brewers baseball and things

grandma moses, postage stamps and letters to heaven

22 Comments

To live to be 101 years old causes some people to say no way, enough is enough. Maybe some people are born old. Everything always seems to be dying around them. They complain about telephone booths disappearing and wonder where all the coin slot laundry machines go and day dream about spontaneous encounters in back alley pool halls.

Who can blame them? Those were the good old days when individuals lived and struggled and died just like any other time roaming planet earth; including here and now, today 2014. Grandma Moses musta been like Quincy Jones; integrating current happenings into her activities and creations. Miles Davis wrote a hip hop album. That must be the ticket outta here.

No one really says, “I’m too old” anymore. Do they? Are those the same people who say, “Oh, I haven’t played chess in so long. I’m no good at it anyway.” Is that an old psych ploy? a woe is me strategy so no one expects a damn thing or flowers you with praise?

I wanna talk about pound cake because it’s old and so are people greeting you at a door with “What can I get you to drink?” Grandma Moses remembers and there was no Ginkgo biloba available at the pharmacy in her daze. You had to comb Chinese gardens and play chemist and do some extraction and sniffing.

G Moses is part of a pretty long tradition in America; baseball themes on postage stamps. And these are the dying days of the postage industry. Oh shit, here I go with my own swan song charade.

(In a whiny voice) “and there was a time when we would walk to the post office and pass by the dirty river and the root beer billboard painted on the side of the old Woolworth building. The nappy boys would be staring up Miss Lanphiers dress. She had that yellow spinner on; ankle high. Mmmmm, what flesh, so soft and shiny. Turn a choir boy into a daylight sinner.

There were many baseball players on stamps. I remember the Jackie Robins in 1982. It had a yellow background. That was the only one I saved, but according to the article, Generations:Baseball on U.S. Postage Stamps by Robert A. Moss.  there was Ruth, Gehrig, Greenberg, Sisler, Speaker, Trainer, Thorpe, and many more. There was  a mighty Casey in cartoon, anonymous little league and on and on.

I mailed many letter in my day and maybe that’s why I don’t remember most of those baseball stamps. Some sort of government conspiracy; amnesia to the masses, a Khmer Rouge mind freeze. History is officially over. We start at zero every damn day. That’s not a bad idea if we could get rid of the killing fields.

Apparently, there are still thousands of land mines still buried in the Cambodia ground not yet detonated. Anyway, focus focus, focus, on stamps and the ground in front of me. Stamps. Yes,  There were was the legendary stadium stamps issued in 2001. I’d like to get a sheet of those and past em all over a manilla envelope and stuff a letter to my grandpa in there. If he had a mailing address, he would dig the Forbes Field stamp.

I’d address it to heaven. Probably end up in a garbage can somewhere. Hopefully some kid goes dumpster diving and finds it, takes it home and gets a story form his own grandfather..

july-fourthA Grandma Moses painting is included among the baseball stamps. It’s barely noticeable and kind of becomes a Where”s Waldo situation but I know it’s there. Why else would the postage powers include it as one of their baseball stamps?

So I keep looking and wind on down the dirt road. I bump into a horse and admire it’s hair; so long and black and shiny like a Japanese Geisha. People are dancing and screaming and blowing instruments and it’s annoying, but I keep walking  because I’m stuck inside this painting.

The mountains in the distance are encouraging and then  there it is; a bat and a ball and a glove and some kids in a merry-go-round formation or no formation at all; playing pickle? It can’t be. Looks more like a Gas house gang flip game.

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Author: Steve Myers

I grew up in Milwaukee and have been a Milwaukee Brewers baseball fan for as long as I can remember.

22 thoughts on “grandma moses, postage stamps and letters to heaven

  1. I see that Jackie Robinson shortened his name to Robins? Or did the US government require it? Weren’t the Dodgers once called the Robbins or Robins? That musta been way before Jackie Robinson played on the Dodgers like in the 1920’s? Teams changed their name more often in the 1900’s and 10’s and 20’s. Musta been all that speak easy.

    • I just looked it up on that baseball reference team history and encyclopedia. Man oh gorilla how I love that website. I should add a link on the sidebar of this blog. Anyway, yeh, the Dodgers were the Robins from 1914-1931 and of course Jackie Robinson wasn’t allowed to play until 1947. Before Robins, they were called Superbas and before that Grooms and before that Bridegrooms. No joke. You can look it up. And before that, they were called Grays and their first ever name was the Atlantics in 1886 . It only lasted that one year and as it turned out it was the only name that lasted only one year.

      I didn’t know about most of those older names, but i know about the Dodgers name because of the street cars in Brooklyn and people having to dodge the cars. I think it’s time Los Angeles changed the name. I think Stars or Tycoons would be more appropriate.

      • Ya know, Steve, I was thinking the same thing, and before you wrote that, I wasn’t sure if it was a typographical error or intentional. Yeah, I knew all that already. They were called the Brooklyn Robins for short in honor of their manager at that time, Wilbert Robinson, the manager of the “Daffiness Boys”, the goofy Brooklyn Dodgers who made the Gashouse Gang look like the staid New York Yankees teams of the 1950s. Yup, they had Babe Herman, and other goofy guys, too, but it’s like the old Budweiser song (whoops, sorry, you must hate Budweiser), “When you say Babe Herman, you’ve said it all.”

