Sunday, June 14, 2009
Take Me Out to the Ballgame......
Yesterday was my dearly beloved Mother's 90th birthday. Her name was Antoinette DiPippa Carr. They called her Din. She died at the age of 53. I was 14. Both of us way too young. I'm not sure what she would have done to celebrate the day but I can guarantee you that my sisters and I would have made it special. We would have had lemon meringue pie and maybe shared a high ball or two. Those were some of her favorite things.
When I woke up to the sunshine yesterday morning--I thought--maybe we would have taken my mother to a Pirate game for her 90th birthday. Pie, booze and baseball---what a nice dream. Instead, my sister and I spent the afternoon at a family baby shower--seated at a table with one of my mother's best friends--her sister-in-law--our Aunt Mary and my mother's goddaughter--my cousin Annette. We were there to honor Annette's son's (my godson) wife.
Aunt Mary--now frail and tiny, attached to an oxygen machine--sat and nibbled on cookies as she pondered the passing of time. "She would have been 90," she said a few times---not speaking to anyone in particular---as if she was trying to figure it all out. Annette just shook her head in sad agreement....adding " I miss my dad everyday." Annette's dad--my mother's baby brother--our Uncle Anthony--suddenly died under his grape arbor last summer at the age of 81.
Upon hearing Annette mention her dad--my mind drifted back to my thought that morning--baseball. My Uncle Anthony was a baseball fanatic. He wore a radio earplug in his ear from April to October every year. Listening to Pirates baseball. That's the way I always remember him. He and his older brother Sammy were both standout ball players in their younger days---playing for various teams in and around the Pittsburgh area--mostly in the Hill District where they grew up. I suppose that's how my mother came to love baseball----watching her brothers play.
Yes, my mother loved baseball. In her own special, Din-way way. She would put the statue of St. Jude (patron saint of the hopeless) on top of our TV set during especially important games. She especially loved Roberto Clemente and took it especially hard when he was killed in a plane crash only a few months before her own death. When the Pirates won the World Series in 1971, she wanted to party! My dad even took her to see a few play off games in his company box during that series. She felt so special and queen-like going to such an event, sitting in such a luxurious place. After they won the title, she got my dad to take us all downtown in our Comet station wagon to join all the revelers! My mom and dad were buying beers and cocktails out the window from bartenders who were taking orders in the street and they were hollering and singing with all the other partiers packed into downtown Pittsburgh. It's a memory I will never forget. It was one of a handfull of times that I got a glimpse into the woman inside my mother---that fun girl with a hint of naughtiness and a little bit of sass .
The Pirates won last night---9 to 3. They don't do that much these days. My mother must have been at the game--seated right next to her brothers. Celebrating her 90th birthday.
I wish I could have been there.....
Keep baseball alive in the hearts of young baseball lovers.....please go to this link and vote for my friend Rebecca's cousin.....