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Monday, July 25, 2011

An Afternoon With Cindy Miller - Yes - The Tamaqua Basketball Legend and Now Women of the World

We spent Sunday afternoon with fellow Tamaquan - Cindy Miller of Twickenham. I think I was standing on the curb in this picture. THS grads - 1966 - 1980 - 1972.

Cindy took this picture of us along the Thames River at Richmond. That is Marilyn Monroe next to me secretly living in exile in England.

A few miles upstream from London - the Thames is much more quaint. There is lots of activity on and off the water. We had drinks on the white veranda on the right. There is a foot and bike path along the river all the way back to London. We walked it a mile or so.

Sunday - we spent a few hours with Cindy Miller - yes - the THS high basketball high scorer for 27 years. First off - she looks great and has a dynamite job. She is a take charge girl. She is about 6-1 - slimmer than I remember her - dark hair cut short - and looks like a page out of Vogue. She is living with a classmate from Tamaqua that was on the team with her. Cindy still has the dark hair with a few gray ones in there - and the sharp eyes she had as an expert shooter. She still has leader written all over her. She was a wonderful host - took us to a river bar for drinks outside - then to a mediterranean restaurant for supper.

She is vice president for UK, Ireland and the Nordic Countries for United Parcel Service! She is also in charge of all the delivery logistics for the Olympics - moving everything in and out of there - that is why she is here. UPS is a main sponsor of the games.

After Tamaqua - Cindy went to UNC - played hoops for 3 years. She came home and finished at PSU. She took a job as a driver for UPS at Tamaqua - Allentown to Philly to Brooklyn to Chicago to Brussels. Brussels was the big move for 2 years - and now London. She expects to be here 3-4 years.

Under the ex-patriate law - she can work here up to 5 years - she expects 3 to 4. She pays income tax and social security on all her earnings to the USA.

She said she got her first manager job with UPS - she was working at Allentown - and a regional manager offered her the a management position because 3 other guys refused to move. She just said how much? When do I move? After that she said it was easy. She said the first move was hard but now each new move is an adventure - and a chance to purge stuff :-) Karen Deininger - partner of 20 years who also happens to have been a fellow Tamaqua grad and teammate - was back in the states on family business.

They live in an apartment in Twickenham - across the river from Richmond on the Thames River. Cindy drives a BMW 535 Diesel. their place is just 5 miles short of Heathrow Airport. The Thames is really pretty there with lots of restaurants along the water and people boating on the river - paddlecraft. This is an exclusive little town - home of English Rugby and also home to Eel Pie Island. In 1963 there was an old hotel on th eisland where The Rolling Stones improved their craft along with The Who - The Yardbirds - David Bowie - Rod Stewart - Eric Clapton - Cream - and others.

She told us of her travels to Israel - she said it is safe there - and Egypt - she says she would not go back there right now - very dangerous for outsiders. She was hassled many times visiting the pyramids and would not take family there. She loves Spain and their food.

After dinner - she caught a cab for us - and poof - she was gone.

I have to tell you - this girl has strong character. When she played basketball - she had a humor and dignity beyond her years. She never got in anybody's face. She was a true sportsman. She was only 16 years old when she led Tamaqua to the state championship and being name All-State. Her record of 2200 points in a career survived from 1980 to 2007. I am guessing she is 49 now and her best years are still to come. I remember her Dad trying to get her into Little League baseball - and Knee-Hi Football - but the doctors teaming up with the leagues to not let her play. She was "our" Billy Jean King. She won the Elks foul shooting contest every year. And head to head - she could beat most of the boys.

For her age - she could be a model - she is trim - carries herself like a thoroughbred - and I am guessing still has to beat guys off with a stick. In your mind - you have heroes - and she is one of mine. It is so much fun - meeting one of your heroes later in life - and they still remain bigger than life. At least - that is the way I see it.

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