Reminiscing with my Granddaughter
by Ed Schoenberger
I was in Sunnyside just last month (September 16, 2016) for the first time in many decades - visiting the little park at the foot of 49th on 39th Avenue with my granddaughter who was just starting at NYU. She encouraged me to go back and visit and I think, wanted to see where old granddad grew up after all those years of knowing me only as a California guy. I lived at 3910 49th Street although I remember my mother telling me that we lived on 48th street for a short time when I was a year old. That was a visit of a lifetime with my granddaughter - seeing Sunnyside (and Queensview where we moved in 1951) through her eyes.
I remember playing baseball with Steve Kappel in Sunnyside Park which was right across 39th Avenue from my house at 3910. My mother always knew where to find me. I was never anywhere else. What an ideal place. The baseball field was my second home. A little basketball, stickball, I even tried tennis. A few tackle football games. But in the end that really nice baseball diamond was the place I remember best and had the most fun.
Sunnyside was certainly a special place and wonderful if you were a kid, as I recall. I was lucky to live only 100 yards or so from that little park. No matter what, my mother would always know where to find me no matter how late or how dark. It was where I learned to play baseball and stickball, and where my cousin Billy Dolid (who lived on 43rd Street) taught me to dribble a basketball. I used to stand on the baseball field and count the cars on the Long Island Railroad trains that went by just past the left field fence.
My mother Mildred, who lived to within a shade of her 98th birthday used to keep me informed of former Sunnysiders long after she moved out to the west coast. She would go back and forth and in her later years would correspond and speak by phone with the New Yorkers she’d left behind. She was incredibly at home living in Berkeley. She gobbled up all the radical doings nurtured and flourishing here - the Grey Panthers, the Women Peace, the China-US Friendship Committee, the Communist Party (or what was left of it), Committees of Correspondence and a whole bunch of others - which made her feel right at home 3500 hundred miles from Sunnyside and Queens. Of course, seeing her grandchildren was right up there as well!