Harriet S. has a diamond-shaped heart, eyes like stadium lights, and a mind like a catcher’s mitt. Her home-run smile will steal your heart. When she sleeps, she dreams in innings. When Harriet dreams, she dreams of baseball.
You could make a highlight reel of the sport from Harriet’s memories - You’d watch The Great Bambino himself swagger up to home plate then swing and hit a double, The Yankees win their eleventh World Series in 1947, and the New York Giants defeat the heavily favored Cleveland Indians at the World Series in 1954 (a difficult game for Harriet – she’s always been a die-hard Indians fan).
Ask her today about her team and Harriet will rattle off the names of her favorite players, making a point to note that “The Heater from Van Meter” (pitcher Bob Feller) shared her birthday and once autographed a picture for her. She’ll talk about watching games at League Park, Municipal Field and Progressive Field. She’ll talk about how she wishes she could see just one more game from the stands, with a hotdog in her hand and an Indian’s cap on her head. For many who talk to Harriet about baseball, that’s all it is – talk. For the staff at The Willows at Bellevue, talk inspired action.
Harriet left The Willows at 2:30 p.m. on August 29th. Upon arriving at Progressive Stadium, she walked through the rows of photographs towards the playing field, pointing out the “old timers” and entertaining the staff members who accompanied her with her near encyclopedic knowledge of the team. By 4:00 p.m., Harriet was on the playing field next to the dugout, watching batting practice. She rubbed elbows with 2nd baseman Jason Kipnis, received a signed ball from catcher Chris Gimenez, and foretold shortstop Francisco Lindor’s future. She grinned as he leaned down to sign her ball, “You’re going to have a great baseball career!” The day was already too good to be true, and the game hadn’t even started.
After dinner (a ballpark frank, of course), Harriet was led to her seat for the game, right behind first base. The Star-Spangled Banner was sung, the announcer shouted, “Play ball!” and for seven innings, Harriet lost herself in the sound of the crowd, the crack of each bat, and the songs she remembered from years ago. She was even paid a visit by team mascot Slider during the fifth inning!
After seven innings, Harriet knew that it was time to go home. She enjoyed the 7th inning stretch as she left the stadium and listened to the rest of the game on the ride home. She was ecstatic when her new friend Jason Kipnis hit the single that won the Indians the game, and arrived home at The Willows at 11:00 p.m., exhausted, happy, and full of memories.
We hope we helped Harriet gain a few more scenes for her highlight reel, and that when she sleeps, she still dreams of baseball.