Childhood Flashbacks

by J Pinsent

 

Baseball on the Army side

 Growing up on the Army side, baseball was a sport we boys played a lot. We had our own  team and played games against teams from the Canadian and American side.   

The amazing part of it all, looking back, was that we organized it all ourselves without adult input. Even down to deciding on the field of play, umpires and ground rules. Of course we had some great rules, like you were out if you hit more than 6 foul balls. Our baseball normally consisted of an old baseball that had the original cover missing and covered with black tape. I think most of the time we had a normal baseball bat but I can remember times where we had to make a bat out of 2x4 in order to play. Sometimes a pickax handle did the trick. We traded our baseball gloves with the other team when it was your turn to bat. The number of players on a side varied from 7 to 10 depending how many showed up to play.

 We had a great pitcher, Roy Sceviour, on our army side team. He had a good fast ball and a wicked curve. Jim Peckford was another good pitcher but he was older and played with a different age group. Whenever we played amongst ourselves we all wanted to be on Roy's team. I used to be the catcher. I was the only one with a catcher’s glove. No equipment for protection. Most of the time you just put up the glove and closed your eyes. I still have a left index finger that shows the abuse of catching Roy's fast ball.

 I remember one game in particular. One of our rules was if we had a catcher you were allowed to steal bases. I never had the best throwing arm and the only way I could pick off some one stealing second was a quick release after catching the ball. This one game in particular Bill Geange was at bat with a man on first. I knew the guy on first was going to steal on me. Roy threw the ball, Bill swung and missed. I caught the ball and threw as hard as I could to the second baseman. Unfortunately I neglected to take Bill, standing at the plate, into consideration. The ball hit Bill in the side of the head and he fell to his knees. No helmets in those days.  It really put a scare into us, we thought Bill was hurt badly. He wasn’t. Just mad as hell at me. He got up rubbing his head telling everyone what he was going to do too me. He was bigger and stronger than me and I was scared. But after telling him how sorry I was, with backup from my other team mates, he settled down and we continued with the game. I don't know if Bill can still remember the incident or not but I have yet to watch a ball game and not think of hitting poor old Bill in the head with a baseball. Luckily I didn't have much of a throwing arm.

 

-o-

 Our Super Fort

 Back when I was a lad, we had two fabulous play areas called ‘airplane dumps’. For those who have no idea what I am writing about, just imagine an area where a bunch of old wrecked automobiles are just dumped in a pile. Like a junk yard. Instead of automobiles, these junkyards were wrecked WWII airplanes. They were collected from various crashes or accidents that had completely disabled them from future use. There were two of these dumps, one on the American side and one on the Canadian side.

 My mother had so many “don’ts” when ever I went outside to play, depending on the season of the year. There was “don’t go clinging cars”, “don’t go sticking you tongue on the railway tracks”, “don’t get wet”, “don’t go jumping off buildings into snow banks” and “don’t go near the airplane dump”. “Yes mom”, and away I would go to play in the airplane dump. Climbing into old airplanes was pretty risky. Sharp aluminum jutting out all over the place was always a danger. Most of the fuselages were at an inclined angle so most times is was like rock climbing, exploring those old wrecks..

 We had found an old rusty 50 caliber machine at the old airplane dump back of the school on Foss Ave. I think Claude Blackmore, Jim Butler & Morley Smith were in on it with me. Anyway we managed to get the gun out of this old wrecked  bomber and now we had to get it to the Army side. The intended location was the old concrete bunker down by the bomb dumps where we wanted to set it up to protect our fortress.

 I can remember the four of us lifting that thing and trying to carry it. We would get it a short distance and than have to drop it because of the weight. We couldn't take the shortest route because we were afraid some of the older guys would take it away from us so we had to go via our secret trails though the woods. After a long time, maybe all Saturday morning, we managed to get it to our fort and set it up. We had the only fort on the army side made out of concrete and guarded with a 50 cal. machine gun.

 Back  in those days our fantasies were very near to being real.

 

-o-

School Days Flashback

 It sure is fun to look at old pictures and write down my memories from the past. Every now and then I see a name that I had completely forgotten and I have a flash back in time. Seeing a picture of Elizabeth Bursey did that to me the other day, not that I had forgotten you Elizabeth, but it brought back a memory that just cracked me up, again.
 
Elizabeth is the coolest chick I have ever known. She never got angry or rushed for anyone and had this uncanny knack of entering the class just as the last bell was ringing but never before. Except for one day her timing was just a little off.
 
It was the first class of the afternoon, Geography if I remember and Clyde Taite was the teacher. When the last bell rang the classroom door was closed. Less than a minute passed when the door opened and in strolls Elizabeth in that cool manner she had, with her shoulder bag hanging well below her waist. Taite proceeded to scold and tease her for being late. I’m not sure if she got upset for being scolded in front of the class or mad at herself for bad timing but Clyde definitely pushed the wrong button.

Now we had some big boys in our class and I’m sure Clyde understood how far he could push but he never expected a reaction from a little105 lb teenage girl. Nor did the rest of the class for that matter. Elizabeth started  swinging that shoulder bag at Clyde. She never hit him because he ducked and stepped back. We were shocked to see cool Elizabeth attacking the teacher with her shoulder bag. Very reminiscent of David and Goliath.  She swung the bag so hard, the torque from the hand bag turned Elizabeth in a 360 degree circle. Clyde just looked at her and started to laugh. He knew he had pushed too far. It was funny. Elizabeth was like a helicopter with that hand bag whizzing about.
 
I don’t think Elizabeth was punished for her actions. If she was, it was just minor. No one teased her after that. Anyway Elizabeth, I still think you are the coolest chick in the world, even though you lost it for that one brief moment in time. And I still think it was funny. Thanks for the memory.

 

 Morley & I