I always had dreams.
It’s May 1956 at Ebbets Field, a bandbox of a baseball stadium, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. My all-time hero, Gil Hodges, stands at first base. We’d snuck down to the first baseline box seats from our perch in the bleachers. In the blink of an eye, I’m standing next to Gil and talking with him. We’re teammates. A 14-year-old boy’s fantasy.
Baseball was in my DNA; I was a fine ballplayer. I had an uncle who, at 9, left home, heading for Vero Beach to try out for the Dodgers during spring training. He got as far as Philadelphia, where he was picked up by the Children’s Aid Society. His was a kid’s fantasy, a dream, like mine. I read sports novels and developed a love for fiction. Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jack London, Edgar Allan Poe and Ernest Hemingway became my new heroes.
I read voraciously and lived vicariously. I wanted to become a novelist.
But I lacked the courage to write.