Driving back-roads of Florence, Oregon an object in an open, yet fenced-in area catches my attention. Parking the Scion nearby I go in for a closer look discovering at the foot of a hill and tree line a scoreboard rusting from Pacific Northwest weather and salted ocean air, in faded, black words FLORENCE KIWANiS, no doubt a sponsor. But for whom? With interest piquing and camera in hand I head out with hope of capturing something to write about and, indeed I did.
Finding the gate locked I am limited to photographing the scoreboard through the chain link fence as I walk the perimeter then, spying a red-brick, tri-corner object about three feet high which looks to be the remains of a drinking fountain it’s best days behind. From the fountain a three-person wide footpath leads to a four-foot high concrete slab stretching across the field complete with stairs and handrails piles of weathered wood stacked behind, my mind calculates this once the grandstand.
Across the field is a backstop used in baseball but one is hard pressed to make out the diamond: first base, second, third, home plate for time and nature have done their duty. Immediately, a grandstand full of students come to mind, one half for the home team and the other for the guests, all proudly wearing school colors reacting to a bad call from the umpire sort of GLEE-like, “…you’re blind ump, you’re blind ump you must be out of your mind ump…” but so much for the Damn Yankees recital for upon closer scrutiny I notice the scoreboard indications are of football: ball on, yards to go, qtr. Guest, home, ect.
I end the photo shot staring at the stands filled to capacity with students on dates, groups of friends hanging together watching other groups of friends hanging together each acting they’re the better. Ghosts of the past clash helmet to helmet, whistles blow, grass-stained youths slowly pick themselves up off the turf, coaches send in replacements.
Days later, a local resident I know in Florence informs that the field is all that remains of the old Siuslaw High School here in Florence a new one built back in 1970 about one mile northwest. She also confirms that the high school sports a football team but never had a baseball team, hard to believe.