Memories of life on Othoridge Road can be summed up in a few words: Cicadas, flying wigs, and Brooks Robinson and the Baltimore Orioles.
It was 1970- a big year in Baltimore not because the 17-year cicada had returned, but because Brooks Robinson was on third base. Yes, the cicadas-we always called them locusts- were everywhere. The noise was deafening, especially since we lived in a house without any sort of air conditioning unit. Summer heat meant all windows were open in hopes of coaxing some kind of breeze out of the humid Baltimore air. After the cacophony of the cicadas died down we were left with their crunchy shells. The remnants of their short existence littered the lawns and hung onto every tree in our neighborhood. It was a pretty miserable summer. Fortunately, my cousins lived next door and didn't mind supplying me with discounted snowballs from their summer snowball stand.
I've discovered that the snowball stand is somewhat of a Baltimore thing. Yes, they've popped up a bit here and there as of late, but for me it's not summer without a good ole' Egg Custard snowball. When I was younger, and my cousins were handing out the friends and family discount, I always went for chocolate with marshmallow on top. It was a perfect, delightful mess.
Before I get to Brooks and the boys I should explain the flying wig thing. Wigs were in fashion back then. My mom had one that sat on a Styrofoam head in her bedroom. She took it out for special occasions-occasions like my 1st Communion. I'm sure she looked great in her new wig, I don't remember for sure. All I remember of that day, besides myself in a white dress and veil with my handpicked bouquet of dandelions, is the moment my mom walked under a tree only to have her wig lifted right off her head by a sneaky little tree branch.
The Orioles had a big year in 1969 but fell short of the winning the World Series thanks to the Mets. I don't remember all that but I do remember loving my black and white Orioles baseball cap. One of my favorite pictures is one of my sister and I- sitting at the breakfast table, over our respective bowls of Cheerios, with wide smiles and Orioles caps firmly in place hiding our bed heads. I'm sure it was that summer of winning Orioles baseball that made me the O's fan I am today.
In some ways it was on Othoridge Road that my memories of my own life begin. The mind pictures from this point in my life are numerous, really they're much more than snapshots, they're short movies of who I was and what I was doing at the beginning of a new decade.
...next stop... Gothard Rd.
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