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.
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
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
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