Let’s face it. My team has been gone from Brooklyn for 53 years. Ebbets Field exists only in photographs and memories. Visit New York City, enter any sports clothing store featuring baseball caps from every major league team, and ask the sales clerk if they have any Brooklyn Dodgers caps; the answer will be “What? Who are the Brooklyn Dodgers?” On a down day, it seems like no one remembers or cares about my team.
That’s how the germ of a story arose two years ago. I asked my daughter, Jean, for an idea for a new story. She thought for a second, then suggested writing about what it must have been like for people in Montreal to lose the Expos after 2004 and, in the blink of an eye, added that the main character should suffer from schizophrenia. Huh? Well, my daughter was a graduate student studying psychology at Catholic University at the time. It made sense, somehow, but I immediately saw that the story should be set in Brooklyn in the 1950’s, and within days Adel Miller was born, Nate (her Dad) was at her side, Louise (her Mom) had been chased away by a knife, and we were on our way to discovery. So Adel loves her home town Dodgers of the mid 1950’s, loves even more Jackie Robinson, and hallucinates that he talks to her of love and tells her how Dodgers’ games will end up. And wouldn’t you know it? One story led to another and to another, and soon I will share the first collection, entitled “Nate and Adel and Other Stories.”
You need to know that Adel believes she’s real. When I told her once that she was a figment of my imagination, she became very upset and tried to storm out of my office. I didn’t know her that well then, and — I must sheepishly confess — prevented her from leaving until she gave me more information that I desperately needed. I am not proud of myself, but felt that honesty required me to write about it, so stay tuned for the story “Conversation Under Duress,” part of the second collection — “Adel’s Journal and Other Stories” — that will be published. Truly a prosaic name, but at least it’s honest.