Friday, November 18, 2011

Neighborhood Baseball 1949

Last week I wrote a post about returning to Beverly, Massachusetts for a Veteran's Day celebration to rededicate Healy Square for my ancestor Joseph Edwin Healey.   The ceremony was published in the 12 November 2011 issue of the Salem News, and seen by many friends and family members in Beverly and nearby towns.  I was pleasantly surprised to hear from my Dad's old friend, Bill Poole, who still lives in Beverly.

When I was growing up on Dearborn Avenue, I lived in the same house my Dad grew up in.  His mother lived in that same house when her family immigrated from Leeds, Yorkshire, England in 1915.  Four generations of Wilkinsons lived at #7 Dearborn Avenue.  My Dad had many great memories of the neighborhood, and most of them revolve around playing baseball at Avery Field.  This field is now gone, since there is a housing project there now.  When my Dad was growing up it was a vacant lot at the end of Dearborn Avenue.   Bill Poole lived at #17 Dearborn Avenue.   I remember playing with his daughter Carolyn, who was my age.

middle row
Tom Kelley, Bruce Miller, Dick Woodbury, Bill Lord, Jack Wilkinson, Ted Margolis, 
Bill Poole, Jr., Jordan Baker, Jim Hoar, 

front row
John Sheeny, Bob Marsella

back row
Bill Poole, Sr., ? Egan, Brad Rushworth, Bill Ottley, Frank Driscoll, 
Billy Pinkerton, Bob Burchstead, Hardy Nicola

Bill Poole sent me a nice email when he saw my photo in the Salem News, and he has exchanged a few messages with me over the weekend.  One of them included this photograph dated 5 September 1949 and labeled "the last game played on Avery Field".  It shows the two teams for a Boys vs Men baseball game.  My Dad also remembers playing games against the boys from other neighborhoods, including Prospect Hill, where my godfather lived.  My Dad has passed away, but I still hear about those games from my godfather!

My Dad is the 14 year old boy with sunglasses, Jack Wilkinson, fourth from the left in the middle row.

Bill Poole said in his message that " was the last of many fun filled games that brought the neighborhood together...".  I remember the same nostalgic tone my Dad had in his voice when he reminisced about those days.
There is a note on the back of this photo
"Avery Field before a 'Mens-Boys' baseball game, August 1949"
This is the fun part of having a blog!  You never know who will contact you next!

First photograph courtesy of Bill Poole, Beverly, Massachusetts.
Second photograph courtesy of my uncle Richard Wilkinson, Long Beach, California

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. I also love the fact that the faces on the photo were identified. Who knows who else will see this and identify family!

  2. I didn't think of that, Kathleen. I just updated my blog by putting the names into the text so they would be available to search engines. I hope someone else finds a grandfather, father or brother this way. If you do, please drop me a comment!

  3. My husband played in neighborhood baseball games all during his youth. Those games were the happiness of his childhood, pure and simple. Now we have Little League, and the accompanying angst. Too bad.

    Lovely, nostalgic photos.