Our Story - Grady and I School Project: Social Studies About a Family Experience

(Grady asked me about my family and his dad when he was growing up. This is what I told him.)

A man does what he can to raise a family properly with pride. Sure, I made my share of mistakes along the way with raising our 3 kids - 2 daughters and 1 son. Times were never the easiest. I worked a job at the mill since I left high school. Some thought that baseball might be a way out for me. I could run, hit with a bit of power and played a hot corner with the best of them. But in my senior year, I tripped rounding second base and bulldozed my right shoulder straight into the diamond surface. During those days, we never got to play on really good surfaces, it was mostly just pebbles, stones, and hard ground. My shoulder popped out and the doctor said I was done for good. To this day, it aches almost every night.

My son Gary never cared for baseball, although he had good physical talent. He was more into rock music and getting into trouble. All I wanted for my son was not to end up being like me: stuck in the mill and working an honest but very hard job. There is a whole world out there with so many more opportunities than what I had as a kid. Gary got himself in a ton of trouble and was almost kicked out of high school. And then he met Janet and all of a sudden he became a father himself. He was around 17. I was heart broken. If it wasn't for my wife, I don't know what I would have done.

To get a new start on life, Gary and Janet took their baby daughter and left our town. I was heartbroken. But I knew it was for the best because Gary needed to get a new start to life and provide for his young family. Eventually, he went back to school and graduated. Later, he went to college. It was never easy for Gary and Janet. Gary worked at nights with Janet at home with the baby. I almost never heard from them. To my surprise, he sent me a copy of a college certificate. He was the first in our family to graduate from college. My heart almost stopped. My son Gary was now a teacher! I was so proud. Even though he hated baseball and other sports when he was young, he became a gym teacher. It was pure luck for him because the school had no job openings except for their gym teacher deciding to retire. Gary was worried, but he took the job because he wanted a challenge and had a family to provide. It was tough on him at first. But over the years, he got better and better.

When Gary was over 40, he found out about a huge surprise from Janet. They were expecting. And it was a boy. After having 3 girls, he never thought he would have a son. We were all worried because of their age. But it worked out and they had a healthy baby boy named Grady. I was surprised because that is my middle name. Through all the years, I did not have much contact with Gary or Janet. And now I found out that I had a new grandson named Grady. It was the best news of my life. A few more years passed. I had long since retired from the mill. My wife of 50 years passed away from cancer. I was all alone in a house that had seen so much life. My kids were all grown up and on their own with their families. Most of my friends had moved away or died. It was lonely. And then the phone rang. It was Gary. Gary asked me if we could talk in person. I no longer could drive and was a little ashamed to tell my son. He told me not to worry and that he would buy me a plane ticket to visit his family. So many years had passed and I never thought about it until then that I had never seen his family's home. Where did life go? I said I would go. I packed a small suitcase (I don't have much anyway), and I left. I met my son's family at the airport. He looked so much older to me. God knows what I looked like to him.

Grady was something else. I cried when I held my grandson for the first time. It was the best of times for me. I visited their home. It was wonderful. They have a lovely backyard, and I noticed that it had a few baseballs and a bat. Grady asked me if I would throw some pitches to him. He was working on his swing. It was so much fun for us. Later that night, Gary asked if I wanted to stay with them at the house for good. Janet said it was okay. I accepted right away, but said that it might be best for all of us that I find an old folk's home to live in eventually (which I ended up doing). Gary also told me that he was now coaching Grady's team. He asked me if I wanted to help coach. The team needed someone at first place. Me, a coach? I was scared. Even those this was just kids' baseball, it was Grady's team and I didn't want to embarrass him. Grady himself then asked his grandpa - me - to coach first base. I said yes, and I did. It was the best summer ever. I've coached with my son for 4 years now. And always for Grady's teams. To think we were separated for so long. And now we are all together.

Baseball is the greatest game ever. Tonight, Grady and I typed this together here. Yes, we are watching the Super Bowl. Everyone is over at the house watching the game. But he needed to do this for a school project about a family experience. Some nice thoughts to Grady would be appreciated. He would like to print this out and share with his class later this week. We hope you enjoy our story as much as we enjoyed sharing it with all of you! Thank you.

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