Thursday, May 4, 2017

Nana & Jimmy - Skee Ball In Action!

It was a tough week in The Phillies Room as we lost two of our oldest fans and two of our favorite people.

On Monday, we said goodbye to my Aunt Edna who had passed away peacefully last week at the age of 102.  She would have been 103 in June.  Aunt Edna had learned to appreciate the Phillies from her late little sister, my Aunt Eleanor, and she'd tune in regularly to their games.  She'd always greet me with a "How 'bout those Phillies?" with a huge smile on her face, whether they were winning or (more frequently) losing.  I wrote about getting ready to celebrate her 95th birthday in a post from eight years ago featuring a card of Grover Cleveland Alexander.

The afternoon after our Aunt Edna's funeral, my Nana, my maternal grandmother, passed away too. She had been struggling in recent days and took a turn for the worse on Monday morning.  Nana was 97 and she leaves behind two daughters, four grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.  She lived a full life and she was happiest when surrounded by family.

Someone suggested that Nana was deserving of a custom baseball card to be featured in a post here. At first, I thought that was a ridiculous idea but I then warmed to it as I realized Nana would probably like that.  Nana was crafty and clever and she appreciated the concept of custom baseball cards, as I often shared with her some of my creations.  I could have used a picture of Nana surrounded by her grandchildren or great-grandchildren for the card, or I could have used a picture of Nana with my late Pop-Pop.  Pop-Pop has been gone since Christmas Eve of 1987, but Nana still talked about him all the time as if he was still out fiddling around in his garage workshop.

I decided I should use a picture of Nana taken in Sea Isle City, her favorite place in the world. Nana loved the beach and she and my Pop-Pop spent 25 summers entertaining friends and family in their big white and light-green house on 37th Street.  They briefly had beach front property following the Storm of '62 and prior to the construction of The Spinnaker.

I had a lot of pictures to choose from of Nana on the beach, or Nana painting shells with us, but the photo I ultimately decided to use was the two of us skee-balling on the Sea Isle Promenade circa 1981.  In June and July and August of my youth, more nights than not were spent recovering from a full day on the beach with a big dinner, a bigger bowl of ice cream (with jimmies) and many, many games of skee ball. Each grand child had their own unique container on the dining room hutch, containing our skee ball tickets and extra change.  We'd count and re-count these tickets all summer long, dreaming of the ultimate prize haul that would come on our final skee ball visit of the summer.  (One year I got the coolest radio I had ever seen.  It worked until that October.)

Pop-Pop would collect and wrap dimes all winter in preparation of the skee ball season, and this seemingly unlimited supply of dimes would appear out of nowhere each and every summer night. Pop-Pop was an absolute master at skee ball, but Nana was pretty good too.  She couldn't hit the 50s every time like Pop-Pop, but she still managed to significantly increase our ticket tally on a nightly basis.

I could easily make a whole set of custom cards celebrating the many happy memories I have of my Nana, but for now this one card will have a very special place in my collection.  She had a wonderful life and she'll be very much missed.


Steve F. said...

Beautiful tribute, Jim. I'm sorry for your loss, but 200 years between the two of them is a lot of good living. And I love that you used the In Action format. It seems like it was destiny to pick the 1982 format for this year. I'm sure your Nana is enjoying the card right now!

Bru said...

So sorry for your loss, Jim. This was a beautiful post to read.

Jim from Downingtown said...

Jim, this is a great story, and a nice card idea!

Memories are a beautiful thing.

Jim said...

Thanks everyone.