Saturday, November 26, 2011

Abraham Lincoln Playground - Part One

Abraham Lincoln School metamorphosed into Abraham Lincoln Apartments


Most school playgrounds today are ghost towns if there is not an official community sponsored event going on. If they had their way most kids today wouldn’t be caught dead hanging around a school playground—even though they are designated safe zones or maybe this is because they are designated safe zones.

It was just the opposite when I was a kid because we didn’t know where else to go. As we grew older we would find our way to other places but in those early days everything seemed to start and end at the playground. My world through about the sixth grade ranged no further than about four or five blocks in every direction from my house. That put Abraham Lincoln School and its playground on the western-most border of my very small world. There was rarely a need to venture into the frontier that lay beyond it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Greatest Day in Baseball

One of the first books I remember reading was My Greatest Day in Baseball by John P. Carmichael and others. Published in 1951 by Grosset & Dunlap Publishers, it told, as stated on the very first page, 47 dramatic stories by 47 famous stars.

I read and reread all the stories because in the mid-1950’s baseball was still the national pastime and baseball players were still the greatest of American sports heroes. But the story I read the most was that told by Warren Spahn—the pitcher who would go on to win 20 or more games 13 times and more games in his career than any other left-hander in major league history.

Spahn’s story in the book was about the 1947 season when he won his last four games—all shutouts—to win 20 games in a season for the first time. What I liked about him was that at the beginning of every new season, people would claim he was too old and washed up. And he would always prove them wrong.

Every year was the same. He’d usually lose all his games in April, win a handful in May and June and go into July with a half dozen wins or not much more. My friends would suggest I find a new hero. But once the weather warmed up, Spahn got hot and come September, as usual, he’d be closing in again on 20 wins.

Open to Interpretation

Open to Interpretation is a website that brings photographers and writers together. They will have an open competition for photographers based on a certain theme after which they will post the winners of that contest and open a new competition for writers to write, in 300 words or less, their interpretation of those photos. I chose this photo by Ron Horbinski for my interpretation. My piece, which appears below, was not chosen but I think this competition is a fine opportunity for writers and photographers.


It started with just a bubble and then another and another, suspended in space bumping but not breaking into each other and a hole here and there and then some more and the thing that you want to do more than anything else when you see them floating by is to link them up together because they seem like they belong together and it also seems like it is your job to bring them together; but how, that is the question, and it turns out, anyway you can is the answer and once you know that this is the answer it’s not so hard and you get right to it using tiny memory strings—strings made of what; ideas, I suppose, yes it could be ideas or it might be imagination or determination or inspiration or any damn
–ation under consideration but whatever they are and make no mistake about it they are real, they are strings of something and so you go about connecting this one to that and that one to this, this group to that bundle and this hole to that eyelet, to that gap, to that fissure and you step back to look at it and think to yourself, I just might have something here; and the truth is you do have something here that wasn’t here before, something that didn’t exist before you started putting all these units, these things, these tiny, little pieces together much in the way that a lifetime of events, experience, and interaction are neatly or unneatly; cautiously, hazardously, or haphazardly; purposely or accidentally spliced together to create an existence—an entity, a special something that didn’t exist before but now is real.