Baseball anyone?

Growing up as the only grandchild of an avid baseball fan could have been a strife had I been a “girly girl” but by the time I was five it was fairly obvious that I was a diehard tom boy. I was that girl who made mud pies then stored them for later in the tang jars using the tang to spice them up to see what would happen over time. I knew they wouldn’t be eaten, just was that kind of curious. I caught night crawlers in my mother’s pitchers, played with the roly-polies and climbed anything that everyone thought shouldn’t be climbed. My dad taught me how to throw a Frisbee much to our roof and his lack of a ladder’s discontent. He also gave me a Big Wheel about that time that I raced around the block as fast as I could tumbling everyone and everything in my way. While I was always embarrassed when someone fell or I almost hit a moving target such as a dog or cat, it only made me go faster. So, when I was six and moved down to live with my mother’s parents, it wasn’t that big of a step to go from all that to learning how to play baseball.

My grandfather was as much of a diehard baseball fan as I was a diehard tomboy which was a match made in heaven. Understand that my grandfather was born in 1898 and didn’t have much to say to girls, but when he saw me watch the games with him and heard me talk about going to the Mets World Series in 1969, well, he took matters into his own hands. Without talking to my mother or grandmother who were both still trying hard to turn me into a Cupie Doll with curly strawberry blondes curls, which by the way I NEVER had, he drove me over to the Western Union and bought me my first baseball, glove, and a pitch back. Then he took me out into the yard and showed me how to throw that ball! I can’t tell you how many hours, days, weeks, I tossed that ball, but I know that I finally wore it out. I tossed, threw, and slammed balls into that thing until I blew holes in it. When I was about eight, he bought me my first bat. It was a tiny thing, more of a toy size than a real bat, but that was ok. I was a tiny girl. At the age of eight, I was the size of a normal five year old, if that. So there I was in my designer clothes that my mother and grandmother chose for me each day, outside throwing balls as hard and fast as I could into my pitch back. Once I got that bat, well, he took me out into the open field that we all called “The Park” and showed me how to hit that ball! I was in heaven!

My grandfather died in 1989. He had cancer for a very long time, but in the end it wasn’t the cancer that got him but rather just old age. He was bed ridden for years before he went with nurses in his home to take care of him. He was a gentle man, a gruff man who didn’t have much to say to females. As I grew up and my mother wouldn’t let me play “boy games” that would develop “boy muscles” he and I talked less and less. I missed those early days when he would take me places and show me all those neat things. He was a wonderful man who I love and miss to this day.

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