A memorable family occasion

The cottage was very nice and clean. Mike, October We had a most enjoyable stay at Maryfield.

A memorable family occasion

See more from Body Issue On a December morning, he's sitting in his usual spot on his couch, flipping through a photo album. His breathing is labored. There is fluid in his lungs. Waistline aside, Tittle doesn't look much different now than he did in his playing days: His skin is raw and flaky, and when he scratches a patch on his head, a familiar line of blood sometimes trickles down.

He shares his large house with his full-time helper, a saint of a woman named Anna. His daughter, Dianne de Laet, sits nearest him, leaning in as he touches each yellowed picture. Friday nights in the town square, where "I'd neck with a girl, if I was lucky. And football, always football.

Inhe says, Marshall High traveled miles to play Waco, ranked second in the state. The Mavericks pulled off the upset, and on the couch he recites the beginning of the newspaper story: As a teenager he reduced it to initials, and it later became legend. Remembering his Texas days seems to bring a youthful spirit out of him, which is why Dianne gave him this album today.

But then he flips to a photo of himself during his college days at Louisiana State, and something slips. Hall of Fame QB Y. Tittle at age 87 In discussing Hall of Fame quarterback Y.

Tittle at age 87, Tittle's daughter Dianne De Laet rekindles memories of the iconic year-old photo of her father.

A memorable family occasion

She knows that he has seen these pictures many times, of course. Some even hang in his house. Dianne is 64 years old, with blue eyes shining from a face that she tries to keep out of the sun, and it is hard for her to watch each old photo bring the joy of a new discovery. She lives feeling a loss for her father, a loss that he doesn't feel for himself -- until something stirs it up.

That happens when Y. He suddenly realizes that he hasn't heard from his best friend from high school. He was such a good friend. It's not the person he is now. Some years back, doctors diagnosed dementia. Friends always ask Dianne if his condition is related to football.

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She can't know for sure but thinks he's simply getting older. In the past year, Y. He repeats himself every minute or so. It has left a football legend, whose speaking engagements used to take him around the country, incapable of holding normal conversation and limited to a handful of topics: Courtesy Dianne de Laet Anyone familiar with Tittle's football career knows that it wasn't supposed to be this way.

His body was supposed to crumble, not his mind. He was famous during his year career -- as a backup with the Colts, as a star with the 49ers and as a legend with the Giants -- for not only playing through pain but for retaining a wit in the face of crushing losses.

But Dianne has watched her dad regress in inches, too small to notice during daily visits from her nearby house but devastating when considered in their totality.

That person arrives in flashes, mostly when he talks about a party that he has hosted for 27 years in a row at his house on the shores of Caddo Lake, 20 minutes northeast of Marshall.

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What began as a way to give Tittle's former teammates a taste of East Texas evolved into an annual event, a rite of spring, with friends from every stage of his life sitting on the porch as the sun set, drinking beers and eating barbecue, strumming guitars and howling country songs, listening to the host's yarns grow more elaborate as the cooler emptied and night descended into morning.

His golden rule of storytelling: Be at the dock to go fishing at 7 a. They would always be there, black coffee in hand. That party is never far from his mind, even now. In December, as if on cue, the anticipation of hosting for a 28th year creeps into Y.

Most of his teammates are dead. The prospect of a few widows surrounding her confused and crestfallen dad seems terrifying. But in California, he spends his days in the TV room of an oversized house as his memory evaporates."The food you grew up with" ® Our philosophy is simple: memorable service and absolutely the best food breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and desserts created from scratch recipes "you grew up with".

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