Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Return

Jonathan Houghton~ Edgar Lee Masters

There is the caw of a crow, 
and the hesitant song of a thrush. 
There is the tinkle of a cowbell far away, 
and the voice of a plowman on Shipley's hill.
The forest beyond the orchard is still 
with midsummer stillness;
And along the road a wagon chuckles, 
loaded with corn, going to Atterbury. 
And an old man sits under a tree asleep,
And an old woman crosses the road, 
coming from the orchard with a bucket of blackberries.
And a boy lies in the grass
near the feet of the old man,
and looks up at the sailing clouds,
and longs, and longs, and longs
for what, he knows not:
For manhood, for life, for the unknown world!
Then thirty years passed,
and the boy returned worn out by life
and found the orchard vanished,
and the forest gone,
and the house made over,
and the roadway filled with dust from automobiles-
and himself desiring The Hill!

I was recently informed that the house of my childhood is up for sale and that photos of the inside are available to view online. The news caused me to immediately Google the address and have a look at the place I called home from 1976 until early 1994 (less probably 30 months).

I have long desired to see what had become of the inside of the place my dad had put so much work into over the course of about eleven years. After my parents purchased it (the first and only house they would own during their marriage), dad began the process of not only an addition to the front of the house, but a complete remodel. He also custom built all the cabinetry in the kitchen, all the furniture in my room (bed, dresser, desk, bookshelf- all built into the walls/floor), sandblasted & stain glassed windows, bathroom vanities, entertainment centers. To say it was a labor of love would be a major understatement.

Upon flipping through the twenty-five or so photos, I realized just how much things can change from the way we remembered them. The basic elements are still there: wood, glass, paint, sheetrock, but the way all of it is presented caused me to feel as if I had been robbed of a part of my childhood. Sure, much of it remained the same- the kitchen cabinetry, for instance (with the exception of the detailed wooden countertop, with all of its patterns. It had been replaced)- but gone was the carpet, the interior colors (replaced by a lot of wallpaper- yuk!), the french door in the front entrance and perhaps what had changed most of all: my old room. All the beautful furniture had been torn out; gone was the door and its large window featuring a sandblasted lions crest design and the words that declared, "Private". At that moment I realized how disappointing it was going to be to show the photos to my wife and children; something I had waited twenty years for them to see was no longer all that special.

Those of us who collected cards anywhere between the 50s and early 80s, left the hobby and then returned as adults know the feeling of how different things were upon their return. At least that was the case for me- first after a hiatus from '84 through '90 and then again after my second hiatus that lasted from 2001-2009. Speaking of hiatus'... I'm sure Tony, from Off Hiatus cards, experienced the same confusion upon his return. Of course, I'm getting old and can't remember any specifics- but if you read his blog, I'm sure you've read of some of his hobby happenings.

I'm a little- okay, a lot- behind, but a trade package from the Brewers fan included a mixture of stuff old and new, as well as those 'lost years' as I call them.

And, in typical Tony fashion, he knows his trade partners, providing them with those treasures near and dear to their hearts- or at least their collections. This latest trade package from Tony was no different.

First up were two cards of my childhood favorite, Dale Murphy. I was just out of high school when these two were released (well, the '87 probably came out right before graduation) and was not collecting at the time, so these were just two of many I picked up when I re-entered the hobby in '91.  While I already have them, it's always nice to get doubles- for either trade bait or upgrading my own copies.

There was another player from my childhood in the envelope but, to tell you the truth, I never liked him while he played. I was able to finally come to appreciate George Brett after his playing career had ended and at one time thought about starting a pc of him. I believe I had commented on Tony's blog about this particular oddball of the former Royals third baseman, as that's the only reason I can think of why it would have come my way. But like I said earlier, my mind isn't what it used to be. Cool card, regardless. 

Andruw Jones's career may not have ended as the Hall of Fame candidate many had expected, but he's still one of my all-time favorites. 

Keeping up with the Jones'. There were plenty of Chippa's included. 

Movin' on from Chippa's to....Stickas. The best things Fleer ever produced in their flagship brand, as you can see in one of the earlier photos. 

And as far as the cards of Simba... What to do with these things now? I guess I might just have to continue picking up cards with the wizard in his new duds. Too bad he'll probably enter the Hall with the wrong 'A' on his melon.

Sorry for such a delay in saying thanks, Tony. I had actually drafted a majority of this a couple weeks ago, but the Simmons trade has just killed my interest in baseball right now- and that includes cards.

I think I've put this song on the blog before, but who cares? It's one of my all-time favorites. And I'm thinking that lyrically, Neil Peart was inspired by Masters' poem Jonathan Houghton.

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