It is time.

Time to sell 50 Lawn Ave.

Our family emptied out my mother’s house, and in the process, unpacked some memories. Growing up there, I took full advantage of being so close to Rockland High School. I went to football practice almost every day, beginning in the era of Doc Hersom’s teams.

I loved the whole thing, and they never minded me being there.

Those football players were bigger than life for a 10-year-old boy. They did pushups, pushed the sled, hit tackling dummies and ran laps around the field. They wore white practice uniforms covered in grass stains and taped their ankles. The practices were loud and then got quiet.

“Huddle up” or “Take a Knee” gathered in a circle; only the coach spoke. Everyone was still and quiet except for the sounds of the equipment. Pads and helmets making sounds. They all had mouth guards made of plastic that they had to take home and put in boiling water, then bite down on them to mold into their mouths. All of it bordering on the mystical.

A week of practice led to a celebration Friday night. A rally complete with a bonfire was held between the school and our house. I got to stay up late and go. Everyone dressed in orange and black. Cheerleaders wore their uniforms and led cheers. Someone arrived in a 1955 Chevy painted like a tiger in orange with black stripes. Before the game against the Shipbuilders of Morse High School in Bath, the bonfire featured an old boat atop the wood pile. Everyone sang Rockland High School’s song.

Game day at the south field: it was always windy, the two teams take the field, each on their side of the 50-yard line. Jumping jacks and pushups to get warmed up. The dingy white practice uniforms are now replaced with the colorful team colors. The stands fill while the coaches prowl the sidelines.

Also along for every home game, was Old Doc Wasgatt. He delivered me at the old Knox Hospital (as you may know, in a blizzard), and all of the Tigers on the field. He would pace back and forth, his eyebrows dancing nonstop.

If a player on either team got hurt, Doc Wasgatt would run out on the field with his bag and administer first aid. By the way, Doc Wasgatt always drove a new Pontiac Grand Prix, from Moody Pontiac Buick.

Now the house is empty, revealing a time capsule. The house which was built in 1955 by my parents never had any renovations save for two bedrooms built in the attic. A black and pink bathroom, Patterned linoleum on the kitchen floor with matching linoleum on the counters. Everything is as it was growing up.

Groundkeeper that I am, I have not moved far. The Grass Ranch is about a quarter mile from 50 Lawn Ave. I did not move far from that generation I grew up watching. I see them all the time. We all share in a sense of place and affection for what might be called real Rockland stuff. Real Rockland sauce.

This is a good time to savor it.

Glenn Billington is a lifelong resident of Rockland and has worked for The Courier-Gazette and The Free Press since 1989.

50 Lawn Avenue Glenn Billington