by FRANK DESORBO
Many grandparents share a new experience each September. Many grandparents also recall this popular event from days gone by. They watch the grandchildren going off to school for the first time. Watching them get on the school bus for kindergarten, off to high school, going to college are memories for mom, dad and the grandparents. I walked to grade school and high school in the 50’s and 60’s and those memories still linger. The camaraderie formed with the other students when you walked to school must be the same for those who road school buses. Coming from a household where there was one phone, one TV, one bathroom for five children was a real chore for my mother, father and grandmother. How did we ever make it to school?
Never knowing either of my grandfathers, events with my grandchildren are memorable to me and them. Many grandparents only get to see their grandchildren a few times a year because of travel distances. It is so unfortunate or in rare cases maybe a blessing! I experienced for the first time my grandson going away to college in Syracuse. At least Syracuse is only a two hour drive home on the Thruway. Alex plays the guitar and returned home for his final concert sponsored by the School of Rock. Every one asked “how you doing?” I was a little comical and said “You even look smarter.”
Remember when some kids would bring an apple to school for their teacher. The memorable and enjoyable days of ‘Indian Summer’ were great for apple picking with the children or grandchildren. Look through your old photos and you’ll probably find some pictures at the apple orchards. The hot apple pies with a glass of milk at grandma’s sticks in my mind. Your children and grandchildren may recall something special that you forgot.
October was always special to me because baseball, the World Series and football collided. The first World Series game was played on October 13, 1971 (Game 4) at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. In my school days, all the Series games were played during the day and many kids brought radios to school. Today the games start so late that young kids have to see the key plays on the smart phones the next day. I became a lifelong and devoted fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1955. Yes the Dodgers eventually beat the New York Yankees in the World Series in 1955. In a seven year span from 1947 through 1953, the Dodgers lost four World Series to the Yankees. The Dodgers were called Bums in 1954 and 1955 season but the loyal loving fans stuck with them (a book entitled ‘Bums’ by Peter Golenbock was even written). Then respect and redemption in 1955 and all was forgotten. Johnny Podres won two Series games and especially with his 7th game 2-0 complete game over the Yankees. He later resided in Queensbury and was a quiet star in Yankee country. His son was a harness driver for years at Saratoga Harness Track. I have a special heartfelt memory every October.
The football season was in action in October and TV switched from weekly baseball game to professional and college football. College football was bigger that the pros back then and some say it still is. I recall seeing on TV the greatest running back in Jim Brown. He was exciting to watch when the game was more running than passing. It all changed when the old AFL, our Jets, drafted Joe Namath. He definitely changed the game and football’s popularity.
The grandparent’s national song should be “I Am Growing Older But Not Up.” See it on YouTube by Jimmy Buffett.