Your most personal experience with Joe!

Discussion in 'BWI / McAndrew Board' started by emertmakeshiteup, Jul 3, 2019.

  1. emertmakeshiteup

    emertmakeshiteup Well-Known Member
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    Back in the mid 70's we gave the groomsmen autographed copies of one of Joe's books. While we were in his office, he scolded my wife for marrying a "dumb Italian!" Gotta love it!
     
  2. psulongago

    psulongago Well-Known Member
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    I graduated during the Rip Engle era. Joe was frequently visible walking around campus. Best I can offer is a wave and hi coach, he nodded back and of course had no idea who I was.
     
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  3. BrucePa

    BrucePa Well-Known Member
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    I met him at the Lancaster Sports Banquet in the mid-1960s. Got his autograph and a nice handshake. Got Rip Engle's autograph too. Rip wrote "You are a nice young man" and then signed his name. I still have those.
     
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  4. Nit Nolte

    Nit Nolte Well-Known Member
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    Met him briefly on campus. We said Hi and he asked how our classes were going.
     
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  5. ouirpsu

    ouirpsu Well-Known Member
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    I got two: My first encounter with Joe was as a freshman in the fall of 1984. I was walking down McKean Rd. from the Greenberg ice rink after a skating class (to improve my hockey skills) to Willard Building with a girl from class. We were walking fast since we both had to go all the way across campus when I notice somebody walking towards us on the sidewalk. As we got closer, I realized it was none other than Joe. As he approached, he said, and I quote, "Hustle! You don't want to be late for class." After he passed, I said to the girl, "Oh my God! You know who that was?" She didn't. :(

    My second personal experience is even better...

    ...so, unbeknownst to me, my mom decided to see if she could get a letter from Joe congratulating my wife (also a PSU alum) and me on our wedding day. So she calls State College directory assistance (we're talking 1991 here) and says she'd like the number for Joe Paterno. The operator gives her a number and she calls it. The phone rings and a women answers. Fully expecting to be calling his office on campus, she is taken aback when the person says, "Hello. Paterno residence." Turns out she was given Joe's home number and Sue answered the phone! My mom - a teacher and librarian and never accused of being a shrinking violet - ends up chatting with Suepa, also a teacher and lover of libraries, for close to an hour. Fast forward a few weeks to our wedding reception when the band leader abruptly stops the music and announces that he has a very special message for the bride and groom. As he's reading the letter, I can't for the life of me figure out who it's from until the very end when he closes by saying, "Sincerely...Joseph...V...Paterno."

    The place goes nuts, immediately followed by the We Are... chant which is immediately followed by the When I say Joepa, you say Terno... chant immediately followed by a ton of shots.

    Best. Wedding. Present. Ever! The letter still hangs in my office, but I can't figure out how to include an image from my phone in a message.
     
    5 ouirpsu, Jul 3, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2019
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  6. Lefty Hill

    Lefty Hill Well-Known Member
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    I did meet him once. Technically.
     
  7. sluggo72

    sluggo72 Well-Known Member
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    Joe spoke at my sisters college graduation, not from PSU. He got a big rise out of the crowd when he put down Bucknell, calling it that prep school up the river.
     
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  8. Zenophile

    Zenophile Well-Known Member
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    On a nice day back in October of '07 my wife and I were driving around campus in her car when this older fellow pulls along side of us and begins to make conservation. I lean over to see that the fellow is none other than the great Joe Paterno. Well I'm a little starstruck, so the only conversation I can muster is to tell Joe that the lady he's chatting with is my wife. Joe replies, "That's your problem."

    At which time I whisper to my wife, "See honey? Even Joe thinks so." Thank heavens the cops showed up, or I wouldn't be alive today.*


    *some of this really happened but none of it really happened to me
     
    8 Zenophile, Jul 3, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2019
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  9. Jovialgent

    Jovialgent Well-Known Member
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    Whether you met him or not, you probably felt like you knew him. He was a stabilizing and inspiring presence for over 4 decades and Penn State has become a divisive, hollow place without him.
     
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  10. FHSPSU67

    FHSPSU67 Well-Known Member
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    During young Joe Nastase's recruitment a friend and I accompanied his dad to a Holuba Hall Spring practice. Joe comes almost running to greet Joe Sr who introduced us to Joe P. He shook our hands and I was too awestruck to say anything.
     
