I was not allowed to talk, eat or drink for 2 Days !!!
The problem with young boys growing up in the 50’s was how to keep busy, so we always looked for another game to play. However, we never had the money to buy the equipment to play any sport. We would have to “Ad-Lib” what we used. Well, we never had to worry about “Kick the can”, or “hide and seek”! But the major sport of baseball was a problem… who was rich enough to have a ball, Or bat? We made due with what we had! Take a rock, then roll newspaper around it till it had the shape, then steal some tape from a parent to finish it off…not bad…not perfect but it did the job, then to make it really perfect Joey Di would take it to his father shoe repair shop and cover it with glue. Now we had a ball, but what about a bat. We know how to make a broom handle into a stick ball bat, but not good for our baseball.. Well kids will be kids, so we “took” an empty orange crate from Gelbargd’s grocery store and took it apart. We used the nails and the boards we got after we removed them from the box. Each board was 36″x 3″, with 3 pieces on each side. We then laid 2 pcs down and put one of the 8, 1.5”x1.5”x10” frame pieces at the bottom and nailed the boards to the 1.5”board. we then put the other 2 boards one on each side and nailed them. It was a square bat, but It worked… Well at least for a while, but all it took was putting more nails. now we had a ball and bat, so out into the street we’d go and used a center metal sewer as home plate, the sewer down the street as second base. The sewers where the water went down, were first and third, or if cars were in the way, their tires would do! What better baseball field could you ask for.
Hey! what about hockey? well, all it took was a little change. take the orange box and use it’s frame to make and “L” for the bottom of a hockey stick, use the side boards to make the handle by splitting the 3″ board and nail to the “L”. Then go to the park and look for a good rock with a flat shape. We were all set, hockey here we come! out goals were just the simple orange crates on it’s side one on either end of our street. We played and played noise galore. One day we were playing against the kids from 204th St and it was important that we win on our street, so we played hard. One time, I was chasing a 204th’er who was headed for the goal and I wasn’t going to let him score so I jumped in front of the puck, and POW his stick hit me under the chin, and with that, blood spurts out of my mouth, and everybody came running and looked… Wow look his tongue, it was cut in half with just a little piece of skin holding it. I tried to put my tongue back in my mouth but the blood was too much and when I opened my mouth, out came my tongue! what to do with no grown ups around. Then I remembered the house that had a goal in front of it, belonged to a doctor. I ran like crazy to the door and banged on it, and out came the doctor (In those days Doctors didn’t have secretaries). He saw the situation and said stay there, I did and he came back with a cloth. he told the other kids to scarm. In I went and was frightened cause he was usually a mean guy who always yelled at us for playing and making too much noise. He put me in a chair and said hold still . I yelled why? He said stick out your toung.. more… more then he took a prong like scissors and proceeded to grab my tongue, saying don’t close your mouth if you want your tongue fixed! He proceeded to take a needle and put through the back of my tongue, ” yeaagh” I screamed but his grip on my tongue was firm and he put the needle into the part of my tongue that was hanging “Yeaagh”. Two more time he did it… no anesthetic… !!! Ok, he said now don’t talk, or eat, or touch it for two days and come here every morning. I did and he became my best friend. Any of the kids say a word against him and they were beaten up by me. A left hander can beat any right hander cause they do everything different and backwards, so the righty loses every time, at least that was for me my whole life. Did you know my name growing up “Lefty”?