Friday, April 13, 2012

Ben Abadie... Rest in Peace and Thanks!

Bernard E. Ben Abadie Jr. Obituary: View Bernard Abadie's Obituary by The Times-Picayune
This is the man that got me a "scholarship" to go to Redemptorist H.S. to play baseball and football. He was good friends with my father as both had ball careers interrupted by WWII.  I met his daughter, Liz, at Hines Elementary Summer camp where, as ten year olds, we spent two summers staying out of our parents hair. Every now and then, I'd see her at American Sporting Goods where a cranky, but nice old dude named, "Monk" use to tease us. As a kid, he sort of reminded me of Popeye.

In the late fifties and early sixties, my dad used to frequent Ben's sporting goods store on Harrison Avenue to purchase equipment. I was like a kid in a... uh, sporting goods store! Baseballs and softballs individually wrapped in tissue paper in its own separate box. Catcher's mitts, four fingered Rawlings infield gloves, wool uniforms and fitted, woolen baseball caps not only stacked neatly on the shelves, but also bought and brought home where I could sample each aspect of the game. I use to love to sift through a box of a dozen Louisville Sluggers. It smelled so... so baseball like and the sound of wooden bats rattling in the box was too much to ignore! When my dad would bring the bats home, he would individually take each bat out of the box and burn a "X" across the bat's knob with a hot ice pick to distinguish his bats from other teams.

When my dad stopped playing and coaching baseball, basketball and touch football, our pilgrimages to Ben's store slowly dwindled and I didn't see him or Liz until I was a freshman in high school. The Abadies were but one of many "pillars" of the Irish Channel... and there were so many of them there.

I was a sophomore, when in biology class, I noticed a beautiful brown-eyed girl sitting two rows from me paying attention to the teacher. I was not. Little did I know then that this "biological classmate" was the cousin of my childhood, summer school friend and that the man who got me into Redemptorist was her uncle.

Pretty small world, huh? Even more coincidental was that the girl I was first smitten with and had a high school dating relationship that everyone called, "Mission Impossible," would eventually become my wife!

 So, thanks Mr. Ben Abadie for all you were and all you did for me!

Copyright 2012/ Ben Bensen III


  1. A fine tribute, Ben. I didn't know Dad and Mr. Abadie played ball together. I also never heard that Dad burned an X into the wooden bats to signify his ownership. Being the youngest, it seems that I don't know any of the old stories. And where on Harrison Avenue was this sporting goods shop? I'm glad that you got the girl in the end. I always love a happy ending!

  2. Hey MDNewbie... yeh, some of this was when I was a little tyke. 7,8,9, 10 years old. As I've mentioned before, we were a different family then and I got to spend a lot more time with dad then probably y'all did. At least, when he and I were young!