From Jazzman Joe

by Albert Haim

Joe kindly sent the following information about the role of Sam McKay in securing the fraternity paddle.

"Sam told me that while he was attending the University of Wisconsin in Madison,WI., one of his fellow students friends who knew of Sam's love of the music of Bix Beiderbecke told him that his father had been a classmate of Bix during the time Bix attended the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. He further told Sam that his dad was a member of the same Fraternity that Bix had pledged to.He further said that his dad had taken possession of the Pledge paddle originally given to Bix when circumstances led to Bix being dismissed from the University of Iowa. Apparently Bix left in some haste and taking possession of the paddle seemed to be just the right thing to do at the time.When Sam told me about this I suggested that he try to take possession of the paddle for the express purpose of donating it to the Bix Society for there archives.We contacted our mutual friend Rich Johnson, then Director of Music for the Bix Society. He felt it was a wonderful item to add to the collection of Bix Memorabilia and to be put on display at the Putnum museum in Davenport, Iowa for everyone to see. To the best of my knowledge that is where it rests today. I have always felt that Sam should have been given proper recognition for getting this valuable item to the Bix Society. Now that he has passed away it is sad that it can only be done posthumously in his memory...."


Posted on Feb 2, 2010, 6:12 AM

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