Friday, January 1, 2016


Don Carter, Ray Bluth, Carmen Salvino, Dick Weber, Andy Varipapa. Ask me what I ate for breakfast or the name of the movie I just walked out of and you are likely as not to get an empty stare as a reply. But I recalled the names of those bowling legends of a half century past in a (7-10) split second.

To me, Hebrew school on Sunday mornings was like giving birth every week. Very painful. So my cousin, also an unwilling participant, and I were bribed to assure our attendance. Our reward for our troubles was 3 games at Feibel's.  With a dollar and a dream, I would slip into those shoes recently worn by countless hordes (maybe that is why my toenails now resemble a 10 car pileup on the freeway), and pretend to be like one of the greats. Sure, Mickey Mantle was my hero, but these guys were on the black and white most weekends, and they would serve well as momentary galactic stars.

The years passed and my interest, like the sport itself, waned almost to the point of extinction. But last night, New Year's Eve, brought me back to the alley. In large part, it was as though time stood still. This was not Feibel's, which had long since burned to the ground, but the shoes looked almost unchanged, the bar in the backroom could have been resurrected from Feibel's ashes, and even the lanes made me consider whether I was still residing in the days of crew cuts and milkshakes. Only the computerized score that flashed overhead made this a scene from the 21st century.

Actually, there were other tell tale signs of difference. After two games my whole body ached. I think I pulled a thigh muscle, my wrist was weak, my fingers hardly able to hold a pencil. So, I did not roll a third game, nor did my wife.  And when I turned in those Velcro shoes and reached for the credit card, the four games and the shoe rental cost almost as much as a mortgage payment when Don Carter ruled the lanes.

I have long since grown weary of the normal New Year's Eve nonsense. Maybe this can become the new normal. My mom is no longer able to drive me to the alley, my bar mitzvah marked the end of my formal Jewish education and Don Carter and most of the others are now merely creating thunder in the sky, but I still have dreams.

Next year I will go as far as my aging body and limited bank account will allow.

1 comment:

Michael Gansl said...

Love your stories of your past. Sure I remember Don Carter and watching bowling on my black and white t.v. You are a great story teller - keep them coming in 2016!