Cowser/GREEN FIELDS were exciting—we lived in a beach house that backed up to the Sound, next door to a seasonal ice cream stand and a year-round needle park. My mother had never liked Tennessee and had campaigned my father to find a way to stay in Connecticut, but I had been secretly happy to re-enter Martin’s atmosphere that May. My parents’ home was on a huge block that had as its four corners the elementary school, the school’s playground, the municipal pool, and the little league ballpark-- a young boy’s dreamscape. Our green, one-story house sat on the corner that was the baseball diamond’s home plate, so we were always weeding foul balls from my mother’s flowerbeds. I remember the Sun Drop soda machine behind the bleachers there, how hot its metal got by midday and how we begged my father for coins to feed it. I passed all my summer nights across the street at the ball field – I’d gotten back to town in time to play the last few games with my pee wee team, the undefeated league champions. My first real job was to shag foul balls on the nights my team wasn’t playing, for which I was paid in leftover hot dogs, popcorn and soda at the end of the night. My second job, once I’d grown too old to play little league, was as the league’s official scorekeeper and public address announcer, for which I earned seven dollars a game. I spent the scorching afternoons 200 yards up Clearwater Street from my parents’ driveway in the warm waters of the city pool, where my family always bought a summer pass. I remember hearing the Doobie Brothers’ “What A Fool Believes” over and over that summer on the little black transistor the lifeguards carried with them up into the deep end chair. “He came from somewhere back in her long ago.” That made me ache inside, though I did not yet have a long ago. Some days Steve Stanford and the high school guys let me begin a game of “Bombay” with a can opener off the high board. It seemed worth
Crime, punishment, and a boyhood between.