Our Stomping Grounds….
I was driving through the old Barnum neighborhood the other day (Janet and I had just picked up a couple hamburgers at “Grandpa’s Burger Haven” on North Federal (prices not quite the same as fifty years ago) – We went to nearby Barnum Park to enjoy our lunch.
Janet reminded me of a time when she and three of her Mary Crest High School classmates came up to park in the Fall after school to watch a bunch of us guys (all from Denver West High) play a tackle football game – myself and my friends vs. the dreaded brothers – Eddie & Benny “gang”.
We were all more than a little apprehensive about tackling Eddie when he carried the ball – always weary of a possible “stomping”. He carried the ball one time in a wide sweep to the right and somehow I broke through his wall of blockers somehow catching him at the ankles and down he went!
I remember laying there on the ground – making eye contact with Eddie to see what his reaction would be. With just a nod of his head it could mean a complete and total beat down administered by his boys.
Instead – he gave me a sly grin – got up and walked back to the huddle.
Summer Means Fun
I have to attribute my good fortune to my time a few years before high school one summer when Eddie – his brother Benny and I all spent a good deal of time up at Newlon Elementary taking part in their summer recreation program – which included forming a softball team – and going into the school gym to work on leather crafts and things like plastic lanyards…..
Eddie and I sort of bonded that year becoming “Ruth” (Eddie) and “Gehrig” (me). I had told Eddie about how Babe Ruth would keep late night hours – didn’t always adhere to great nutrition (beer and hot dogs) – pointed to center field calling a home run shot (maybe myth maybe not – the film clip seems to hold up) and just sort of played the American Pastime the way he wanted to. So Eddie became “Ruth” and generously permitted me to become “Gehrig”. (I could have easily become “Marvelous Marv Throneberry” but was spared from that fate.)
We won a lot of games against other schools which also had a summer program. “Ruth” belted a lot home runs as I recall and it seems that he generally sauntered slowly around the base path demonically grinning down the opposing team.
It all came crashing down one day toward the end of summer. I arrived at Newlon and noticed some very nervous behavior from some of our other players. I think Eddie and Benny were tossing a ball around. I asked where the program supervisor was (a school teacher – probably a gym teacher) as he generally was always present out on the schoolyard.
One of the guys came up to me and said something along the lines of “Eddie and Benny tied him up and locked him in a closet inside the school”!
I guess that Eddie and Benny decided to take over the summer recreation program in their own particular style. Needless to say that sort of brought the “Ruth and Gehrig” era to an abrupt end.
Eddie and my paths would occasionally cross throughout high school – but it was never the same again.
I look back at the lucky ankle tackle and think to myself “Gosh – I could have met my maker – tied and bound – at the bottom of Barnum Park Lake!”
Located over in the west Denver neighborhood of Westwood – sort of had the same kind of atmosphere as the Lakeside swimming pool – lots of chlorine – trapped inside a sweat lodge…
These early courses were very simple in construction – My favorite part was the final hole where a hole in one resulted in the award of a free round!
The Red Barn
Remember when you could get a free hamburger if you would enter a Red Barn – and sing loudly ‘THE RED BARN!!!!” Did you ever try that?
How long has this been – Remember when the ABA Rockets were probably the best team this city ever placed on the court?
Sort of the western version of “White Castle”..
Roller City West Alameda
And if you follow this Blog then you know that Roller City is back!
S&H Green Stamps
After we would save and lick about a billion pages of stamps placing them in redemption books – I would walk up the S&H center on Sheridan Blvd., and exchange maybe a thousand books for – oh let’s say a lamp..
The Scothman (North Denver)
A great cruising hangout if you were from North High – but watch out if you were from Denver West
For us it was Shakeys on West Alameda next to Bowlero – Shakeys was a great advertiser on KIMN radio
Skateland – on South Broadway
Never skated there – My wife’s grandpa was skating monitor…
The Stanley Estes Park
Way before there was a Steven King or a Shining…. Oh – have you noticed that today’s Stanley Hotel has a hedge maze out in front???
Located adjacent to El Rancho in Bergen Park – I suppose I thought there were real Indians in these Teepees
The great old Tivoli Brewery building stands today at Auroria
Tops Coffee Shops
Move over Starbucks – 10 Cent Coffee
The Original Wax Trax Location on Ogden Street
White Spot Restaurants
What a great late-night spot to catch some real characters in action
Woolworth’s Downtown Denver
Look at those Erector Sets… Look at those prices