next two weeks, Gipp suffered infection, fever and delirium.

Rockne telegraphed Iris Trippeer: "George some improved. Still critical. Wishes to see you today."
Trippeer answered Gipp's plea. On Dec. 7, she telegrammed her parents: "Improved somewhat. Urged me to remain a while. "

Even without their daughter's updates, Trippeer's parents could easily follow Gipp's struggle in any newspaper. Headlines read: "George Gipp Fighting Brave Battle" and "Gipp Gains In Battle For His Life" and "Little Hope For Gipp."

Even as Gipp's body was failing him, the accolades for his play rolled in. While in the hospital he became the first Notre Dame player to be named to the [first team] All-American team, Walter Camp named him the year's outstanding back and the Chicago Cubs offered him a contract.

As Gipp fought to survive, the editor of a Calumet newspaper provided hourly updates by printing Gipp's status on a large card and placing it in the newspaper's window. At about 7 p.m. on December 14,1920, the editor solemnly placed the final card in the window, announcing that George Gipp had died.

 

Gipp's headstone in Laurium, Michigan.

Gipp's headstone in Laurium, Michigan.

 

His legacy

Of all the athletes who have died young, surely Gipp's legacy looms the largest. One reason is the famous last wish attributed to him by Rockne.

Eight years after Gipp died, Rockne told his team about Gipp's final request. Contrary to popular myth, however, Rockne delivered the most famous half time speech in history before Notre Dame faced a far superior Army team - not at half time. [Editor's note: I disagree here. Most eyewitnesses, including players and coaches who were there, say it was at half time.] "Boys, I want to tell you a story," Rockne said. "I never thought I'd have to tell it, but the time has come."

Rockne recounted his final conversation with Gipp.

I've got to go, Rock," Gipp said. "It's all right. I'm not afraid. "Sometime, Rock, when the team is up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys - tell them to go in there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper. I don't know where I'll be then, Rock. But I'll know about it, and I'll be happy."

Rockne's boys did as promised, winning 12-6.

Despite the cynics, Rockne insisted the story was true to the day he, himself, died tragically, when his plane went down in 1931. You can decide for yourselves what to believe, but contrary to revisionist wisdom there is little question George Gipp was capable of such sentiment.

In the debate over the "Gipper" speech, it is easy to forget how good George Gipp really was. Late in his life, Fred Larson said: "He was the greatest I ever saw, and I played against Jim Thorpe."

Notre Dame has produced more Heisman Trophy winners and All-Americans than any other school, but none of them could break Gipp's career record of 2,341 yards until 1978 - more than a half-century after their first All-American set it.

A little known fact, perhaps, but it's far better known than Gipp's greatest attributes: his generosity, his humility, and his final act of integrity in the Northwestern game.

Perhaps the greatest testament to Gipp came from the one woman he could not have, Iris Trippeer. Before Iris died in 1975, she showed her granddaughter, Victoria , her collection of momentos from her time with George Gipp. She had kept them for more than a half-century, and asked Victoria to protect them.

Having gone through the collection carefully, Victoria understands how the truth can be more powerful than myth. When Iris presented her with the momentos, she admitted, "George Gipp was the only man I ever loved."

* * * *

 

Here are the text of the three love letters, and one from Gipp's sister to Iris...


LETTER FROM GEORGE GIPP
TO IRIS TRIPPEER
(ORIGINAL VERSION)
 

Addressed to:
Miss Iris J. Trippeer 2511 Central Avenue Indianapolis, Ind.

Date Mailed: August 21, 1920 Flint, Michigan Special Delivery
Saturday

Dear,

Finally able to wield the pen once more. Have been considerably under the weather since Tuesday. Never had an experience quite like this before. Bad cold I caught and for the first time in my young life a headache and oh what a dandy. Every step and jar sends a thousand little pains to my gradually awakening mind. However the worst is over. Didn't miss a day at the factory tho but oh I wanted to.

Isn't much new here Iris. Work play ball and then to bed. Am playing with two teams now so getting into action most every night. We've been rained out the last three nights and didn't finish any one of the games. Suited me fine because it wasn't any fun carrying myself around.

