Pro football great Gene Mingo recalls troubled youth in Akron
“What have you done now, Eugene?” was the cry that resonated through the Mingo home in South Akron. In the 1940s and ’50s, it seemed that there was no kind of trouble that young Gene Mingo couldn’t get into, and he kept on getting into trouble in his adult life, after he had become a professional football player. He tells his story in What Have You Done Now, Eugene? The Story of Gene Mingo, #21.
Mingo, who grew up on Berry and Rhodes avenues, took part in various petty thefts and indiscretions that drove his hardworking parents to distraction. His school attendance was so poor that his father, a Firestone employee, suggested that Gene simply drop out to take care of his ailing mother; he did so, eventually joining the Navy and working briefly at Goodyear before joining the Denver Broncos, a founding member of the fledgling American Football League. As the first African-American kicker in professional football, Mingo set several Broncos records, including one he still holds — a 76-yard punt return touchdown.
Trouble continued to dog Mingo, but not all of it was his own doing. When he moved to the Miami Dolphins in 1965 after a brief stay with the Oakland Raiders, Mingo and his first wife could find no motels or landlords willing to rent to them. He suffered a bad concussion and later a back injury, which led him to drug abuse. His worst point was accidentally shooting the woman who would become his second wife.
Mingo seems sincerely remorseful for the mistakes in his past, giving his story a sympathetic quality.
What Have You Done Now, Eugene? (186 pages, softcover) costs $26.95 from online retailers. Eugene Mingo, who will be 75 on Sept. 22, now lives in Denver; his co-authors, Glen and Carol Strickland, are professors at Emporia State University in Kansas.
‘Micro Memoirs of Mischief’
Frank Rocco Satullo also was a problem child, something of a Dennis the Menace when he was growing up in Avon Lake in the 1960s, “the poster child of why not to give a kid a BB gun.” In his essay collection Here I Thought I Was Normal: Micro Memoirs of Mischief, Satullo recalls picking up change from a mall fountain, making a telephone-pole battering ram to dislodge a hornets’ nest (with predictable results) and making prank phone calls.
The mischief continued into young “Rocky’s” teen years, when he and his friends streaked the neighbors and continued attracting the attention of the local police. After a tour in the Army, Satullo lived briefly in Strongsville and started a website, OhioTraveler.com.
Here I Thought I Was Normal (287 pages, softcover) costs $12.95 from online retailers. Rocky Satullo lives in Cincinnati.
Ohioana Book Awards
The winners of the 2013 Ohioana Book Awards include The Coldest Night by Ohio Wesleyan University professor Robert Olmstead, in the fiction category; The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds by Washington County naturalist Julie Zickefoose (nonfiction); America’s Other Audubon by former Barberton resident Joy M. Kiser (About Ohio/Ohioan); and The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier (Fiction Set in Ohio, a new category). The awards will be presented in October.
Barberton Library (602 W. Park Ave.) — Kathryn Long discusses and signs her paranormal mystery Dying to Dream, 6 p.m. Monday.
Hudson Library & Historical Society (96 Library St.) — John L. Haigh, retired chief steward of Air Force One, talks about his book Air Force One: An Honor, Privilege, and Pleasure to Serve, 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library (3512 Darrow Road, Stow) — Mark Dawidziak and Paul Bauer will give a presentation and sign their book Jim Tully: American Writer, Irish Rover, Hollywood Brawler, 7 p.m. Tuesday. Registration suggested; call 330-688-3295.
Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (1400 Euclid Ave.) — As part of the 2013 Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, 2013 fiction co-winner Eugene Gloria (My Favorite Warlord) and poet Kazim Ali will read from their works, noon Wednesday.
Case Western Reserve University (Clark Hall, 11130 Bellflower Road) — Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds, co-winner of the 2013 Anisfield-Wolf Award for fiction, kicks off the Baker-Nord Center for Humanities’ fall program, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. Free, but seating is limited; register at 216-368-2242.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Beachwood branch, 25501 Shaker Blvd., Cleveland) — Laird Hunt, author of Kind One, co-winner of the 2013 Anisfield-Wolf Award for fiction, discusses and signs his book from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. Registration suggested; call 216-831-6868.
Mac’s Backs (1820 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights) — Poets Chansonette Burke and Chris Franke read from their work, 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday.
Akron-Summit County Public Library (Nordonia Hills branch, 9458 Olde Eight Road, Northfield) — Scott Longert discusses and signs The Best They Could Be: How the Cleveland Indians Became the Kings of Baseball, 7 p.m. Thursday. Registration requested; call 330-467-8595.
State Theatre (PlayhouseSquare, 1511 Euclid Ave., Cleveland) — Some seats may remain for the Ohioana Library’s free Saturday program Jacques Brel and the Men Who Saved PlayhouseSquare, with a 10 a.m. tour hosted by Jeannie Emser Schultz, author of Playhouse Square: An Entertaining History, followed by a screening of the WVIZ documentary Staging Success at the Cleveland Public Library. Visit http://ohioanalibrary.mybigcommerce.com to check availability and to reserve for the Sept. 28 The Mysteries of Amish Country tour, which includes a talk by author P.L. Gaus.
Bedford Commons (730 Broadway) — R.K. Avery, Barbara Baltrinic, Rowan Canterbury, Charles Cassady, Dan Coughlin, Tom Feran, Dick Goddard, John Gorman, Michael Heaton, Janie Reinart, James Renner, Claudia J. Taller, Vickie Blum Virgil and Glenn Wyville participate in an author fair as part of Bedford’s “Weekend of the Pooka” arts festival, 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sept. 15.
Learned Owl Book Shop (204 N. Main St., Hudson) — Sharon Hunter signs Love on the Ranch, sequel to her 2012 romance The Rancher’s Wife, 1 p.m. Saturday.
Visible Voice Books (1023 Kenilworth Ave., Cleveland) — Cleveland native comedian Dave Hill, whose essay collection Tasteful Nudes … and Other Misguided Attempts at Personal Growth and Validation has just been released in paperback, will appear from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday.
— Barbara McIntyre
Special to the Beacon Journal
Send information about books of local interest to Lynne Sherwin, Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309 or email@example.com. Event notices should be sent at least two weeks in advance.