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  • I remember when I was very young, looking out at the distant hills east of our home on Midland Street in Pittsburgh, and wanting to go there, out beyond those hills. I just wanted to go. They called to me.

    I remember when I used to plan to wake up in the middle of the night, when I would pack a bag and go off to live in the woods like a hermit. I remember how disappointed I would be when I woke up in the morning, having failed to wake up in the middle of the night.

    I remember when I came out of a blackout on the wrong side of town in Haifa, Israel, realizing I was broke and had 15 minutes to get back to the wharf to catch a tender boat back to my ship. I remember the shipmate who pulled up just then in a cab, opened the door, and called out “Hey Bridgeman – jump in.”

    I remember getting lost in the labyrinth of streets in Seville, Spain, 15 minutes before I needed to be back to where my wife and son were to catch the bus back to the cruise ship. I remember doing the same thing in Cadiz, Spain.

    I remember the powerful mixture of exhilaration and fear that I felt when I walked off my second ship in the Navy for what I knew would be the last time, feeling a powerful sense of adventure wrapped in the knowledge that my life would be changed forever by that moment.

    I remember the wander I experienced when I discovered the magical world of baseball statistics. It happened around the same time that I learned the wander of how babies were made. My whole concept of the world changed then.

    I remember riding in Uncle Roman’s little motorboat out on Pymatuming Lake in Western Pennsylvania, Roman steering the boat from the back with the little handle on the motor, laughing, smoking his cigar, the world making sense for the first time out in the middle of that lake.

    I remember that lake – all the time. It is the background of many of my dreams and my daydreams.

    I remember sitting in Miss Pushcar’s 3rd Grade Classroom at St. Pius X in Pittsburgh, watching a science program on the Black and White Television, when the news bulletin came over - President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas. I remember speculating whether the Vice President had anything to do with it. I remember watching the coverage that Sunday morning when Jack Ruby stepped out of the shadows and shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald, live, right there on T.V. I remember being certain, then, that Lyndon Johnson had something to do with it. The birth of my own conspiracy theory. I never trusted LBJ after that.

    I remember waking up on the morning that we were planning to go on our Altar Boys Retreat to Seven Springs, PA, and learning that Bobby Kennedy had been shot and killed. I remember immediately thinking that Richard Nixon had something to do with it.

    I remember learning on New Year’s Day, 1973, that Roberto Clemente’s plane had gone down into the sea off the coast of Puerto Rico, and he was missing and presumed dead. I remember crying like I had lost my closest friend. In mourning, I paid very little attention to baseball for the next 4 years. It just wasn’t the same without the Great One.

    I remember driving a truckload of aluminum and vinyl siding and roofing materials on the Pennsyvlvania Turnpike when I heard the news on the radio that John Lennon had been shot and killed. I had just bought his new double album. I went home and listened to a song from his first solo album, “God”, and pondered on his life, and on the words of the song:
    God is a concept by which we measure our pain
    I'll say it again
    God is a concept by which we measure our pain

    I don't believe in magic; I don't believe in I-ching; I don't believe in Bible; I don't believe in tarot; I don't believe in Hitler; I don't believe in Jesus; I don't believe in Kennedy;
    I don't believe in Buddha;I don't believe in Mntra; I don't believe in Gita; I don't believe in Yoga;
    I don't believe in kings; I don't believe in Elvis; I don't believe in Zimmerman;
    I don't believe in Beatles….

    I just believe in me,
    Yoko and me,
    And that's reality

    The dream is over, what can I say?
    The dream is over, Yesterday
    I was the Dreamweaver, but now I'm reborn
    I was the Walrus, but now I'm John
    And so dear friends, you'll just have to carry on
    The dream is over

    The dream was over…
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