Archive for the Family Category

I’ve never been a big sports fan. Sure, once it gets to time for the baseball playoffs, I’ll usually watch some or all of the games, but it’s never been something that I’ve arranged my day around. The exception has been that for 45 seasons the guys in my family have followed the New York Jets as season ticket holders.

For the first year or so, it was my father and some work associates, joined by my brother and myself when we could. On a few occasions, by grandfather came, too, and we had three generations enjoy the game together. We had our green and white hats (most people wore the old wool hats rather than the baseball hats that are more popular now) and our green and white scarves. Mom found a new source of ideas for Christmas presents, and we got green socks and similar items in December. We’d pack up blankets and head over to Shea stadium, listen to the New York Jets band play from the open end of the stadium and watch the little guy climb into the little jet and drive up and down the sideline whenever OUR team scored while jets from LaGuardia flew over head and an icy wind blew off of Flushing Bay. (more…)

We’ve been fans of the New York Jets since the beginning. That’s not an exaggeration, either. My dad wandered over to their offices on Madison Avenue in New York and picked up our season tickets before they played their first game at Shea. The only way anyone could have been following the team longer was to have attended Titan games at the Polo grounds. We remember going to Shea with my grandfather, who’s been gone for 35 years now. We remember “bumping into” Ed Sullivan there (literally), who was a fan, and the excitement of the Superbowl win is an actual memory of a real experience rather than something we read about. This year marks the 45th season we’ve been going to games.

After several years at Shea, we discovered that if we left the house 15 minutes earlier, and brought food, we could sit outside the stadium and watch everyone else come in from our folding chairs in the parking lot. We cheered with everyone else in the lot when the temperature display on the billboard near the parking lot dropped another degree and headed inside to endure the wind off of Flushing bay so we could watch our team with friends we only knew from the games. The woman I married met my parents for the first time when I brought her to a game at Shea.

We followed the team to the Meadowlands, where they were a tenant of the Giants, and almost the entire section moved with us. Lenny, who sat behind us at Shea, still sits behind us now. We thought it would be nice if we could actually have our own stadium, but we didn’t think about it a lot.

We learned a few years ago that a new stadium was going to be built next door to Giant Stadium, which would be owned by both teams. The current stadium is still fine, but this one will have luxury boxes, which really don’t apply to us. This year we learned the details. To purchase seats in a similar location at the new stadium requires the purchase of a Personal Seat License for fifteen thousand dollars a seat, which then allows us to buy the same seats going forward for about the same price as we do now. The only allowance being made for 45 seasons of attendance is that seniority will be applied before lotteries are held to allow us to choose licenses for seats at the new stadium. And, since the team records only go back to 1974 or so, we’ll need to compete with with everyone else who has attended for 35 to 45 years, or so. We are also being allowed to compete for seats that are two sections further from the field and don’t require a license or a new mortgage. Either way, there’s no provision we’ve heard of that would sit us near Lenny or all the other Sunday friends we know by face if not name.

I spoke to Lenny last night (after so many years, we do have the number), and he said that this has definitely changed things. He used to live and breathe all things “Jet”. After the way the team has handled this, it isn’t the same. We found out the loyalty only extended one way.

Will’s Eagle Court of Honor was held on June 15, 2008, and it worked out very nicely with the entire family being involved. Will’s sister Becky is a member of the Venture Crew with the troop (Venturing is a co-ed part of the Boy Scouts that extends to age 21), Nancy and I were seated in the front, and Harry, as a Webelos Cub Scout, was the escort for the newest Eagle Scout. Clicking on the picture to the left links to an album of photos from the ceremony, taken by Lorenzo Recine and much appreciated.

Since it was Father’s Day, it was nice to see how many adults came to the ceremony. It speaks volumes about the commitment of these guys who shepherd the Scouts. (more…)

Well, as we noted, Friday was the night of the prom at Notre Dame (they do a combined Junior/Senior event). They looked great, and it sounds like they had a great time (from what little they’ll say, which I suspect is positive).

It brought back a lot of memories of my own while I watched them begin to build memories of their own. I’ve really begun to enjoy watching my kids go through rites of passage that I remember well, myself. They’ve got a certain disbelief in their eyes when I tell them it wasn’t that long ago, but I suppose that’s just one more example of the things they’ll have to learn for themselves.

Tonight is my oldest son’s Junior Prom. Proms are rites of passage that have somehow managed to get out of control at some schools to the point of cancellation. That’s too bad.

I went to Chaminade from 69 to 73. I didn’t meet the girl I took to the Junior Prom until April, with the prom in May. I was technically too late, but they sold me the ticket anyway. All the good tuxes were gone, but I wore a brown, western style, tux that met my minimal expectations I remember it had brown velvet lapels on the jacket, but a brown satin stripe on the pants. I guess I was really late.

I think John Hutter’s band (Odyssey?) provided the music. John was in my grammar school class, which is why I remember him in particular. John, if you ever do see this, you were good

My recollection is that I sat with Tom Hajny and Jim Rivas.

Her gown was from a cousin’s wedding. I think we had the color of the shirt match something on it, but I don’t remember. I know it was critical for later proms, but this was so last minute.

The prom was held under a big parachute stretched across the main school gym. In NY, you can’t get a license until you’re 17 if you live in certain areas, so Dad drove us and we sat in the back. In hindsight, I hated being driven around, but it was manageable.

It was 36 years ago that I went to that first prom. I hope my son has as good and safe a time as I did.

During the Great Depression, before Christmas in about 1939, my grandparents had gone out. They were attempting to negotiate a lower price on a tricycle that they wanted to buy for my fathers younger brother for Christmas. Like a lot of people at that time, they didn’t have a lot of money. My Dad was babysitting for his younger siblings while his folks were shopping.

The doorbell rang and when my father opened the door, a man asked if this was the Schmitt residence. After being told that it was, the man stated that he had a delivery for them, and proceeded to deliver what my father remembers as being all of the presents that they had put on their lists. When everything was inside, my father asked, “Who shall I say sent this?” The man answered, simply, “Santa Claus.”

My grandfather was a civil engineer, not on a project at the time, and the only guess that my grandparents could make was that when he was on a project he had done something to help somebody else and that this was someones way of saying, “Thank you.”

My grandfather died in 1973 and my grandmother died in 1995. Both died without ever having learned the identity of the 1939 Santa.

I grew up primarily in West Hempstead, New York. Shortly after we moved in, in 1960, I caught the Mumps. As the room that my brother and I shared was on the third floor was too far for Mom to continually check on, I was relegated to her bed during the day. It was just before Christmas, and I was upset because not only was I sick, but I had not been able to visit Santa Claus.

Mom was doing the things that people do after moving into a new older home. From what I’ve been told, she was on a ladder painting when the phone rang. Muttering something about the salesman who kept interrupting her, she climbed off the ladder and answered the phone. A man on the other end asked if he had reached the right number, and then told her that he understood she had a sick child at home. He asked if we would like a visit from Santa Claus.

On Christmas Eve, we heard sirens and a truck with lights flashing pulled up to the front of the house, and Santa climbed out. As my younger brother and sister watched with their jaws hanging open, he came into the house, up the stairs to Mom’s room, and spent a few minutes with me.

As we learned, The volunteer fire department in West Hempstead had a tradition of driving Santa around the town every Christmas Eve, (more…)