by Susan P. Schmidt
Anyone could, and often did, play. Anyone except the girls that is. So, we taunted the boys and were usually chased back to our house of leaves, our sanctuary, under the lilacs beyond left field. The boys that played most often were Denny and Bruce Thomas, Henry Cady, the two Stevie Smiths, Jimmy Brooks, Danny and David McMullen, Farquar, and Mike Irving and Chuckie Kantara. But, I suspect the whole town has decended on our ball field at one time or another, gloves and bat in hand.
The Brooks family had been living next door for about a year. They had three boys, Bobby, Eddie and Jimmy. Jimmy was a nice kid. Always polite. He wasn't mean to the girls the way some of the boys could be.
I don't remember anyone actually sitting down and telling me, "Now Susie..." I just remember knowing it, that's all. From the safety of my upstairs bedroom, I looked out over the porch roof to the arriving cars below. They clutched their hankies to their faces. Some were glazed and somber. Some could barely be contained. His mom. His dad. Bobby's 20 year old Fiance. Eddie. Jimmy. Friends. Moms of friends. On and on they kept on coming.
The Vietnam War was little more than another "Rifleman" or "Wagon Train" to me at that age and during those times. Our parents tried somewhat successfully to shield us from the misery and stress of the "conflict" a half a world away.
Pass the peas.
Huntley and Brinkley's carnage reports.