This photo is an absolute treasure to me; my sister brought it to me this fall after a visit with our grandfather, Jack Scharff, who still lives in Memphis TN, where this photo was taken. I had no idea that my grandfather had ever had an interest in boxing.
He told my sister that he was about 15 years old when this photo was shot, and that he boxed some in high school, but actually did more wrestling than boxing. I think he also wrestled in college.
My mother describes her dad as a daredevil. I can remember reading a book called Peruvian Rambles, which was written by my great-grandather Abe Scharff to document his time adventuring in Peru with Jack, who was 17 at the time. I loved the scene where they woke up to find their feet all bloody from where the vampire bats had feasted on them like giant mosquitos in the night.
My grandfather was also a pilot in the Army Air Corps, and when he was stationed in Germany his job was to fly up and down a portion of the Rhine River to keep watch on it. He told my mother that his plane got shot at more than once. His plane was not armed, but he had been issued a sidearm…not that it would do much good. He was able to remove the seat from his plane and replace it with a more substantial one which was a little better at stopping the bullets which penetrated the shell of his plane.
When I still lived in Memphis he was in his sixties and getting up at 5 am every morning to play racquetball. He taught me just how bad at racquetball I really am, and there are plenty of witnesses to testify.