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Memories of Grandpas on Memorial Day: While We’re Waiting

Cleveland Sports

A belated Memorial Day thank you to all of those that gave their lives for us, and for the familes that still remember them. 

Gerberries1 are by nature emotional. It’s part of our personality, what makes us…us. It is an endearing characteristic that has good and bad sides. On the good, I am naturally empathic and caring, always attempting to help people as much as possible which leads to one of the “bad” sides: we often take in “strays” as I like to call them, kids or young adults we meet at church or the theater and take care of/befriend them despite whatever their family life may be. It’s been very important to my wife and I that we be one of those houses you can always go to, our table is always open and coffee and tissues are flowing whatever the need be.2

Another defining characteristic of Gerberries is we are very nostalgic. My dad often has songs or videos that remind him of times from mine and my sister’s youth and will play them almost endlessly, an odd type of almost torture that he uses like puppy dog eyes to get what he wants from us. Despite being married for three years this month, we have many antiques and useful items that are almost 100 years old. Nostalgic as we may be, we very rarely hold onto things without a purpose. For instance, I have two of my Grandpa Gerberry’s lamps and his knife set that he used. The lamps are still functional, one will be in our nursery for our little berry coming this November, and the knives I use often, the big butcher knife proving to be useful for holidays and carving the turkey or ham.

One such item I have that was used this past Memorial Day was a Grady Sizemore shirsey my Granda Bob got for me when we went to an Indians game. Now, Bob was not my biological grandfather, but you couldn’t convince him of that. He took great care of me and my sister as we were growing up, and though football was his true sports love, we would watch the Indians over the summer months. My love for baseball in and of itself is nostalgic, my Grandpa Gerberry3 would turn on the game on TV and mute the volume and listen to Tom Hamilton call the games on the radio. To this day, any time I hear Hammy scream out a home run, I still think of those summers with grandpa, rooting for Manny Ramirez, Grandpa’s favorite on the roster, before he became the man in the (Green) Monster. Sizemore was the next player to put on the 24, and so he was my guy, and he was thusly grandpa approved.

As I grabbed the shirsey out of the drawer, Memorial Day being one of the few days I break out the Sizemore, I was reminded of the times we had together, and how sports were intertwined with my grandpas. I scored my first goal in youth soccer league at the first game Grandpa Gerberry attended. ((I was not good…it took me almost four years to score.)) One beloved picture is of baby me in the arms of Grandpa Gerberry at Jacob’s Field. Countless Sundays on the couch with Grandpa Bob, yelling at the Browns to score, wishing for better rosters and a winning team.4 Both served in the military, and while they both used those experiences to shape who they became, they did not define the people they were. They both have since passed, many years apart, but the memories are still fresh.

Often my aunt will tell me how much my grandpa would have enjoyed reading the stuff I put out here on WFNY. I would like to think so, as I sometimes look back at these instances and feel sad that our little baby5 will not be able to make memories with my grandparents, but I am always excited to be able to share the stories with him or her. Growing up with the grandpas I had, it was of little or no surprise that I became as big a sports fan as I am. I know that our little one will have plenty of adventures with Papa Gerbs,6 and because it will be my kid with the grandpa he or she will have, sports will inevitably be connected as well. Now let’s get Jose Ramirez and Frankie Lindor signed long term so we know who the topic of those memories will be.

  1. The word my wife and I jokingly use to refer to ourselves and my family, as it works better and looks more natural than the grammatically correct Gerberry’s. []
  2. That offer extends online as well, as I have reached out and talked to many a person who also has dealt with anxiety as I have and been a hopeful source of levity and strength. []
  3. Who I was named after. []
  4. Still working on that, Bob. []
  5. Due at the end of November. []
  6. There has always been an odd fight between my dad and me over who gets to be “Gerbs” but when my sister had a baby, we settled that he is now Papa Gerbs. Or at least I settled it, he’s old and forgets things. []