HER GRANDFATHER'S GIFT

HER GRANDFATHER'S GIFT

A Story by Willys Watson

HER GRANDFATHER’S GIFT

1.

When Sophie was seventeen years old her grandfather requested to speak to her alone. Because he only had a few weeks left to live his family, two generations of them, respected his request.

Mr. Green had been propped up against the headboard by his live-nurse and his intention was to talk to her alone, with the door closed, about several related reasons. As a child, he grew up during the Great Depression and lived through the hardships that most American families did at the time. Now, as he accepted that his time is near, he was leaving this life not a wealthy man, at least not by today’s standards, but over his long life had managed to acquire some rental properties, all paid for, that produced a decent, regular income. Still he knew, based on a generation of family bickering, that no matter how his will was worded, some in the family would be upset, if not outright angry about who received what in the will. And Mr. Green considered this ironic because his two sons and his daughter had done well in their own right, with all three of them far better off than he was financially. 

Though grandparents are not expected to show favoritism towards their grandchildren, of his seven grandchildren Sophie was, and always has been, his favorite. To him his reasons were simple enough because, among other things, she had never asked for or expected money or expensive gifts from him and always seemed to love reading books with him or talking long walks in the park while discussing a number of topics, current and past. She was also the only grandchild showing any desire to go with him to see major league baseball games nearby. And even when younger she ever seemed to get bored doing so. Such smaller tokens Mr. Green took to heart and to show his appreciation, when his attorney drew up his will it specifically stated any relative trying to take from or manipulate what he was leaving Sophie would face forfeiting their share of the will. And his attorney assured Mr. Green the will was iron-clad.

What Mr. Green was leaving Sophie was all contained in a 24"x12"x6" old wooden, locked box placed under his bed. Taped to the top of the box, something he’s had since the 1940s, were two keys to open the box. With the her waiting, he instructed his nurse, Ms. Carlson, to call Sophie into his bedroom and for her to wait outside in the hall, once Sophie was in the room with the door closed, and make sure none of her relatives were close enough to hear their conversation.

2.

With Sophie in his bedroom and sitting in a chair close to the bed, Mr. Green spoke as softly as he could to her.

“Under the bed in an old wood box is what I’m leaving you in my will. Most of it is personal things I’ve saved, going back to my childhood in Chicago, to right after I was released from military service and marriage. These are all precious to me in many ways and I expect, actually want you, to keep these always as a reminder. However, in a sealed, air-tight smaller box I’m leaving you are forty collectable items worth, on today’s collectable market, a small fortune. 

Three of those collectables will mean something personal to you and you can keep them if you chose, but the other collectibles I want you to sell because they will put you though college and grad school, with plenty left over to start your own business and buy a house.”

“Oh, Grandpa, I thank you, but this is just too much. Shouldn’t some of it go ...”

“Don’t be foolish, dear Sophie,” he interrupted her gently. “Your Uncles and Aunt have done well for themselves. Besides, your Grandma and I put them through school and helped them get started in their careers And you more than deserve what I’m leaving you, so please accept it as my sincere thanks to you for being who you are.”

“Oh, I will always,” she told him and rose from her chair to kiss him on the forehead.

“That’s my girl,” he smiled warmly, then added, “ But when you go to sell those collectibles in that sealed box, dear Sophie, use a lot of caution so that you’re paid what their worth. Do some on-line research first, then contact an auction house that is respected and trusted."

“I certainly will, Grandpa.”

“And one last thing, something rather important to me, is don’t open the box until after I’m in the ground and after the will has been certified. And then, don’t tell any of your relatives what’s in the sealed box. When you turn eighteen in two months is when you can legally sell all those valuable collectibles and only after they’re sold should you mention what was in that sealed box. But now it’s time for the nurse to give me my worthless meds now. I mean, they’re not really worthless because they dull the pain, but still. And we’ll talk again soon, Sweety.”

She kissed him on the cheek and left his bedroom.

3.

After the will was read and her other relatives were seemingly satisfied that Sophie was not left an unfair portion of the estate, with several actually feeling sorry for her, she complied with her grandfather’s wished and even waited until she was eighteen. Sitting in an inner office at her grandfather’s bank, she opened the wooden box and her grandfather’s personal treasures he saved ranged from die-cast toy cars from the late 1930s, marbles he kept from some reason, to photos of him in uniform, a Purple Heart Medal awarded him, and photos of him and his wife, Sophie’s grandmother, together when they were still very young.

What was in the smaller, sealed, air-tight box were forty mint condition baseball cards from the early 1930s through the 1940s, up to right before the war started, and three of players from the after war era, and most of the baseball players she recognized as being in the Baseball Hall Of Fame, and Sophie understood, without knowing their current value, that her grandfather had left her a fortune and the baseball cards were carefully put back in the air-tight box and locked in the safety deposit vault at bank, at safety deposit box she had rented. They would stay there until an expert from the auction house she chose examined and appraised them for the auction.

And those three mint condition baseball cards from the 1950s were the rookie cards of Sandy Koufax, Ernie Banks and Mickey Mantle, and though they were not nearly worth near what the rookie cards of a player like Lou Gehrig or Ty Cobb were worth, the three were players Sophie remembered and chose to keep the Koufax card because he played on Sophie’s home team and Ernie Banks card because Banks played on her grandfather’s home town team.

© 2021 Willys Watson


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Added on July 17, 2021
Last Updated on July 17, 2021
Tags: Wills, Grandparents, grandaughter, baseball, reading, affection

Author

Willys Watson
Willys Watson

Los Angeles, CA



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