A Boy's Baseball Dream

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by UserID, Aug 30, 2014.

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    1. UserID
      Lucky

      UserID Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tampa, FL
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/01/1972
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Artillery
      What is with today’s youth who never seem to get out of the house, but instead spend hour upon hour playing video games, watching movies, and social network on five websites? When I was young, it was impossible to keep kids indoors. Our fun was outside the house.

      My favorite boyhood years ran from age six to eleven. Back then, baseball was my dream.
      Playing the field, pitching, batting, chasing taped up baseballs – everything about the sport – I loved. Most of the kids in the neighborhood joined in, so it wasn’t difficult to set up a game. In whatever weather, hot or cold, rain or shine, we met at one of a few pieces of cleared or half-cleared property we transformed into playable fields.

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      Word spread quickly from one house to the other when a game was called. Teams were picked the old way, by tossing a baseball bat to a team member. Where caught, another other boy would place his hand around the bat above the other’s hand, then the other kid’s hand went on top of his, and if one of them was lucky enough to be able to “cap it” by setting his palm on the upturned round bottom and reach his fingers down to touch the other’s hand, he won the first pick.

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      I still recall the names of our favorite professional ball players, the Pittsburgh Pirates. Dick Groat, Bill Mazeroski, Roberto Clemente, Harvey Haddox, Rocky Nelson, Smokey Burgess, Bob Skinner, Dick Stewart, Dean Baker, and others. They were our life, our passion, and a big part of our radio and TV listening. Owning a ball, glove and a bat was all a kid needed to stay for most of the day out of the house and away from trouble.

      During one game near the Nixon house, in a vacant lot that was anything but, we managed to gather five or six to a team. The perimeter of the lot held scattered brush and trees, thick enough to hide inside if nature called. My brother, Denny, in need of such a break, headed into the woods and was gone for a few minutes when we heard from his direction a loud cry for help. While squatting, he’d lost his balance and fell onto a protruding piece of glass that sunk into his knee. Blood was all over his leg when I got to him. With my T shirt off, I wrapped his knee, tied it, and ran to ask Mrs. Nixon for care. She insisted Denny be taken to the emergency room of the hospital where he was stitched. That scar can be seen to this day.
       
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    2. Karen
      Talkative

      Karen Manager Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      First time: Noise 2nd Time: Ototoxic drug
      Thanks for the reminiscence, User ID! I'm about your age, and I remember my brother being outside all the time, practicing his batting and catching for his little league team. My dad was the little league coach, and my mother was the scorekeeper, so we spent many summer evenings at the ball field. I often sat in the dugout with the team, so I got to know those kids really well. One little boy was not much into baseball, and was more interested in catching frogs and toads that happened by.

      Back then, in the summertime, we would go outside to play, and stay outside pretty much all day, except when we'd come reluctantly home to eat lunch and dinner.

      Those were the days!!!
       
    3. Marlene
      English

      Marlene Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Poole Dorset England
      Tinnitus Since:
      July 1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Bacterial virus
      Hi User and Karen yes lovely memories,love Users ,now yours great.
      When I was a kid whole lot of us kids down the beach from 10am till 5 pm ,super time me and my cousin often talk about our 6 weeks school holidays spent at the beach,packed lunch big bottle of pop,off all us kids went,no grown up with us ,parents felt there kids were safe to go unaccompanied back then,back home then for tea,to do it all again the next day.Didnt know one kiddie who sat indoors ever ,you had to be ill for that to happen .
      Your baseball was our rounders,same game .have those days back in a flash,we lived 5 minute walk from beach,still do now,still go have a paddle in summer.good old days that's for sure ,our memories hey
       
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    4. Karen
      Talkative

      Karen Manager Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      First time: Noise 2nd Time: Ototoxic drug
      Your summer memories sound a lot like mine, Marlene! Back then, we kids stayed outside all day. You were very lucky (and still are) to have lived within walking distance to the beach. That sounds like a wonderful way to spend those long, lovely summer days!

      Did you play games like we did: Hopscotch, marbles, jacks, jumping rope? That's what we girls did back then. And I loved to ride my bike everywhere. Thanks for the reminiscences!
       
