Memories of snow and sun   6 comments

red_hook_2 I have been seeing all the snow up north on TV all the reporters acting as if snow is unusual in New York. It is not, I remember the snow storms of long ago. How many of you remember digging snow caves into the drifts and having the plows come along burying you. Digging out was always scary but we never felt it was really dangerous. I remember walking to school in the snow feeling jealous of the suburban kids who had school called off. Never thinking that when summer comes they will have extra days when we are off.
Red Hook Pool Screw this; I think we have all heard enough about the snow. Let’s warm up for a day. For the rest of this blog it is summer in Brooklyn. The temperature is in the nineties and everyone is complaining about the heat. Remember the Boat rides and bus rides to Rye Beach and Bear Mountain. Dancing and music on the old paddle wheeler or the bus ride with everyone singing one hundred bottles of beer on the wall. The tough decisions we all had to make as kids in Red Hook. Would it be the fields to play ball or the pool? The Red Hook pool with twenty five cents you could pay for admission and still have enough left over for a soda and pretzel with mustard. If not the pool where else should we go swimming? How about the beach? It could be Coney Island or Rockaway? Maybe it would just be the end of Coffey St.? How many of you attempted the dreaded Governor’s Island swim? Stories of kids being shot at by the guards on the island. Of course it was never anyone any of us had ever met. It would come from someone who had heard it from a friend who knew someone who heard it happened to their cousin.
Then there were the really tough decisions. Should we spend the two dollars for a clincher to play softball or by the cheap one? For stickball would it be a “Spaldeen” or a pimple ball? A Pennsy Pinky only when you were desperate. The ice cream trucks are coming. What would you have? Which truck was your favorite? Would it be Mr. Softee with the music bellowing out? No, maybe you were a Freezer-Fresh aficionado or a traditional Good Humor fan. My pick was always whoever got there first.
Remember the Red Hook bar league softball games with four or five hundred fans watching the games. Pop’s hot dog truck was our concession stand. I can still taste his dogs with mustard, sauerkraut and onions in a red sauce. To a ten year old at a ball game they were the best. Many of those players were as good as the major leaguers, some better.
Ninety degree days with the johnny pump blasting away. It was Brooklyn’s version of the old swimming hole in the country. The sounds of kids laughing and running in the spray from the pump. The waves crashing at the beach. Four guys singing Doo-Wop at the corner of Coffey and Van Brunt. (Harry Boyle, why don’t you write a new Doo-Wop about Red Hook?) Splashing around the pool with your best friends. The first time in the sixteen foot pool or off the high diving board. The sound of a ball hitting a bat. The bat and ball could be stickball, baseball or softball but a solid hit always sounded so sweet. Maybe you just liked sitting on the stoop with your best friends listening to Murray the K or Cousin Brucie.
So close your eyes and remember. I am sure you can see it and hear it still. Remember the way the streets and your old friends looked back then. Listen to your favorite memories. I know they are still there


6 responses to “Memories of snow and sun

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  1. Another great piece of writing Kevin! Some days the Coffee Street Pier,some days The Red Hook Pool ( if I had a dime). Wonderful memories!!!!!

  2. Wow! Thanks for the memories. I could visualize and hear all the things you mentioned. I am going to talk to Harry about writing a song about “Red Hook”

    Maureen Boyle Smith
  3. Our favorite Red Hook Author does it again. You bring back Great memories! I hope you never stop writing.

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