Batting helmet. Talisman. Object of veneration.
This plastic replica Milwaukee Brewers batting helmet holds a special place in our family. As we’ve moved about the country, the helmet has come with us as a sort of cornerstone, which bears some explanation.
Silly as it may seem, I was elated to get this helmet at age 22. I was finishing up my master’s degree at Marquette University in 1979 when I went to a Yankees-Brewers game at Milwaukee County Stadium. My friend Larry Muri, a college classmate then at DePaul law school in Chicago, came up for a visit. We sat in right field, where we’d get a good look at Mr. October, the Yanks’ Reggie Jackson.
A Yankees fan from Connecticut, Larry claimed never to have seen the team lose a game. But this night was different. I don’t remember the score, but the Brewers won. And there was much rejoicing in southeastern Wisconsin.
Within two years, I would get my master’s, move to Illinois, get married and move back to Milwaukee. By ’83, our young family was on the move, to Omaha, Neb. We moved into a rental house in 1984, and it had a small alcove above the fireplace. As we unpacked, I hung the Brewers helmet there to signify that we were “home,” and we’ve kept that tradition up every move since.
Midwest. West Coast. East Coast. West Coast again. The Brewers helmet means “this is home.”