Lost Girl Member of Pecan Park Eagles Found

22 Year Old Actress Megan McGuff Granddaughter Of Joyce Allyne Deische McGuff, Only Girl Member Of The 1950 Pecan Park Eagles

Actress Megan McGuff, Age 22,
Granddaughter Of
Joyce Allyne Deische McGuff,
The Only Girl Member Of
The 1950 Pecan Park Eagles

 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016 turned out to be another day of evidence in favor of serendipity as a big part of finding what we seek. (“Serendipity” operationally translates as “the unexpected benefit that arises from any action we choose to take – and then do.”) Serendipity always involves either the acquirement of some new wisdom that comes from repeating an action which holds a life lesson for us. Here’s a good example I’ve seen many times over in my “day job”: Sometimes a guy (or girl) has to pick up a second DWI to finally accept that he has a drinking problem. He didn’t get it from the first DWI. The first time it happened, he thought the lesson was “I’ve got to stop driving.” But this time, he sees that “I’ve either got to stop drinking or get help to do so.)

The other major face of serendipity occurs when something happens in a benign social decision we then act upon and the result happens to be something that either changes our life in an unexpected good way, or we simply get a resolution of a mystery that has haunted us for years.

Yesterday my acceptance of, and compliance with, a simple, but attractive lunch invitation resolved a mystery that has haunted the Pecan Park Eagle writer for sixty years. I did not go to the luncheon even thinking of the mystery. It just landed on top of me and answered the question I’ve lived with sentimentally for six decades in a matter of minutes.

“Whatever happened to Eileen Disch?” was my question. I’ve written about her in at least one previous column. In the halcyon 1950 season of our Pecan Park Eagles sandlot team in the Houston East End, our club ranged in age from 8 to 12 years, and “Eileen Disch” was our only female player. Not only that, she was our best pitcher and a very good hitter. And like me and my little brother John on Japonica Street, she lived on the Myrtle Street facial side of “Eagle Field” – just across the way. All of us Eagle kids were either Japonica or Myrtle residents, but only a few of us lived directly across the street from our mid-20th century version of the Elysian Fields.

As we all moved into adolescence, the sandlot games began to fade. By 1954, all of us had flown from the Eagles’ Nest. We all had gone our separate ways. Some moved away, some of us went to different high schools, some of us continued to play baseball, other did not, but all of us were out there growing up at our different rates and speed.

Astromde Attachment 10: The Pecan Park Eagle

Around the time in 1958 that my birth family was moving back to Beeville, Texas, I left Japonica Street for the last time as a resident. It had been my home from the first grade into the start of my junior year in college at UH. I was going to class as my family loaded their clothing baggage to leave that same morning. That night I would go to my new room at the fraternity house near campus. Pecan Park was no more my home in that respect. I simply didn’t realize at the time how much of Pecan Park would be moving with me – and guiding me too – for the rest of my life.

As I drove away from the only home I had ever known that moving day morning in October 1958, I do recall glancing to the right of my ’51 Olds as I drove past the sandlot one last time. The now empty ground that had been the center of my world only eight years earlier remained highly charged emotionally for me, and I remember wondering if I would ever see any of my old friends again. As I quickly reached Myrtle Street and made the left turn west on my way out of the neighborhood, my eyes kept checking the rear view mirror. I watched until my short turn onto Bobby Lee Street took me to Griggs Road and the close-by Gulf Freeway to UH.

Back to the Future (April 2016)

Yesterday I got the answer to “Whatever happened to Eileen Disch?”

I had accepted an invitation to attend a bi-monthly reunion of the 1956 Milby High School Class at the SteakCountry Buffet at Antoine and the north side of I-10 West in Houston. I had been invited by one of my old Pecan Park neighbors and Eagle teammates, Kenny Kern, and Foster Foucheaux, a former classmate and teammate at St. Christopher’s School, to join them. Neil Sweeney, another St. Christopher classmate who did go to St. Thomas with me, also received an “outsider invitation.”

Milby is the high school that Neil Sweeney and I would have attended had we not gone to St. Thomas. I was delighted to go. I wanted to see the three old friends I had not seen in a couple of years – and I also hoped I might have a surprise reunion with someone else I may have known from “the hood.”

I got a surprise, allright.

A fellow named Jack McGuff sat with my friends and I at one of the long tables. And, as these things go, conversations quickly jumped back to the days on our old shared turf. All of a sudden, Jack McGuff looks over at me and casually remarks about my mention of “Myrtle Street.”

“Did you say Myrtle Street?” Jack asked. “I married a girl who lived on Myrtle Street. Her name was Joyce Deische.”

“Joyce Disch?” I asked with excitement. “Do you mean ‘Joyce Eileen Disch’?”

“No,” McGuff responded, ” I mean ‘Joyce Allyne Deische’.”

Jack had to spell out her name. I had forgotten that her first name was really “Joyce” – and I apparently never knew how to spell her preferred middle name and family name. As a kid, I had just spelled them out phonetically in my mind and wrote them out as I thought they should be spelled.

Indeed, it was same lone girl Eagle player I recalled from 1950, but she was “Allyne Deische” – and not “Eileen Disch” – as I had recorded her identity forever in error.

I told Jack and the others about how great “Allyne” was as a pitcher for the Pecan Park Eagles, and I asked McGuff, a Pearland architect, to give his wife a hug and hello from Bill McCurdy when he got home.

“I’d like to do that, Bill,” Jack said, “but Joyce died from MS a couple of years ago. We had been married for 56 years when she left us. I still miss her, but we had a good life together and a happy family, raising two boys and a girl – and being active as coaches to the kids’ baseball and softball play as they were growing up.” Jack’s love for Joyce Allyne was quite apparent in his gentle voice, but my solution to the mystery was also saddened by the news of her death. God rest her soul in  love and peace.

Jack McGuff also brought the rainbow too. Their 22-year-old granddaughter, Megan McGuff is now getting started as a stage musical and dramatic actress and is playing an ensemble role as “Hortensia” in the national touring company production of the Broadway hit “Matilda”. – Granddaddy just beamed as he spoke of her abilities.

http://www.houstonfamilymagazine.com/2015/08/31/megan-mcguff-artistic-drive-passion-and-determination/ When I later researched Megan McGuff on Google for this column, I could not believe my eyes when I saw her beautiful face.

Stunning!

Megan McGuff is the spitting image of her grandmother, the former lone girl member of the Pecan Park Eagles, Joyce Allyne Deische McGuff!

Goodnight, Allyne! – I’m sorry you are gone, but it’s good to know you apparently had a very happy life that followed your Pecan Park Eagle days. Great for me also to have the mystery resolved. And happy also to know that you are now safe at home for eternity. In memory of you as one of the pioneer Houston girls who played baseball with us grungy boys, I gave Jack one of my copies of our book, “Houston Baseball: The Early Years, 1861-1961.”

Jack was deeply moved by the gesture. It’s quite obvious that he still cherishes the memory of you – and the love you both brought to each other. That love never goes away.

Now you soar in a new sky. ~ Fly, Eagle. Fly.

____________________

eagle-0rangeBill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

https://bill37mccurdy.com/

 

 

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One Response to “Lost Girl Member of Pecan Park Eagles Found”

  1. Bob Copus Says:

    What a wonderful and powerful story Bill. Thanks for sharing.

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