An Interview with Big Maude

Date of Interview:  February, 13th, 2012.
Q.  Was baseball ever a part of your life before meeting Big Jim?  What emphasis did your father put on sports when you were growing up as a kid?  

A.  No, I never played baseball.  I played one summer of CYO kickball and I was really bad.  My dad loved football.  He watched it a lot and would sometimes play touch football with us in the side yard in Lima.  When we lived on the farm outside of Westfield (I was 17), we sometimes played barn basketball.  I was the one you wanted on your team because you sure didn't want me on defense, I fouled a lot. 

Q.  Previously you lived on Vine St. before moving to Smith Rd., the current home of Sportsmans Park.  What was the reason for the move?  What other homes did you look at?  What factor did the size of the yard play in the process? 

A.  The house had only 2 bedrooms.  The second one was small, and we were expecting our third child.  We did look at several other houses.  Some over by Huntington and one on the "double dead end" street, near Canavan school.  The yard was always a consideration.  I used to joke that we bought this house not for the house, but for the yard.

Q.  What is your favorite memory of the field from the last five years?  

A.  I think the year we had the Peace Corps kids here.  All of you were on your own by then (or in college).  Having them come and seeing all of your friends again -- it was just something.  I think it was our largest group ever.  And by the end of it I was pooped.  But it was very memorable.

Q.  The Memorial Day tradition has seemed to grow exponentially over the years.  What does Memorial Day mean to you?  

A.  Truthfully, wiffleball now, even more than the day itself.  I think Dave really got it going when he started bringing his Ohio State friends.  I always loved having that crew.  They just had fun.  And I always felt like I was giving them a treat -- a good meal and a fun day outside.

Q.  What impact do you think the wiffleball field has has on the neighborhood? 

A.  Luckily, our neighbors have always been very patient with us.  When the Hackenbrachts used to come, we would play basketball once it was too dark for the field, sometimes until 11:00 p.m.  They didn't complain.  I don't know how many times Bob Suthers said "the family who plays together, stays together."  

Q.  At what point was the construction of a         wiffleball field first discussed, and what were your initial reactions?  

A.  Soon after we moved here.  I knew Dad liked wiffleball.  We used to play in the backyard on Hadcock Rd. (Brunswick) with his family when we were dating and first married.  I didn't know much about it, but Dad taught me a lot.  I was pretty amazed by how serious he was about it.  There was a beautiful tree right in the middle of the backyard.  I wanted to keep it, but Dad said it had to go.  It got cut down one day when I was not at home.  He was sneaky, but I now see his point.  We also had to have the field (yard) leveled to make it a better playing field.

Q.  What is your most cherished memory of the field from the early years when we were all just kids?   

A.  We had you running bases even in the small backyard on Vine St.  You took to it right away.  One of the best things was watching Dad play.  He used to make some incredible dives when he was young-- one time right over a sand box/pool--to get the ball.  Another one was Dave when he was 4 or 5..  Dad would take you boys out in the yard for ball practice.  When David got tired, he would just turn around and come in the house.  He was an independent little bugger even then.  Beth Ann with the catching gear on was fun.  I remember one sleep over you had in 5th or 6th grade.  It was raining and you all went out and played anyway.  You got sooo muddy, and loved every minute of it.  I took your picture when you were all done, then washed all the clothes.  I thought about sending a letter to the Tide detergent company to tell them our story. 

Q. Will any of your kids ever get married and have grandchildren?
A.  Oh, you snuck that one in on me.  At the moment, it doesn't look real likely.  But things can change!!  Actually, I hope so, for their sake as well, because having kids is an amazing experience.