Stoop in DARE

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Sep 26 00:55:27 UTC 2007

I'm pretty sure that a "small, pink, rubber ball" called a "spaldeen"
/ "Spalding" or by any other name was unknown in Saint Louis. White
families with children were moving into the old neighborhood even
after my family moved out. So, I don't think that it was a racial
thing, since, strictly speaking, we never lived in a 'hood or in the
ghetto, as these terms are understood, nowadays, and there were always
white kids around to play with. At one time, we even shared the kind
of micro-apartment building known in Saint Louis as a "two-family
flat" with a white family. I'm abstracting away from living conditions
in East Texas, of course, where segregation was as absolute as in
Mississippi, except at the neighborhood Catholic church. Which is
probably why I still count myself as a member of The One, True Faith,
though I haven't attended of my own accord any kind of church function
whatever since the '50's.


On 9/25/07, Joel S. Berson <Berson at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: Stoop in DARE
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 9/25/2007 10:53 AM, you wrote:
> >My stars alive! I'd forgotten about that stoop ball! I used to play it
> >myself! The game plays okay against a wooden stoop, too, at least if
> >you use a tennis ball.
> And better if you use a Spalding (known in the inner city as a
> "spaldeen", but gentrified by the Wantagh school superintendent below)?  See
> for the connection (and growing up in Brooklyn):
> The "stoop" (front steps) served the dual purpose of "receiving the
> only "toy" I had for many years - a Spalding ball. Stoop ball and
> stick ball were America's (inner city) games, and no electronic
> device or life-size hobby kit has ever come close to matching the joy
> I received from that small, pink, rubber ball always within my grasp.
> Joel
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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