The Baseball Game

It was Spring, 1960.

The last day of fifth grade.

The last day of school.

There were two fifth grades in our small town elementary school. I don’t know how we got split into two grades back in those days, but for the most part we stayed with the same group of classmates all the way through elementary school.  There was always a bit of rivalry between the two classes whether it was a spelling bee or just playground games.
On the last day of school, there was a tradition of a baseball game between the two classes and we all looked forward to that game.  We also took it very seriously.

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We had practiced at recess time for weeks and we had picked our positions.   Someone in the class must have taken charge because I don’t remember much teacher participation.  We talked about sportsmanship in class but it seems like the teachers left all the details up to us.  Most of the students were excited about the game, and of course,  beating the other fifth grade meant owning the bragging rights of the victory.

Everyone played. I was a tomboy and my older brother  had taught me to pitch and catch and bat.  I’m sure I thought I knew more than I really did about the game.  Gary, and Jim, and Randy were all good players… they probably were our unofficial team captains.

Everyone brought their own equipment.  It was important to have the right bat… the one you were used to using. And it was important to have a baseball glove… which I didn’t.

I begged my brother to let me borrow his glove and since he had two, he let me have the old one. Never mind that he was left handed and I was not. It didn’t seem to make much difference to me, I had learned to play that way.
I don’t remember the details of the game… after all, it’s been almost sixty years. But I remember not striking out, getting to first base, and catching a popup fly ball. And I remember that our class won.  It was a great way to end the school year.

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my small town school

It’s a good thing we didn’t know what the future held. In just a few years we watched and cried as our beloved President was assassinated in Texas. Fast forward a few more years and we watched Martin Luther King’s assassination and President Kennedy’s younger brother Bobby being shot. We watched friends and classmates head off to college, to work, to start families, and to Vietnam.

The world was a chaotic mess during those years.  Lots of civil rights movement protests, protests against the Vietnam War,  Kent State Shootings.  It really was the best of times and the worst of times.  The world was suddenly full of difficulty and responsibility and complications we had never imagined.

I suppose that’s why the memory of the baseball game has stuck with me all these years. It was something to hang onto when the world seemed to be falling apart.

It seemed so important back then, such a simple thing as a baseball game, on the last day of school.

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Dad

Dark winter mornings filled with mud and snow.

Muggy summer sunrises sweating before the work was even begun.

A hard life of  labor, washing the teats of the cows before milking, mixing milk replacement for the calves, hauling water and bales of hay and straw by hand until the tips of his fingers split open and bled from the cold and the wet. Never outwardly complaining, taping his fingers and his boots and working through it.

It was a hard life and he wore it well.  The old rubber boots were just part of the story.  There was so much more.

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photo credits: Courtney Wright

Friday Fictioneers  hosted each week by Rochelle-Wisoff-Fields.

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The Easter Dress

Retired Ruth

In the early 1960’s, when I hit the preteen years, Easter became about fashion.

 For weeks before Easter, I would search through the Sears and Roebuck catalog to look at the latest fashions.  I seldom got the dress that I really wanted because I  developed expensive tastes in clothing … and we were not an expensive family.  My mother always looked for bargains and clearance items.

One year I gazed longingly at a lovely gauzy dress featured in the catalog. It was satiny with cap sleeves.  But the skirt… oh! the skirt was colored like a rainbow with wide panels of gauzy material overlayed in lovely pastels of pink, orange, turquoise, and yellow.  It screamed Easter Sunday every time I looked at it. 

I didn’t get the dress, no matter how much I pleaded and begged.  But I did get a nice little yellow cotton dress with eyelet cutouts around…

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Trust me

photo prompt by Bjorn RudbergFF

“And that’s the story.”

He looked at me and then at the sign, and then back at me.

“I don’t believe a word of it.  It reminds me of an old fable, or a really bad TV movie.  There is absolutely no way any of that is true.”

“So you don’t believe me?  Not any of it?” I asked.

“Not a chance, babe.  Just another story.”

I shrugged my shoulders and turned around walking away from the sign.  Believe it or not, I thought to myself.

I guess he’s not the one for me.

 

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Thanks for Rochelle Wisoff Fields for keeping Friday Fictioneers going.  This story is what you call writing a story when you have nothing to write.  LOL

 

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Deliver De Letter De Sooner De Better

Retired Ruth

Send me a postcard, drop me a line, stating point of view, Indicate precisely what you mean to say, Yours sincerely wasting away…

11439193-united-states-of-america--circa-1954-stamp-printed-in-usa-shows-statue-of-liberty-in-god-we-trust-ciEven before I fell in love with the Beatles and their incredible lyrics, I wrote letters.   I wrote letters because I received letters. It was the only way to communicate other than telephone and telegram.  My Grandmother and her twin sister sent me letters on a regular basis.  They were handwritten  on pastel colored stationery with matching envelopes. Grandma and Aunt Martha’s handwriting styles were surprisingly similar as were their messages.  They would tell me what they had done that day; things like picking flowers, what they cooked for lunch, what funny antics their kittens were up to.  Sometimes they would tell me about something that happened to the neighbors or they would talk about the weather.  Sometimes I would open the envelope and a four-leaf clover would…

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Holiday Memories

Memories are a big part of holidays for me.   In preparation for Thanksgiving, my youngest child removed my mother’s flatware from the storage box and washed it for the holiday meal.

There is a specific ritual used to clean the spoons and forks and knives.  They must be washed by hand in warm soapy water, rinsed in clear water, and each piece must be carefully dried with a clean hand towel.   OK it’s not much of a ritual. But extra care is taken cleaning the silverware because it was important to my mother.  In fact, for many years, she didn’t let anyone else clean it.

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My mother grew up in a large family on a small farm during the Depression.  They didn’t have much.  When she married my father, they still didn’t have much.   When my brother and I came along, we didn’t have much either, although I wasn’t keenly aware of this until I went off to college and met people who had…. a lot!   I didn’t think much about our simple life, because our basic needs were met.  And we were surrounded by people who were in similar situations.  Yes, there were people in the neighborhood who had more than we did but  “More” had a different meaning.  I didn’t grow up deprived…. I took piano lessons, swimming lessons, I had my own bike.  But we were always aware of what we could and could not afford and lived accordingly.

The careful handling of my mother’s silverware reflects the basic understanding of taking care of what we have and making it last.   My mother’s silverware was not real silver.  It was not expensive.  In fact, she paid very little for it.  She collected it over several years by saving Betty Crocker coupons from products she purchased at the grocery store.  She bought it piece by piece using the coupons and a little bit of money. And she took care of it.  Washing it carefully, only using it for holidays, keeping it safely stored away when not in use.  Each piece is as shiny today as it was when it arrived in the mail over fifty years ago.

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Every holiday I think of Mom and her silverware.  I continue to cherish it and take care of it, just like she did.

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Surreptitious

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credit: Sandra Crook

It was a decoy.

The tree.   Because it commanded your attention.   A huge tree damaged by Mother Nature.

“Wow… Look at that tree!”  people would say as they passed by, not noticing the obvious.

The stone wall was a decoy, too.  It was old and obviously constructed by someone who knew stone walls.

Together, the tree and the wall were a beautiful focal point… a landmark in the small town.  Every one from miles around knew this tree and this wall…. it had been here longer than anyone still alive.

No one ever suspected the horrible things hidden there.

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