It's a home run! No it ain't! Yes it is! Norman, did that ball go over the wires? Just another day at the old ballpark. Oh, this is not just any ballpark, this is Our Ballpark. Home of the Old Project Valley boys baseball, football and soccer teams.

I grew up in a project complex that was built during World War II. It consisted of a circular array of one-story, two-unit houses with streets named after famous blacks: Carver, Wheatly, Grubbs, Dunbar, Garnett and Attucks. It was called the old projects because by the time I was born they had assed some new-fangled two-story, two-unit apartment houses. Sodom and Gomorrah had nothing on those new projects, trust me! Well, that's a whole different story…

Now the "Multiple Stadium," yes, I said the "Multiple Stadium," was located right outside my back door, yeah! The two-unit, one-story house I lived in (where my mama used every device imaginable to rid our abode of roaches the next door neighbors wouldn't) was a part of a circle of houses about 1 ½ blocks long and about 1 block wide. In the back of our houses were clotheslines and where there are clotheslines there are clothesline poles. And wherever you see clothesline poles and a bunch of bad ___, active children, there is bound to be blood and carnage on them thar poles!

In the middle of the stadium was a multi-colored merry-go-round and next to it three hanging swings. The composition of our baseball field was a patchwork of grass, dirt, concrete (Ouch!!) rocks and glass!! There was a small tree with a little fence around it; the ground in front of it has been worn down to resemble a small dirt crater, this is where we place the smashed fruit cocktail can. Home plate.
The pitcher's mound was right in front of the merry-go-round, a slab of hard (I mean hard!) concrete. First base was the middle pole of the swings across from the merry-go-round. Directly behind the merry-go-round on a patch of ground with faint shocks of grass is where we placed the crushed U.S.D.A. Spam can. Second base. Now third base was dangerous and the site of more than a couple of nasty collisions. It was one of those green "T' shaped clothesline poles that surrounded the stadium.
Our home run markers were as follows: three telephone wires suspended above second base, the parking lot located in deep center field (where I made one of my many fantastic catches!) and of course, Mrs. Anderson's and Mrs. Russell's living room windows.

Oh, what a beautiful place to play ball in the spring, summer and fall… Flowers all around the sides of the houses, green bushes, cigar trees, rusted metal fences, some leaning, some with holes in them just big enough for you to squeeze through. Bumblebees, grasshoppers, spiders, garden snakes, cats, birds were always in the stands, always in attendance. Tall, strong trees marking the football end zones; green (deadly) "T" shaped clothesline poles lining the sidelines of the football and soccer fields… I can smell the grass, the dirt, I can hear the yells, the crying, the arguing, the laughter, the excitement of victory and the agony of defeat. The sun has gone down now and dusk is coming… Jeffrey!! Jeffrey!! Get your butt in here and eat!! Ummm, fried pork chops!! Hey, maybe we'll play night football games when they put the lights up next month…See ya!!