Here’s a photo of my dad, Freddie Donroe, being consoled by his mom, Dora [Barbaresi] Donroe. I don’t know what he was upset about, but I’m sure it was very, very important. And speaking of tears, here’s a story written by my dad about collecting baseballs cards in the 1950’s and 60’s:
As a young baseball fan, my prized possession was not my bike, my Yankee-Doodle rocket launcher, or even my dog. It was my baseball card collection.
From 1957 through 1963, I was an avid collector of those cardboard stock photos of our diamond heroes: Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford. There was no greater joy than to go to the corner store after school with my friends and buy a pack of baseball cards. And if one happened to have a whole quarter to spend, one could buy five packs of cards. That meant 25 cards and five slabs of the most delicious stale, dried-out gum on the planet.
I became a master at “pitching cards,” that simple game of hurling cards against the wall, with the card nearer to the wall the winner. If you won, you took your opponent’s card. I managed to win every one of my cousin Joe Donroe’s Yankee cards one year that way. Today, as an older and wiser man, I regret the mercenary way I treated my cousin. But, at the time, he knew what he was getting into.
In 1958, I managed for the first and only time to collect the entire Topps series of cards. Every single player card, team card, specialty card, and even index cards. I kept the entire set in an old Thom McCann shoebox in my closet. I kept them for over a decade. Safe from thieves, weather, and other mishap, they were not safe from the one predator I could not foresee: a spring-cleaning mom.
How could she (or any of us) have known the way the sports memorabilia market would explode in the 1980’s and 90’s? So much for my daughter’s college tuition!
Blogger’s note: Coincidentally, Joe Donroe’s son ended up attending the same university as me. He has since become a doctor, while I am, well…a blogger. Looks like Dad's cousin Joe got the last laugh, after all.
Next Recipe: Icebox Cake
(Previously: Stuffed Mushrooms)