I spent many years being driven around by Taffy. Part of this was the traditional grandparent/granddaughter relationship, but also I didn’t get my license until I was 32. That meant, until recently, most of the time I spent with Taffy in a car was with her driving. To keep me entertained, Taffy would hand me the garage door opener and I would pretend it was a communicator. When I was old enough (and finally tall enough) to sit in the front seat, we’d talk about Cleveland, and family and, yes, stories.
I remember driving past a graveyard, where the park next door was being torn down.
“My father taught me to play baseball there,” she said, pointing. ”Taught me to field a ball.”
My great-grandfather, Julius, was not a big guy, and the idea of him teaching anyone baseball was funny to me. He was also the parent of three girls, and I suppose at that point he had to teach baseball to someone, and of his daughters, Taffy was it.
“Every time we hit a foul ball, it went into the graveyard, and my father would boost me up over the gate so I could go in and get the ball.”
I thought about that for a while and then asked the obvious. ”How’d you get back over? Did you … climb on a gravestone or something?”
Taffy was quiet a moment and then laughed, “You know, I probably did.”