I used to call my boys “young and stupid” while they were growing up. You see – the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I did a LOT of stupid things when I was a young man. I attribute a portion of my problems to the time I grew up, which was much more simpler and innocent. Another factor was my home life. I lost my mother when I was 10, found out I was adopted at 12, never met my real father and left home by 16. In other words, I wasn’t exactly overwhelmed with parental supervision.
One thing that never wavered throughout my youth was my love for baseball and the Cleveland Indians. My grandmother used to take me to games and she was patient enough to let me beg for autographs outside the Gate A parking lot after the game. My most prized autograph was Rocky Colavito who signed a 10 cent scorecard for me.
It’s funny how perspective can be cruel. When I was 12, from my PERPSECTIVE, I couldn’t believe how gigantic the stadium was. the ramps taking you from deck to deck seemed to stretch forever. Even the walkways from the lower to upper deck seemed immense. I remember well the Fourth of July series with the Yankees, when old Cleveland Municipal Stadium used to sell out. You could feel the old structure waving in the breeze as people banged seats and yelled at the top of their lungs.
I remember making a mess with peanut shells and those glorious hot dogs with stadium mustard. As I got older, Saturday home games would include a trip up to Prospect Avenue for a visit to Record Rendezvous to pick up the latest WHK Fabulous Fifty Tunedex. Or a leisurely stroll through Kay’s Books for some comic book bargains. My limo for these trips was a Cleveland bus – sometimes two. One trip to Downtown Cleveland when I got a little older turned out to be a very long day.
My friend Don and I decided to go to an Indians game. Now we never had a whole lot of money, but we always managed to save a quarter for the bus home. But on this day we didn’t. We were older now, and from our PERSPECTIVE, walking home couldn’t be that big of a deal.
Well of course it was. It took over two hours to walk from Downtown Cleveland to East 55th and Broadway. It was dark by the time we got home, and I don’t remember being punished as I’m assuming the two hour plus walk was considered time served. All kinds of bad things could have happened – but they didn’t. I learned my lesson though, I never did that again. I can’t see my grandsons doing this today. Not because of emergency cash, cell phones and social networking but because from their PERSPECTIVE a baseball game wouldn’t be worth leaving the house. My how times have changed….