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Original Issue


She's pretty, sweet and the way her father once remembered her, "She was always a courageous little girl who would fight anybody." But Rene Carpenter, wife of Astronaut Scott Carpenter, sees herself differently in a feature-page column she is writing for the Houston Chronicle and 40 other U.S. papers to detail "my life, my children and my observation of things and situations." Rene's Rene is a "physical coward...cautious of heights, and I don't like speed. I don't even like water and didn't learn to swim until I was an adult. But the children are great swimmers. Scott saw to that." Scott, of course, is another breed of cat altogether. "He's been living dangerously all his life," says Rene. "But his work isn't the only dangerous thing he does. Recently he bought a hydroplane that's a real bomb."

It had been 20 years, she said, but Grace Grimaldi, in T shirt and sneakers, was back in business rapping out hits, burning up the base paths (below) and shagging flies in the outfield as if she'd never been away from the game. A softball match—played between officers of a Sixth Fleet destroyer and European Americans, and reaching a doubtful ("17 to 11, or something") conclusion under Umpire Ralph Bunche—was among Princess Grace's low-key salutes to Monte Carlo's 100th anniversary. Said Her Serene Highness at a pregame cook-out: "Since I'm playing right field, it's safe for me to eat this," and thereupon popped a slice of garlic bread into her mouth.

Cleaving down the river on a Saturday afternoon, as the hometown papers put it, Mao Tsetung, Red China's 72-year-old chief and aquatic miracle man, covered 9.3 miles of the flood-running Yangtze in 65 dazzling minutes to drown out rumors he was feeling peaked. And oh boy, what joy, said the papers, as word spread through the provinces, provoking all and sundry to exclaim: "Our respected and beloved leader Chairman Mao is in such wonderful health!" The chairman's time over the course figured at roughly three hours better than the still-water record, and as marathon swimmers fired off an invitation to Chairman Mao to enter two 10-mile races in Canada later this month, Congressman Robert Griffin of Michigan cracked: "This country has its Batman, and China its Mao."

It was the very best possible turn of events, said Violinist David Oistrakh, that his trio concert with Cellist Pablo Casals and Pianist Julius Katchen at Prades in southern France had been scheduled for Saturday night. The arrangement left him free to watch the World Cup soccer finals on TV.

Analyzing his particular problem on the golf course, Bill Russell, the 82-inch coach of the Boston Celtics, concluded that he could not reach the ball with ordinary clubs, so he switched to king-sized 47-inch shafts. Still, in a left-handers' tournament in Rhode Island the other day, Russell "stopped counting after 112." His second conclusion: "Since the longer clubs didn't help, I guess I'm a born hacker."

"She hates to be beaten by anyone or anything," wrote her coach to explain how England's Mary Rand had won a gold medal in the broad jump at the Tokyo Olympics. But while Mary, still at it, was winning her event again in Los Angeles last week, that old do-or-die spirit was plainly missing back home in Peppard, Oxfordshire where her 4-year-old daughter, Alison, did poorly in three school races and finished a flat last in the spoon-and-egger. "She will never be an athlete," said Alison's headmistress, "for while the ability may be there she is just not interested." That's for sure, said Alison primly. "I prefer painting."

Anybody playing the movie role of Neddy Merrill, Author John Cheever's shallow, exurban Ulysses who woozily swims the breadth of Connecticut's Fairfield County in other people's pools, ought to know how to swim, right? That follows, said Hollywood's Burt Lancaster who, having the pool but lacking the know-how, fixed it up last spring to take lessons from Robert Horn, the coach at UCLA. Now on location for The Swimmer, Lancaster (below) looks "polished, relaxed and efficient in the water," says Horn, "but when I took over he swam the East River crawl"—a clutching-at-straws stroke combining a basic fear of water and a grim determination. Worst of all, Lancaster's butterfly was an enigma: it propelled him backward. "I finally got him standing still on that," says Horn, "which was a great step. Now he does a real respectable job."

The way some of the old folks around Manassa tell it, the Mauler was lucky to get out of town intact. One fellow, for example, specifically recalls the day some 65 years ago when he successfully beat up Jack Dempsey. Fortunately, all the animus has dissipated in the elapsed time, and when the heavyweight champion showed up in Colorado the other day for a hometown celebration, 5,000 fans from all over were there to take a look at Manassa's new Jack Dempsey Park and the reconstructed one-room log cabin where the fighter's parents, "poor but fine people," had struggled to raise Jack and his 10 brothers and sisters. "Looking at that cabin," said one man, "Dempsey must have learned how to box just trying to get a little elbow room."