As Neil Genzlinger noted in the New York Times, a good memoir is not just a restatement of what happened, “but a shared discovery.”
Titus Plomaritis, a retired chiropractor, has lived an active and productive life, but Titus: The Life Story of Dr. Titus Plomaritis reveals very little about what he learned along the way, although he does include a commencement speech he once gave at Northwestern College of Chiropractic that offers one lesson: “Sooner or later we will learn that good enough is not good enough when challenged by the consequences of mediocrity. We must stir our passion for excellence.”
Plomaritis has a coconspirator in the making of this book, a retired sports writer from his hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts, which may explain the extremely detailed passages about Plomaritis’ many triumphs on the gridiron, beginning with sandlot football in Lowell, his time as a football star at Lowell High School in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and his days on the team at Boston University. His children and computer tutors are credited with suggesting the memoir idea to him.
To his credit, Plomaritis shares the pages of his memoir with others from Lowell who have carved out prominent careers in their community. Considerable space is dedicated to Plomaritis’ high school football coach, Ray Riddick, and to the establishment of a scholarship fund in his name. The revitalization of the Lowell High School Boosters Club, an effort greatly energized by the work of Plomaritis, is also described at some length.
There is no question that Plomaritis and his family have achieved much. Plomaritis tells how his wife, Claire, got elected to the New Hampshire General Assembly, and how he built his own successful chiropractic practice and even became active in national politics during the Carter Administration.
Titus is generously adorned with black-and-white photographs from various periods of the author’s life. Some photos add to the book, while others leave the reader wondering why they were included. Amidst a tedious story about how Plomaritis became the billiards champion of the Yorick Men’s Club in Lowell, for example, there is a picture of a plaque (barely readable) listing past presidents of the club between 1882 and 1980. It would have been more interesting had the author included a discussion of the importance of men’s clubs in the development of his business and whether women were ever allowed to join this club.
First and foremost, Titus is a celebration of its author’s life. But it is also a generous contribution to the history of the Lowell, Massachusetts, community. Therefore, Plomaritis’s story will be of greatest interest to his family, friends, and neighbors.