Going on 87...Savoring and Surviving the Senior Years
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Lucy Remembers Baseball
An aside to those of you who thought you'd get rid of me for two weeks. Hey! At my age, I can't afford to lose even a minute. Plans changed. The fam is no longer taking a trip off the grid. And Thank GD I'm still in good health. So of course I must post...post...must...blog....must...blog...
Last night I caught a televised US baseball game. I was surprised. Baseball season? Already? A digression: Back "in the day" I'd be surprised that it was 5 o'clock----Already? A bit later I'd marvel that it was , "Thursday? Already?" Then, "It's April? Already?" Now it's gotten to the point I'm grateful I remember what year/century it is. So naturally I'm surprised when "It's baseball season---Already?" Time for a stroll down Memory Lane.
A preface: 2006---Jack and Carole would rather be in Hell or K-Mart than attend an athletic event. I haven't been to a live baseball game for 15 years. However, catching the end of the televised game last night brought the memories flooding back.
40 years ago...I'm a single, fairly successful businesswoman with at serious "significant other," Ted, who adores baseball---and particularly the Cinci Reds. As any truth-telling woman of my era will now admit, it was important to apparently share the interests of your significant other. I wasn't a fool. I knew I'd have to learn something about baseball. I had to start from the bottom. To me, a bat was a nasty critter who lurked in belfries. A homerun was something you did when you had loose bowels. I didn't have the vaguest notion about the game. But I learned. I became an avid, even rabid fan of the Cincinnati Reds. Though I was known at work as "the first to come and last to leave" kind of employee, even my regional manager noted my "terrible headaches" seemed to coincide with the Red's afternoon games. What fun those afternoon games were! Ted and I screamed, yelled, drank beer, ate hot dogs and loved being together. And we enjoyed watching Marge Schott.
Marge Schott was controversial owner of the Reds---the first woman ever to own a major league baseball team. I frequently saw her at the ball park but will never forget the game she came storming up our aisle cussing at her team like a drunken sailor. It scared me. Her epithets weren't signs of frustration, they were a revelation of character traits that were to be her downfall. But that's another story altogether. Like Pete Rose. All part of the rich and wonderful baseball story.
All the characters and color of my baseball-addicted years are very much part of me...no matter how they got there. And I've never lost my love of baseball---especially the Reds. I still love my hometown and follow the Reds faithfully. But now that the afternoon Red's games are over for me I'm not sorry my world is larger and more liberating. Or that the Reds are still a great team.
Over the past few months I've been impressed by the wisdom, humor and sensitivity of the over-70 blogging community. I'm very proud to be part of it. Last night I discovered an elderblogger who makes me prouder still. Thanks to the delightful Lorraine at http://www.meandthecat.com/ for a Time excerpt that introduced me to:
Betty Reid Soskin(b. 1921) Cultural Anthropologist and Writer 2006 Women's History Month Honoree http://cbreaux.blogspot.com/ The following bio was provided by the National Womens' History Project:
"Betty Reid Soskin’s deep, ingrained sense of culture, place, and purpose are obvious in the way she lives her life. Raised in a Creole-African American family, her life changed dramatically when in 1927 at the age of six, a horrendous hurricane in New Orleans destroyed her family’s home and business.
With her mother, two sisters, and one shared suitcase, the family took refuge in California. Her dad was not able to join them until several months later. Facing adversity from childhood, Betty Reid Soskin’s life experiences encouraged her to develop a vision of community in many diverse forms.
The rich diversity of her ancestry encouraged her to become a bridge between cultures and races. Yet, she was unprepared for the hostility and danger she and her family faced when in the early 1950’s they moved to a northern California suburb. Against this milieu of brutal racism, she found support from people who were part of the Unitarian-Universalism community. Over the next 20 years, this community, beginning with 25 families meeting in living rooms and then growing to a congregation of over 300, encouraged, sustained and supported her values and beliefs.
The recognition of the extraordinary poverty and ever-growing sense of hopelessness in a neighboring community caused her to decide to leave the safety of her world to work in another. She embraced the role of black social activist and became a small merchant in the poverty community of South Berkeley, California. Using the skills she learned in one economic and social class, she was able to amplify her voice toward constructive change in another.
With her strong commitment to community she helped create a housing development corporation with an all community board, which helped bring change to a high crime, drug infested welfare community. The result was the razing of a two-block, crime infested, slum area and in its place the construction of 41 units of market rate and subsidized housing. In recognition of this amazing accomplishment, Betty Reid Soskin was named a 1995 “Woman of the Year” by the California State Legislature.
Today, she has chosen to face the hopelessness and fear that surrounds her in the Richmond community in which she now lives. She is unafraid to say that one of the major influences in her life came with a mental breakdown in midlife. She describes this experience as opening up avenues into herself that she had never known. It was at this time in her life that she started to write and to sing and to create music and paint and to recognize the universality shared with everyone else on the planet.
Helping to make our history authentic, she persuaded the Rosie the Riveter/ World War II Home Front National Historical Park to acknowledge the role of Black neighborhoods surrounding the Richmond, California site, which had been bulldozed after the war.
Her diverse talents as a mother, researcher, academic, merchant, writer, dancer, artist, and activist testify to her ability to find and follow her own dreams as well as to respect and nurture the dreams of others. "
Do not miss this blog. The vibrant picture above is from Soskin's latest post. It was a Mothers' Day present from her adult daughter. Start reading at the very beginning of the site archives to learn the incredible story. Again, http://cbreaux.blogspot.com/
I nicked this critter from Nothing To Do With Arbroath at http://arbroath.blogspot.com/. Miss Cellania from http://misscellania.com/ commented that the little fella looked "like something from Dr. Seuss." The Divine Miss C is right on as far as I'm concerned. You'll have to go to Arbroath and see if anybody has come up with an exact identification but for now I'm going with Dr. Seuss.
The lil'guy looks positively penitential---or at least relatively reverent doesn't he? Thanks Arbroath!