The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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This is one of my father's favorite memories to look back on. At the time, he was scared beyond belief, but now it is something him and his brother look back on and laugh about. This was a key moment in my father learning how to become independent.

It was approaching eight on a cold night at the end of March. Larry was experiencing his first time being lost and he was freaking out. TIckets for the upcoming Phillies season had just gone on sale and Larry could not contain his excitement. Larry and his older brother, Ralph, had been talking about buying tickets to the home opener since the end of last season. They were unable to attend a game the previous season as neither of the young teenagers were financially able.

Larry and Ralph spent all winter shoveling driveways and sidewalks in order to save up for tickets. They would wake up at the crack of dawn, throw on their snow boots and jackets and go door-to-door down the block. Blessed with a stormy winter, they had a lot of opportunities to save up. Expecting to only be able to afford nosebleed seats, they were shocked to count up their money at the end of winter to find out that they could purchase seats right behind the catcher. Their parents were so proud of how hard they worked and gave them both a brand new Phillies jersey for the game they had plans to go to.

The night came where tickets were on sale. Larry and Ralph’s parents wrote down exact directions to get them to the ticket booth. “Walk to the corner where you get your school bus. Get the 7:12 C bus to Veterans Stadium. Arrive at 7:48.” They hopped on the bus, more excited than ever. Stop after stop the bus driver announced the name and people got on and off. After about a half hour the bus driver yelled “last stop” and the boys got off. They looked around and then back at each other in shock. They were not at Veterans Stadium.

Shocked and confused they scrambled around trying to figure out where they were. Larry told Ralph to stay put as he walked away. It was dark and they did not want to lose sight of each other. Larry walked to the nearest intersection to see a sign that said “Broad Street” and “Roosevelt Boulevard”.  They were not anywhere near Veterans Stadium.

Larry got back right to where he told Ralph to stay, with Ralph not in sight. Larry walked around the area, assuming Ralph went searching on his own. About twenty minutes later the sky filled with darkness and Ralph was still nowhere to be found. Now Larry was scared. He was in an unfamiliar area, by himself, at night and with his brother missing. Panicked and clueless, Larry didn’t want to give up, keeping hope that Ralph would appear.

Larry finally made it to a payphone and got a hold of his mom. Before he could get all of the words out of his mouth his mom said “Larry, Larry. Calm down. Relax, I just talked to Ralph. He used the phone down the street at Sears to call me. He knew you would call me. He is waiting there for you”. Larry released a big exhale, walked down the street, found Ralph and sighed with relief.

Young, lost and alone

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1972
Northeast Philadelphia, PA

This is one of my father's favorite memories to look back on. At the time, he was scared beyond belief, but now it is something him and his brother look back on and laugh about. This was a key moment in my father learning how to become independent.

Decade: 1970s
Rating:
Recorded by Shannon McDermott on April 29, 2019
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