  11. ram2020

    ram2020 Well-Known Member
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    My grandfather(of Italian decent) owned a business in state college that is a town staple(id rather not say which, but it is a state college historical building now). My grandparents lived very close to the Paterno's and my mother even babysat their kids in her youth. We were visiting them once and my dad(who played for Paterno) and I were tossing the football in the street and low and behold, Paterno drives up the street. He and my dad have a brief discussion and then Paterno yells out his car window to me "you gonna come play for me when you are older?" I am 5ft 8 and slow, so that never materialized, but I remember the interaction like yesterday.
     
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  12. harbest

    harbest Well-Known Member
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    In 94, I was at a game and found myself outside the locker room before it. I worked for a camera chain at the time and took my Olympus OM-G everywhere I went. I was waiting to get some pictures of players when out of the locker room steps Joe Paterno. This was before the south end zone was remodeled and you could get to an area outside the locker room behind a fence about 30 feet from the door. He came out, looked deep in thought for a while then noticed me and gave me a wave.
    Another encounter I had was not with Paterno, I got tickets to take my son to the 96 Northwestern game. It was colder than hell with a 30 mph wind coming out of the north, so I waited till absolutely the last minute before taking him up to our seats. He asked me for a drink before we went up so I got in line to get it for him. As I looked to my left, who was standing next to me but Franco Harris. While waiting for my son's drink, I tried to think of something to say that wouldn't make me look like an idiot. Before I could think of something, I noticed he was there ordering food and drinks for other people he was with and I've heard celebrities don't like to be interrupted at times like that, so I told myself to mind my own business and savor the moment, which I did.
     
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  13. Marylovesthelions

    Marylovesthelions Well-Known Member
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    Shook his hand at a dinner honoring Ed ONeal in my home town Warren PA.
     
  14. Elwood Blues

    Elwood Blues Well-Known Member
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    Decade or so ago, my daughter (then maybe 8 yrs of age) timidly approached Joe for an autograph. She said "I really like football." He smiled, signed, and said "I really like you." Same girl recently got word that she got her student section tickets for this season!
     
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  15. Delco Lion

    Delco Lion Well-Known Member
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    Got his autograph after the return from the Orange Bowl at Olmsted AFB in the late 60’s and stopped and shook hands on the beach in Avalon in the Summer of 1988. Told him about meeting him at Olmsted and he said “those were great times”
     
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  16. mikeinpenna

    mikeinpenna Well-Known Member
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    1988 MS Dinner of Champions in Hershey. Summer between my freshman and sophomore years. Spent a good 10 minutes chatting with coach Paterno and Blair Thomas. Both couldn't have been nicer. Blair was recovering from his ACL tear prior to the Citrus Bowl vs. Clemson.
     
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  17. loosey goosey

    loosey goosey Well-Known Member
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    I was on the board and picked him up at the airport.It was 93 degrees out and he scolded me because I didn't have a tie on with my blazer.I met him at least 10x and I don't think he ever remembered my name.Also,I got him to sign my PA Joepa license plate.He was not impressed,but I get a ton of randos giving me the We Are.
     
  18. pandaczar12

    pandaczar12 Well-Known Member
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    I met with Joe many times over my years at PSU. Anytime I even had an inkling that a crime might have occurred on campus, I promptly went to his place (within a few weeks) to tell him.
     
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  19. UncleLar

    UncleLar Well-Known Member
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    In 1974 I headed to Iowa City for the Penn State/Iowa game. I got there a few days early since I made a road trip of it catching PSU/Illinois in Champaign the week before. Spent the week in a lot of Iowa City bars making friends. Early Friday afternoon, I picked up a friend of mine, Terry Nau, at the airport and dragged him around to a bunch of Iowa City bars introducing him to people. Terry was a sportswriter for the PA Mirror and was there to cover the game. One of those introductions I made was to Jen, an Iowa coed who was the little sister of a PSU cheerleader nicknamed Toni Tri-Delt, a bit of a legend at PSU. After several hours of drinking, Terry suggested that the three of us head to the hospitality suite at the team hotel. Terry was, after all, there to cover the game and figured he better check in to see if anything major had broken while we were downtown. Fortunately, I knew Jon Morris, who was the SID at the time. At the hospitality suite I introduced him to Jen and he graciously allowed us to join the party despite our obvious over-served condition. At some point, my contact lens managed to pop out of my eye and land in the shag carpet of the hotel room. Jen and I are crawling around on all fours trying to find my lens, when the door opens up and in walks the man himself. Apparently my level of intoxication was pretty noticeable. Joe looks at Morris wondering what the heck is going on. Then he points to Jennifer, the lone female among the 20-30 people in the room, and says point blank "Who's this?". Morris tries to explain that she's the sister of a Penn State cheerleader but Joe just hits the roof and screams "get them outa here".
     
