Sunday, November 21, 2010

* A Remembrance of G. Harold Welch 1896-1992

The Man Who Never Saw the End of The Big Game

Ghost of Thanksgiving-Past

A bit of New Haven history.

G. Harold Welch, New Haven banker and real estate developer (he owned the Century Buiilding and Macy's in central New Haven) used to throw a post-Yale/Harvard-game party at his estate over-looking The Sleeping Giant in Mt. Carmel.

I was invited once, when he was 84 (he lived to be an active 96).

The irony of the party (which had occurred for decades) was that Mr. Welch had never seen the END of a single Yale/Harvard game.

As the Game's banker, he had to collect the money from all of the ticket-takers at half-time and spirit it off to his bank where it was dutifully locked up for safekeeping.

Posted by The Anti-Yale on November 19, 2010 at 11:55 a.m.

The Game Behind the Game


It is Half-time at the Big Game, and the wealthiest man in New Haven leaves his seat and guests to meet his associates outside the Bowl itself.

Octogenarian now, he remembers being a poor boy whose first job was to light city gas lamps, one-by-one, street-by-New-Haven -street, seven decades before.

Now he owns many of those same streets, or the property encompassed by them.

His associates help him load his Mercedes sportscar (or perhaps the gleaming pick-up truck he uses on his estate) with the brown paper bags, each containing about $100,000 in cash bills.

It is 1979, and the era of credit card payments has not yet arrived.

Those entering the Bowl on the sacred day, all 64,000 thouand of them, must pay in paper currency, and it must be whisked out of sight to a vault swiftly and safely, all million or so dollars of it.

A Brinks armored vehicle would arouse suspicion, but a white-haired, white-skinned, immaculate, grandfatherly gent, driving a sportscar or pick-up through the impoverished streets of New Haven with a trunk full of grocery bags, wouldn't raise an eyebrow.

Twenty minutes later, as he nears his goal opposite the Green, he skirts the Ivied campus itself, a 19th Century Dickensian background of stone mansions for a Dickensian character on a Dickensian mission of Midas proportions.

He pulls up in front of the bank over which he presides and a guard working overtime brings a grocery cart out to his vehicle. The brown bags and their "foodstuffs" are transferred to the cart which he escorts inside.

He unlocks the vault.


Posted by The Anti-Yale on November 20, 2010 at 8:38 p.m.

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