BASEBALL WITH FATHER, Part 3

Mom experienced increasing difficulty walking and felt too unsteady to travel east again with my father for his annual visit to the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) convention in Washington, D.C. so he invited me to accompany him. It was my first trip east of the Rockies, and a grand one at that, but I never imagined it would be our final vacation together.

First stop was New York City where he showed me the historical spots, tourist attractions, restaurants and Broadway shows he had shown Mom.

MLB Programs

MLB programs, left to right: 1950 Brooklyn Dodgers, 1950 New , 1950 New York Giants, 1948 Cleveland World Series, 1950 New York Yankees-Phillies World Series, and 1947 New York Yankees-Brooklyn Dodgers World Series

It could happen only in Brooklyn. At Ebbets Field to be exact. We were among the more than 25,000 in the stands for the opening game of the 1956 National League season. Drill teams, bands, marching units, and hundreds of youngsters paraded past home plate to congregate in center field. Dodgers and Philadelphia players stood at attention along the foul lines, and the crowd rose for the national anthem. The band began to play and then paused. Instead of singing “The Star-Spangled Banner”, a voice over the loudspeaker asked, “Who’s going to raise the flag?”

Embarrassed officials had no one to raise the first ever World Champions flag to fly over Ebbets Field. A Marine Corps color guard rescued the ceremony.

After a thirty-six minute delayed start, the Phillies outscored the World Champion Dodgers 8-6.

When Ebbets Field opened in 1913, Brooklyn officials had not only forgotten the stars and stripes flag but also the key to open the ballpark. Only in Brooklyn.

MLB autographed team balls, left to right: 1950 New York Yankees, 1950 Brooklyn Dodgers, 1950 New York Giants, Boston Red Sox, and 1948 Cleveland Indians, center front.

MLB autographed team balls, left to right: 1950 New York Yankees, 1950 Brooklyn Dodgers, 1950 New York Giants, Boston Red Sox, and 1948 Cleveland Indians, center front.

 

Additional excerpts from my memoir, His Daughter’s Remembrance, to follow . . .

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BASEBALL WITH FATHER, PART 2

Continuing with excerpts from my memoir, His Daughter’s Remembrance, our family followed the Seals away games to Oakland and Sacramento and planned vacations around games in distant cities.

SF Seals pocket schedule

In August 1948 when we visited the Oregon Caves and Crater Lake on our way to Canada, we cheered for the Seals in a Pacific Coast League game against the Portland Beavers at Vaughn Street Park. We rooted for the Seals’ Yakima Washington farm team in Vancouver’s Capilano Stadium and watched another PCL game at Sick Stadium, home of the Seattle Rainiers.

The following summer, we drove south to see the Seals play the San Diego Padres at Lane Field, the Los Angeles Angels at Wrigley Field, and the Hollywood Stars at Gilmore Field, where Mom was hit by a line-drive foul ball. Despite a severe headache, she insisted we stay in our seats above the third-base dugout until the end of the game.

PCL Ballparks

PCL Ballparks: top left to right, Portland, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Diego, Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco and Hollywood.

SF Seals lineup cards

SF Seals lineup cards signed by manager O’Doul for three games in May 1949 at Sacramento.

Every spring, Daddy assigned a photographer to Seals Stadium to shoot pictures of each player for publication during the season. In 1949, the photographer printed an extra set of 8×10 black-and-white glossies for me. Before each game, I stood with youngsters by the third-base dugout and asked each player to personalize his picture by signing “To Lynne”. Some of the players asked, “Where did you get these?”

When I explained that I wanted to hang them in our rumpus room, they eagerly obliged, most adding “Best Wishes” or “Good Luck”. I framed and hung the twenty pictures on the blank wall above the studio couch.

The following January, Daddy hosted a Hot Stove night in our rumpus room. Two of Daddy’s sports reporters swapped baseball anecdotes with chief Seals scout and former PCL umpire Al Fioresi, Joe Orengo, manager of the Seals’ Yakima, Washington farm club, pitcher Dick Larner, outfielder Brooks Holder, infielder Jim Moran, and Seals’ vice president Charlie Graham.

SF Seals Hot Stove Night

SF Seals Hot Stove Night

When they entered the room, someone said, “Oh, so it’s this rumpus room!”

Team members thought their autographed pictures were to hang in a popular bar they frequented on the Peninsula named The Rumpus Room.

Autographed PCL Baseballs

Autographed baseballs: Seals 1932 and 1947, Oaks 1949, and Hollywood Stars.

To be continued . . .

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BASEBALL WITH FATHER

The best times with my father were during baseball games at Seals Stadium in San Francisco in the late 1940s and early 1950s. We had great seats at ground level between home plate and the Seals’ third-base dugout.

