Write Again … One such special place

Published 12:11 am Tuesday, July 19, 2011

If we are fortunate — blessed — there is a place, perhaps two or three places, that are very, very special to us in the course of a lifetime.

There is one such place here in our little town that has been very special to literally thousands of children, adolescents, young adults, and many others as well.

This special place has been a genuine “field of dreams” for decades.

You see, on March 26, 1923, Frank C. Kugler and his wife Charlotte B. Kugler deeded the area known as Kugler Field to the Board of School Trustees of the city of Washington, N.C.

Friends, that was a long time ago. The Roaring Twenties; only five years removed from the end of “the war to end all wars.”

In the deed we read “these premises above described to be used by the schools of the City of Washington, N.C., and the general public of the City of Washington, as an athletic ground.”

Football, baseball, city league softball, this storied field has seen generation after generation of not only city residents, but those in our county as well, use and enjoy Kugler Field, making lifelong memories in the process.

This special place means so much to me that I’ve asked Sally to scatter some of my ashes there when my journey here is over. (I want her to do this in the football field end zone, because I’ve been there before!)

In my memory I still see the imposing stone wall that encircled the field. It was built by a masonry class at the former P.S. Jones High School in 1937-38.

My Kugler Field memories are myriad, and not without emotion. Even through the mists of such memories I think of all the high school football games my father took me to, both Washington High and P.S. Jones.

I recall with clarity the joy of attending softball double headers on warm summer evenings, especially in the first few years after World War II. Television had not driven folks indoors then. My high school football days there are among the most cherished times of my life.

While our schools no longer rely on using Kugler Field for their athletic events, the facility is still used to this day by recreation teams.

Over the years, the city of Washington maintained Kugler Field for use by the schools, until 2008 when the Beaufort County School Board assumed complete control. This is what I have been told.

It doesn’t take a very savvy person to know that budgets must become as austere as possible during this protracted economic downturn. Our city, our county, our schools are in belt tightening mode. It is what it is.

One could easily understand if our school board feels that maintenance monies spent on Kugler Field are not high priorities.

Letting Kugler Field become less than it can be, should be, shouldn’t be an option either.

It just seems — if I’m wrong here, please let me know — that transferring ownership of Kugler Field to the city would make sense. Preventive maintenance and grass cutting shouldn’t be prohibitively expensive.

Well, that’s it. I tried to stay away from too much waxing nostalgic.

The generosity of the Kugler family has touched, in a wonderfully positive way, thousands of us, and has now been doing so for 88 years.

Thank you, Frank and Charlotte Kugler.

Thank you.