In his latest “Dear Grandson,” Stan Gerding talks about teaching Lab School, being summoned to his son’s school (again), and Little League.
We had to find another place to live. I went to the Navy Housing office to see how long it was going to take to get into Navy housing and I was told it would be another year. I found a townhouse in Tierrasanta to rent and it was very nice with a pool and tennis courts, a little pricey but I was able to swing it. Murphy Canyon was right down the street, which was Navy housing, so I signed a one-year lease thinking we’d get in there after that.
Bud was able to finish the school year in Mira Mesa and then he would be going someplace in San Diego the next school year. We investigated the school system and found that if we sent Bud to the voluntary integration program that he would be able to go to a magnet school that specialized in certain areas of academia. There was a school that had very good math and science programs called Encanto Elementary grade 4-6, but he would have to be bussed to that school. Plus, this school was in a very rough neighborhood. So, we talked with Bud about that and he seemed very excited about riding the school bus. Next would be a visit to the school.
I started my first class of Blood Banking and I couldn’t believe how many in the class already had bachelor’s or associate degrees. I knew they would take me to task and ask all kinds of questions. This was good for me, because the more they asked, the more I would have to research the topic, would mean the better instructor I would become.
The class turned out to be the best group that I ever had in Lab School, they were very patient with me and allowed me time to research different topics. They had a hand in making me a better instructor and made me rewrite the Blood Bank course to be better too. The Blood Bank course of instruction that I rewrote became the same course that was taught at the Advanced Lab School at Bethesda Naval School of Health Sciences. I was proud of that, but even more I was proud of that first class I taught at San Diego.
We were living in Tierrasanta about two months and then came another setback. The owner of the townhouse came to me and asked me if I would like to buy the townhouse and I explained to him that there was no way that I could afford the place. He told me that he was probably going to foreclosure and that would mean someone else would own the property and I would have to deal with them.
It wasn’t but a week later I got a call from the new owner wanting to talk to me. I told him that I couldn’t afford the place and he quickly interrupted me and told me that I would have two weeks to move. I told him I have a one-year lease and he said in so many words that this wasn’t a legal lease and I would have to move.
I quickly went to Navy housing and explained what was happening and they said they will try everything they can to place us in housing. I got a call from housing the very next day and was told there was an opening in Murphy Canyon housing, but we would have to do the cleanup, for these people were evicted and left the place in shambles. I went to look at this place and they were right, the place was a total mess. It took us a week to get it into shape, but we had a place to move and so we did and now I was amongst a bunch of military folks. OOOORAH!
Bud was doing well in school and adapted very well to the bus ride in the mornings. One day when I was at work, I got a call from Bud’s school telling me that he got in some trouble on the playground and they wanted me to come to the school and see the principal.
I got a call from Bud’s school telling me that he got in some trouble on the playground and they wanted me to come to the school and see the principal.
I went to the school and went to the principal’s office and Bud was sitting in the office. I sat down next to Bud and he explained to me what had happened. He said he was playing four square with a couple of kids when this bully came over and started picking at one of the kids and Bud stepped in between the bully and the other kid and Bud got pushed back by this bully and Bud took the four square ball and threw it at the bully hitting him in the back of the head. The bully started after Greg, but the playground monitor stopped the kid and took both to the office.
Knowing how Greg had never had a problem with getting along with other kids and never had a problem with lying, I believed him. The principal met with me and started talking about the incident as if it was all Greg’s fault and didn’t even consider that the other child was at fault.
I asked the principal, “Did you talk with the other kids that saw the incident?”
He told me they did but clearly Greg was in the wrong for hitting him with the ball. I agreed that he shouldn’t have hit him with the ball, but this kid also does not need to be bullying other kids. The principal agreed with me that this child should not be pushing his weight around the other kids and I inquired about the size of this bully and was told that the bully is about twice the size of the other kids. I felt my child was a hero by throwing the ball at this monster. We ended this whole conversation with me agreeing to talk with my son and the school would pay more attention to this bully. In three years at this school, this was the only incident involving Greg.
Next was baseball and the Little League of Murphy Canyon. They had tryouts for all the kids that were new to Navy housing on this one Saturday at a local field.
I took Greg and got him signed up for the Minor League, ages 8-10. They had all the kids bat and they got swings. Bud did good, he hit about nine of them out of the infield. They had them in the outfield catching flies and throwing the ball into the infield and to home plate, he did very well with this drill. They had them catch grounders and throw to first base, Bud and I did this drill a lot. Then they had them pitching from the mound, he did well at this.
Now, you would automatically say that I am a little prejudiced because he is my son, and you would be totally right in that assumption.
After these tryouts, the coaches had a short meeting and then they gathered in the infield to make selections. While I was standing there, a coach came up to me and introduced himself as a fellow Chief and wanted to know if I had any problem with him selecting my son for his team. Of course, I said, “No, not at all,” and asked him which team he coached. He told me the Astros of the Major League (Little League, of course) but I was sure they would select him for the Minors because he just turned 10.
Then this coach said, “I am picking him because he has a better arm than some 12-year olds.”
I said, “I have no beef if you select him.”
When they started with the drafting of these children, Greg was selected first by this coach. Now, you must understand that this coach already had 11- and 12-year-olds on his team from last season, so Bud was an addition to his team. We took a ride over to the Little League fields that Bud would be playing on and this is what they looked like.
(The field to the right is the Major League Little League field of Murphy Canyon.)
More later, Grandson.
Stan Gerding is the author of the book The Nam “Doc” A Navy Corpsman’s Story.