Memory Lane: At Home with Mommy and the Ironing

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One of my earliest memories came back to me this morning.

I’m not old enough yet to go to school. I’m sitting on the floor of our little sitting room, playing with blocks while my mother does her ironing. Because she’s a Giants fan, she has the ballgame on: we have one of those primitive TV sets with all the knobs, you’ve really got to fiddle with it, to get a good picture. The Giants are playing the Brooklyn Dodgers, and my mother carefully lists for me the many moral defects of the Dodgers–except for Roy Campanella: not a word against him!–and explains how no right-thinking person would ever root for them. And I don’t know why, but I love the smell of ironing, and the texture of the rug, and the grainy black-and-white picture on the screen… and my mother’s company.

The very best day I ever had at school was not as good as this. Nowhere near as good as this.

30 comments on “Memory Lane: At Home with Mommy and the Ironing

  1. I remember moments like that in my life. I never had a step-by-step breakdown of the moral faults of any particular sports team, but I had plenty of moral lessons, given by my mother, along the way and frequently with the distinct scent of a hot iron in the air.

    Thanks for this memory, Lee.

    1. Leo was managing the Giants. My mother didn’t have much to say about Jackie Robinson; I don’t know why. But in our house, Roy Campanella was a saint and Willie Mays was the best player in the world.

    2. Harmon Killebrew could have beat up Joe Campanella even if he were in a body cast and a coma while administering the beating. I once saw Harmon Killebrew change a tire using his left arm for a jack and the fingers of his right hand for a lug wrench.

      You easterners just don’t know nothin’. The Twins could’ve beaten the Dodgers and the Giants together and on,y have sent a coup,e of benchwarmers to do the job. 🙂

  2. Funny, you guys and your ball players, haha. I do share your memories
    of mother, though, and all she did for us.

    1. Harmon Killebrew wouldn’t think we were funny. 🙂

      I’m just kidding around. Harmon was the local hero when I was a kid, him and Zolo Versailles. I actually had supper with Zolo years ago, long after his heyday in the Big Leagues. It’s strange to see someone that was a childhood hero and realize that they are as human as the next guy.

    2. Oh, boy, Zoilo Versalles, “Zorro”–American League MVP, 1965.

      Of course the Dodgers cheated to beat the Twins in the World Series. They pitched Koufax. That wasn’t fair.

    3. P.S.–My friends and I used to hobnob with second baseman Horace Clarke when we went to Yankee games. We were the International Horace Clarke Fan Club, with a chapter in Iceland. There was only one guy in that chapter, but even so–Iceland! Horace got a kick out of that.

  3. Ahem. Although I grew up in the Bronx, I was always a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, as was my mother. (Hey, Dook, weah wichyu! –Translation: Duke (Snyder), we’re with you!) My mother and I especially loved Gil Hodges. In fact, during the NYC mayoral election of 1969, when the Dodgers were long gone but Gil Hodges was managing the Mets and had just managed them from being a pack of clowns to winning the World Series, I ignored the three major candidates running for mayor and wrote in Gil Hodges instead.

    1. My parents were die-hard Dodger fans. I got to see Snady Kofax & Don Drysdale pitch. I still have my personally autographed baseball by Duke Snyder. Del Crandall, the all-star catcher for the Milwaukee Braves lived six houses down from me. He used to play catch with us in the off season – great guy. Steve Busby was my brother’s best friend. I saw him pitch against the Angels and not only win but also hit a home run. After he threw his arm out he was the sportscaster for the Texas Rangers.

  4. My earliest memory is not of my mother or father, but of some random repairman that came to our home. Go figure.

  5. Dodgers and Giants fans, you were very lucky to have your teams in the National League thus saving them from the embarrassment of competing with the superior teams of the American League.

    1. Yeah, yeah–the AL had the Yankees, period.

      Plus some great names to conjure with: Roy Sievers, Frank Lary, Sherm Lollar, Jackie Jensen, Ted Williams, Gus Triandos… and I’d better stop here, or I’ll go on all night.

      Man, that was baseball!

    1. Wouldn’t have anything to do with the NJ Mets would it? I give up.
      Okay, to be serious, the two party political league of today should look to baseball to reset its standards. Keep football out of this for now. Anyhow, try to deflate a baseball.

    2. Here’s the trivia question. You’ll never get it without looking it up. I hope Unknowable’s listening.

      Who is the only player to lead the American League in RBIs three times during the 1950s (1951-60)?

    1. You are right, sir, DiMaggio was not in the Battle of the Bulge, that will teach me not to believe everything I hear on television. I hope. But I, too, was right! Choosing DiMaggio as the answer to your RBI question was a very wild guess.

  6. Wow! My first memory of baseball (not my first memory of life) was when I was about 5 or 6 years old. I was sitting on our sofa with my Grandpa watching a baseball game. For the life of me I couldn’t tell you who was playing. For me, it was just about sitting with my Grandpa – he was the best! While watching the game, my eyes got really fuzzy – like watching an old TV with no picture – only the snowy off-air look, which made me really nauseus. That was the start of my first migraine headache (although I didn’t know that at the time). With no frame of reference, I blamed the baseball game for my malady and never liked baseball again! But I always loved my Grandpa. He was the best! 🙂

    1. Well, it might have been something about the TV other than its content…

      My Grandpa had no interest in sports, but was really into current events and history. I do miss him!

  7. One of my best friend’s mom iron clothes in their house for extra money. And then every Sunday night she made tacos for all her two sons’ friends who wanted to come. That’s where I was when The Beatles were on The Ed Sullivan Show the first time.

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