Why would 10 childhood friends, whose lives have pulled them in a variety of directions, send $250 each to one of their old neighborhood buddy — a guy some of them hadn’t seen in decades?

This isn’t the start of a riddle or a mystery story, but a tale of friendship, set on a one-square-block parcel of Oswego real estate, bordered by Liberty, Bronson, Ontario and Lake streets. That city block, adjacent to Breitbeck Park, became the city’s splash pad in 2021. In 1971 that same park was dedicated as Crisafulli Park, but even before that, it was the sandlot ballpark for a bunch of 1st Ward kids that I was (and still am) proud to be a part of. We called it The Diamond Match Park — named after the Oswego match factory that employed hundreds of Oswegonians who made stick matches for America during the first half of the 20th century. 

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