Hoping Twitter hollers at my boys there.

Anyway, two posts, one day. This one is purely mine, though J had a huge part in what I’m writing about.

March 2007 was a weird time. I was helping out at my family’s business due to familial strain, watching a beautiful member of my family battle an awful disease and feeling pretty much the smallest creature on the planet. The business my family owned at the time was a small store and deli on Cape Cod where I met some of the most amazing people. One, Joanne, would come by each night I closed and make sure I was never left alone to close up. I wonder today if she knows how very, very much I appreciated her company. We had a lot of laughs, she and I, alongside my stepsister, stepbrother and the rest of the store’s staff. Great, great people.

Anyway as usual I got sidetracked.

There was a listing online for staff members for Fenway Park to work the upcoming baseball season. I wasn’t making much (any) money working where I was and I was travelling 2 hours a day. I knew I was helping family, and my stepfamily knows I’d do it again for them in a heartbeat, but something needed to give just then. My home was Boston and points north, not Cape Cod. So, on a lark and with my friends at the store to encourage me, I applied.

The interview was a hoot. A bit of a cattle call, you get sent into one of the clubs to meet with various supervisors who go over your strengths, weaknesses and how you can handle working Day of Game, which has its own peculiar set of demands. I have a great hospitality background and am good at problem solving, so I interviewed for Customer Service.

I was hired within weeks.

Now, the Boston Red Sox have been a beloved team of my family for generations. My great-grandfather, my nana’s brothers, my father and his brothers, my own generation and now my son were all raised with Sox games as the soundtrack to our summers. We all, with the exception of J-bear obviously, bore witness to the curse’s seemingly unending wrenching of our hearts and then the miraculous 2004 ALCS and World Series. The Red Sox aren’t just a team to a lot of us, they’re like a religion; a hallmark of our culture and our upbringing, something we corner our calendars and way of life around no matter how good or bad things are.

So there I was, a staff member of the Boston Red Sox. And I loved it.

Between 2007 and 2013, I worked many games, met many people, and did two separate jobs. 2007-2008 seasons saw me working Customer Service solving fan problems face to face then 2009-2013 saw me working with Quality Control maintaining to integrity of the seating bowl as A2 called it. From March through September/October those years, my summer family was there for me: fans, staff and all those in between.

My friends there helped me through some of the darkest and some of the brightest times in my life. A disastrous choice by one family member left harrowing situations and choices being made just before I started at Fenway. Another family member found herself the center of many a prayer from us but, in 2009, we all said goodbye to her. In 2010, we buried one of our own, our beloved Ramone, and welcomed the next generation with the birth of my son in June. 2012, my son’s autism diagnosis… 2013, the decision for me to leave so I could be there for my son’s needs.

I write this because tonight, as I drove home from an errand, I saw the Sox game on on a television inside a gas station. I immediately started to cry. I miss my summer family. I miss those I was close to there, their weird version of love and their unparalleled sense of care and loyalty. When I had few to no others, they put their arms around me and helped me not just stand but to walk and flourish. They looked out for me. They just cared, and let me care for them in return.

Jeff, Scott, Marcita, the one and only Juliet, Garrett, Andy, Ferg, Al, Tony, Ramone (RIP dear boy), Andy K, Donnie, Emily, Kim, Erin, Gene (RIP, hope you have lots of dessert) and so, so SO many others…. Thank you for having made my life better. I miss you guys all so damned much. Take care of that ballpark for me.