Riverbank Park Rememberances

by Jack Keegan


I was born at 95 Somme Street and lived there for several years years.
My sisters took me with them when they went to Riverbank Park. They were my baby sitters, while trying to get me to sleep one afternoon the carriage overturned and I wound up on the ground, being a baby I did not suffer any injuries.

Later when I first began to walk, I toddled behind the swings was hit in the head and knocked unconscious for several minutes recovering a short time later none the worst for wear. Guess that my thick Irish Skull got me through that one. Those first two incidents I don't remember they were related to me by my sisters.

Now for the times in the park that I remember..

Many hours were spent watching baseball games in that ball field at the park. It was great to view the many semi-pro teams that play there, much closer than Rupert Stadium and at a much better price- Free.

When we were growing up during our high school years Glenn Cunningham held the World's Mile record at 4:06.7. My friends and I spent many hours at the park running a mile in an effort to come near his time. All attempts failed, so we left others to go on to challenge his feats.

Our gang, cronies from Down Neck, organized a Semi-Pro Football team. A name was needed and finally after much deliberation it was decided to call the team "The Casa Lomas".The why and wherefore remain, however Glen Grey was a Big Band Leader at the time and his orchestra was titled "Glen Grey and the Casa Lomas" so I guess that's where it came from. We played the old fashion way, all sixty minutes offense and defense. No special teams, sans helmets, cleats, shoulder pads and other acutriments that are used today. One thing that we used was the drop kick which is seldom or never used by present
teams. I got pretty good at it, returning many punts on forth downs and scoring points after touchdowns.

Another great thing was playing tennis on the clay courts at the end of the park.The rackets we used were hand me downs from brothers, sisters and any relatives who had somehow obtained one. Relative new balls were hard to come by and we used many that were almost shorn of there fuzz almost just rubber balls. At that time the real stars of the game were Jack Kramer, Ellsworth Vines and Don Budge, Budge was perhaps the greatest player, being the The Grand Slam Tennis Champ at that time. Winner of the Australian, French, Great British and American Tennis Matches. Trying for Aces on serves, charging the net, lobbing the ball, playing the base line. We wanted to emulate him, try as we did, we never made it. Our greatest thrill came when we were able to save enough money to buy one of those round tin containers of three new balls from Wilson. What a welcome time it was, really felt like authentic tennis players, having actual tennis balls to play with. It provided us with many a wonderful mornings of tennis.

Great times were had at that wonderful park.


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