My Grandmother’s Boyfriend
By J.R. Lebert aka jrlebert
On May 20, 2013, one of the most special, caring, and important people I will ever know, Theresa Agro, my grandmother, “Me-Ma”, passed away. Me-Ma was a profound influence on my life, and, oddly enough, on my love for baseball and the New York Mets.
Little does he know, but in a way, today is a sad day for David Wright. You see, back in 2005, my grandmother started a relationship with David. He became her boyfriend. Charmed by his good looks, but thrilled more with his prowess at the plate, David Wright gave Me-Ma someone to cheer for again on her beloved Mets. Every time he got a big hit, or made a diving catch, she would always say the same thing: “Did you see my boyfriend? Did you see him do that?” I only wish she was in better health to have seen him in this year’s World Baseball Classic, performing so well, some gave him the nickname Captain America. On Monday, David lost a potential suitor.
Me-Ma’s love affair with the Mets, and eventually Mr. Wright, started way back in the late 60s. Many Mets and future Mets lived within a few miles of her, in Westchester, NY. She corresponded with Art Shamsky, and any other of the Mets who would come by his house. I still have the signed card she got, personalized, to me. She was a long time jeweler in White Plains, and other ballplayers would stop in, and she would strike up conversations with them, too. Through and through, to the end, Me-Ma was a Mets fan.
In a family full of Yankees fans, there were a few of us who stuck out, but none more so than Me-Ma, and her sister, my Aunt Lou. They were both fervent Mets fans, and would talk on the phone after games, often heatedly, about their performance on the field. Me-Ma always said the Mets gave her “agita”, and looking at their record in her life time, it’s not hard to see why. She was a fan through the mostly dismal 60s, the almost always dreadful 70s, and of course the eventful and flashy 80s, which is where I come in the picture.
One of, if not THE first baseball memory of mine, is sitting on her couch, watching Darryl Strawberry and the 1986 Mets. Me-Ma LOVED those late-80s Mets, with Darryl, Doc, Gary Carter, Bobby Ojeda (she called him Bobby Agita, of course), and Lee Mazzilli, the Italian superstar. It was those memories of watching games with her that turned this kid born and raised in Los Angeles into a lifelong Mets fan. Every time Me-Ma and I talked during baseball season, one of the first things that would come up would be our Metropolitans. She was able to see many more games than I, as I was in L.A. I was never sure if this was a good thing or not for her stress level, because the conversation always started with, “Did you see what they did last night? What were they thinking?”
In 2000, Me-Ma and I talked before, during, or after every single game of the World Series. Needless to say, Armando Benitez was never a favorite of hers. Few things brought her more joy recently, however, than watching her boyfriend, David Wright. He was, in her eyes, the perfect Met. He was good looking, a good person, and a good player, and that was really all she needed in a suitor. No matter that the relationship was a bit one-sided (he never did take her on a date…), she loved her David, and her Mets.
Just last month, I visited her in the hospital, and it was obvious her health was not good. She was in and out of it, as I would imagine many are at the age of 93, and we had very few conversations, none of which lasted very long. There was, of course, the one moment she was with it that the Mets came up. I was telling her about what else I had planned during my stay in New York. My primary reason, of course, was to see and spend time with her. Weeks ago, when I planned the trip, I looked to see if my Mets were home, and of course they were. It was only a few days before the game, however, that I realized I would be able to see Matt Harvey throw against Steven Strasburg!
I told Me-Ma that I was going to the game, and even as out of it as she was, she looked me dead in the eye and told me, “I hope they win!” True to the end, Me-Ma was a Mets fan.
Thank you, Me-Ma, for being my grandmother, and the greatest fan the Mets ever had.
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