Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand . . . Memories


One of the pictures my cousin sent me in his letter last week was this one of him and his dad posing by the side of our grandpa and grandma's house.  Both of the guys are wearing their baseball uniforms.

Uncle W played baseball with a team from his place of employment, and he's pictured in his official uniform.  Seeing the picture made me wonder where my cousin's little uniform came from.  This would have been in the late 1940s and such an outfit at that time certainly wasn't readily available for a three year old.  I wouldn't be surprised if his mother had made it, because she was an excellent seamstress and the person who taught me how to sew on my grandma's treadle sewing machine.

The town Cousin J and I grew up in (and where he still lives) was a well-to-do blue collar town with many thriving factories.  During the 40s and 50s it was common for each factory to have a baseball team made up of some of the workers, and Uncle W played on such a team.

(When Papa Pea and I were first married we lived in my home town while he finished his college degree.  I worked full-time while my dear husband went to school full-time and also worked a part-time job in the accounting division of this very same factory where my Uncle W worked and played ball.)

The baseball teams from the various factories in town played their games on a really nice ball field in our city park, and I remember going to many games to watch my uncle play.

There was what I remember as being quite a large grandstand of bleachers for spectators that ran along the third base line.  It was covered by a roof so that it was shady and comfortable in the summer time.  Of course, the ball field was laid out on a large, wide open spot, and I can still amost feel the welcome breezes blowing through that grandstand.  What a lovely way to spend a warm Saturday afternoon.  (To be totally honest, I have to admit that when the wind was blowing from the "wrong" direction, it also blew sand and grit from the infield right into our faces, too!)

Uncle W played ball for more years than most of the other men in the league did.  Many times at the start of a season he would declare he was getting "old," and it would be his last season, but he was a star of the team and the coach and fellow players always begged him to play "just one more year."

There are two incidences I still think of when reminiscing about those ball games.

The first is a game in which my uncle hit three home runs.  (No wonder his team mates wanted him to keep playing.)

The second is one day when our moms gave each of us kids a nickel to go to the concession stand to buy a candy bar.  (Five cents was the cost of a candy bar then.)  That day I chose a Baby Ruth (named after Babe Ruth) candy bar (what else at a baseball game?), and when I climbed back up into the stands to my seat by our family and opened the wrapper of the candy bar, a nickel fell out.  Someone in the candy packing factory had slipped a nickel into the wrapper.  I felt like I had won a jackpot.  I had my candy bar plus a nickel to buy another one!

Oh, my.  Pictures.  They certainly have a way of jogging memories of days gone by.  At the risk of sounding like an old fogey, these are memories of days when life was so much simpler.  Thanks for the memories, Cousin J!

18 comments:

Kristina said...

Oh my gosh! Finding a nickel in the candy bar? How neat! I remember penny candy at my Dad's Drug store. You are right about one photo and memories.

Sparkless said...

What wonderful memories. I don't think the past was simpler they just had different challenges than we have today. Or maybe because you were a child they seemed simpler? Either way it's better to remember the good times than hanging on to the bad.

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - I've had memories pop back into my head that I NEVER would have remembered if I hadn't seen an old photo. Old pictures are a treasure!

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - You have a good point about the perspective of a child being different than that of an adult. ( Lack of responsibilities being a biggie~ ) For a long time, I thought by remembering and going over the not-so-good memories would somehow "fix" them. But no, it's best to forget and let them go and put the emphasis on the good times.

Carolyn said...

What a great gift to get, letter AND pictures :)
Nickel for a candy bar, hugh? Hmmmm. Lucky to get one for a buck now...and the "chocolate" on them s.u.c.k.s.

Mama Pea said...

Carolyn - Years ago I used to love Snickers candy bars, but try to stay away from anything with that much sugar in it. (I'd rather spend my sugar-filled calories on something like a wonderful [swoon] piece of pie, thank you.) The last Snickers that grabbed me and made me eat it tasted so bad I haven't even had the urge for one since. You're right in that the "chocolate" in candy bars doesn't even taste like chocolate anymore. I wonder how much paraffin wax filler they put in it these days? (And how does our stomach process paraffin wax, do ya think?)

DFW said...

What a great find for a kid. Wonder if that was a Baby Ruth (or whoever owned them at the time) ploy or just a clever & nice factory worker. What wonderful memories. Smells are what jog my memory. Pics, especially of me when I was small, are only remembered by other relatives telling the tale. Like the time when I was 2 1/2 & had to go to bathroom at the last minute before church & a cousin took me & told everyone else to go ahead. My custom at the time was to remove my panties (which my cousin wasn't aware of. And this time, I forgot to put them back on. They usually 'passed' me from parishoner to parishoner in the church (cause I was so darn cute), But after the first pass my grandmother was appalled that I had no lace trimmed panties on under my crinoline(sp?) dress. The whole church apparently got a good chuckle out of it & someone usually brings it up even to this day (53 years later).

Laurie said...

I agree, what lovely memories our photos hold. Have a good weekend!

Mama Pea said...

DFW - That is a funny, funny story of you and the "pantless" experience in church. One of those family stories that will never die! Thanks for sharing.

Mama Pea said...

Hope you have a good weekend, too, Laurie! Our temps are supposed to warm up. Wa-HOO! :o]

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,

I so miss the good old days......and enjoy bringing back those memories while going through pictures, and old stories. Granted life was simpler in our eyes because we were so much younger. Back then being an American meant so much more :-)

Susan said...

What a wonderful photograph! I just adore how your cousin is so focused on trying to get just the same position as his obviously adored father. Nowadays, if anyone would find a nickel in a candy bar, they'd sue the company. I would much rather luxuriate in the past (even if it's someone else's...) than muck around in the present.

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - I think you may have hit it right on the head! There was just a pervasive feeling of . . . of . . . gee, I don't know how to put it in words, but it was much different than it is now.

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Yes, a law suit was the first thing I thought of when I looked back on this incident. If it happened today it would not be the joyful happening it was then. Contamination of the product, etc., etc. A person could have bit down on it and broken a tooth! A child could have choked on it and died. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Sigh. :o[

My uncle was such a truly nice man to everyone. He was also one of those men who was very handsome, but didn't know it. Gotta love guys like that!

Leigh said...

That's a great picture, too. There's just something about a live non-professional baseball game. So much more fun than the pros.

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - I agree. And the guys playing always seemed to be having a great time.

Desiree Bradbury said...

I did a double then triple take of the picture. Though my dad would have been roughly the age of your cousin in that picture he was the spitting image of your Uncle! I looked at him for the longest time. Just the way his facial expression was...the cleft in the chin....could be my dad's twin. My dad passed away 2 1/2 years ago and I miss him so much. Thank you for the little walk down memory lane for me.

Mama Pea said...

Hi, Desiree - Who knows? There could be some family relationship way back! But we'll never know. I'm sorry to say I never knew much about my uncle's family (he was married to my mom's sister) other than that his dad died when my uncle was young. His mom was still alive when I was growing up. The neat thing about one person's memories is that they often sparks those for someone else. Thanks for commenting!