        Glen

  2. I vaguely remember that 1969 stamp commemorating baseball’s centennial. I think I saw it on some of my parents’ correspondence. I don’t recall writing too many letters back then. The only letters I remember writing before age 10 were letters to a pen pal in England (we sent each other about two letters each, and that was the end of that; it must have been a project of the greatest and most innovative teacher EVER, my fourth grade teacher, the late Mrs. Caroline Caselnova (later Caroline Small). Other than that, sent thank you letters to my grandparents in Pennsylvania for Chanukah present or birthday present, but that’s about it.

    When I started writing letters on a regular basis (and we were forced to write these; they were called “meal tickets”) was in 1971, when I was at summer camp. If we didn’t write letters home, we weren’t allowed to go to the dining hall. One day a counselor cornered me in Bunk 9 in the summer of 1972 and asked me, “Why haven’t you wrote a letter lately” and I says “I have written many” and he says “No you ain’t and if you want to go to the mess hall (and the lunch bell was whaling away in the background), you are going to have to write a meal ticket right now, and I was hungry, so I did. It said

    Dear Mom and Dad,

    Love,
    Glen

    The counselor didn’t read it, although I’m sure he wondered how a person could write a letter so fast, and he was satisfied and I put it in an envelope and sealed it, and he took it from me so he could mail it. My parents still have the letter in their filing cabinet, and it’s quite funny.

    I had learning disabilities and was constantly confused, and the year before, when the counselor told us we had to write “meal tickets”, I thought that he meant that in order to get a meal at summer camp you had to draw a picture of a ticket that said “MEAL” on it and present it to the powers-that-be. I’m still like that to this day; in a perpetual maze of confusion.

    Anyway, here is the first stamp that I remember having books of and affixing to envelopes on a regular basis, and this kind of tells you one thing about me- I’m not all that young, am I?

    Glen

  3. I think you previously mentioned Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies on this blog? Anyway, Granny’s full name for the show was Daisy May “Granny” Moses. It was designed as a tribute to Grandma Moses who died a few months before the series began which according to wikipedia was September 26, 1962 on CBS.

    • Thanks for the info about Granny being named after Grandma Moses. It’s interesting how much sitcoms are a part of American culture, at least for me. I sometimes catch myself whistling a sitcom theme song in the shower or just walking along.

      The previous post you are referring to included a Beverly Hillbillies episode. It was the one with Dodgers manager Leo Durocher. If I remember correctly, that post also included a mentioning of The Foxfire Book written by Appalachian school children. It was a project that turned into a bigger project and eventually a book! What a Great book that Foxfire Book! It’s filled with all kinds of snake lore, hunting tales, faith healing, moonshining and like it says on the cover…”other affairs of plain living.”

      One of the many fascinating things about that book is the real language; the actual dialect and vocab and expressions of the Appalachian people as opposed to someone pretending to write fiction. That always sounds too much like a cartoon to me. In the Foxfire Book, it’s more like a transcript.

      I have another book called Hillbilly Women by Kathy Kahn that uses the same technique; the actual transcript from the conversation she had with local people. Anyway, thanks for the Beverly Hillbillies info. I’ll probably see Granny a little differently from now on.

      • Huh????

      • I’m not sure what you don’t understand here Glen. Maybe you’re confused by me commenting on my own blog posts and then replying to those comments?

        I do that rather than editing the actual post plus I kind of like talking to myself and the conversation is some times interesting. Also, it’s sort of like playing different characters…good practice for writing fiction.

  4. That sounds very unlikely. Wikipedia is a very dubious source, and, no offense, but that sounds ridiculous, Steve. It’s possible, but not likely. Well, maybe it IS true. I don’t know. I still think that the characters on “The Beverly Hillbillies” were all modeled after the characters in Al Capp’s comic strip, “Lil’ Abner.”

    Glen

    • Well, ya might be right there Glen, but I pasted a picture of Grandma Moses and another one of Grannie and I stuck em side by side and they sure do look a lot like, but who knows.

      • They do look alike, but I think that the whole cast of Beverly Hillbillies in general look a lot like the cast of Lil Abner comic strip. And look at the Grandma. Now, I never read the comic strip “Lil Abner” very much, but I think I’m right, and if you don’t agree, we can take it outside right now, Myers!

        Glen

      • Well, now that you post the strip I might have to change my mind. I don’t see the resemblance with grannie at all. Maybe you should have quit while you were ahead. Ha ha!

  5. Gerry Moses never got his own stamp, but I suspect he painted about as well as he caught.

  6. Do you mean Jerry Moses?

    • Same guy–on his early Topps cards he was always “Gerry Moses”, but on some of the later ones he was Jerry. Mebbe he was ducking creditors.

      • Maybe he was actually THE Moses, instead of Gerry or Jerry Moses. Or maybe Abraham. Did his baseball cards show him smashing false idols with a Louisville Slugger baseball bat?

  7. We’ve got Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and horses with wagons. Chevrolet didn’t come into the picture until the broadcasting rights were in place—and over it all is a guy in the lower right-hand corner loading a cannon. Not much has changed over the years.

    Thanks for the look back.

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