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Today in History

I was on Cyndi’s List earlier this evening and clicked on Library of Congress. It lists several Library Highlights so I went to Today in History basically because it had a picture of Abraham Lincoln next to it! The link took me to “A League of His Own” referencing one of the “father’s” of bowling – Don Carter, who was born in St. Louis on this date in 1926.

There are several pictures of bowling alleys which made me think of (you were wondering when I’d get to the tie in with genealogy, weren’t you?) – how bowling seemed to be a focal point of our family’s life.  During my young childhood, Mom was in a bowling league, and I remember having to stay in the “play” (or nursery) area of the bowling alley at least one morning a week.  Luckily, one of the ladies my mom bowled with was our neighbor and her daughter became one of my closest friends for most of my childhood.  So I wasn’t entirely “bored” not being able to be out with the bowlers.

My parents bowled for recreation as well as for sport.  It seemed like no matter where we went, my mom always had her bowling bag with us.  On vacation.  To reunions.  I can’t seem to recall whether or not my dad had his own bowling ball or not.  But Mom’s was very prominent – probably because it seemed it was always on the floorboard of the backseat or in the trunk.

When we were in the Detroit area visiting my uncles, I could always count on spending at least one afternoon in the bowling alley.  I have vague memories of one rainy afternoon spent driving around looking for an open lane as there must have been a lot of league bowling at that time.

By the time I was in the 5th grade, Mom didn’t have the time to bowl in a league anymore.  However, there were plenty of times other family members joined us as we spent a lazy weekend afternoon or early evening bowling.  No matter how much I tried, I was never a very good bowler. 

Then after I met my husband we both joined our company’s bowling league.  He even went out and bought me a bowling ball, shoes, bowling glove, and a bowling bag.  Each Thursday night we’d drag the three kids to the bowling alley.  They were very good – just sitting at the table behind us coloring or playing quietly.  My husband was so patient with me and coached me until I was able to control my throw.  We’d spend early Sunday mornings practicing my swing and throw.

For two summers and two school seasons we bowled.  Our team was in first place one year so we all got our way paid to the big bowling tournament our company put on each summer.  I even received a trophy for most improved female bowler! 

Unfortunately, when our company started selling off divisions, the recreational part was the first to go.  Then my husband started traveling a lot and the kids had their own activities so we weren’t able to continue with league bowling.  Very rarely do we get to do it recreationally.  The “real” bowling alley in town is filled with leagues most days and times of the week and the other bowling alley is really a “game” center where no one respects the rules of the game (no one waits on the bowler next to them anymore!). 

So when I read the article about Don Carter, it brought back lots of memories.  I mean – I have bowled in a Don Carter Bowling Alley!

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