Orange Parenting: A History, Part 1

My dad and his sister, circa 1940, a few hundred yards from where the Carrier Dome currently stands.

February 9th would have been my dad’s 79th birthday. He was the original Orange Parent, so this week’s post is in honor of him. He raised four Little Oranges who will spawn more. For anyone reading who may have lived a life similar to mine, please help me verify that some of these things actually did or could have happened. I know in my heart and in my memory that they did, but I don’t have much physical proof. Actually, if you want to prove me wrong, go ahead. This should be fun.

1933 – Eric Rose was born at Crouse Irving Hospital in Syracuse. I have his birth certificate, so please don’t waste your debating skills on this one.

1938 – My dad and his family moved into a house at 100 Stadium Place, a house that's still there on the corner of Stadium Place and Van Buren. Google is already trying to prove me wrong here, saying that it was built in 1940, but I am currently sitting in a room with my 83-year-old uncle, who tells me that when they got there, it was already old. A few weeks ago, I bragged about moving my children to Manlius to enhance their Orange childhood. What skill my grandparents showed by moving ONE BLOCK from Archbold Stadium! The picture to the right was taken outside of that house, and I’m sure that up the hill behind the photographer, they could see the stadium. The current parking garage that blocks the view of the Dome wasn’t even a glimmer in some contractor’s eye (I dare you to find a parking garage contractor who was even alive in 1938).

1938-1948 – Gertrude and Joseph Rose practiced complete hands-off Orange Parenting. They moved into the shadow of a football stadium and then let their sons roam free. My dad and uncle tell how the nights before games, they used to sneak up to the stadium and identify weaknesses in the chain link fence around the stadium. They’d dig or bend as needed and then easily enter Archbold the next day. Their parents must have known, so I guess there was some good parenting going on. My dad was younger than my uncle, so he added a story about hiding his little body between two tubas and marching in with the band, but even I had to raise an eyebrow at that one. Any Marching Band members want to verify if this would have been possible?

1956 – Dad graduated Syracuse University. He lived at home the whole time.

1959 – Dad graduated Syracuse Law School. Yup, still didn’t move out.

1959-1967 – These years have kind of been lost to history. I’m sure my Dad remained an Orange fan, as he spoke of Schwartzwalder and the legendary 44’s, even mentioning seeing Jim Brown play lacrosse, but I don’t have any specific details. Come to think of it, he was a single lawyer in the city. Maybe he was playing hush-hush about these years because of my Mom. But wait, he still lived at home, so we’re back to the lost-years theory.

1967-1968 – Dad met and married a woman from Brooklyn. He and Rita soon moved to Manlius. Our fearless leader, Sean Keeley, knows something about my dad’s experience here: My mom had no interest in sports and little awareness that there were events called football and basketball games. Dad pulled her on board and she became an Orange Parent for the sake of her kids, though I don’t think she ever really enjoyed it herself. (Ed. Note: Sigh...)

1972, 1973, and 1975 – Eric and Rita had the first three of their four Little Oranges. With three young children, the only dates my parents ever went on were when they used their season tickets for football and basketball.

1978 – I swear I remember my wonderful Orange Parents taking me to the last game at Archbold. I can picture people tearing up the wooden benches to take home and my mother explaining to me what they were doing. (She said they’d use them for firewood…and I believed her.) I remember the H-shaped goalposts wiggling, then shaking, then falling down into the crowd of students. But I also vividly remember everyone being given commemorative Smurf-blue windbreakers that day. I found a wonderful video from that game against Navy, and not a soul has a blue windbreaker. Help me out, here, old people?

1978-1979 – On a few wonderful occasions, my dad left my mom home with his younger two children and took his eldest and favorite child to Manley Field House for basketball games. (Don’t go making excuses about earlier bedtimes, Suzie and Ron. I was the favorite and you know it.) Although I vaguely remember seeing the Louie and Bouie show in action, the only story I can really tell is that my dad used to have me put my hair up into my winter hat so that he could bring his 7-year-old daughter into the men’s room with him. I’m not quite sure what kind of parenting that is.

1980 – You are about to read about the single, most spectacular, most unbelievably amazing Orange Parenting decision a person has ever made. When the Carrier Dome opened, my parents bought basketball season tickets for my siblings and me! At ages 8, 7, and 5! Not as awesome as you thought it might be? Well read on. Remember that hands-off parenting that Dad’s parents taught him? My mom and dad had seats in the fourth row of the blue seats, center court. They bought their Little Oranges season tickets in section 316 row A and left us there. Unchaperoned. For every game of the next decade. If you want proof of that, go ask Ernie our usher, who was basically our babysitter, or Mr. and Mrs. Chilibreath*, who sat next to us every year.

*Not their real names, but well-deserved.

1982 – Dad used to take Mom away on a long weekend without kids once a year. Starting with the advent of the Big East Conference, this trip took place at the beginning of March and took them to exotic locations such as Providence, Connecticut, and finally New York City. (I’m not sure what they did the year Syracuse hosted.) On this fateful weekend away in 1982, the Syracuse Orangemen lost in the first round. Nine months later, on December 2, 1982, my sister Kathy was born. Now, obviously I wasn’t there, and I don’t want to know the details, but I dare you to try and prove my hypothesis wrong on this one.

I’m going to stop there, with that borderline inappropriate tidbit of Orange Parenting. Stay tuned for a future column where I continue this timeline and answer your nagging questions such as, "Where did she get that picture of Don McPherson?" and "Did Leo Rautins ever sign a painter’s cap?"

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