Friday, October 19, 2012


From TING AND I: A Memoir
If you buy a second-hand iron, do not merely turn it off after use; be sure to pull the plug from the wall socket, especially if you leave on an outing for the afternoon. Having thus inadvertently burned the interior of the apartment that we were renting in Inwood, we moved to Mt. Vernon, NY, the southern, not the affluent, region of Westchester County.

At the Minnie S. Graham Junior High School, a rough, racially mixed institution, my grades continued to be good and my fight record continued to be mixed.

We did have a champ in the family, however. Duke won best in show, mixed-breed category, at the local park. When the local paper referred to Duke as a “Husky-Retriever,” a competitive young friend of mine felt slighted by the write-up: “My dog is husky, too,” he said about his Beagle. Sure.

My desk encyclopedia tells me Huskies are known for their intelligence and gentle temperament. Duke was smart and gentle, but tough on other dogs. He even chased down a milk tanker truck when we lived in the country; he was so badly injured that the vet wanted him put down. My mother refused and nursed Duke back to health. Duke learned to make do with three working legs rather than four after that.

I played baseball for the “Tom Godfrey” team in Mt. Vernon’s PONY league that summer. I did well in the try-out session and was very pleased to have been picked. I still have a picture of myself dressed to play: the team had handsome uniforms, and my fielder’s glove was carefully anointed with 3-in-1 oil, making it very dark and very flexible. I was part-time second baseman and right fielder, where I could do little harm. Batted a modest .246. Had three hits one game. In another I caught a fly ball with my bare hand when it bounced off my glove. This was before video cameras accompanied every parent to the games, so there are no highlight clips available. Memories are made of these rare moments.

No memorable romances occurred for me in Mt. Vernon. I did have a good fight, though: I heard him running up behind me, and I dropped down just before we collided, sending him sprawling over my back. Then, I outran him.

No comments:

Post a Comment