Friday, May 2, 2008

Growing Up in Venice Florida(part 4)

After yesterday's sun and warm weather, the temps remained nice, but a nasty band of thunderstoms rolled through this AM....another batch, with possible hail and tornadoes is on our door step, over in the Hoosier State as I type. Our games at St. Marys have already been cancelled in anticipation of the storms, which should strike within the hour. Much of the same for tomorrow, then a brief cool down.


Venice By-Way Continued



In the previous Venice growing up post, I had mentioned our escapes from Diamond Back Rattlers and White Wild Bores....while on the By-Way we also had to keep an eye on Grandma Houseworth...Wilda Waldron Houseworth was born in 1893 in Scott, Ohio, she would winter with us in Florida. I always knew mom and Wilda had an uneasy being the Irish Catholic from the east coast, while Grandma Wilda was the Pentacostal from the heart land.

While living on the By-Way, I remember 2 examples of my getting my behind in trouble thanks to Wilda. We had an old shack or tool shed out back, and one time Mike and I were rooting through the place, we came across a old Army shell....cant' remember exactly what it was, but if I had to say today, it was shell from a bazooka or small rocket launcher...Hell, it's been 50 years, my mind is good, but not perfect. Anyway we decided to "take it apart", and just as we were going to do the dirty deed...Grandma caught us in the act...ass whippings all around when the folks(both off at work) got home. I guess for being stupid enough to try to blow ourselves up.

Another incident came about when my buddies from 4th grade(by this time), Mike Graff and Jackie Dye rode their bikes over...seems Jackie had a "plug" of chewing tobacco that we needed to try out to the banks of the Hatchet Creek we went, under the bridge we tried the gawd awful stuff....not sure if I puked, but if not it was a gagging experience...Grandma caught us in that act as well....any punishment I don't remember, but I do know, I never tried that crap again.....I think the taste is still in my mouth.

Grandma was usually accompied by our Uncle "Housie" aka Forrest Houseworth....Housie wasn't much for work, he was about 5 years dad's senior, but dad always seemed the older and more mature of the 2. Forrest was divorced and usually came to Venice in the winter...he was something else, and he loved 3 things...Women, Beer, and Fishing. He finally remarried around 1962, had a couple of more kids back in Ohio, and passed away in 1964 at the age of 54....Grandma Houseworth, like all the Houseworth women, lived a longer and more straight forward life, passing away at 91 in 1975, having outlived 2 of her 3 sons(dad died on Christmas Eve 1972 at 55).

The Venice By-Way is most of all where I learned to play organized baseball...something that has stayed with me for 50+ years now, as a player, coach, and now high school umpire. Brother Mike and I got drafted by the Venice Elks while living out in the sticks, Mike was a varsity Little Leaguer and I being 2 1/2 years his junior was put on the "farm team"...where, not being able to catch or judge a fly ball worth a damn in the outfield, the coaches decided to put me behind the plate. I was to remain a catcher, for the most part, for the rest of my playing days, which included stints in both fast pitch(Air Force) and slow pitch softball.

That's where it started, my love affair with baseball....the pro game no longer is my cup of tea, but I still love being around the game, especially the high school and youth games....I coached before I had sons, and then coached both sons until they entered High School....then it was joining the oldest, Sam, as a baseball umpire in the HS Varsity ranks. The By-Way is where I learned that part of life...that and a lot of other great things.....

In the late summer of 1959, dad and mom bought a house "in town"...the east side of Venice in a subdivision called Edgewood...328 School Street, Venice, Florida, was the address, don't know why it was called School Street, the place was no where near any school I knew of....but there were adventures a plenty there as well...the place we would call home for our final 3 years in Venice. That story is next.

Have a great weekend to all............Back Later>>>>>>>>>>>>>


The storms have begun......and the rain is coming down.--photos-Mike and Me with our Venice Elks hats and Mike in his varsity uniform.  Uncle Housie Houseworth with Mike, me and his boat...and the skies have opened up, me and brother Mike with dad's near 100 "Jewfish"...more rain is coming.


Sarge Charlie said...

some cool memories my friend.

Mushy said...

I really love these stories and accompanying photos man!

GUYK said...

I used to catch fast pitch softball back when I was a young airman..has a guy pitching when I was at Incirlik Turkey who I had to catch with a first basemans mitt stuffed with newspaper..he had one of those 95 mph softball arms..and control

Buck said...

I had an experience with "chaw" at a young age, too... with exactly the same results. I was about ten, and the guy who drove our school bus (some young GI) gave two of my friends and I a twist off his plug. I'm absolutely certain the SOB did it to watch my friends and I gag and puke.

Stay dry!

Mrs. K's Lemonade Stand said...

That first picture is priceless!

~Fathairybastard~ said...

Great stories and pictures. Love reding this sort of thing. Never tried dip or chaw, but did steal a few cigs from my sis at about 11 or 12. Didn't see what the big deal was. Never took it up.