Sunday, June 19, 2011

Memories of Father's Day and Fathers in Liberty

It's Father's Day again.  I remember the Cincinnati Reds played at Crosley Field on many Father's Days when I was young, affording the opportunity for Mike and I to go to the game a few extra-special times with our dad and both grandfathers.  Right after church, we changed and loaded into a car already packed with soft drinks and sandwiches to allow us a lunch en-route to Cincinnati.  We usually had everything eaten/consumed before we got through Miamisburg.  There was no interstate in those days, so we went "the back way" through Middletown.

Frank Robinson (hit 38 homers as a rookie in 1956), Vada Pinson, Ted Kluszewski, Wally Post, Gus Bell, Ed Bailey, Smokey Burgess, Johnny Temple, Roy McMillan, Alex Grammas, Ray Jablonski, Jerry Lynch, Don Gross, Joe Nuxhall, Hersh Freeman, Hal Jeffcoat, Brooks Lawrence,  and others played just for us, it seemed, on Father's Day.

We managed to get hungry before the end of the baseball game to get hot dogs with the incredible stadium mustard that seemed unique to Crosley Field.  The souvenirs were always special, including the little bats signed by a ball player and the photos of the whole team.  We took our ball gloves but never came close to catching a foul ball.  We kept score in the program, with instruction from dad and the grandpas.  We had to race out for the hotdogs during the 7th inning stretch so we wouldn't miss out in the score keeping.  I wanted to put my own mustard on since I loved it so much.

Grandpa Jonas always had a beer at the park, and always showed loyalty by only buying a brand that paid to broadcast the games (Wiedemann's sponsored the radio games broadcast by Waite Hoyt, the former Yankee's pitcher in the 20's, with Burger and Hudepohl being the other main beers supporting the Reds).  All of us marveled at the mustard, the Reds and the fans.  Special memories of special people on Father's Day, my dad and grandfathers, together.

All of us have or had a father.  Liberty had lots of them.  Pete Alread was the father of Peggy and Donna.  They all lived on back Street with Gladys, daughter of Ernie Speidel who lived "uptown" next to the Pure station.  Pete was a special guy who had interesting hobbies and pastimes.  He had a metal detector at one time that found a lot of useful and useless items.  It was fun to look at the various items Pete found here and there, and heartening to hear his enthusiasm for the "Quest" for special treasures.

I also liked to hear Pete tell of his trips to Indiana to Lake Webster and to the Connersville Smorgasboard.  He and Gladys would often stop in to chat in the summer with those of us sitting on the porch of Grandma (Fanny) and Grandpa (Bill) Clayton. They came via the alley between our house and the Riches after passing the Lodge's and crossing the Liberty creek on the way back from the Speidel's.  They shared the "uptown" word with the Back Street folks, among other shared stories.  Neighbor to neighbor, sharing was reassuring.  Fathers were present and visible in the community.  We learned from them and by their examples.

Please remember in addition to those mentioned above, on this Father's Day these Liberty Dads:  Lowell Lodge, Bob Weidel, George Wintermute, Charles Whitaker, Jim Whitaker, Ed Whitaker, Bill Knoll, Thurman Rich, Bob Friend, Roy Strader, Everett Ashworth, Louie Adams, George Speelman, Jerry Hoffman, Henry Bussey, Earl Rieger, Roy Michael, Vernie Michael, Bob Holtzman, George Heeter, and Bob Stivers are a few names that come to mind when I think of Liberty fathers in my years of childhood.  There are many others whose first names I never knew including Mr.'s Longhenry, Thompson, Landrum, Hill, Peek, Toms, Mays, Wyant, Adkins, Eller, .  Apologies to those I forgot or never knew.  Feel free to comment about these and other fathers in the comment section below.

Have a meaningful Father's Day.

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