Lou Baumgaertner was born and bred in New York City, and although he also lived amongst the Border States, and even in the South, he was a New York Yankee to his dying day. Part of that, of course, could be attributed to his being a die-hard fan of the best baseball team in the world, the New York Yankees. But being a New York Yankee also meant so much more … New Yorkers tend to be different from those who live in other regions, and frequently are easily recognized by others as either being “different”, or more precisely as being “from New York”. Sometimes that recognition is not accompanied by a warm feeling of acceptance.
But we New Yorkers know we are different. We have our own accent – although those who live in New York City might argue it’s all the others who have accents … we speak perfectly normally. Because we live in a Big City, we talk fast, we seem brusque, and we sometimes appear to lack patience with others. We don’t mean to be rude, but the demands of surviving in a Big City (almost any Big City) require a no-nonsense attitude to life to avoid being run over by those around us. But once you get to know us, we’re pretty nice people.
We New Yorkers are proud of ourselves, and of our city, and we have a right to be. It may not be the Capital of the Country, but many New Yorkers often think of it as such … to a true New Yorker, there is only one New York City! And New York City is the Business and Cultural Capital of the Country! This ubiquitous sentiment is why New Yorkers are so often accused of not playing well with the other kids on the block.
And New Yorkers are definitely Yankees. No one should argue with that point. We live well above the Mason-Dixon Line. We fought for the North during the Civil War. And although there are others who can rightly and proudly also proclaim themselves as being Yankees, these other Northerners don’t also happen to have the best baseball team in the world residing in their city, now do they?
And so, by way of example, let’s take a look at one particular New York Yankee. Lou Baumgaertner was a War Baby, born in the Bronx during the First World War. He spent his childhood in the Bronx and Corona during the Roaring Twenties, and began to mature in Corona and Manhattan during the Great Depression. He worked in Manhattan for years, but eventually got an opportunity for a new career in radio-communications in Louisville, KY. He tried to avoid induction into the military as World War II geared up, but eventually found that no one who could hold a rifle and shoot straight was going to miss the opportunity to serve his Uncle Sam. Like so many of his generation, the Second World War finished the maturing process, and put a fine polish on the person he had become. Here then are his adventures, in New York City, during World War II, and amongst the Border States, during the 20th Century.