Friday, August 17, 2018
News Roundup

Hooper: One man’s love letter touches hearts

Like most journalists, I receive a fair share of email from readers.

Some of the correspondence contains compliments or constructive criticism. Some of the missives come with missiles so vile I can’t share them in a family newspaper.

Every once in a while, however, a message will come through that touches my heart.

Let me tell you about the love letter Alan Lipke sent about his wife Yvonne LaMon Lipke.

"Had we but world enough, and time…"

Some of you know that line as the beginning of one of the greatest come-ons ever written. It’s by an eighteenth-century Englishman named Andrew Marvell. When I tried it on this cute, charming woman she thought it terrific. Adopted it as "our poem."

Twenty-one years wasn’t time enough with her.

And the East Coast and New Orleans – Peru – Ireland, Greece, Turkey, Italy – Ghana – Cancun – wasn’t world enough either.

Immediately I envision a cute couple, carrying each other through years of marital bliss. The time element and 17th century poetry tells me it’s a mature love, nurtured perhaps by life’s occasional hard knocks. Before I can wonder if it’s all perfect between Alan and Yvonne he answers with the next paragraph.

We loved each other. From time to time we disappointed each other, even hurt each other’s feelings. That’s marriage.

But Alan continued with more praise, referencing Shakespeare to describe how people loved Yvonne and she loved people — unconditionally. He told of the day she was born — March 12, 1950 — but said she never looked her age thanks to a "big smile and lovely skin."

Yvonne earned her BA in Education at the University of South Florida while driving a ten-gang lawnmower-tractor at the Palma Ceia Country Club. She taught elementary exceptional students for 34 years, first in Brooksville, then in Tampa, most recently at Mendenhall and Miles Elementary.

They both lamented how exceptional education teachers are underappreciated.

Alan asked if I could be sure to include how disillusioned Yvonne grew with education’s overriding emphasis on testing, and how it took the teacher’s judgment out of the equation. She never wavered in her devotion to children, however she longed for leaders to restore independent innovation to teachers.

She loved causes because she hated injustice, cruelty, fear, racism, greed and meddling bureaucrats.

He wrote that Yvonne raised two powerful daughters, practically on her own, and while he had never met her first husband, he was certain he made a huge mistake.

Not long after we got engaged, she took me aside and told me I didn’t want to marry her because she was selfish and stubborn and used to deciding things for herself. And I thought it mighty selfish of her to be saying such unpleasant things about this neat, fascinating girl who was willing to trade a classy name like "LaMon" for a shlubby one like "Lipke."

This humble, heart-felt letter left me wanting to meet Yvonne LaMon Lipke, to hear her stories about the classroom, her devotion to Alan and how she finally got her, "crazy family to love each other as much as she loved them." But I won’t get that chance.

As Alan wrote, Yvonne beat cancer for seven years before dying on July 25. Family and friends will celebrated her life from 6-8 p.m. tonight at Blount & Curry’s Garden of Memories, 4207 East Lake Avenue; and at 2 p.m. on Saturday at St. Clement’s Episcopal Church, 706 E. 113th Ave.

A New Orleans "second line" will be part of the celebration on Saturday, and Alan says Yvonne would want everyone to wear bright, colorful clothes.

She has passed on, but the love story lives.

She was the most wonderful person I ever met. I’m so lucky that she shared her life with me.


Preseason football: Sunlake 22, Lakewood 20 (one half)

ST. PETERSBURG — Following two lengthy lightning delays, Sunlake used two blocked punts and several key defensive stops to knock off Lakewood in an abbreviated preseason game, 22-20.Matt Paduani led the way for the Seahawks, notching two touchdown ca...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Preseason football: Alonso 7, Countryside 6

TAMPA — The end result was a one-point decision — a 7-6 victory for Alonso over Countryside on Friday in a preseason game.First-year coach Ron Perisee preferred to dig deeper into his Ravens’ performance than the final score."I am just proud of the f...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Preseason football: Land O’Lakes 26, Wesley Chapel 0

LAND O’LAKES — From the very first play Friday night, Land O’Lakes asserted its presence over Wesley Chapel in preseason action.A botched snap, recovered by the Gators, set up a 27-yard flea-flicker touchdown from quarterback Ethan Forrester to Jacob...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Preseason football: St. Petersburg 10, Northeast 0

ST. PETERSBURG — Tonio Shavers rushed for a short touchdown as the St. Petersburg defeated Northeast, 10-0, in a shortened preseason game Friday.Lightning caused an hour-long delay at the end of the first quarter and when the teams returned they deci...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Preseason football: River Ridge 44, Pasco 24

NEW PORT RICHEY — River Ridge rode the arms of quarterbacks Kyle St. John and Travis Hawks on Friday night en route to a 44-24 preseason win over Pasco."(St. John and Hawks) both played really well tonight," River Ridge coach Ryan Benjamin said. "The...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays journal: A 3-0 first-inning lead turns into a loss to powerful Red Sox

Rays journal: A 3-0 first-inning lead turns into a loss to powerful Red Sox

BOSTON — Scoring three runs in the top of the first inning is typically a good start toward a victory.But not so much at cozy Fenway Park.And definitely not against these red-hot Red Sox.Facing their AL East rivals for the first time since late...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Preseason football: Plant 25, Venice 25

VENICE — Plant coach Robert Weiner stressed to his team the importance of creating turnovers in preparation for Friday’s anticipated showdown with Class 7A defending state champion Venice. Weiner even devoted one day of practice this week to focus on...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Friday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Friday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Manager Kevin Cash has talked up RHP Ryne Stanek as an MVP of the opener experiment, given how well he has handled the transition to pitching the first inning. On Friday, not so much. Stanek said he didn't think relieving Thursday had an impact.OF Ma...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Preseason football: Zephyrhills 13, Mitchell 9 (three quarters)

LAND O’LAKES — It would have been easy for Zephryhills coach Nick Carroll and Mitchell coach Andy Schmitz to read the riot act to their teams after Friday night’s preseason game. Instead, their messages were the same: Forget about it and move on.For ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
It’s David Price time, from Rays ‘openers’ to rise of Blake Snell

It’s David Price time, from Rays ‘openers’ to rise of Blake Snell

BOSTON — David Price heard about the recent reunion of the Rays' 2008 American League championship club that he played a big role on as a small part of, and he had a few questions.What players were there? How did it go? Did second baseman Akino...
Updated: 2 hours ago