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  20. Fac

    Fac Well-Known Member
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    Dance next to JoePa and SuePa at the media's NYE party at the 87 Fiesta bowl. Didn't try to speak to him as to not bother him.
     
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  21. nitlion93

    nitlion93 Well-Known Member
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    Two personal interactions:
    1. 1993 during mechanical engineering senior project to design a football throwing machine.

    2. 1999 ish while attending a football coaching clinic. Got his autograph on my pass.
     
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  22. Steve G

    Steve G Well-Known Member
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    mid 1970s era, Millen Clark era. There were corn fields much closer in to parking lots. Beautiful fall day and friend and I were sitting out in cornfield smo........errr ingesting a particular horticultural product popular in the 1970s (and increasingly becoming legal now) and we come breezing into the stadium laughing like fools and round a turn and run smack into the team, my friend face right into Joe's chest. The players on either side of him are big as mountains and I am laughing my ass off. "Get the hell outta here" says Joe. Big guys pretty much toss us aside!! Later when they passed the lion up the stands everyone around us sort of sat down and we dropped him into gap between rows of benches and I fell on top of him and could look in the mouth and he's in there yelling "get the hell off me"!! All in all a great run in with greatness.........
     
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  23. Osprey Lion

    Osprey Lion Well-Known Member
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    He once told me (well not me personally but all PSU fans) to lower my expectations.
     
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  24. Rhino80

    Rhino80 Well-Known Member
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    I did the MCLEP program at Smeal while I was In the Marine Corps. Joe was at the reception and I met him briefly. I went back later to get my masters through the fellowship program. Think I was there for 6 more receptions every time a MCLEP class would come through. I ended up sitting and chatting with Joe for the last few. We talked about just about everything but football. He seemed as interested and fascinated with the Marine Corps and myself as I was with him and PSU football. Very fond memories.
     
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  25. Art

    Art Well-Known Member
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    In your case he was telling you about yourself, fvckwad.
     
  26. Thomas1945

    Thomas1945 Well-Known Member
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    Unfortunately my initial one just reinforced my lack of ability to recognize good character and future greatness in my teenage years. When Joe was still an assistant coach he visited with me on a recruiting trip. All I saw as a self inflated jerk, was a skinny guy with thick glasses and an annoying high pitched voice with a funny accent. I remember to this day that he dwelled on the importance of my grades and what I enjoyed outside of football. Sadly at that time I was somewhat deficient in both areas. Showing his expertise in character assessment and athletic ability that meeting was the end of my recruitment by PSU. After two abortive athletic years I transferred to PSU, but didn’t participate in football and years later only had two other non memorable brief personal interactions with Joe. And he obviously didn’t remember the initial one ( or at best kept the memory to himself ) which made me quite happy.
     
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  27. ClarkstonMark

    ClarkstonMark Well-Known Member
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    When my walk on plans were thwarted by a career ending injury the summer before my senior year in high school, JoePa sent me a letter and an invite to a game that fall.
    I guess this might qualify as a Spider moment though in hindsight.
     
  28. rudedude

    rudedude Well-Known Member
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    A Nittany 28 denizen late 70’s, Joe would often walk by our building on the way to practice. He would often stop to B.S. with us briefly and once even tossed a Frisbee with us.
     
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  29. SteveLoy

    SteveLoy Well-Known Member
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    My wife (not a PSU grad) decided to send a letter and invitation to our wedding (October 23, 1999, game was at Purdue and we were ranked #1 at the time). She received a response written by Mrs. Paterno (Good luck and have a great life together) and signed by her and Coach. I had it blown up and it was on the table with the seating assignment cards so all could see. "Stand-up Joe" cardboard cutout was stationed behind me at the wedding party table.
     
  30. Lion84

    Lion84 Well-Known Member
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    Nittany 39 here and had many the same experiences- he walked by our dorm all the time.
     
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  31. LoyalandTrueLion

    LoyalandTrueLion Well-Known Member
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    please take your signature gif of the betsy ross flag down. this is not a place to promote slavery!
     
  32. OmniscientFan

    OmniscientFan Well-Known Member
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    I was trying to walk on to the practice football team and the coaching staff was having a meeting telling us what to expect. I walked into the football building wearing a hat, Paterno saw me and yelled at me for wearing a hat in a building.

    Making matters worse was that it wasn't even a Penn State hat. It was a University of Colorado hat. (Dont asked me why I wore it... I have no answer).
     
