Tuesday, April 12, 2016
in search of crocker's barn
"Have you been to Crocker's barn?" asked Nick Rolfing. "Where?" "Crocker's barn - it's where we played ball on the weekends. Guys from Holton, Versailles, Osgood - all over. In fact, I think the Attucks team stopped to play on their way to a game in Madison. Old Orville Crocker built a court in the loft of his barn so that his boys could play ball. But on Sundays we'd catch rides down there just to play. You need to see it." And so the search was on. A couple of phone calls led us to Tanya Horn, Orville's granddaughter, and she told us that yes, Crocker's Christmas tree farm was home to the barn or was, before it fell victim to Hurricane Ike. "You're welcome to come, but there's not much left." A Google map search confirmed the location & condition of the barn and without much trouble we arrived at the long gravel lane that had been the pathway for so many young ballplayers through the years. We shared stories with Tanya, her grandmother and uncles and saw what was left - flooring with a faded out of bounds line, a backboard spared by the wayward winds of 2008 and a photo journal of long lost teams. "My granddad wouldn't let me go out to watch - you know, those were high school boys and I was pretty young," Tanya told us. Another time in an old place, getting harder to remember. CGS.