Ransom’s interest in baseball consisted of staring through the bottom of an empty Coke bottle at fans in the stands. Mom feared he might receive another concussion.

“Keep your eyes on the ball,’ she said.

He turned around and focused his Coke bottle on the field.

Daddy’s strange pencil marks in the little squares in the program intrigued me. “What do those mean?”

“That’s how I keep score,” he said.

During the season, he taught me how to keep score and make those strange squiggles in the little squares. “Anyone can follow a football game,” he said. “Baseball is a thinking man’s game.”

Dad, Mom & Ransom in box seats

Dad, Mom & Ransom in box seats

Our box seats at Seals Stadium were near those of the club’s vice president, young Charlie Graham. One night, he said that because I attended every game, I might as well work there. Would I like to be an usherette? Well, who wouldn’t? But when Mr. Graham learned I was much younger than I looked, I had to wait another year to obtain a work permit before he hired me.

Seals Stadium was the first baseball park in the country to hire female ushers. We wore a gray blouse under a couturier-designed apple-green gabardine suit with a matching beret. For San Francisco’s fog-chilled night games, we added a brown topcoat with red epaulets, a red silk scarf and red kid gloves. I earned $1.25 an hour.

To be continued . . .

 

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FATHER’S DAY

Another Father’s Day has come and gone, but memories linger of a father I thought I knew well.

For two decades we were a happy family with Mom and my younger brother, Ransom, until the onset of Mom’s mysterious paralysis a few months after her hysterectomy performed by the family doctor. She believed his lack of skill during that specialized procedure caused her eventual debility.

As the family of a newspaper editor in the San Francisco Bay Area during World War II and the following decade, we lived a privileged life.

To be continued . . .

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REMEMBRANCE OF WORLD WAR II

Jeep

Jeep

The Army general purpose vehicle (GP pronounced Jeep) on display in the World War II exhibit at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon, immediately caught our attention. In the late 1940s, Lee paid $500 for a war surplus Jeep. The Jeep displayed in the museum looks exactly like the one in which we neighbors anticipated weekend rides with Lee as he drove across rolling open space in the East Bay hills (now covered with homes) overlooking San Francisco Bay.

Comments from museum visitors in the model kitchen are as interesting as the exhibit. Seniors remember the chrome kitchen table and chairs. “This looks like (Grandma’s) (Mom’s) (our) kitchen.”  “My mother used those.”  “We had that.”
Younger visitors ask, “What’s this for?” (A manual egg beater.)
“What’s that?” (A glass dish with a knob in the center to manually squeeze fresh orange or lemon juice.)
“How do you use this?” (A manual can opener.)
Mine are all still dependable and never require batteries.

I remember victory gardens, curfews and blackouts, defense savings stamps and bonds and ration coupon books for groceries, gasoline and shoes on the home front. Lee remembers serving with the Navy in the South Pacific.

The parachute in the museum reminded me of the young sportswriter and amateur boxer my parents paid to babysit my younger brother and me when they spent an evening out to dinner and a movie or played cards with friends. When the U.S. entered the war, Dave enlisted in the Air Force and was assigned to B-17 bombing missions over Germany. Mom wrote Dave regularly and mailed him packages of chewing gum, chocolate bars and cigarettes. Wartime slogans encouraged citizens not to discuss troop movements, ship sailings or war work. Dave’s letters always mentioned my younger brother’s age: “So Ransom just turned 12.” “Wish Ransom a happy 14th birthday for me.” “Guess you are all looking forward to Ransom’s 16th birthday.”
“Dave knows Ransom is younger than I am. Why does he write that?” I asked Mom.
“That’s his code for the number of missions he’s flown,” Mom said. “After 24 missions, he comes home.”

Nearing Dave’s twenty-something mission, Mom told me she awoke in the middle of the night to see Dave standing in the bedroom doorway. She wrote Dave and asked if that date meant anything to him.
“Yes,” he wrote. “We were hit by shrapnel. Our turret gunner was killed, and we limped back to base.”

After the war, Dave gave Mom his parachute from which she sewed a peasant-style blouse for me and lingerie for herself. She cut Dave’s uniform down to a suit for Ransom. And Dave gave me his lapel pin shaped in the form of gold wings.

 

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COMPUTERESE

When I turn on my computer, occasionally a question appears in the upper left corner: “Lynne, what is on your mind today?” Similar to few of my blog followers, it never responds.

I vent frustration about how differences in the English language and punctuation marks have changed from those my English teachers taught. For example, E-mail morphed into e-mail and now the correct word is email. E-book followed to e-book and now is it ebook?

