View Full Version : My fondest childhood memory - contest entry

04-08-2012, 09:58 AM
(excerpted from a speech given by me at my father’s funeral)
Good afternoon, while some of you look familiar to me, the majority do not. So for those who do not know me I was my father’s oldest son. Those of you familiar with the two of us would more than likely describe our relationship as frustrating or even distant. Then again, those of you who are or have eldest born sons, you may say our relationship was fairly normal. While that may have been true most of the time, today I want to share a story from my childhood with you which better describes how I choose to remember my relationship with my dad from now on.
First, I’d like to give just a little background. My favorite player growing up was always Don Mattingly, for two reasons. First, my dad was always a Yankees fan growing up, and so, in turn, so was I. Second my hometown high school from which I eventually graduated, Logansport High School, beat Mattingly’s high school, Evansville Memorial in the 1979 state finals, which ended a state record 59 game winning streak going back to the previous season. So, even going back to his rookie season, Don Mattingly was always my favorite player.
As a kid, my dad gave me the generous allowance of 50 cents a week, payable at the end of the month of course. At the end of one summer month my dad asks, “son, here’s your allowance, do you have any plans for it?” As any kid growing up in the 80’s in a small town in Indiana, I replied, “let’s go get some baseball cards.” So, he drove me to Woolworths, the largest store in the local mall. I couldn’t wait, so as my dad ordered lunch, I ran to the store to get my cards! I grabbed seven packs of cards which at the time were .30 a piece, took them to the counter and plopped down my $2 allowance and a dime I found in my pocket. The guy rings them up and then tells me I can’t afford all of them and to put something back, the concept of sales tax escaping my young mind. Five to ten minutes later, I emerged from Woolworths with five packs of cards in my hand and evidently a pretty sad look on my face. After a lunch in which I probably said fewer than five words, my dad asked me what was wrong. I told him that the guy in the store made me put a couple of packs of cards back because I didn’t have enough money. My dad says, “let me see what you got there.” So, I showed him the cards I bought and my change. He looks at my cards, then my change, then at me and says, “well hell you still have enough here for some more cards, wait here and I’ll go talk with the guy.” So he takes my change and after a few minutes pass my dad comes back out of the store and drops down two big stacks of wax packs on the table. He looks at me and says, “see son, I told you you had enough there for more cards, now let’s go home and open ‘em up.” And so we drove home and spent the remainder of the day opening up those wax packs and of course I pulled a Don Mattingly.
And so the other day when I was going through the boxes upon boxes of stuff left to me by my dad I happened upon a box with my name on it labeled “sports cards.” You see when I had left for college some years back, I had left all of my cards behind and since my dad had moved a few times, I had given them up for dead years ago. In this box there was a binder with New York Yankees’ stickers plastered all over it, which I recognized as my old binder. As I flipped through the binder I thought the card just had to be in there and sure enough, on the very last page of the binder, my Don Mattingly card I pulled from the pack on that day, which of course had seen better days.
Thank you very much for letting me share with you my fondest childhood memory of my dad.


04-08-2012, 12:02 PM
Very moving story indeed.I too was pretty distant from my Dad years ago.However,I also had a similar experience that is permanately engraved in my memory.Mine just happened to be matchbox cars that were put on the fireplace mantle. And everynight I was able to pick one of the 25 there.Of course it was right before bed so I had to wait until the next day to play with it.Now I know the meaning of "absence makes the heart grow fonder" Thank you for posting 1 of your most cherished moments with your Dad. ~~Dave C.

04-08-2012, 02:07 PM
Very good story, thanks for sharing! Now, if only Woolworth's still sold packs for $.30 a piece!

04-09-2012, 01:19 AM
That story brought on the waterworks. Thanks for sharing the memory.


04-29-2012, 10:00 AM
Good stuff! Published here: http://www.sportscardforum.com/articles/2012/04/my-fondest-childhood-memory/