One of my sisters suggested I write about my mother and bowling. I was resistant because I don’t particularly remember the details. Where did she bowl? How good was she? Who, besides her good friend Pat, was on her team?
But I capitulated in large part because of one true thing. She and I were the only ones in our nuclear family to join a bowling league. My sisters bowled occasionally. Did my father bowl at all?
As a result, mom and I had a shared lingua decem paxillos. We could keep score by pencil; this was before those sometimes flawed automatic scoring machines. It’s not particularly difficult, but my mom and I liked the math exercise.
And when I was a tween, I was rather good at the game. I once scored a 186 when I was ten, which was pretty impressive, actually. The terrible thing, though, is that I gave it up after only a year or two, and I don’t recall why. But my mom, it seems, continued for quite a while when she still lived in Binghamton.
BTW, I don’t remember where I bowled either. The lanes on Laurel Avenue, where I sometimes went in high school? I have no idea.
Peaking in fifth grade
Oh, I never did get much better than my grade school pinnacle. At college, I would play occasionally with friends, but I broke 200 only three or four times. My all-time high score was 222 when I was 22. Seriously. It was the day after Candid Yam, her brother, her sister and I went up Turkey Mountain – how appropriate! – in 10F weather, consuming brandy.
Then I’d play irregularly until my left knee became so sore that I couldn’t release the ball correctly. My mother, I’ve only recently learned, had to give up bowling when her hip began to hurt her.
Today would have been mom’s 94th birthday. I picked this picture from c. 1971 because my sister says her favorite of my mother and me together.
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