The Great Park Street Golf Tournament by Richard Moore

My brother wrote this a while back about our Park Street days. I was away from home at that time. Like most people we have our good times, Park Street was mine. We lived in a row house and it was 7 units but more like one family. I will leave it the way he wrote it.

Picture if you will a steamy hot day in the dog days of August when the summers seemed to last forever circa ,1960 . Children and parents alike waiting to take their turns on the fabulous one hole golf course known as 16 Park Street . A beautifully laid out course over such terrain as dirt , rocks , tar , bits of wood , glass , cigarette butts and an occasional blade of grass . The green was basically the same material . The implement of destruction ? A single wooden shafted putter with a rusty head , but what a beauty it was ! Well…i suppose when its the first real golf club you have ever held it holds a special place in history . The game starts ! Moores , Levines , Courtneys , Faheys ,O’Donnells and anyone else who happened to saunter by . The entire hole was maybe 25 feet in length but what a tough 25 feet it was ! One had to line up the shot just right as the course tended to slope downhill and one had to start the shot well to the left . Lets not forget the golf ball , it was very well used almost to the point of being completely devoid of dimples and rather matched the dirt on which it rested . For all intent and purposes if the ball ever got near the hole it was just plain luck…or was it . My mother seemed to have a certain knack for doing better at this than most everyone else . Watching and listening to Dot Levine as she would get close to the hole or rim out of the hole was pretty funny , she did take the whole thing rather seriously If i remember right even Grandpa Pete had a few rounds out there too .
You have to take into account that Park Street at 5 pm on any given day is usually a parking lot loaded with the usual rush hour gridlock . At the time it seemed as natural as can be , whacking a golf ball across what was essentially the worst terrain possible to play on , now i can imagine what those drivers must have thought of us idiots out there melting in the hot sun . We didn’t exactly have the sponsors for free golf gear ..the usual attire for kids was striped t-shirts , cuffed dungarees , and black sidewall sneakers , for the women it was a plain white blouse with madras shorts , but sometimes the occasional wide belt too .
There was no air conditioning back then , just the good old box window fan and that was mostly for downstairs or the privileged parents bedroom . We spent many summer night sweating on our sheets and hoping that the metal screens of yesteryear didn’t have holes big enough to permit mosquitoes to get at us . So …often times the front door was left open with just a screen door keeping out the elements And one good thing about our house was that we had a really nice stereo , The best in our neighborhood ! We would put on some rock and roll …Chubby Checker doing “The Twist” or Connie Francis “Lipstick on your collar” even some Johnny Cash too . Hah ! Professional golfers didn’t have music while they played !
Time and again we would play , after all , golf was the rage at that point in time with “Arnies Army” on the black and white TV every weekend . I think when it was my turn i would hit the ball and cock my head sideways trying to emulate him . I would hit the ball and if all went well it would bounce a couple of hundred times then jump the tar walkway then kiss the bottom step of the stairs then curve down just right and bingo ! into the hole ! Chances of that happening were pretty slim though as you can imagine . Yeah we competed but it was all good natured unlike the trash talking that is so prevalent today .
The women and kids played and the husbands worked and all was well with the world . It was the days before the Beatles , and Vietnam and Watergate . America was a shining place to be . Were we rich ? No but we were rich in other ways , we were family . Nobody heard of laptops , Mp3s , ipods and ipads , but somehow we had more fun doing the simplest of things , stickball at Conway Park , Having a 5 cent vanilla coke and a 10 cent comic book at Barker drug store , playing cribbage , or whist . We didn’t have much and we didn’t need much . If you have to have the latest goody thats all well and fine go buy a 500 dollar gizmo but seeing all of us out on that dirt hitting a ball into a dirt hole …mothers and kids alike …. in the middle of the city ..on a hot summer day in 1960 ….priceless

Arthur Moore for Richard Moore

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