It was a few years after the end of World War II. The "Baby Boom" had begun as a new era of hope spread throughout the United States.
Paul Warfield, then a young Warren boy with eyes wide open to the world, went on a trip with classmates at First Street Elementary School. The destination was Cleveland's Municipal Stadium for an Indians baseball game.
It was a day that Warfield still remembers with fondness. In some ways, it began to shape his thoughts as to what he wanted to do when he matured into one of the greatest athletes to ever play professional football.
"We rode the train all the way to Cleveland and got to Terminal Tower and we walked down East Ninth Street to the stadium," Warfield recalled. "The excitement was overbearing because I was going to see my first pro baseball game. I, along with classmates, sat there and saw the bright uniforms and knew all the players. I said to myself, 'I would love to be down there one day.'"
Warfield's dream came true, but it didn't initially play out the way most people remember. He eventually played in the stadium as a rookie receiver for the Cleveland Browns in 1964, but before then, he had a tryout with the Indians. Talented in many sports, including basketball and track and field, Warfield yielded to his baseball instincts and stuck with football.
The rest is history. Warfield was a member of the Browns' 1964 NFL championship team - the last major sports title won by a Cleveland team. He played on the Miami Dolphins' back-to-back Super Bowl-winning teams in 1972 and '73 before finishing his career in 1976-77 with the Browns.
When you go
WHAT: Paul Warfield as part of "It All Started Here" speaker series
WHEN: 7 p.m. July 12
WHERE: Packard Music Hall, 1703 Mahoning Ave. N.W., Warren
TICKETS: Can be purchased at the Tribune Chronicle; order forms appear frequently in the newspaper
COST: $20 each
NEXT UP: Austin Pendleton Sept. 13
Warfield, 69, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983. Since then he has worked in several fields in and out of sports and currently resides in California.
Warfield will speak about those experiences July 12 at Warren's Packard Music Hall as part of the "It All Started Here" lecture series. The series is being sponsored by the Tribune Chronicle as part of the newspaper's year-long bicentennial celebration of publishing in Warren. Tickets for the event are still on sale.
He credits his upbringing in Warren as a reason for his success. His father Dryden moved here from Kentucky looking for employment in the steel mills and a better life in the ever-growing suburbs that were the social aftermath of the "Great War."
It's likely that Warfield will devote a portion of his speech to the public-school system that has been assailed from various angles. He speaks with passion about the need to continue support of public schools to make sure the foundation for the future remains sturdy.
"I'm not going to attempt to delve into politics, but I get a little deterred when I hear about those that want to run government at whatever levels and want to make major cuts in education when I think about how teachers have impacted me and encouraged me," he said. "That's a great reason this nation of ours has developed great people because of our educational system. I'm a proud product of different levels of the public school system."
He's concerned that special interests of some groups might mean the end of public schools as we once knew them.
"People are talking about charter schools and about destroying it (the public system)," he said. "I'm bothered by that. If you educate the masses, then this country will benefit more."
Warfield, who graduated from Warren G. Harding High School in 1960, used the school system as a means to develop intellectually and as an athlete with high aspirations. He learned many life lessons during his time here before he attended The Ohio State University.
"There were so many foundations of going through a school system and being part of athletic teams," he said. "Athletic teams taught me competitiveness. It taught me about working with other people from different backgrounds, and it taught me unity and believing that I'm part of athletic teams that are committed to our goals and objectives. If we are working together as part of that initiative, we can achieve great things."