Recently my name appeared on a list to evite. I thought it was a typo for invite, but my vintage dictionary defines “evite” as “to avoid or shun”. Really?  Hmm . . .

Computerese, and the use thereof, leaves me B-hinde in a-fogg.

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CAMP ABBOT, THEN and NOW

Part 2

Camp Abbot’s Officers’ Club, now known as Sunriver’s Great Hall, was a major training exercise and accomplishment that remains a distinguished landmark after more than 70 years.

Camp Abbot's Officers' Club

Work began October 1, 1943, and took six months to complete. Designed in the style of a mountain lodge, a total of 63,000 manual hours went into the 511 log construction. The 40-foot hewed beams, as well as the logs and slabs, were all located on site.

The Deschutes and Willamette National Forests supplied additional material including the tree for the circular staircase. A total 150,000 board feet of lumber were put into the building.

Sunriver Great Hall circular staircase

Stone masons shaped ten tons of volcanic rock into the two massive fireplaces, one on the lower level, the other directly above on the mezzanine. Less than three months later, a “bush raising” ceremony was held at the Christmas Eve dance to celebrate completion of the roof.

When Camp Abbot was abandoned in June 1944 after the invasion of Europe, the Officers’ Club was the only significant building left untouched. The 5,500 acre property went up for sale in 1945. By 1950, it was used for a livestock operation, and, at one time, the Officers’ Club housed cattle.

Camp Abbot memorabilia, once displayed at the Sunriver Nature Center, is now at the Deschutes Historical Museum in Bend.

According to the Sunriver Nature Center Publication Camp Abbot, the main entrance was on “F” Street (now Center Drive), along with the café, recreation buildings, and “F” Street barracks. The post chapel was located on what is now a Sunriver Lodge parking lot.

Besson Commons sits between the Lodge and the Great Hall. On the walls inside the main doors of the former Officers’ Club are a plaque, pictures and descriptions to commemorate the 50th Anniversary (September 10, 1993) and remember the 90,000 soldiers who trained at the U.S. Army 3rd Engineer Replacement Training Center.

The Great Hall is now used for conventions, banquets, receptions, formal dances and music recitals. It has been used by movie and television companies on location. One script of Richard Boone’s “Have Gun, Will Travel” television series was adapted to focus on the unusual circular staircase built around the huge pine tree.

Officers' Club circular staircase

Camp Abbot’s review field was on part of the Great Meadow.

Soldiers dodged bullets on the obstacle course, now the 10th tee on the Meadows Golf Course.

The waterway behind the Lodge and River Lodges, now called Sun River, is all that remains of the canals developed by the corpsmen.

Sun River

The Civilian Conservation Corps camp site was in the area now called Vista Lane.

Soldiers practiced on bayonet courts and rifle and grenade ranges on the lower meadow between what is now Vista Lane and the Sunriver Airport.

The “L” Street barracks spread between what are now the 12th and 14th holes of the Meadows Golf Course between Circles 2 and 3 near the Wildflower condos.

With the addition of a roof and door to Camp Abbot’s sedimentation tank, the building is now used by Sunriver’s Public Works Department between the Sunriver Police station and the community recycle center.

Camp Abbot's sedimentation tank

The Army’s munitions dump proved too costly for the Sunriver Homeowners Association to dig up and remove all toxic asbestos and contaminated soil so in 2012 they built the concrete Sunriver Homeowners Aquatic and Recreation Center (SHARC) on Overlook Road to bury what remained.

Additional anti-tank range, mortar and firing ranges, and demolition areas spread north and west across the Deschutes into what is now the Deschutes National Forest.

The chemical training area took place east between what is now the railroad track and Hwy. 97.

Remnants of bridge abutment foundations built by the corpsmen between what are now the Sunriver Stables and Mary McCallum Park are better seen by floaters on the Deschutes.

Major General Alexander M. Patch used Camp Abbot as his base in 1943 to lead the Oregon Maneuver. One hundred thousand soldiers participated in large scale war games on 10,000 square miles in three central Oregon counties before their deployment overseas. In 1943, the U.S. Forest Service and the combat engineers training at Camp Abbot built the General Patch Bridge about seven miles south from Sunriver at what is now the Big River Camp Ground. Declared unsafe, it no longer remains. It was visible from the Robert D. Maxwell Veterans Memorial Bridge built in 1984 on South Century Drive.

Gen. Patch bridge

General Patch recommended Technician Fifth Grade Robert D. Maxwell of Bend to receive the Medal of Honor for heroism in France in 1944. According to a plaque at the campground near the site of the former smaller bridge, the two men never met each other.

Patch Maxwell plaque

 

 

 

 

 

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