Here’s part of what I wrote at the beginning of Random Memories:
I think I’ve mentioned before, that when different stories, or “memories” come to mind, I jot them down - either here on the computer; or in my BlackBerry if I’m out of the apartment (or in bed!); or even on any piece of paper available, if I have a pencil.
WARNING! I’m going to start relating one “short” incident after another, including what I can remember about it, then move on to the next one. I don’t mind admitting, that if more incidents on that subject come to mind, I very likely will extend that into its own “posting” on this blog.
New Year’s Eve
For the years that our grandchildren were younger than 15, we had an annual New Year’s Eve party at our house. They were all invited. At the last one, we had: Jimmy, Bobby, Kenny, Molly, Kelly, Jodi and Tim Sizemore, Jim‘s step-son.
Here’s a copy of a “Polaroid” picture from, probably, 1984 or 1985.
We started in the early evening. Grandma Jean made all kinds of snacks - enough for every one. We gathered in our “completed” basement (paid for by my dad, Walter Maddex, when he lived with us there in that basement) on Keene Avenue in Springfield.
We started out with such games as: Pac Man (Grandma was VERY good at it) (“Get the box. Get the box.”); Frogger; and others.
Jimmy just sent me an e-mail about New Year’s Eve:
Well I remember one year when we had Totino’s pizzas and we just got the game Frogger. Everyone had a hard time crossing the street with it. (In the game.)
At one point Kenny and I snuck upstairs to the other TV to watch the new Michael Jackson video "Thriller". Grandma caught us, but we kept switching channels. I didn’t mean to lie, because she asked us if we were watching it, but it was Michael Jackson. It was on MTV and playing in its entirety which was almost 12 minutes. That is probably still one of the longest music videos.
Also watched Safety Dance from Men without Hats. I dont remember if we got Pitfall 2 at that time but we spent a lot of time playing that game too. Dodging bats, snakes, alligators, jumping rocks, finding gold in the mines. I think we played a lot of board games too but I think this particular time we were all video games.
I remember also breaking grandma’s wooden spoons banging the pots and pans, also breaking the handle on one of the pots.
Then we watched “old” movies on TV and played parlor games.
At about 11:30, Grandma gathered every one in the kitchen and began “doling out” noise makers for midnight. No hitting them until we all got outside, right after the “TV Countdown” on NBC-TV. The wait for the last half hour was excruciating! It was hard to keep from “banging” on the “lid” we were each holding.
Our “poodle” Jenny, circled around, wondering what was all the fuss. (Her real name was “Mademoiselle Genevieve”. A registered poodle.)
The temptation to NOT hit the pan or lid we were holding was tremendous! The closer to midnight we got, the more Jenny was “circling”.
Watching the TV breathlessly, we nervously held our pans up, then when the “ball” dropped, we pushed open the door, and everyone rushed outside (including Jenny) and yelled, “Happy New Year! Happy New Year!” and banged on our pans. Jenny ran out into the yard, nervously trying to find out what was her role in this.
We yelled, banged on the pans, and ran around in the front yard. Jenny was a mess.
After 10 minutes, we “ran down”, and returned to the basement. It was a kind of let down for awhile, but the games and TV movies revived us. We kept playing until gradually, one by one, the grandchildren fell asleep.
Grandma and Grandpa fell asleep as well, filled with JOY!
Though this was Jodi’s first year to be old enough to join in, she outlasted every one!
In 1938 (I was 14 years old), Pearl Thompson, a life long friend of my Dad, invited us to a game of the Cincinnati Reds at Crosley Field. He said he’d drive, and Dad and I joined Pearl in a memorable experience.
I THINK this was the only time I ever went to Crosley Field. At least for now, I can’t remember another time.
The Reds were playing the Boston Braves (who later moved to Milwaukee to become the Milwaukee Braves). As we always have for professional ball games, we arrived early and took in batting practice, infield practice and a lot of other “gawking” experiences. We did that a lot for the Columbus Red Birds - then a St. Louis Cardinals franchise.
The early arrival, at least on this occasion, provided another “memorable experience”. We got to see Babe Ruth hit a home run.
Well, not REALLY a Home Run, because he wasn’t an active player then, only a coach, having rertired from active playing the year before.
Being only a “Coach” didn’t really take anything away from the thrill of watching “The Babe” walk up to the plate (in batting practice), stride to the right side of the plate, and left handedly, smash several “long balls” into the right field bleachers. What a thrill.
I don’t remember a single other thing about the game, the trip, or who even won the game. All paled in comparison to watching”The King Of Swat” smash baseballs into the right field bleachers.
“The Babe” died in 1948, having never played an official game of baseball again.
Both Dad and Pearl are gone now, but I still have fond memories of that trip!