In September of 2005, Tommy Towery, the editor of the Lee's Traveller website, ran a reader participant mystery photograph and solicited reader comment and reaction. Tommy has generously consented to let us to add the photograph and resulting emails to our Rison-Dallas site for everyone to enjoy. You can visit the website yourself at www.leestraveller.com.
We had 14 guys respond to last week's Huntsville in 1962 Mystery Place, and not one gal! What's up? Is this a man thing, looking at maps and satellite photos? Anyway, here's the second installment from the photo and I don't think it will be quite as hard as the first one, but then the first one did not seem hard to most of you. It's a little more blurry, but still it should be recognizable. What is it?
The following are the responses Tommy received the next week.
Sarajane Setigerwald Tarter, Class of '65 - Is that a photo of Goldsmith-Schiffman field? If so, I found this tidbit to go with it:
On January 25, 1934, Oscar Goldsmith, Lawrence B. Goldsmith, Annie Schiffman Goldsmith, Robert L. Schiffman, and Elsie Strauss Schiffman gave this property to the City of Huntsville for an athletic field. The gift was in memory of Betty Bernstein Goldsmith (wife of Oscar and mother of Lawrence) and Betty Herstein Schiffman (wife of Isaac and mother of the other donors). The Civil Works Administration provided $6500 in materials and labor to construct the field, the first in Huntsville to accommodate night athletic games. The Acme Club raised funds for lighting through season ticket sales. Dedication exercises were held during the first night game on October 4, 1934, when 1000 fans saw Coach Milton Frank's Huntsville High team defeat Gadsden High.
Map reading has been easy for me because my job was the "map reader" when we went anywhere in the car. (Probably to keep me quiet!) Aerial map reading is more difficult for me so maybe it is actually a "guy thing"! Let's see how many other ladies respond.
I remember going to the field with my Dad and my Uncle Milton one fall night when I was 6 years old during the 1952 season, I assume to see Huntsville High play someone. I can clearly recall sitting on my Dad's shoulders as we walked into the stadium and marveling at the lights and noise. For years thereafter I thought all football players were muscled like they appeared that night - I had no idea they wore pads.
When we (Mike Smith, Walt Thomas, Mike Chisam, Terry Preston, Sonny Turner, Jimmy and Bobby Durham and others) were 10-12 years old and roaming the neighborhood on a regular basis we would always show up at the field on Friday nights to watch the games. Since we had no money or at least not enough for a ticket, we had to devise other ways of getting in on the action. The east end of the field offered the greatest opportunities. Get this - the folks who lived in the houses across the street on the east side would let us climb a tree and jump onto their roof to watch the games over the rock wall for the pittance of a nickel or dime. Sometimes there would be 15 or 20 kids sitting on their roofs. Some kids, like Walt Thomas, had enough nerve to actually climb the east wall and silently drop the 8-10 feet to the ground inside the park in the 2 feet or so of space between the dressing/rest rooms and the east wall and walk out into the madding crowd very nonchalantly as if they were reputable citizens and paying customers. I'd say we got caught about half the time but it was the effort that counted. While one kid was getting caught, 3 or so of his buddies were sliding by.
Once we hit 13 some of us starting playing football rather than just watching. Coach Hub Myhand put together the very first Lee General football team in 1958 which was to prove to be the first of, by now, 48 annual editions of General football. All of our Lee Junior High home games were played there as well as, I think, our 10th grade season. That's the same year we went undefeated and beat Buckhorn twice in the same season 40 to nothing both times - it was a sweet, sweet season. The hard lessons about winning and losing came later.
That same year my Mom came to the field by herself one night and sat through the entire game in a drenching rain mostly alone up in the bleachers. She was still there every time I glanced up. In my mind's eye she is still sitting there even today. I'm not sure I thanked her then but I surely would today if I could. Most of the time it is not what one says but what one does that counts.
You know, there is no way to calculate the positive effect the Goldsmith and Schiffman families had on the citizens and children of Huntsville when they generously donated the facility. How many, how many………. coaches, cheerleaders, doctors, ball players, parents, ticket takers, announcers and others have been positively affected. Goldsmith-Schiffman Field has always given me a sense of pride in my neighborhood.