Titus: Immigrant Son, Football Legend, Presidential Confidant, Highly Honored Chiropractor
The Life of Dr. Titus Plomaritis
Titus Pomaritis is a 5’5” powerhouse of a human being—and his inspiring memoir covers everything from his early days delivering chickens to a small grocer, to his still-talked-about high school football career, to his romance and long marriage. Through it all, he expresses gratitude and wonder to the people along the way.
Shelf Unbound: You started writing this book in your 80s. How did the book come about?
Titus Plomaritis: I was a professional photographer—one of my many occupations. And I had thousands of negatives, 35mm slides, and photographs, and they were in containers in my basement. My daughter, Lynn, who was a retired school teacher in Alaska, came home one day and said to me, “Dad, I want you to come with me. We are going to go to the Apple store and we are going to buy a computer and you are going to put all those precious negatives and the photographs that you have on the computer so that they’ll be available forever, not just for you but for us and our grandchildren.”
So we went to the Apple store, just like she would take one of her students like a 2nd grade kid. We bought a computer. And with the computer they told me that I would have a one-to-one program where I could go in there and have one of their instructors—I call them professors because they are really skilled at what they do—in a one-to-one lesson once a week. I did that for six straight years, never missed a lesson. It took me almost three years to get all my negatives and my photographs uploaded because I played football in high school and college, we did some traveling, we went to several parts of Europe and to the Virgin Islands, we did a lot of traveling with my affiliation with the National Board of Private Examiners.
As I was putting all these photographs and negatives in there, some of the people at the store, my instructors, would say, “Hey Doc, could I tell a story with each picture? And they’d say, Doc, those stories you have, you should write a book. I figured they were blowing smoke, I didn’t pay much attention to them. But my kids and even my grandchildren would say, “Papa tell me the story about the time you jumped off the roof, or tell me this story, tell me that story.” Now the kids are on my back and they are saying, “Dad, I think you should write a book. Write a memoir because these are nice stories, we’ll have them and we can pass them on to the children and grandchildren.” And that’s how it all started.
So when I was at the Apple store, and I’m typing with one finger at a time, typing each story, these guys said, “He is so dedicated to this cause, why don’t we pitch in and buy him the Mavis Beacon Typing Class, so they did. And I typed every single word in that book, I was typing 25 words a minute, so I typed every word that it’s in that book.
That’s how it all started.
Shelf Unbound: Great! One of your early claims to fame was that you scored all 20 points to win the Lowell High School 1948 football game against rival Lawrence.
TP: One of the local TV stations wrote two 30-minute videos and they played them on TV, actually it’s on demand and people have watched it from Australia and New Zealand and they contacted me to tell me they’ve seen it. The name of the series is Titus, the 5 Foot 5 Inch Giant. And they of course they always relate that story because that story about the Lowell-Lawrence Game, every once in a while, maybe every 10 years, the Lowell Sun Newspaper puts that picture on the front page, around Thanksgiving time, and they relate it as the most exciting and the most interesting football game in the 100-year history rivalry is that 1948 Lowell-Lawrence Game in which Titus scored all 20 points and it took 40 minutes to play that last four seconds.
Shelf Unbound: Tell us about the end of that game.
TP: Let me go back a week before that because this is a very interesting component of the whole story. Lowell High School was playing this rival team, way back in 1890 they started, and Lowell High School never had an undefeated team, so the 1948 team we had won the first seven games, and we’re playing our eighth game against North Quincy. It was raining, and I fumbled with the ball two or three times in the front half; we were losing 9 to nothing and it looked like we were doomed—it would be the first defeat of the season. So we’re in the dressing room and the coach gives us a big pep talk and he has everybody running out. Our coach played for the Green Bay Packers—he weighed 268 pounds and he was big—6’4”—and he put one of his paws on my shoulder. I was sitting on the bench inside the locker room and he’s telling everybody okay let’s go and I couldn’t get up from the bench because he had me pinned to the chair, to the bench.
And he said to me, “Titus, hang on to the f-ckin’ football.” Because I fumbled three times in the first half. So we went out in the second half and I must have caught two or three punts, what do they say, Kamikaze style, like the Japanese pilots there, they commit suicides. I went after those punts full speed, and we won—we played the second half, we shut them out. We scored 28 points, and I scored two touchdowns. I threw a touchdown pass, I set up the fourth touchdown and I kicked four points after, so we won the game 28 to 9.
I remember that game actually more importantly than I do the Lawrence game, but the Lawrence game was so important. It was so exciting—honest to goodness, I bump into people today that were alive in that era, and they tell me that was the most exciting game they ever saw.
So in the Lowell-Lawrence game, we were down but we came from behind twice and now we’re going on the drive right down to the goal line and the climax of the story is we’re on the four yard line, fourth down and four seconds on the clock. The coach calls my number and I said to the fullback, “Brian, I said Brian, I’m going to be on your tail so take me in.”
Then somebody hit me on the one or two-yard line and with my driving force, which is the big component of the book—I did a little spin and ended up going into the end zone and when I got in there, that tied the score 19-19. It took the police 20 minutes to clear the people off the field. They were six deep on the track. Every game was like that, we had everywhere from 16 to 20 thousand people at every single game.
In the interim, somebody took my helmet. Somebody took the football, so we had to get a new helmet for me and a new football, and now we’re getting ready to kick the point after and I’m also the placekicker. We’re in a huddle and Jimmy, the quarterback, said, “Okay, let’s give Titus a chance to get the ball back—let’s keep him out of the backfield and give Titus a chance to kick it.”
Way back early in the book I tell how when I was 7 years old, I was trying to kick a ball over a 20-foot baseball backstop and the desire and the driving force in Titus at that time was ridiculous, because the backdrop is 20 feet and the cross on the football field is only 10 feet. I’m only 7 or 8 years old and it took me three solid years before I could kick that ball over that backstop, the baseball backstop. Now I’m envisioning that kick at this game. Very crucial part of the game.
They show that picture in the book, you can see the elevation of the height of the ball was way up high, way up to the very top of the goalpost. You can see the ball going way up in the air and there was no question at all. So people would classify that as the most exciting point after a touchdown in the history, the most exciting football game in the 100 year rivalry of the Lowell-Lawrence high school football rivalry.