Wednesday, September 19, 2018

World Series And The High Holidays 1967

I'm going to try to tie two things together that may seem unrelated so let me set up the background. In grade school in Walla Walla, every student who had a perfect attendance would get to stand up in front of the school.  As part of the handful of observant Jews in Walla Walla, we would not get the chance to do so.  The reason is that we would go to shul instead of school during the Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. The spacing between the two holidays guarantees that in no year, would both holidays  occur over the weekend.   
My Grandmother Esther Barer (bottom picture with my Grandpa) was a very special woman, she was deeply involved with the community.  She organized the local Sunshine Club, The Garden Club, and other clubs in town.  She was tall in stature, loud and extroverted.  A native of Portland Oregon and a devout Jew, she taught Sunday School.  Of course at the time,  the student body consisted of my sister and me .  She was determined that all the Barer children would grow up and be aware of their Jewish heritage in spite of living in a town where Judaism was probably the town's smallest sustaining community.
As a child, I did not like any sports at all, at least until I was assigned by a tutor to write a paper about baseball.  Somehow, overnight, I became a lover of sports.  I began collecting baseball cards and read about sports history, wanting to watch and talk about it as much as I could.  
I watched my first World Series game on TV on October 5th, 1967, the second game of the series at my Grandma's house.   I was out of school because of Rosh Hashana (I thought it was Yom Kippur through the years, but research proved otherwise). I remember it was an exciting series between the St Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox, at the time, the games were played in the day and the Series was as big as the Super Bowl is today.  School students would bring transistor radios to listen to the games. Grandma had brought me home after the services.   My sister went to school that day.  She wanted to get perfect attendance recognition.   
My Grandmother was furious, she said that we need to go to services on the High Holidays.  In her loud voice, she emphasized the importance of going to service on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.  
I think she may have been as angry with my parents as she was with my sister.  In any case, every year, no matter where I have lived, I have always attempted to attend all High Holliday services.
I'm still a big sports fan and have watched many World Series games on TV.  I still have never attended one as yet, although I've been to many MLB games.  I don't remember if my sister was perfect in attendance for that year.


Paul Duca said...

Did Grandma Esther ever know how Sandy Koufax refused to pitch on Yom Kippur?

Mike Barer said...

I don't know if she knew or cared. She did know that Boston pitcher Jose Santiago hit a home run in the first game. I don't remember where my Grandfather was, he was alive, but would pass away 2 months later.