My grandson’s teacher invited her students’ grandparents and grandfriends to a grandparent’s breakfast.
Although I was lucky enough to know and love my grandparents (two from my mom and two from my dad) and even my great grandmother, Mom’s grandma, I also had a grandfriend. I didn’t know that’s what he was, at the time. He was my next-door-neighbor, and my friend, Mr. Spisak.
When I was about four or five, my mom was busy with my baby brother and I don’t remember my older sister being around that much. I was at loose ends for a kid. It was a new neighborhood with muddy streets, new sidewalks, and nobody my age.
Pretty much every day, I’d knock on Mr. Spisak’s door. Mrs. Spisak would answer. I’d ask if Mr. Spisak could come out to play. She’d always ask me in for a cookie, if I was allowed. (I always was.) He’d come out from wherever he was in his house and we go outside. He’d ask me to help with all his projects: washing his big, black car; weeding his wife’s garden; planting flowers; like that.
One day I asked him to help me with a project. I wanted a butterfly. We went into his garage, that marvelous, wonderful place that held all his tools, lots of boxes, and I was sure, some magic. He found a large net. He asked me if I had a glass jar (the world was not full of plastic, yet), so I went home to get one. Of course my mom asked why I needed it, but she found one right away when I told her it was for a project with Mr. Spisak.
I watched as he used a hammer and nail to poke holes in the lid. So my butterfly could breathe, he explained.
We went back outside and ran around for a long time, chasing those elusive creatures. I finally settled for a grasshopper. I put some grass and sticks in the bottom of the jar, gently placed the creature in its new home, and kept it for a few days.
I don’t remember much about the grasshopper, if I fed it leaves or even if I put a stick in its jar. But I remember many happy hours with my wonderful grandfriend. I hope you’re still watching out for me, Mr. Spisak. Thank you!