Had a letter from Rock and also the football. Get that out Monday. Also received a letter from the University of Detroit going to send a man down to see me. Guess I won't stagger him a little when I tell him the price.

Well little sweetheart Alice is calling me for supper.  Don't eat much honey but oh I think a lot and Iris dear I'm sorry but some day honey you'll know that I didn't mean any of the things that bring regrets to.

Yours only
George

 
* * * *

                                    LETTER FROM GEORGE GIPP
                                    TO IRIS TRIPPEER
                                    (ORIGINAL VERSION)


Addressed to:
Miss Iris J. Trippeer 2511 Central Avenue Indianapolis, Ind.

Date Mailed: August 27, 1920 Flint, Michigan Special Delivery
Friday 5 PM

Dear,
Wonder if my last letter arrived. Wrote it Wednesday night and Joe forgot to mail it when he went to work.  Result was I took it with me to the club house yesterday afternoon and then sent a messenger boy to the postoffice. Hope he fulfilled his part of the contract.

Came home at four to-day expecting to play but it started to rain so once more a postponement. Iris dear you know what thoughts the raindrops accentuate. The "sunny" happy days we had together and Iris of mine some day we'll have them all again forever tho this time and not just for a few sweet hours. But those little hours dear changed my whole life. I've conquered every little habit honey because of you so there will be only one little year honey and then honey oh you'll never doubt any more. Believe now little sweetheart and just think only another weak and then back to "school" once more. Good-bye for a little while Iris and dear oh just believe in

Yours only
George

 
* * * *
 
LETTER FROM GEORGE GIPP
TO IRIS TRIPPEER
(ORIGINAL VERSION)

Addressed to:
Miss Iris J. Trippeer
State House
c/o Public Service Commission Indianapolis

Date Mailed:
September 24, 1920 Indianapolis, Indiana
330 Friday

Dear Iris,
Certainly hope that you are feeling much better.  Iris I didn't know that he knew I had been told or I wouldn't have stayed last night, but I thought that I was supposed to be ignorant so just had to stay guess I was dumb alright. Wish that I had known that last night. Thought of coming out to-day because it might have helped matters, but was afraid of pulling a "boot."
Well I don't want you to be sick anymore so remember what my manager always shouted to me when the count was two and nothing. Hang in little champion and some day the happiness that is due you shall come. I know it will Iris because you deserve it. The average has to be even some day so think of all the happy days that must come to balance the dark ones. Would have liked to talked to-you to day but I'll call you tomorrow from S. Bend. Good-bye dear and keep the proud little chin up as the champion should.

Always yours

George

* * * *

LETTER FROM DOROTHY GIPP
TO IRIS TRIPPEER
(ORIGINAL VERSION)

Addressed to:
Miss Iris Trippeer 2511 Central Avenue Indianapolis, Indiana

Date Mailed: December 30, 1920 Larium, Michigan
Dec. 29, 1920

Dear Iris
You will want these clippings, which I am enclosing I'm sure. probably be a few more--if so, I'll send them on to you later.

The report about George's becoming a Catholic is quite a well-discussed subject here--elsewhere too, I imagine. If it were not for those other Calumet & Larium boys at Notre Dame, we could deny it openly at South Bend, but it seems that it would make it hard for them--so I understand it. Matt said something to that effect, and so did the boys. And still, I'm not satisfied. I can almost hear what George would say about it if he were alive "Oh, let them go ahead--kid them along--it makes no difference to me." I'd just like to show them, tho. You see in what a vindictive mood I am. I'm still finding it hard to believe that George is dead. That word--death--seems to have no significance for me in connection with him. He was always too alive and full of activity. I suppose that is the reason I find it hard to believe.

The snow just continues to fall & fall and I don't like it a bit. When I was here before and had to trample thru it several times a day, I did not mind it. But now--well the whole solution to this particular problem is that I'm growing old. Aren't you glad you are a mere infant? Don't be cross with me, will you?
Let us hear from you.

Mother sends her love.
Sincerely,
Dorothy

She & Dad are neither of them very well.

 

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