Blogs > From The Bleacher Seats

A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

A true Tigers' fan turns 100 years old

Vivian Cameron and her son, Dean

Happy birthday, Vivian Cameron.
One hundred years old Wednesday, and guess where she spent that very special day?
At Comerica Park watching the Tigers take on the Seattle Mariners with her son, Dean.
They were in Section 117 A. Terrace Row A, seats 1 and 2. Those are Dean’s season tickets.
Who needs cake when you can have hot dogs and peanuts? Who needs candles when it is a night game?
Such is the remarkable adhesion of baseball. It bonds a mother, her son and an entire century
“I got married in 1939,” said Vivian Cameron. “We used to go with another couple to Tiger Stadium.”
Vivian Cameron was born and raised in Detroit. She moved with her husband, Lester, to Royal Oak in 1952 and still resides in the area of 11 Mile and Campbell.
Lester Campbell was a salesman for the Mead Corporation before retiring in 1976. He suffered from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” It is a progressive, neurodegenerative condition.
Their son, Dean, attended Bishop Foley High School and graduated in 1976.
“When the Lou Gehrig’s disease started to really affect dad, he could not take care of himself,” said his son, Dean. “He could not feed himself. He could not go to the bathroom himself. He was homebound in a wheelchair. He started watching a lot of Tigers’ games on television.”
Baseball became a passion, one shared by his mother.
That passion reached remarkable levels. After Lester Cameron succumbed to ALS in August of 1993, Dean and Vivian Cameron embarked on a series of trips to visit all of the major league ballparks.
The journey began in Kansas City where they saw the Tigers take on the Royals. Eventually, it concluded in San Francisco with a game matching the Giants and Rockies.
Mom was 91 years old at the time.
“It was not always easy,” said Dean. “Mom was using a cane then, but not a walker. We had to use wheelchairs through guest services at times. But all and all, she loved it.
“When we were planning the trips, I told mom that it was time for her. I did not want her to give up like some people who lose a loved one like dad. I told mom that she’d given all those years to dad, and it was time for her to have some fun,” said her son.
There was fun to be had at the Century Banquet Center in Sterling Heights Saturday. That is where friends and family gathered to celebrate Vivian’s milestone.
A couple of hours before the party began, Vivian and Dean went to St. Justin Catholic Church in Hazel Park for the 4 p.m., mass.
“When I was growing up, dad took me to a few games at Tiger Stadium. I remember he wrote a poem about the 1983 Tigers. Ernie Harwell read it over the air. After that, we became friends with Ernie. We would have lunch or dinner with him every so often. He came to my mom’s 90th birthday party. He made mention of my dad’s passing on the air when the Tigers were playing in California,” said Dean.
“My mom is my best friend,” he continued. “Mom and dad adopted me when I was just a couple of months old. I am blessed to have her around at this age. She is remarkably healthy. She has issues, but nothing that is life-threatening. She has two knees that need to be replaced, but they will not do it because of her age. She can take care of herself. She can get up, make herself a meal, and enjoy the day.”
He savors the days they can enjoy together. Often, they center around Tigers’ baseball.
“I fell in love with the game,” said Dean Cameron. “I love baseball. My mom and I both attended the last game at Tiger Stadium and the first game at Comerica Park. “Baseball is very relaxing to me. It’s a summer sport.
“I remember watching Willie Horton hit that inside-the-park home run. I remember having tears in my eyes when they played the last game at Tiger Stadium. It was just very, very touching.”
There’s something very touching about a son’s love for his mother, too. Happy birthday, Vivian. Here is wishing for many more birthdays …and many more games at Comerica Park.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home