“For what is joy if it goes unrecorded? And what is love if it is not shared?”
~ Jennifer Worth
I’ve gotten many, many wonderful comments from fellow Morgan Countians since last Friday’s post. Turns out they share my fondness for the old Herdman Field (it didn’t actually have a name until Coach Herdman was killed in a car wreck in 2000). When I was little, the corner where the guys now have a locker room was a long classroom building. (The original locker room at the opposite end of the field was destroyed in the tornado) It looked like an old warehouse or hanger, tin mostly, with few windows. We’d outgrown the WPA building by the mid 1960’s, so this building was converted to classroom space. We were called the Morgan County Blue Devils back then. The bleachers were rough wood planks painted blue. The railing was not that great.
In the adjacent corner (to the left of the bleachers) was a baseball diamond with the stinkiest dugouts you can imagine. The smell of urine strangled you before you ever stepped inside the fence. In fact, that end of the field was covered in honeysuckle vines. Not the invasive, non-native woody crap that’s everywhere today, but real Kentucky honeysuckle. It’s where mom taught me how to suck nectar from the blooms; a taste of heaven that’s never left me. That honeysuckle was the only thing that killed the smell of dugouts. By the time I came along in 1965, West Liberty already had a long history of baseball. There was a county league (softball for women, of course), and I think area counties played as well. Both my parents played. I well remember watching them on that field as I played in the dirt, literally. (There was no such thing as manicured grass back then, not in West Liberty anyway.) Seems they’d moved the baseball field down near the river by 1980, along with the stinky dugouts and, sadly, the honeysuckle. I was blessed with the most amazing childhood and adolescence. This field played a big part in that, and I’ll be forever grateful for it.