Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Solstice

happened last night, makes to day the shortest day of year, then we begin inching toward March equinox.

Last night a large building in the  huge old Burry Biscuit complex caught fire. A total loss of the  building, they have to let it burn &  hope it doesn't spread.  The fire   chief describes the inside as "a maze." It's over a mile east of here, with breeze blowing from west we have no smoke in this neighborhood.  Burry moved out over a decade ago. Burry had a Girl Scout cookie contract & was a major local brand. Interlaken Bakery was in there for awhile, they mainly made wafers for ice cream sandwiches. The facility was subdivided & had several businesses. It's a pretty crummy stretch of road now near the Newark border.

When I was a kid, Burry had a unionized workplace, you could earn a living there. The company was  renowned for its men's & women's  softball teams, playing  in the highly competitive industrial leagues,  considered semi-pro because it was believed that companies recruited ballplayers & gave the best ones special privileges. The teams also played  "traveling" independent ball clubs.  The men's teams  had  some   former college & high school men stars;  I don't know where the women learned to play at such a high level back then.   Newspapers assigned sports reporters & photographers to cover the most important games (Burry, Esso Refinery,  Linden Arians, Raybesto Brakettes, Budweiser Belles. The Arians & Belles were still playing in the '80s,  I used to go to their games, their league was struggling).

That vast  adult amateur  sports scene lasting from the '30s to the '70s, including bocce clubs & thousands of bowling leagues, is gone now. I played in one of the last bocce leagues in the late-'90s, for Renna Graphics, on  a  lousy gravel court behind Rahway Library,  just a goof for us except when we played an Italian-American club & got destroyed.

(By the numbers bowling remains a very popular game, but the leagues have collapsed, which may say something about our social order. My mom played leagues for years, I was never under the impression she was into bowling, it  was her weekly night out. )

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I bowled in a league when I was a late age teenager through my 20's. It was an interesting entertainment league, made up of directors, film editors, grips, etc. We had five person teams, shirts with our logos on the back, names on the front, etc. Of course, we all owned our bowling balls, shoes, gloves and ball towels LOL!

We started bowling for Zaire's birthday a few years back. The kids would get a few lanes with the bumpers, have a few hours, then the adults would show up, share the cake and presents, and the kids would leave and we adults would hit the bar and bowl for a few hours. It would be some of the most fun all of us would have, especially the more drunk one would get! Bowling backwards is certainly an art, ha ha.
I've only gone Midnight Bowling as an adult. Dim lights & heavy metal. Getting your own ball & shoes was a big deal. Had the Renna GRaphics bocce team stayed together, I would've wanted to go for matching guayaberas.
Not only did I have my own ball, it had my initials engraved on it!
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