If you haven’t seen “Sandlot” yet, stop reading. This doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, it just means that you don’t watch good movies.
There’s one man who doesn’t need to see the movie, as he already lived its best parts. That man is Mike Gremmer. But don’t worry, he caught the film and relishes the memories.
Tucked in the corner of his garage rests one of Gremmer’s first baseball gloves and bats.
“I think I was around 5 when I got this mitt; it’s been re-leathered and bound numerous times. The bat’s probably from around the same time,” says Gremmer.
Upon seeing his old equipment, Gremmer plunged right into favorite memories playing ball with his brother, best friends and, really, just about every kid in the neighborhood. That’s because Gremmer’s childhood home was located next to a lot perfect for sport, quickly earning the name “Gremmer Memorial Baseball Stadium,” amongst Gremmer and his pals.
“The lady who owned the lot just let us use it; all we had to do was mow and take care of it,” says Gremmer. “But next to the lot was this old World War II veteran named Otto Spletstoeser who was about 6 feet 5 inches, drove a pink Jeep, never mowed the grass, his (four) dogs running everywhere. If a ball was hit in Otto’s lawn, forget about it. It was gone because, as kids, we were afraid of him; no one was going into that yard. We were absolutely, 100 percent petrified of this man.”
That lot was literally where Gremmer and his friends spent their time. Up until contractors broke ground on the lot for a new house (around Gremmer’s mid-20s, he’s 44 now), there was still a perfect impression of a baseball diamond from all the games that had been played on that field.
His smile continues to grow as Gremmer reflects on the hours upon hours spent on that field. It was there where he and his friends learned the sport of baseball from his father and mother. It was there where lifelong friendships were formed. It was there where an understanding of competitive nature was cultivated. It was there where he spent his childhood.
“I miss those days,” Gremmer says. “The sheer amount of laughter and tears that were had there is unbelievable. We’d break windows or hit the garage, but Dad never cared. He just wanted us to play.”
Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or email@example.com to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”