Sep 9, 2002
A message from my father on his birthday:
You bet I had a sweet sixteen party this morning. I was the only one there but others were close enough. I started off at the park and felt quite frisky, given the fact that I pushed four little kids in rubber rafts in my pool for three hours yesterday. Anyway through the park and up Diamond Head hill, I went. Before I knew it I had passed Chinatown and at 32nd street. No problems I was running with Muriel and a friend. Then I took off with some other guy. We went past Joey’s Italian Beef again; how I loved that place. And then we were in the Sox parking lot. Frank Zuiker and the boys were sitting in the right field bleachers again waiting for home run balls. The Yankees were in town and everybody was going to make a bundle.
I then went to 56th street and decided to keep on going. I passed Verna’s apartment and the theater where I won the box of chocolates. Forrest Gump was wonderful. I was so happy that day (and this day). I decided to go to 79 th and Loomis and check out Aunt Helen and Uncle Walter. The big front porch was still there and I saw mom’s mother sitting on the rocker waiting for Mom to come back from her job in the city. Helen was there with her usual apron on and the midget pickles were on her Easter ham plate. But I had to keep going.
Before long I was at 88th street. Heck I was so close to home I kept on going. I passed 95th with no problem and then I saw Gatley Park. I stopped to play baseball with my younger brothers like I always did in the past. Once school was out we took our bikes there, with our peanut butter sandwiches and we were history until it was time to do our paper routes. What freedom. Play baseball, dream of being a big leaguer and wash the sandwiches down with cold water from the fountain.
I had to keep going so I passed the old place at 10447 Calumet. Mom was in the front porch and the cookies and Kool-Aid was in the pitcher. Mom always has a snack on the porch when I go past but I only take my fair share of the cookies, not one extra. Mom said we all did good in school again and she is proud of us. The fern trees are not growing in the front, as usual but the raspberries are ferocious in the back.
Anyway I kept going and I was at Palmer Park in a few minutes. I ran past the big outdoor pool that was such a joy to us in the summer. We were all in the pool making fools of ourselves and our fair share of the noise. Then onto Grandma’s and Con’s house. Again more cookies. It’s a wonder I can keep on going with all the invites to stop. I begged off, said a quick hello to Lou and Antoinette in the upstairs apartment and to Walter and his family in the back house. Con’s chickens are getting fatter and I hope we have an invite for chicken dinner soon.
Then on to finish my trip. I went past Ed and betty’s new house on 118th more or less. They are real happy with it and it looks so very nice and new. Lucky for us Betty still has the barber chair in the basement now so we still get those decent haircuts and Mom still gets that top treatment from Betty. Finally I went to 128th street and stopped. I was just a little short of Uncle Art’s house but I might try for that distance next week.
All in all celebrated my sweet sixteen (mile) run with all of my wonderful relative memories. It was good, a challenge but my 2 hour nap after the trip made it all worthwhile.
Anton Zuiker ☄
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