Baseball & Brides

Ah, June!  Yesterday’s weather was picture perfect for Wisconsin summer.  Life at Old World Wisconsin was happily busy.  Sorry I didn’t post last night, but I was just too tired.  We had the first Vintage Baseball game of the summer, so families were treated to an exciting and genteel sporting event, and our team won (Wullah, wullah, wullay!).  No baseball mitts, no walks, and different terminology were the biggest differences one guest reported.  I didn’t get to see the action in the baseball field because I was working at the church, and briefly, at the Irish washer-woman’s house.  I finally had a visitor willing to join me in singing a round of “Dona Nobis Pacem” a capella in the church.  The acoustics are terrific, and we really did a lovely job, I think.  I thanked her enthusiastically for the privilege.  I had a Brownie troop who filled the front pews like a classroom and stayed a good half hour, I think, asking questions about everything.  It was nice not to feel rushed like I do during a scheduled school tour, but just to let the conversation flow.  They were a great group.  Finally, about an hour before closing, a wedding party came by from the Clausing Barn area where they had their service to take pictures by the church.  They didn’t come inside, but the groomsmen invited me into a picture with them on the front steps.  I think they were attracted to my bustle.  They then staged the same shot with the bride in my place.  Perhaps I’ll be comic relief in their wedding album some day soon.  The men all wore different hats: the groom’s was a black cowboy hat which he wore with dark sunglasses.  He smoked a cigar throughout the photo session.  The bride and several of the bridesmaids were sporting elaborate tattoos.  The bride’s covered her upper back and was quite colorful.  Another guest saw them leaving and asked if they had been dressed in period costume.  “Oh, no.  Those weren’t period tattoos, either,”  I replied, and she laughed.


Today’s game is described on the Old World Wisconsin website like this:

“On Sunday the girls of summer, from the World War II Girls Baseball Living History League, will play their brand of 1943 ball. Joining the team on Sunday will be Milwaukee Public Radio coordinating producer Stephanie Lecci. Original girls-league players will be invited as our special guests, including Joyce Westerman who will be available after the game to sign copies of the Wisconsin Historical Society Press book about her life and sporting career, Joyce Westerman: Baseball Hero.”

Our costumer, Rachel, plays on this team.  I wish I could see them.  It reminds me of my days in the church softball league.  I played second base. 

For more information on 1860s baseball, visit the Old World Wisconsin website here.  Rules, schedule, photos and more are included.

photo courtesy of OWW website

Scale Model

Happy Birthday, dear Joshua; happy birthday to you! 

My one and only son was born 25 years ago today.   I keep his little sneakers hanging from the rear view mirror of my car.  He actually wore these when he was about a year old.  He weighed 6 lbs., 6 oz. at birth (2.89 kg), and he’s still smaller than I am.  But what can you tell about a person from his size alone?  Not that much.   Maybe it’s the first thing you notice, but you quickly move on.  When Josh was young, I saw this cartoon sequence on Sesame Street and appropriated the nickname “Teeny Little Super Guy” for him.  “You can’t tell a hero by his sizebecame the motto for my son, in my mind at least. 

“Josh is a happy boy.”  That was his kindergarten teacher’s assessment as reported on his first school report.  We couldn’t agree more.  He was a physical comic, dancing and doing pratfalls and stunts even as a toddler.  He was certainly entertaining, and still is.  I wear his High School letterman jacket around proudly, with the awards for choir and band and academics displayed.  Out of that slight stature comes a flexible and deep bass voice…and occasional “throat singing” and vocal percussionHe’s traded his trumpet and euphonium for drums and didgeridoo these days.  His musical talent and interests are wide and varied, and still being discovered.  He taught himself to juggle one day when he was a teenager.  He became a balloon twister in Oregon when he was between other jobs.  Academically, he was always a hard worker and accomplished whatever he set out to do.  He discovered that he likes to build while working on theater sets as a teen and eventually graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Construction Engineering. 

For me, the world is bright and shiny when I’m thinking about Josh.  His energy is infectious.  His sweetness is charming.  He works at a kennel now, and gets “puppy love” in regular doses.  But life isn’t all Kibbles when you’re a young adult trying to make your way in a very competitive country.  College is expensive.  Paying off student loans is a burden.  My mothering heart wants him to succeed without becoming cynical and hard.  I wonder how to help.  Do I act as coach?  Do I act as cheerleader?  I sit in the stands and imagine him banging one right out of the ballpark with all my might and will power, then wait to see the actual attempts play out. 

Coincidentally, the NaPoWriMo poetry prompt for the day is about baseball opening day, or sports in general.  This theme fits Josh.  He did get involved in organized athletic teams as a kid, beginning with T-ball where the smallest T-shirt available hung down below his knees.  In soccer, he was brought off the field in his very first game with a head gash that needed stitches.  I remember someone once telling me “sports don’t develop character; they reveal character”.  This is what I see in my son Josh.

There’s a wind at my back,

And the sun’s in my eyes.

There’s grit in my mitt;

The bat’s two times my size.

I stand at the plate,

And I know what to do,

But how it’ll happen,

I haven’t a clue.

Still, I’m light on my feet,

Feeling, mostly, at ease.

I’ve got friends in the stands

Who are easy to please.

There’s isn’t an outcome

That I really dread.

I know that the worst of it’s

Here, in my head.

I take a deep breath

With my eyes open wide

And swing with the strength

That I’ve gathered inside.


Swing away, Josh!!  Remember, it’s a game.  Have fun!