Stan Gerding

Dear Grandson: In My Day

In his latest “Dear Grandson,” Stan Gerding writes to his grandson about what it was like being a kid and playing baseball with his friends and what his parents did for work.


Dear Grandson,

I see all the resources that you have at your beck and call—such as games and educational materials—and all you have to do is get on the computer and press a button.

I wonder how you would have been in my era? How it would be like for you to get up in the morning and know that your entertainment will be riding your bike with your friends, going to the candy store and getting a piece of bubble gum for a penny, and getting ready to go to the baseball field to play a game of baseball with your pals?

We had one bat that was cracked several times and put together by large amounts of tape and a nail. Years ago, when we all wanted to play ball, we would meet at the firehouse on our bikes and go together to the ball field and play ball. The ball field was probably four miles away from my home and all you did was tell your mother that you were going down to the ball field to play ball with your buddies. Our moms would tell us a time when they expected us home for supper. No worries or cares.

My family was probably considered lower middle class, my father was a tool and die maker. His job was to make these dies for punch presses to form different pieces that would be used in cars, planes, and other machines. Everything my father did had to be precise, if not these parts did not work. My father didn’t make a lot of money, but we had meals provided every night and my mother made sure that we had a dessert after every evening meal.


My father didn’t make a lot of money, but we had meals provided every night and my mother made sure that we had a dessert after every evening meal.


I had three older brothers: one ten years older than me, one eight years older, and one five years older. Not one of us ever went into the same work as my father. The boys never really showed an interest in that line of work. One was into selling air conditioners, one was an accountant, the other one worked for a company that made glue and starch, and, of course, I went into the medical field.

My father got Alzheimer’s at the early age of 62 and retired. My grandmother, my father’s mother, had Alzheimer’s too and eight out of ten siblings had the disease, and now I have a brother with it. Alzheimer’s is a horrific disease. It was tough seeing my father go from a very sharp individual to someone not knowing from day to day who he was, where he was, or, for that matter, what he was doing. Maybe someday they will find a cure for this dreaded disease, just maybe your generation will find a cure.

My mother was a stay-at-home parent and did the wash, dishes, made beds, sewing, and did the cooking. They were called homemakers back in the day. I would call them “home workers” because doing housework is really hard work (I know, I’ve been doing this since my retirement). Nowadays, it is common for both parents to work because the times dictate that, if you want to get by, both parents should work. Housework usually gets done on the weekends by both parents.

I can remember coming home from school and smelling fresh-baked pies and I knew that when I walked in the door there would be a sweet treat waiting for me. My mother made a couple of pies and with the leftover dough she would cut them into strips and put sugar and cinnamon on them and bake them. That, my grandson, was my sweet treat!

More later, my grandson.




Stan Gerding is the author of the book The Nam “Doc” A Navy Corpsman’s Story.


Stan Gerding

Stan Gerding is a retired veteran after 23 years in the Navy that included a tour of duty in Vietnam as a Corpsman, 1968-1969. He has since been the administrator of various healthcare organizations, a high school science teacher, an author, a singer, and is the father of Greg Gerding and grandfather to Jack.

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  1. Corie Skolnick said:

    Oh, how I love the purity of these memories. The desire to be known – really known – by your grandson is palpable and so sweet. Nowhere do I hear a lament for the “good old days”, just a tender telling of what YOUR childhood and your family was like. Bravo, Stan. Keep ’em coming, please.

  2. S.M. Park said:

    Well written and certainly very evocative to this old boomer, Stan . . . we grew up in a different world with a freedom to create life anew each day!