Today is a significant day between my Grandfather and I.
Here is my grandfather as a young man. He loved baseball and was quite a good player. Good enough in fact that a major league baseball team wanted to sign him up for their farm team in the minors. He was underage at the time and needed written permission from his parents. Unfortunately his mother saw no value in such nonsense and refused to sign the forms. I cannot begin imagine how much better his life could have been had he been able to pursue his passion. Well yes I could. At that time he would have been able to play for the love of the game and not for the love of money as baseball players of today. Anyway, moving on...
My memories of him really begin at between the ages of 5 and 6 for me. This is at the very same time as when he suffered the greatest loss in his life, the loss of his only son, my father, at the all too young age of 27 to a drunk driver. I can look back now and see the sadness and emptiness in his life that I was then unaware of as a child. He was a tile setter all of his life, a true craftsman of the trade - an artist in a profession that we just do not see much of anymore. In his later years he was delegated to doing repair work in the projects of central L.A., the epitome of despair and poverty in the black community. When he was eligible to retire on Social Security he pondered his options and chose to work one more year so as to benefit with a slightly larger monthly Social Security check. Here he taught me one of the greatest lessons in life. He died before that year was complete. Therein is the significance of this day, for today I am exactly the same age, to the day, as was he when my grandmother found him dead.
I was re-reading the letter to me from my grandmother detailing the events of that day, May 1, 1967 but was unable to get through it. Maybe next time.