Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..
I loved collecting baseball cards when I was a kid growing up on Eastern Long Island back in the early 1960’s. There was something magical about riding my green Sting Ray banana seat bike down to the “stores” with my paper route money burning a hole in my pocket.
I’d lean my bike against the white stucco wall on the side of the little neighborhood strip mall near my house and walk into “George’s Gyp Joint” we all called the local stationary store.
I’d no sooner walk in when I heard my name called out sarcastically from the soda fountain counter. KEOOOOO! Here comes Keoooo! George never failed to make fun of my name every time I came into his store, although it didn’t keep me from buying comic books, balsa wood airplanes and baseball cards. You could purchase a pack of cards wrapped in slick paper for a nickel in 1963. After selecting a few packs of cards and thumbing through the latest Superman comic book I’d sit at the soda counter and order a fountain coke or egg cream for another hard earned nickel.
As I waited for my soda I ritualistically unwrapped my first pack of baseball cards taking in the aroma of that flat red stick of bubble gum that came in every pack of cards. I can still remember the distinct smell of that thin powdery stick of gum to this day. I think I liked the gum as much as I did the anticipation and enjoyment of flipping through my newly purchased cards to see what players I got.
Back in those days I had all the major players. Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Harmon “Killer” Killebrew, Wille Mays, Hank Aaron, Whitey Ford, etc. My friends and I traded cards and made up all kinds of games with them as well. We flipped for cards or leaned them against a wall and scaled other cards at them to see if you could knock them down – winner take all. I also remember sitting with my buddies with a stack of cards in each of our hands and quickly flipping them over to show who you had.
Got em – Got em – Need em – Got em – Need em…. Got em!
I often wonder what ever happened to the hundreds of Baseball cards I had stuffed in shoe boxes under my bed in that barn styled suburban home on the corner of Einstein and Brook Lane. I would be a rich man I suppose if I still had all those cards considering many are collectables now. I spend countless hours collecting and playing with my baseball cards as a kid. It was a simple pleasure for so many children growing up in the 1950’s and 60’s. I’m not even sure if kids collect them anymore or at least to the extent we did. They are probably to busy with X-Box and Facebook.
All I can say is I am glad we didn’t have the internet during my childhood. It probably would have kept me from playing Army in the woods, fishing for shiners in my local pond, collecting BB cards and playing outdoors from sun up to sundown. Things were simpler back then and life was so less stressful and complex.