  33. Bob78

    Bob78 Well-Known Member
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    I was lucky enough to have a few encounters with Joe, from college days and later on. I saw him on campus a few times when I was a student, and always exchanged hellos with him. As a freshman, I got his autograph as he walked toward the stadium one summer. Because there were a number of football players in my fraternity, I sometimes gave a guy a ride to Joe's house when they needed to stop in for one reason or another. And I got to hear lots of great stories about him from the practice field!

    In the late 80s, my mother had a stroke and was in pretty rough shape for the short remainder of her life. She and my Dad both were big PSU and JVP fans. When my mom was struggling with her new limitations, I sent an unsigned get well card and SASE to Joe at the football offices, briefly telling him about the situation and asking if he would sign the card and drop it in the mail to my mother. This was the off-season, so I did not think it was too big of an imposition for that time of year. Anyway, not long after, my mother got a get well card signed from Joe and Sue(!), with a personalized note from Joe written in the card! That was over 30 years ago, and I still have it.

    Later, as I was more involved in the NLC, I got to attend meet-n-greets with him on occasion. He always acted like he remembered me, even though I know he did not know my name without looking at my name tag.
    My daughter was thrilled to no end when she was about 12 and we were at an event, and I waited for another person to stop talking with him to see if we (wifey, daughter, me) could get a photo with him. John Greene was there, who I had gotten to know from the NLC, so I asked him to run a little interference for us about the photo. He said something to Joe and Joe said to me, "Well sure! I know you!", and my daughter just beamed! We used that photo for the Christmas card that year!

    At another one of these events, because I was one of the local NLC Club committee members, I was tied up with something or other when I looked around and saw Joe on the other side of the room, talking one-on-one with wifey! I'm not happy, because while I was tending to someone running out of ice or some such trivial thing, she's using up my 1-1 time! So, I eventually get over there as their conversation is winding down, have a few moments with Joe, and then more people came up to him. I asked wifey what they talked about, and she said he was regaling her with cute stories about his grandkids!

    At other events, I was able to sit with Joe (and Sue once or twice) a few times. One time, I was next to him, which was a thrill.... until the couple on his other side dominated the conversation with him throughout the meal. Joe sort of sensed that he was 'captured' by them, so he turned to me for a time and talked directly with me. That was great of him to deliberately give me a few minutes. We talked a little football, mostly involving the guys I knew from the fraternity, and he told a couple of stories about other coaches or other venues, but he was clearly more interested in asking me about my life and with others involved, about hearing others' opinions on whatever topic came up.

    As a student, my daughter was a photographer for the Sports Info. Dept., and took game photos on the sidelines and at Joe's weekly Tuesday press conferences. He would always say hello to her when he saw her.

    There is a pinned post on the McAndrew Board about personal memories about Joe, written and posted right after his death. It's worth a look at some of those great stories there as well.
     
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  34. NC2017

    NC2017 Well-Known Member
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    I’m certain my wife and I are the only two people to have met Joe twice and never spent a single second talking about football. All three of us are Brooklyn natives so our time was spent reminiscing about the “old neighborhood”. He was a wonderful man and I have to tell this story to Jay the next time I bump into him in town.
     
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  35. LoyalandTrueLion

    LoyalandTrueLion Well-Known Member
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    flat out racism, and you flaunt it. typical of the "too country" penn state crowd...

    FYI i'm busting your balls
     
  36. LoyalandTrueLion

    LoyalandTrueLion Well-Known Member
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    dude im busting your balls...
     
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  37. Jovialgent

    Jovialgent Well-Known Member
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    I sorta thought so, but on this board, sometimes you never know. That being said, I am going to dump my Ross responses. I don't want to take away from the Paterno thread.
     
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  38. lions15psu

    lions15psu Well-Known Member
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    A lot of people in this thread met him in the 70s and 80s, so perhaps his disposition changed a bit from then to when I met him in the late 90s and early 2000s, but the handful of interactions I had with him were distinctly curmudgeonly...
     
  39. nittany119

    nittany119 Well-Known Member
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    Same with me. Took my father to a PSU fund raiser at NY Sheraton headlined by Joe. The two of them talked about Brooklyn etc. Joe was very happy to talk about the old neighborhood.
    After the reception line, Joe went up to make a speech . Talked about meeting Sue and some other anecdotes. Then he goes, "time to get serious here. I'm here to raise a $billion for whatever that current campaign was" There was a gasp in the room. Joe goes "ah, come on, this is NY and there's alot of you Wall St guys out there. What's a $billion?"
    In two years it was raised. Yeah, but he was such a bad guy.... Bastards

    I'm from Bensonhurst. Where you from?
     
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  40. nittany119

    nittany119 Well-Known Member
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    At least he didn't call you a dumb ginny. Lol
     

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