    5. Marlene
      English

      Marlene Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Poole Dorset England
      Tinnitus Since:
      July 1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Bacterial virus
      Played all those games you mentioned Karen,marbles we use to trade one for one ,or for a big one we'd get two as trade ,had jar of them great when you won ,at end of the day you'd sit and count them up see how many you'd got extra,or lossed,never played your favourite colour one though.
      Think living by a beach you had more freedom,than inland kids,the beach made heck of a difference,my husband raised in London so it was mostly street playing and the local lido,he loved Cowboys and Indians,bless his 69 / 70 yr old heart.Rounders was another favourite he's just said.
      Remember my old dad helping my brother Michael and his mates build a go kart,no girls allowed on that.
      Kids don't do any of those things now,sad in some ways.never see them outside in fresh air,go to beach these days but kids not there like use to be,expect you'd see it to like me.This thread User began is good hey.
       
    6. Karen
      Talkative

      Karen Manager Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      First time: Noise 2nd Time: Ototoxic drug
      Yes, I did that same thing with marbles! We would play for keeps, and try to get the best marbles for our collection. I would take them out and look at them, and count them, too.

      I remember my dad and brother working on a go-cart for the local race. It was a fun experience for both of them!

      Kids today don't realize what they're missing by not getting outside as much, do they?

      I agree;this is a great thread! It is so much fun to remember the good old days, when we were young.
       
    7. UserID
      Lucky

      UserID Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tampa, FL
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/01/1972
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Artillery
      At the bus stop, even a few of the boys, me included, played hopscotch and jumped rope. Those long ropes that took two to roll were great exercise. Also, we tossed nickels close to a wall. The closest nickel won. Many times, that is how I earned my lunch money after cashing in a pop bottle for the deposit.

      upload_2014-8-30_21-23-17.jpeg 2.jpg 3.jpg
       
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    8. Karen
      Talkative

      Karen Manager Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      First time: Noise 2nd Time: Ototoxic drug
      Great pics you found, User ID! The nickel-tossing sounds like fun, and a great way to earn a little extra money.
      It sounds like, in your case, that was how you got enough money to buy a school lunch (?)

      I don't know if the 50's was really a more innocent time; it's just that things were simpler back then. Not as many choices, and life seemed less complicated. Or at least, that's how I remember it!
       
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    9. UserID
      Lucky

      UserID Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tampa, FL
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/01/1972
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Artillery
      Many times we were sent to school without a lunch, Karen. Times were hard and Dad wasn't quite up to being a single parent. So, we did what we had to, and got lucky more than went hungry. It was pretty simple to steal from the lunches of others too.
       
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    10. UserID
      Lucky

      UserID Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tampa, FL
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/01/1972
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Artillery
      When not playing baseball, we took from my father’s tools a shovel and hatchet, walked into the woods across the street from the basement, and began to dig into the ground forty yards from the road. An area the size of a small car we shaped, about four feet deep. With the hatchet, we chopped limbs off the trees, along with ferns that we used to cover the top. An entrance was made at a corner opening.

      Around our underground fort we built traps. It was stupid, I know, to dig small holes which we covered with light twigs and leaves to make it undetectable. As many as ten such traps we constructed, which, when I think about it, was one of the dumbest things we did. A serious break of a foot or leg could have occurred, but it never did. Maybe those holes caved in on themselves before anyone could get hurt.

      We shared other outdoor activities as well, including climbing the steep shale covered hills near the railroad tracks along the Ohio River, pushing our bicycles up the high winding roads a mile in length in order to roll down them as fast as Superman, and throwing crab apples off the tips of branches we sharpened to hold the fruit.

      A cement tower with a flat top about thirty-five feet high we’d climb, then leap off the top, grab onto a tall branchless tree trunk five feet from it, slide down, and do it all over again.

      Even as early as seven years of age, we’d hitchhike into Monaca to swim at the public pool. One boy would stand on the shoulder with his thumb out while three of his buddies hid in the brush behind him. When a car stopped, we’d all rush to grab a seat, as the drivers, remembering their youth, merely laughed and took it in stride.

      I knew it wasn’t right, but when I needed shoes, a friend taught me to enter a store with dirt on mine, and in a place where I was out of sight, put on a new pair, rub into them the dirt I took in with me, hide my old ones, and calmly walk out. For school supplies, I learned to carry inside one of the store’s empty bags, walk to the section that shelved what I needed, fill the bag with whatever my hands grabbed in seconds, and walk out as though nothing was wrong. Clothes were just as easy to acquire once I knew to wear into the store attire at least a size too large.

      In those days, video surveillance was uncommon. We knew it was wrong to do what we were doing, but when you’re without, you do what you can. That’s how we got by. At twelve, I had yet to meet a man, like the sign in the basement, who had no feet, but I did know loads of kids who had little or nothing, and we got by the best way we knew how.

