Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mo (Pike's Peak)

Who can use a pick-me-up blog post today? Mo’s stories to the rescue! If you’ve been following along for a while, you know that he is one of our adorable Three Musketeers (click Here to read more!) but have I ever stopped to tell you how caring he is to all the other seniors in our class and all our young visitors as well?

Recently, in chatting with one of our volunteers on email, I realized that some of the physical weekly experiences that are so apparent to me, are the very things that I forget to tell you about on the blog. And Mo’s presence in the class is one of them.

It’s in the most subtle ways that he shows how much he cares. On days when there is a higher attendance, he would politely write less or says that he is listening, so others, especially newer members, would have a chance to speak. On days when there is a lower attendance, he would find ways to compliment the members who are around the table, especially of course his best buds Michael and Robert. A lot of times he would give spontaneous speeches about Michael’s integrity; or tell a lovingly funny story about something witty that Robert told a passerby on their way to class.

Also, whenever another member of the group needs a title for a story, Mo would always offer a suggestion, but only gently and when asked. And – not sure if the other seniors even know this – every week after class when Dee and I stay to pack up the pens, paper, and handwritings, Mo keeps us company. He’d clear cookie crumbs off the table (you guys know we love birthday snacks!), straighten out the chairs, and help us carry our supplies back to our storage closet.

With Arthur’s recent passing, I feel like I should take the time to notice and appreciate these little things that Mo and other seniors do, and share them with you, just as I share their stories here.

Mo McCooper
Pike’s Peak

On the edge of town, we lived the an apartment over a tavern on the highway and  my cousin Joey, who was 3 years older than I, would come to take me places.  Sometimes my mom, his Aunt Katy or my mom’s little sister who I knew as Aunt Nancy would give Joey some change for ice cream cones at a place a few blocks away.  Teenagers also went to dance there.  We could stand around the juke box and watch the records spin.  The girls were called “Bobby Soxers” and the boys “Jitterbugs”. 
Joey was saying something funny all of the time.  He made everything we did together a lot of fun.  I idolized him. 

The name of the place with the dance floor was “Pikes’s Peak”.  Later in life I learned that it was named after a famous early American Landmark.

Mo McCooper
Ins and Outs

Ours was a baseball town.  Most of us started to play with older relatives or friends in grammar school or junior high school at any empty lot big enough for the bases and a little outfield.
The first ones there would place their hands around the bottom of the baseball bat.  Others added their hands until the last hand went over the top.  That last hand became the first batter.  Then, came 3 more batters, a catcher, pitcher first baseman then the other positions.

When a batter struck out, flied out, or grounded out they would go to right field unless there were other players waiting.  All other players would move up one position after an out.
If you caught the ball in the air you went right up to bat and the ex-batter took the place of the one who caught the ball.

No adults were involved.  The game is called “ins and outs”.  Kids learned every position.  We all quickly learned the double play so 2 of us could move up 2 positions.
Most of us ran or rode our bikes to the games at the big town playground which had sometimes 4 games going at once.

Mo McCooper
Brookline Pool

My cousin Joey and 1 other older kid took me on 2 buses to a town in Haverford township Delaware County to go swimming in a 2 pool swimming club.  Somebody was a member.

Grandmom taught me to swim when I was 3 years old in the Atlantic Ocean at a beach called “the Inlet” in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  We also jumped into creeks and small ponds in towns close to the Schuylkill River but no one was able to practice swimming there.

At Brookline pool, we didn’t want to go to the little kids’ pool so we practiced in the shallow end of the big pool where a lifeguard watched the deep end and sort of kept an eye on the rest of us.
More later.