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Sandlot Baseball – Elementary School Memories

April 2, 2010

While sandlot baseball took up a good portion of our lives 50 years ago in Braintree, Massachusetts, we spent a fair amount of time, too, of course, at a school perched just above the field – Abraham Lincoln Elementary. Lots of good memories there: playing clarinet in the rag-tag school band, serving on the safety patrol as a crossing guard on Hobart Street, and hoisting the flag up the flag pole with Artie every morning in the 6th grade.

Even the simple things seemed wondrous to me. My mother used to give me lunch money (a quarter) to bring to school every morning. Every now and then, she’d slip me a nickel to buy ice cream. When the teacher collected our coins to determine her daily lunch count report, I remember turning in my quarter for a red, plastic token. For the nickel, I’d get a green one.

The tokens were pretty chewed up but I treated them like they were gold. I kept checking on them, turning them over and over in my pocket all morning to make sure I didn’t lose them.  At noon, we’d file down to the cafeteria where we would go through the lunch line. My favorite lunch was tomato sauce and cheese on an English muffin. They called it pizza. With it, you’d get green beans, a bag of chips and a small carton of milk. When you came to the end of the lunch line you’d turn in your lunch tokens to the lunch ladies. If you were lucky enough to have a green one, you could choose between ice cream sandwiches, hoodsies or Eskimo pies.

The best thing you could bring to school, however, even more than lunch money, was your baseball glove. That meant it was spring and, at recess, you could descend the hill in back of the school to play ball. It was different playing baseball in your school clothes. In those days, no one wore jeans, or dungarees, as we called them. You had to be careful not to slide into bases or trip in the outfield while making Jimmy Piersall over-the-head catches. Coming home with a ripped shirt sleeve or a knee tear in your pants could cause your parents to ban you from recess ball-play forever, an unthinkable punishment.

Yeah, a good day for me was walking to school with a quarter in my pocket and a badge on my safety patrol belt. With a clarinet case in one hand and a baseball glove in the other, life was more than okay five decades ago.

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  1. I can smell the grass and my mitt. Yeah, life certainly was grand 5 decades ago. Too bad we didn’t live on the same block.

    • At least we had one season in Flagstaff (as 28-year-old “big kids”) on that mother of all rag-tag teams, ONCE MOORE…

  2. Steve (BEANO) permalink

    It surely was different playing in school clothes and all too often an after school problem. The bases were often an obstacle on getting to the next one; slipping on a piece of cardboard (1st base), tripping over a large rock (2nd base) or tumbling over the top of a boulder jutting from the ground surface (3rd base), would regularly cause a tear at the knee in your “dress pants”.
    This also ruined part of the following Saturday as you would miss the morning pickup games while mom took us to Sears and Robucks for school pants replacements.

  3. Steve,
    And I always had to get my pants in the “husky” department…

  4. Hoodsies!!
    Wicked good.
    That’s probably why Mom shopped in the “husky” department for me too.

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