The Clown House – A Mailbox Baseball Story, Chapter 1: The Halls Move to Hertford

Faneuil Hall always considered himself a bit of an eccentric personality.  Faneuil was named after the famous landmark by his mother, Roberta, who was discovered performing a one person act play called “Tickets, Please” on the cobblestones of Boston by famed Hollywood movie promoter Harry Shaw.  Roberta went on to star in feature films in the 1940s and 1950s and brought her son Faneuil along on her various movie sets.  There on the movie sets, little Fanny, as his mother would call him and he would despise, learned the arts and wonder of the movie prop business.  In the early days of filmmaking, props were an art form and stunts were beautifully choreographed and the action sequences of the films took precision and care.  Faneuil would absorb every moment of the nearly 2 decades he spent on Hollywood sets and eventually become a stunt coordinator and movie prop extraordinaire himself.

Faneuil’s other passion in life was baseball.  He would attend games all over the country on off days from work as he traveled with his studio as they made films in the 1970s and 1980s.  Big Fanny, a new nickname imposed on him by the leftovers of his mother’s generation and equally despised by Faneuil himself, would stop in and see a game and mingle with the fans and parents attending the game.  Rarely did he know the names of the players, the teams competing on the field, nor the outcome of the game.  Faneuil just truly enjoyed the sights, sounds, and aura of a baseball game – at any level of play.

So, when Faneuil Hall retired from the movie industry at the age of 60, finally tied the knot with his longtime girlfriend Cassandra, he and his new wife (also a baseball fan) zeroed in on a very particular home for sale conveniently located next to a baseball complex in Hertford, North Carolina.  The significance – it just so happened to be the baseball complex named after one of Big Fanny’s favorite players growing up – Jim “Catfish” Hunter – and who Faneuil got to know over the years through card shows and some Hollywood connections.  Through a Hollywood studio connection in nearby Virginia Beach, Big Fanny and Cassandra learned of the house for sale, connected with the local real estate group selling the home, and within a few short weeks, had settled on a price and a closing date.  The Halls were moving to Hertford!

Faneuil and Cassandra arrived in Hertford on May 1st to meet with the closing attorney and start their new life in their dream home.  “So, you don’t care about the big red nose painted on the side of the house?” asked June Butters, closing attorney for Fielding Real Estate, the agency handling the sale.  “We think it gives it character,” chimed Cassandra.  June Butters was busy shuffling papers to the Halls for their signatures.  “Folks around here call it the ‘Clown House.’  And they told you about the mailbox situation right?  This one is for local tax purposes.”  Big Fanny scribbled his name on the line above where it read “Faneuil Hall” and looked up at Butters.  “Mailbox situation?” he asked, “this sounds interesting.”  Butters pulled the signed pages back and sent two more over for Cassandra and Big Fanny to sign.  “Let’s just say,” snickered Butters, “that the Clown House has a bit of a reputation for getting picked for local games of mailbox baseball.”  Cassandra and Faneuil looked at each other and started laughing.  “This I have to see,” joked Big Fanny, “this I have to see…” 

Stay tuned for the next installment of “The Clown House, A Mailbox Baseball Story,” when Big Fanny and Cassandra move in to the Clown House and experience their first baseball game, and witness their first glimpse of Mailbox Baseball.

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