Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Growing Up in Venice Florida(part 5)



Got another game in yesterday, finally one at St. Marys, after having 2 league games rained out....I'm sure the host Roughriders would have just as soon seen this one go the same way. Lima Shawnee(18-4) knocked off the home team in a 5 inning run rule by a 10-0 count. Sam and I are scheduled to make the 57 mile one way trip back to McGuffey this afternoon...but rain looks in the forecast for the next 3 days, so will see how that shakes out.

The Sectional Tournaments start this weekend....I'll be with Mosier at Convoy Crestview for a twin bill on Saturday.

Venice-The Final Years

We had moved to 328 School Street in the Edgewood Section for what was to be our final 4 years of living in Venice, Florida. Dad and mom had purchased a home on a half-acre east of town. As described in yesterday's post, there were still plenty of wildlife and adventure in that still being developed part of town.

We, brother Mike, my friend Mike Graff, and others in our Little League group would usually bike the 3 miles across town and US 41(The Tamiami Trail) to the diamonds, which were located near the Gulf and local Airport. When not playing baseball we would either hang out at Dick and Meadows Drug Store on Venice Avenue, a great place to get "Cherry Cokes" and read sports magazines....the place is still there today, and I even got to talk with Mr. Dick back in 1988...I had not seen him since 62 before then. When not at the drug store, playing ball, hunting wildlife, etc, I could usually be found at the Venice Beach, or fishing at the South Jetties.

I also took my first job while living on School Street....delivering the Sarasota Sun to my neighbors in and beyond the Edgewood section of town....I remember having more than a few "deadbeats" on my route, and what little money I made in those couple of years was spent on baseball cards and RC Cola in 12 oz bottles.

I finished up my years at Venice Elementary while living on the corner of Pineland and School, and begin my days at the new Venice Junior open air school with open to the elements hallways, and our own book lockers that were located in those halls.....I don't remember my academic standing improving in those days....but it really never did, until my college days many years later....I had more important things to do than study or worry about least in my wandering mind.

One of the things I honed my skills at was Bowling...Early Wynn was one of the home town "stars" in Venice, Early was a baseball icon, who started in the majors in 1939 with the Washington Senators, he moved on with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox, before finishing off his career with his 300th win(and a ticket to the Hall of Fame) back in Cleveland. Anyway Early built a Bowling Alley in South Venice, right across from Dad and John's gas station...Mike Graff and I spent many hours learning how to bowl at that alley. As 12 year olds, Graff was the best of the bunch, I was second...we were both pretty darn good for our ages, and we were allowed to join the Adult Leagues....I think Mike averaged about 145 his first year, I pretty well tanked it(intimadation?) and I still have a paper with my 112 average on it.....I would improve after I moved to Ohio....but it was an honor to be included in the adult teams and leagues.

While living at School Street, mom and dad "decided" to have another some 10 years(minus 4 months) after Marty was born, the youngest Houseworth kid, Kelly was born at the Venice Hospital....the kid sister came along when dad was already 45 and mom 38....she was 4 months old when dad decided to sell his share of the station to Uncle John, pack up and after 8+ years living in paradise, move back to the flatlands of western Ohio.

The Epilogue of the Venice years coming up next.......back later>>>>>>>>

photos----Baseball Hall of Famer Early Wynn, with autograph, in addition to 5 Bowling Alley Autograph cards, I have a Early Wynn autograph baseball, but brother Mike has the Crown Jewell...a 1959 Chicago White Sox Autograph baseball, the entire AL Champion 59 team signed it, and Early gave it to Mike.--Venice Avenue in the days when I hung around the soda fountain at the Rexall Drug Store--and Mike and Marty in the yard, and me on the porch, in late 1958 soon after moving into our new house.


Buck said...

The drug store postcard is great, what with the real American heavy metal parked out front. That postcard alone made me pretty danged nostalgic... Cars had distinct personalities during those years, unlike all the interchangeable egg-shaped krep on our streets today.

Good stuff, as ever, Pat.

BRUNO said...

I remember having shirts similar to the one you're wearin' in the sixth-grade pic! It must've been the "thing" for sure, because it sure didn't make 'em any more comfortable! And, that 50/50 polyester knit used to---and still will!---tear me up! Might as well have been WOOL!(shudder!)