At the tender age of 7, my parents divorced. The meaning of this was not my vocabulary. I was raised on a steady diet of images from a black and white T.V. set, living in the world of "The Donna Reed Show", "Ozzie & Harriet" and "Leave It To Beaver". Despite moving from L.A. to N.Y, I believed that at any moment, my father would be walking through the door.
I was already accustomed to waiting. He was a traveling salesman and was not a "household fixture"prior to the divorce. A few years passed, and he showed up a few times. The visits were always brief and integrated with a business call to a client. I never had his undivided attention.While I became accustomed to waiting, every once in awhile that feeling would get interrupted by friends who boasted of going to Yankee games with their Dads.
In the fourth year of the divorce,a clearer picture of the reality of the divorce was received. Both my parents remarried. I inherited a new stepdad and stepmom almost simultaneously. Nevertheless, I kept my eyes glued to the door, and waited. I was not waiting for him to come and turn my world right side up again, I was just waiting for that moment , where I could know him as my Dad.
My Mother was well aware of my feelings and thus arranged for me and my sisters (both older) to spend a summer (1962)with him and our new stepmom. My 11 year mind kept it simple for me, it was a chance to spend time with my Dad, visit my cousins, Aunt and Uncle and Grandma who also lived in L.A. and to be in the same town as the L.A. Dodgers! (I was a huge Dodger fan). I went to my shoebox of baseball cards and selected the top players of my collection, and slipped a rubberband around them. I packed my one and only favorite board game (called All-Star baseball) and told my Mom, "I'm ready". (I let her pack my clothes!)
She took us to the airport. There were no police, security guards or resticted areas. She was allowed to walk with us to the door of the plane and hand us over to the stewardess. The stewardess took me in the cockpit to meet the pilots, who showed off all the dials and handed me a plastic set of wings to pin on my shirt. We all saluted each other, and I was escorted to my seat. I may have been sitting, but my young spirit was flying!
My Dad greeted us with his big warm hug and carried our bags to his car. It was like a dream, being withmy Dad, in Los Angeles, Summertime. I sat next to him in the front seat of his Caddy. "You a Met Fan?" he asked. (It was the first year of the Mets). I made a face of disapproval, "they are the worst team ever!" I exclaimed. "I am a true blue Dodger fan...they are in first place ya know!" ... He laughed, and said.."well I wasn't sure, and I wanted to play it safe" as he pulled a pair of tickets from his shirt pocket ..."tickets for Friday nights game ...Mets Vs. Dodgers!' My mouth fell open, blood rushed to my head,I shrieked..." Oh My God!!!I'm going to see the Dodgers!!! ...at Chavez Ravine...Oh My God!!" I reached in my pocket and pulled out my deck of baseball cards and flipped through till I came upon Dodgers. Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax, Murray Wills, Duke Snider....I was to see them at last!. My fathers voice broke in.."Now hold on to the tickets....O.K.!".....He handed them over to me, Bright orange tickets with the date June 29, 1962. (I still have the stubbs)
I was in his car no more than 5 minutes when I already declared that this was going to be the best summer that I would ever have!
"Dad?" I asked...."Have you ever heard of the board game "All Star baseball?".... Of course, he had no idea and did not know why I was asking..."Well, I brought it with me, and I was wondering if you would like to play it sometime?"
He smiled and said...."sure...afterall, we have the whole summer".
Forty five years ago, to this very hour, I returned home that night from a game and a time that fulfilled a dream of mine, and I have learned...you only need to fill a dream once and it lasts an eternity in your heart.