BASEBALL SPOKEN IN ANY LANGUAGE

This story was told by Lefty to her friend Nancy, who wrote it up for her.

 

We were both very young and apparently totally inexperience with the bad side of life. Playing baseball was our avocation as well as vocation and Indiana summers were wonderful to perfect our trade. Coming from Cuba at a very tender age, about 15 years old, did not allow me to master the English language; as a matter of fact, I spoke little except for a few broken but apparently humorous phrases.

Weiser Park in Fort Wayne, was the local ball field where the “wanta be” Daisy kids played…and I eagerly joined in, although I was already a professional baseball player and a “true” Daisy. Ability on the sandlot didn’t make any difference to anyone, baseball was the center attraction and our level of expertise was only a little asset.

Trusting the world around me, I carelessly threw my gear onto the bench and proceeded to trot out onto the field to pitch a few games. As the sun set the games came to a close and I gathered my belongings. Unfortunately, although I looked with mounting excitement, I could not find my billfold. Now losing a few dollars would not have been the end of the world but it also contained all of my identification, address, and the only money I had with me. I was at a loss.

One of the local kids noticed my dilemma and came over to check it out. Our barrier was evident…neither spoke the others language. Our commonality however was that we had both spent the day playing baseball together and that was our bond. Through a lot of hand signals, a few tears of concern and a show of empty pockets, it became evident that I was broke and nameless and couldn’t even tell where I lived.

My “now best friend Nancy” called the police…a new experience for me. The arrival of the police was probably also very funny to everyone except me…although as usual…I just laughed with them as they tried to work through a solution to my problem. The police were not sure who I was, what I was doing, why I was here, and what to do with me. It obviously was a serious problem…not that I had my billfold and worldly identification stolen but rather…what were they supposed to do. They finally decided…nothing.

There I was alone in a strange country, the sun had set, the police had decided not to jail me, I had no money and didn’t know how to get home. As kids will do, however, such monumental difficulties pose no problem…just put your arm around a new friend and take them home with you and let your folks straighten it all out. Wish all problems could be solved so easily and pleasantly and the world would be a better place for everyone. Nancy and I and her family have remained friends for the past 50 or so years, all because of sandlot baseball on sunny summer day in Indiana.

The Waynedale News Staff
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“Lefty” Isabel Alvarez

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