I remember that the old timers had different names for the Wards of the City. The First Ward was called Three Rivers, Second Ward was Lockport, Third Ward was Canada and Fourth Ward was Brooklyn. I am sure that there was reasoning behind all of this, but I never made an effort to find out what it was. I, as well as most of the other kids, were more concerned with a little saying that we had. It went:
First Ward Sissies
Second Ward Tuffs
Third Ward Cherry Pits
Fourth Ward Bluffs
Now the kids in the First Ward were not really sissies, nor were the Third Warders Cherry Pits, but the Second Warders were Tuffs and the Fourth Warders were definitely Bluffs.
I think that the reason the First Ward kids were called Sissies was because the rest of us thought that they thought they were better than the rest of us. This was not the case, I know, but it was a fact that the most of the “RICH” kids, in town, lived in the First Ward. They had their own baseball gloves and their catcher had his own face mask. Sometimes, when we played them, they would bring two bats to the game. In our case, if the kid, who owned the bat, didn’t show up, for the game, we wouldn’t even have one bat.
I think that one reason that us fourth warders liked to play Baseball or Football with First Ward was, that we usually could get almost through with the game before the fight started, and if one did start we could, almost, hold our own.
That was entirely different when we played Second Ward. Quite often, when we played, over there, the fight would start before the game did. The situation was about the same when we played Third Ward.
The problem was, we were the smallest ward, in town, and consequently we had the least number of kids that could participate. The result was that we usually got beat whether it was baseball, football, or fighting. The only thing that we excelled in was Track. We could out run most any kid in town, and would prove it, at least once a week. We had, unintentionally, developed a very effective strategy. We were able to foresee a confrontation developing, and in most cases, we would high tail it for home, just before the fight started which, justifiably, earned us the title of Bluffs.
If we wanted to play ball we had to find a vacant lot or a field that the owner would let us use. Then we had to make our own diamond, get our own equipment and arrange our own schedules. No one did those things for us and our mothers didn’t come to the games to heckle the umpire or the manager, because we had neither an umpire nor a manager. We never were real sure just what day we were going to have a game, when it would start or who we were going to play, but we sure did have fun and I have some scars to prove it.