It's November 18, 1935 and the Great Depression is in full force. To eke out an existence, your mother washes paper scraps and resells them as stationery on street corners. Your father sometimes joins her, selling apple cores since only swells get to sell whole apples. They leave you at home in charge of your six younger siblings and you amuse them by staging dust bunny races using drinking straws you find in restaurant trash bins as locomotion.
Somehow, in spite of all of this, your parents scrape together the money for a brand new Pie Traynor model baseball glove. They wrap it in leaves for your birthday because there's no money left over for proper gift paper.
"Oh boy!" you shout as the cool, determined visage of Traynor is revealed as you pull the leaves away. "Just what I always wanted!" You sleep with it on a shelf just over the sagging bed you share with your kin, looking forward to the first time you can put it to use.
The rest of the winter is cold and hard. You and your brothers eat on even-numbered days while your sisters are fed on the odds. For Christmas dinner, everyone splits a single orange.
As January and February crawl by, you try to earn some money shoveling sidewalks, but you have no shovel and nobody will hire a boy who offers to clear their front step using just his hands and mouth.
Finally, spring pushes winter to the side. The snow clears and the sound of balls smacking against bats and gloves fills the air. You think of your Pie Traynor glove, still in the tissue in its box. You'd love to get it out and slide your hand inside and pretend you're holding down the hot corner for the Buccos. But you can't, you're too weak and you shake all the time. Instead, you just stare at the glove in its box in the ever-dimming light that is your field of vision.
Soon enough, all is darkness.