The Brooklyn BomberBy Andrew Solano
The Brooklyn BomberThe Story of Leonard Frieze
By Andrew SolanoDenver, Colorado 2009
The following story is a fictional tale of Leonard Frieze a patient of
the Jewish Consumptive Relief Society ( JCRS) located in what is now
Lakewood, Colorado. The JCRS was a sanitorium that cared for
many people from around the world that suffered from tuberculosis.
The JCRS catered to anyone who contracted the disease, regardless
of religious background, and worked completely off donations from
the families of patients at the facility as well as people willing to
lend a helping hand.
7The Brooklyn Bomber
May 10, 1935
I sit on the front of my steps and eagerly await the suns arrival, hints of orange light make their way through the sea of purple that fills the sky. I take in a deep breath, my eyes close as the cool air makes its way into my chest and the sweet aroma of my
surroundings appease my senses, then slowly letting the air escape
from my lungs, a faint cloud develops as it hits the cool air. I had
almost forgotten what its was like to watch the sunrise, hearing
the birds sing their morning tune, as their soothing whistles carry
through the air, slowly bringing my neighborhood to life. The sun
slowly peeks out from behind the buildings in the distance. I take
in the morning, watching as the kids pass on their way to school
and listen to the slow rumble of car engines as others make their
way to work. My goal for the day is just to enjoy the city one last
time. Time inches by as I get ready, by 8 oclock the warm air greets
me on my front steps.
The neighborhood takes me where it wants as I saunter down the
sidewalk. Going from block to block I taking in the sights of my
city and all the little things that only someone from there would
be able to appreciate. Mr. Romano handing all the kids a nickel
each as they passed his house on the way to school like he used to
do when I was a kid. Or seeing Mrs. Moretti knitting on her porch
while Mr. Moretti sits next to her reading the paper. Seeing the
night shift nurses at Kingsbrook Medical Center exchange stories
with the girls coming in for the morning shift. There was nothing
like passing Mr. Clemente on Winthorp when he was playing his
harmonica, I could listen to him play his harmonica all day and
never get bored with tapping my foot to the rhythm.
I take in a deep breath
S l o w l y l e t t i n g t h e a i r e s c a p e f r o m m y l u n g s .
My feet lead me to the block of my favorite diner Sams. The food
never tasted so good, the perfectly cooked golden pancakes filled
my plate, perfectly buttered and just enough syrup to melt in
my mouth. My bacon had just right amount of crunch to it, and
the fried potatoes were the best ever. All this with a nice ice cold
Coke, it was good last breakfast without a doubt, probably the best
quarter I had ever spent.
My next stop was the Brooklyn Bridge, watching the boat traffic going back and forth across the river has always been a soothing thing to me, its a great place to relax and let time pass by. Walking into Manhattan was fun, like always the hustle and bustle of city makes me feel right at home, doesnt get much better than people watching in Manhattan. Making my way through the waves and waves of people I knew there was only one thing left to see, I jumped on the buss and headed for the Bronx. It was three oclock, the Yankees were playing Cleveland today.
I found a little bar near Yankee Stadium. There were a few older gentleman sitting at the bar huddle around the small radio. After taking my seat I ordered a beer and let the radio announcer paint me a picture of the game, through each pitch and every inning. It had been tied all game until finally in the top of the 9th, Lou stepped up to the plate, with a full count and runners on second an third.
The radio announcers voice started getting louder and louder all five of us shot an ear closer to the radio, even the bartender stopped in his tracks.
Its a deep fly ball to right center!
We all moved to the edge of our seats.
The right fielder is sprinting to the fence!
We get even closer to the radio.
Its a home run, Gehrigs just hit a three run home run in the top of the 9th to close out the game here in Cleveland!
We all let out a cheer, took a celebratory drink and exchanged high fives with one another. I sat and talked with my new acquaintances for an hour or two after the game we talked about our favorite players, we relived our favorite games, they made fun of me for being from Brooklyn and being a Yankee fan, I told them, if the Dodgers had Gehrig or if they could have gotten The Great Bambino then maybe the Dodgers would be my favorite team. I explained to them that I had been a Yankees fan ever since I got see Ruth play for my first time when I was a kid. Even more so when my dad had gotten him and I tickets five rows off the third baseline for Lou Gehrigs first game as a Yankee, now that was a great day, and he has been my favorite player ever since.
The Brooklyn Bomber
Its now ten oclock and Im back where I started my day, on the front steps of my house now longer under the warmth of the New York sun just porch light. I leave for the train station here in a bit, off to Colorado to a sanatorium for people who have tuberculosis, I am nervous and scared for this trip. I dont want to leave home I will miss this place too much, but no one can care for me anymore here so away Ill have to go. I hate to leave at this time in the season the Yankees are 10-8, missing the games now will throw everything off for me so hopefully I can get the games on the radio over there. I bought a new Yankee cap on my way home today that way no matter how far away I am, theyll always be right there with me. Well, its time to go now thank you New York for the good day! Ill be home soon.
I finally made it here to Denver, this is a strange place, its so quiet here. Listening to the birds I notice that the tune isnt the same here like the sweet songs from back home. The trip was way to
long and the night in Chicago was as great as I expected, it was a
nice town but I had no one to share it with. I did get to listen to the
game though so thats always good. Its a bit awkward being here
in downtown Denver and seeing only a fraction of the amount of
people that I would see in Manhattan walking around. Hopefully
the person from the sanatorium gets here soon so I can get situated
and get a good nights rest, that train seat wasnt the greatest bed I
have ever slept in. Well, my ride is here now so Ill update this later
once I get settled in.
I finally got all my stuff put away in my new room, they gave me my
own room, I figured that I would have a room mate if not more. This
room has a nice view from the window, I can see the mountains, its
an impressive sight you learn about them in school but seeing them
in real life now that is a totally experience, they are a lot bigger
than I expected. I did miss the Yankee game today which I am not
to happy about, they have been on a winning streak since they lost
two games back to back against Detroit a few days ago, we played
Cleveland again so Im pretty sure we won. Im gonna go ahead and
use some of the extra money I have to buy a little radio to tune into
the games, or try to figure something else out.
May 17, 1935
The Brooklyn Bomber
May 18, 1935
Paper after paper, doctor after doctor, today has been a hell of a day, I met so many different people today and was asked so many different questions related to my tuberculosis that I dont
know if I ever want to talk about it again. It didnt help that the first
secretary I dealt with was a total bitch! Glad she found better things
to do with her day. Hopefully I can get a little bit of time to actually
do a little exploring on my own of this place, I was so rushed and
forced everywhere today that I barely found time to sit and relax.
Even missed another Yankee game today we played Cleveland
again, looks like I will end up having to go buy myself that radio, I
cant miss anymore games!
Good news and bad news, I got a radio from the hospital today after some asking around. The bad news is that the Yankees lost yesterday, I thought we would sweep the Indians with
no problems. Well luckily game time in about two hours and we
play the Chicago White Sox. I have high hopes for todays game,
Lou is gonna get the rest of the boys playing good baseball again,
I know it. Were 16-11 right now thats not the greatest record but
we will be able to turn it around no problem. We just got to get the
bats warmed up and get our bull pin in order and we will be solid, I
mean we have best player in the game right now and if his bat gets
going, like I know it can, they may as well give us the pennant now
and tell all the other teams good job and try again next year. Im
gonna throw on my Yankee cap, kick back and enjoy the game.
May 20, 1935
The Brooklyn Bomber
Im gonna throw on my