Breaking the Color Line on Possibility

Fair Maid Bakery Sign Buffalo Stadium Beyond the Center Field Wall

Fair Maid Bakery Sign
Buffalo Stadium
Beyond the Center Field Wall

 

Like many kids of the Post-World War II Era, I grew up thinking that photography, if not life itself, was all black and white until after the defeat of Adolph Hitler in 1945. Even shortly after that time, the sandlot home of the Pecan Park Eagles was still pretty much a black and white world, as black and white as the Saturday movie fare at the Avalon Theatre on 75th Street in East Houston, until the baseball season of 1947, when my dad took my brother John and me to see our first Houston Buffs game at old Buff Stadium, near the University of Houston.

I’ve told the bare bones of this story before. I’m trying here to explain why it was important to me.

Let’s just start with the facts.

It was a night game. I no longer remember the foe, but I’m totally sure we won. I never left Buff Stadium feeling great when we lost, even the first time.  – When the Buffs lost, I went home feeling inconsolable. And that early summer night in 1947, I went home feeling that I had just been delivered to a brand new world of hope and joy and color too. Which, of course, I had.

When we walked up the ramp into the left field stands for the first time, and I first laid eyes upon the sights of all that manicured green grass, and my ears heard the sounds of the organ playing peppy pre-game music, and my nose picked up the smell of hot dogs mixing with the aroma of the freshly baked bread from the Fair Maid Bakery across the street and a block to the north, it was all akin to something like the deja vu resonance of Dorothy Gale landing her house on the witch in Oz – and opening the door of a black and white (or sepia tone) world into the context of a new one that screamed with the color and soul-taste of genuine vitality.

“Johnny,” I felt like saying to my little brother, as we reached field level, “I don’t think we’re in Pecan Park, anymore.”

pecan park

Pecan Park was not abandoned from the experience. It was enhanced into the Technicolor world too. After the Buff Stadium experience, I discovered that baseballs weren’t really white with black stitching. They were beige to smeared-green to yellow-brown with frayed, fading red stitching. Calloused bare feet were not gradient grey with splotches of black. Our feet were beige to brown to black with tinges of yellow in the calloused areas – and dark dried red in the bloodied cut-injury sections.

The billowing clouds remained white, but now they floated across a periwinkle blue sky over Eagle Field. They were the upper stratosphere of our Pecan Park Eagle hopes – and a good place for us Eagles to try our wings at flying – and using our eyes to survey the horizons – for the larger world that best fit our singular passions for a future life.

All my hoopla here comes down to this simple conclusion: Through the black and white view of our childhood training, we may find the future we’ve been taught to think “should be.” If we want to find ourselves, however, we have to have the color vision that is only available once we figuratively “get the heck out of Dodge City, Kansas.”

Buff Stadium did it for me at an early age. I didn’t understand it at the time, but Buff Stadium actually turned on the idea of beautiful possibilities for me at an early age, lighting a fire for baseball that will never go out.

Astromde Attachment 10: The Pecan Park Eagle

Thanks for putting up with my Saturday night rambling. I only hope that what I’m trying to explain comes through in this brief discourse. It’s a subject that touches us all, but, at my age, I can live with the conclusions I’ve reached. – I’m totally OK being who I am – even, if I run out of time on some of the things I still hope to research or write. I am still just me, regardless. My writing, and everything else I take action upon in the name of historical or artful fulfillment, is simply what I do – out of my particular passion for living.

We all have our own thing to bring to the table. It’s up to each of us to tap into whatever those healthy passions may be – and then to use, abuse, or lose them to the great thief of all untried dreams – the clock on the wall that measures out secretly our time on earth to do anything.

May God Bless All of You in your own pursuits, even if the word “God” messes with some of your minds.

____________________

 eagle-0range Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

https://bill37mccurdy.com/

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “Breaking the Color Line on Possibility”

  1. Tom Hunter Says:

    Bill, the recounting of your first trip to Buff Stadium brought back wonderful memories of my visit to Buff Stadium. I listened to Buff games on my crystal radio set and tried to imagine what the field looked like from the descriptions of the announcers.

    Then in the summer of 1956, I attended my first game at the stadium. When I walked up the ramp to our seats on the first base side and got my first glimpse of the field, I thought it was the most beautiful site I had ever seen. I don’t recall who won the game between the Buffs and the Ft. Worth Cats, but I can remember the sights, sounds, and smells.

    I tried to memorize every detail of the Buff Stadium: the infield, the grass, and the advertisements on the outfield walls, so from then on when I listened to the games on the radio, I could conjure up in my mind’s eye the actual ballpark.

    As Bob Hope would say, “Thanks for the memories.”

  2. roy bonario Says:

    A beautiful remembrance Bill. I have fond memories of Buff Stadium with her old hand worked scoreboard. I once worked there, in a late 40’s summer, selling soda water. I was paid 15 cents a bucket with 12 sodas in each bucket but I would have worked free if thy wanted me to. Thanks for bringing back great memories to an old man who still thinks he’s young when reading this.

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