      Mom and Pop neighborhood stores were a common convenience in most neighborhoods. One day, one of the boys said he thought the daughter of the owner of the store that served Sylvan Crest families had a crush on him and, if we were quick about it, we’d be able to fill bags full of goodies once he took her outside our sight.

      He managed to do just that while we filled two bags with everything from chips to pickles, then ran to one of our hideaways to feast on the stolen items. Unfortunately for us, we got into a war of words among one another, enough so that our intent to keep our deed quiet failed. Our Dad’s response was to drive my brother and me to the store where we apologized and he paid for all the items we took -- an inconsistent reaction by Dad, to say the least, but the right one nonetheless. We were grounded for a month, and for boys who lived for the outdoors, it was like a prison sentence to us.

      To get to school, we were transported by bus. Few seats were left unoccupied in those that took us to Third Ward Grade School, and Potter Township Jr. and Center Township Jr. High Schools. The fun and fist fights we had in them were memorable.

      A game we used to play in grade school, no less, was to take a “bad” word and spell it out. One of the boys would yell, “Give me a D,” and we’d all loudly yell, “D!”

      “Give me an O.”

      “O!”

      “Give me an R.” (Now, is that “an” R, or “a” R? What is proper grammar?)

      “R!”

      “Give me a K.”

      “K!”

      “What’s that spell?”

      “Dork!”

      “What’s that spell?”

      “Dork!”

      We thought ourselves so informed, so much in-the-know. How naïve we were as we slowly became introduced to life’s secrets.

      To get home, we walked up “the hill” to get to our home, the basement I wrote about previously.

      Serious accidents happen at any age. They are shockers, no doubt, and remain in memory for a lifetime. David and I weren’t close friends, mostly because his father wouldn’t permit his children to associate with other kids. Mr. Gatton was a strict atheist who thought it best to shield his kids from the rest of the believing neighborhood.

      David and I got into a disagreement as we walked home from school one day, and upon arriving to his house, his father overheard our name calling and tempers and commanded we put on boxing gloves to see who was the better boy. So we did, while the rest of the kids encircled us while Mr. Gatton refereed. In the end, we were both so exhausted, we conceded to our battered bodies, shook hands, and parted as we always were, near friends.

      A few years later, after my family moved out of state, I heard of the accident. While standing alongside the highway with a couple other boys hitchhiking to Monaca, the mirror of a semi-truck hit David in the back of the head, dragging him for a distance and wrapping him around the guardrail. I sometimes imagine what it would have been like, in our fifties, to have shared a beer with David and laughed about our boxing match. How sad to know that moment won’t ever be.

      Of the two sons, daughter and parents, only one of the Gattons is alive today, the second son. Danny. I pray he’s doing well.
       
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    11. Marlene
      English

      Marlene Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Poole Dorset England
      Tinnitus Since:
      July 1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Bacterial virus
      Hi Karen and User just love it,what great pics to,ears are the pits today so it breaks my attention up to.
      Hope more having a so ,so of a day today get on to this thread,like a tonic .
      Hope your both having a good Sunday,sunshine here but still that cold wind,hope your all better User,that bug all cleared.
      I would have converted Mr Gatton User. I did my atheist cousin,when he died his wife found my Christian texts I use to send him out in Spain where he lived,inside the book he was reading,before he died,so I know iWill meet up with him again ,to tell him I told you so our Colin,at the least I got him thinking when he was poorly.found comfort in those texts.i hope so.
       
    12. Karen
      Talkative

      Karen Manager Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      First time: Noise 2nd Time: Ototoxic drug
      Another great remembrance, User ID! So sorry about the Gatton boy. Atheist or not, I believe you will see him again one day. Thank you for sharing all those memories of your childhood.

      Marlene -- Good for you, converting that atheist! You must have had some very persuasive Christian texts!
      Here in Atlanta, it's sunny and warm; going to get up to 90 degrees today. I'm having a fairly good tinnitus day; getting a little sleep helps.

      User ID, please keep those wonderful stories coming. I really enjoy reading them so much.
      Take care, my friends!
       
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    13. Marlene
      English

      Marlene Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Poole Dorset England
      Tinnitus Since:
      July 1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Bacterial virus
      I love Christian texts,Karen,collect them.I can always find right one when needed,when your a believer,you find it hard to understanding someone whose not,I know I do.They miss that peace it can give you.
      My Karen to hot for me ,Della on site says where she lives it's hot ( Dallas)
      My T is low ,so no go day,still just got to live with it,it won't come up,so got to accept it,can't change today.
       
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