A gorgeous summer day.
Our green Kaiser makes its way over Route 22,
past the Bristol Myers plant.
Destination Ebbets Field.
My first game. Just my dad and me.
I am six.
I remember the Pulaski Skyway.
And the stench of Secaucus
We are two decades from
I open my brown bag and make short work of two baloney sandwiches.
There is no Turnpike, no I 95.
Outside the entrance to the ball park is a stand selling souvenirs.
Large buttons with red and blue ribbons: — Erskine, Snider, Hodges,
Furillo, Robinson, Campanella. The Boys of Summer.
We bought one. I forget whom I chose.
At the entrance, an old man takes our tickets.
He is wearing a Dodgers cap and smiles at me.
“Good day for a ball game” he says to my dad.
I look up and see huge concrete columns and a maze of ramps.
We start to climb.
Up one ramp. Then another.
I hear the crowd but see nothing.
Where is everybody?
I am beginning to lose patience.
More ramps. More crowd noise.
Is this some kind of sick joke?
But then we are there.
Dad shows the ticket to an usher.
Yes, ushers I guess. I look out
and am totally unprepared for what I see.
The bright green of the outfield grass, the rich dirty brown of the
infield, the whiteness of the bases, all dazzling under the
deep blue sky and mid-day sun.
Only two images from the game survive.
Stan Musial’s strange batting stance, knees and elbows
as if being displayed for
sale. Also a diving catch by Jackie Robinson.
Years later I track down the game on microfilm.
It could not have been a suspenseful one.
6-0 games rarely are. Preacher Roe had been in complete command.
But it was that first moment emerging from the dark of the
Park’s interior that seems like yesterday.
I see nothing but color and light.
Is this one moment what Van Gogh saw and felt all the time?
And then, seventy years later, the most important question.
Dad, did you have a good time too?
I hope you did. You were a good dad.
In retirement after a long legal career with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Frank wrote two well-received university press books, one on the Constitution, the other on the history of the gay rights movement. A third examining the 2016 election and looking forward to 2020 is scheduled for publication sometime later this year. He says: “My wife Lydia and I have been married for 43 years and been blessed with two wonderful children and four equally wonderful grandchildren. We have lived in Princeton since 1986.”