by Jim Holzman
What is change? Change can be what’s left over from a dollar after purchasing a pack of gum or candy bar. Change can be a different way of doing something, it can be a new address or town. Change can be simply another way to look at something. Over time, the way I remember this story has changed my perspective on that day.
It was summer 1973, maybe 1974. The rain that pelted the beaten down, weathered streets of my north side Chicago neighborhood had given way to brilliant sunshine that had all the birds, as well as most of work-goers, in a decidedly cheery mood. It was on this Friday that my mom was taking me to the Cubs game! This was a rare treat for a 10 year old, less than perfectly obedient kid, but it was lady’s day at Wrigley Field, so all women got in free, my bleacher seat would be $3.00.
My mother spent the morning making crunchy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We also packed her thick plastic flower covered bag with a thermos of homemade chocolate milk that poured like motor oil. When we arrived at the platform in order to catch the train to the ballpark, the amount of people that were ahead of us was, by estimation, the population of the whole world. We got to the park, where instantly, my nose was greeted with the heavenly aroma of hot dogs, cigar smoke and stale beer, it was a memory that still lingers now. When we got to the ticket window the uniformed cashier ruined my day as well as my summer; “Sold Out”. I cried, threw a fit, and complained to my mom how unfair it was. I had been looking forward to this day forever.
My mom and I got off the train, my eyes were still red, puffy and the tears were still glistening. My mom seeing this, grabbed my hand and said “Instead of going home, let’s go to the park by the beach.”We sat on the blanket that my mom had packed for the game and ate the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and drank the best chocolate milk I’ve ever had.
I lost my mom 3 years later. My perspective along with the way that I choose to remember that day changes frequently. When it happened I was a brat, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to have my mom all to myself for the whole afternoon, I do now. I can’t tell you who won the Cub’s game that day, but I can vividly describe my mom’s beautifully flowered bag and the bright purple scarf she wore on her head. This story remains as one of my fondest childhood memories for somewhat selfish reasons; it’s all mine.
Jim Holzman has RP and is a volunteer at Second Sense blind service organization in Chicago. He jokes about everything, including his ability to write. This story is being re-posted to remind Jim that he definitely can write and should keeo it up.