Above is a vintage baseball glove, likely from the 1930s. I imagine it has seen many games of catch through the decades—maybe even a World Series game.
Sitting alone on a dark wooden table, the aged leather and loose fingers carry a nostalgic beauty of a glorious baseball era. But a closer look reveals a deeper story—one that elevates our connection to the image when we know more about it.
Purchased by his father after borrowing $5 from his grandfather—which his father paid back—this is the glove Dwier Brown grew up sharing with his brother more than a half-century ago. It is the same mitt his father used to play catch with Dwier and his brother on their Ohio farm.
Dwier, now 62, played John Kinsella in the 1989 movie, “Field of Dreams.” After he landed the role, Dwier stopped by his parents’ house in Ohio on his way to Iowa and retrieved the mitt.
Tragically, his dad died during his visit.
Dwier went from his father’s funeral to the movie set, ironically playing a father who returns from the dead to play catch with his son.
Although Dwier didn’t use the glove in the making of the movie—Kinsella was a catcher, so he had to use a vintage mitt that didn’t bend—having the glove with him maintained his connection to his father.
Dwier—who wrote, “If You Build It …” in 2014—continues traveling the world speaking and spreading goodwill.
To this day, Dwier carries his childhood glove with him everywhere, using it to play catch with fans around the globe during his regular visits to Field of Dreams—the movie set baseball field that was turned into a pop-culture tourist attraction in Dubuque County, Iowa, near Dyersville.
Sometimes knowing the backstory of an item changes the way we feel about it. For me, the story transforms the photograph from a piece of art to a vessel carrying rich memories that connect us to the photograph.
Writing prompts—choosing an item and making up a story about it—is a popular exercise in many writing circles. However, I challenge you to choose an item—a family heirloom, an old bell in front of a downtown store, a statue—and do your research, then write a nonfiction story that brings this forgotten piece of history to life, connecting us in a way that forever changes the way we see the item.
Email your best image (just one, please) with caption information, including an explanation of how it affects you to GPH@pur.coop. We may share the best submissions on our website and social media channels.