Something new today on marc’s blog! I have partnered up with an old friend who joins me as Contributing Editor. Ron Carmean will be sharing space here with me, sometimes on his own, sometimes the two of us together. We agreed to figure it out as we go and let it take us—and you—wherever it wants! Today, Ron travels back a few years…before computer games, iPads and reality shows on TV. If you like time machines, hop on…
When I was a kid, baseball truly was The National Pastime. Everyone followed baseball. The daily newspapers brought scores for all to read. I followed every game on my bedside radio—especially when I was too sick to go to school which happened a lot when I was young. My God-Mother listened to every Phillies game, and kept score. She and my mother went to games on Ladies Day. Tickets were discounted. On the greatest of days, my parents and I went to a ball game and cheered for my favorite player: Del Ennis. He was the one who supplied the Phillies with home runs. In one game we attended, he dropped a fly ball which resulted in three runs for our opponent. Spectators booed louder than usual. (Ennis, from a high school in Philadelphia, was always booed. No one knew why.) He had a last at-bat, with three men on base. He hit a home run, winning the game. Fans cheered. I screamed; I remember screaming for a long time.
Once, at Christmas, my father erected his model train platform. He had three sets of trains going through towns and across mountains. He had cars with cattle, coal, logs, milk cans—if a train car could toss out something, he had it. He taught me how to operate everything. One afternoon when I was playing with the trains, Dad came in the front door. Following him were a small boy I had never seen and…Del Ennis! I couldn’t speak. He came toward me, shook my hand, and asked: “Would you run your trains for me and my son?” I don’t remember if I said “Yes.” But I ran every train, sounded every horn, made sure I demonstrated every car that did anything. Then I turned around to Mr. Ennis. He took a baseball from his pocket and signed it for me: “Best Wishes, Del Ennis.” I still have it over 60 years later.
Then, there were the stacks of baseball cards, usually with rubber bands wrapped around them or lined up neatly in shoeboxes. Most kids collected baseball cards. Every year brought a new set to collect. On rainy days, there were baseball magazines to read; monthly magazines, not just pre-season preview editions were available then. And, of course, there were the board games. Without games for computers or run by electricity, player cards or discs representing true players were used with dice or spinners. The outcome of a game depended upon picking a good team and some luck. The first such game was the Cadaco-Ellis All-Star Baseball game. Sometimes, we pretended every player was a stand-in for ourselves or people we knew. Would “our” team beat our opponents’, who were composed of shop keepers, fathers, mailmen, delivery truck drivers—any adult men within our world.
Meanwhile, every summer vacation had its days filled with stickball. Everyone played. There were no teams to join for “real” baseball. Stickball was the closest any of us would come to playing baseball. Without it, winter time was torture. Friends were seldom seen. We weren’t alone in hating the winter months. Many years later, I learned a great baseball player, Rogers Hornsby, was asked what he did in the off-season. He replied: “I stare out the window and wait for spring.”
As an adult, it evolved that my brother and I had established our own holiday signifying the end of the “barren” months. Mid-February brought baseball in the form of pitchers and catchers reporting for Spring Training. The end of winter was in sight. Brooms with the sweeping ends broken off were found in basements. Money was saved from our allowances and used to buy new rubber balls. School would end soon. We had survived another winter. Our season was about to begin.
My newest literary effort is imminent.
It’s called DEAD LETTER.
Stay tuned to this blog for further detail
Other books by Marc Kuhn: THE POPE’S STONE, an historical novel that follows two descendants of a Virginia family who, despite living a century apart, share uncanny similarities in their lives; NEVER GOOSE A MOOSE, a collection of whimsical verse featuring thought-provoking “never-do’s” that children should beware of; and ABOUT A FARM, a children’s book about challenges we all face every day, regardless of where we live. All three books are available at amazon.com and each has its own .com website under its title.
Intimate details about Marc Kuhn and other exhilarating stuff at marckuhn.com
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