When I was little I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. I can remember days of being on Mt.Pleasant street, laying out in the backyard or running through the sprinkler. We would go to the beach and my Nana taught me how to find sea glass amidst the vast array of stones under my toes. We made sand castles and coffee milkshakes with bananas. We watched the Price is Right at lunchtime, and in the afternoons we would go to the Club.
The Club is the Plymouth Country Club located on Warren Ave. My grandparents and parents were members and played regularly. My grandfather would always be somewhere at the 9th hole by the time we would arrive, which meant I could see him tee off by the putting green. Nana would say to me “Let’s go watch gramps tee off, but you have to be QUIET.” In most cases that would be an issue for me but when I would watch him, I knew that I had to be quiet. We would walk over behind the bushes to the bench and sat on the bench to see him swing. He would look up but not acknowledge that he had seen us. He would stand up on his toes, lean back in his heels and steady the club. Full concentration. The club would go up, hesitate for a second, and then follow through with a powerful elegance. It was beautiful. I can still see him at the tee, swinging with such grace and power. It never ceases to bring tears to my eyes. When he ws through we would clap and he would get annoyed so I quickly made my exit while Nana made dinner plans.
Her swing was also graceful, but packed with power. She would hit the ball like a little stick of dynamite and would either cheer in delight or utter words of frustration depending on what direction the ball went. Nana expressed her emotion in some way regardless of how her shots went so some days it could be quite comical. I would have a hard time sitting still and being quiet but when she scolded me, I knew I had better keep my mouth shut otherwise I would be in trouble. Some days she let me drive the golf cart. Those days were few and far between.
We ate lunch in the clubhouse and I would either get a hamburger, hot dog or tuna fish sandwich. Nana would always get something on pumpernickel. And of course the meal wouldn’t be complete without a frappe. It was awesome. I loved being there with her and her friends. As I am writing this I can see her sitting at a table with her girlfriends, all in a circle talking or playing mahjong. At the time it was so boring to me, a hyperactive ten-year old. Now I would give anything to be there for a second to see her laugh, her incredible golf swing, her green sunglasses and her visor. We usually wouldn’t see gramps until we got home.
My mother was also quite an incredible golfer but I don’t have as many memories of her playing as I do my grandparents. She was pretty busy during the weekdays making sure the students of the Plymouth Carver school district were getting topnotch education in English. We would go to the Club on the weekends occasionally, and I remember one time we played together with my step-dad on a summer evening. It was the last time she would play at the level she was used to. Days later we were in a car accident that almost killed us and robbed her of her beautiful swing (amongst other things). After that I would only go with my grandparents and those days were getting fewer as well. Age, aches and pains and Parkinson’s stole my Nana’s swing, but she still enjoyed going to the Club and socializing. My cousin benefited from these visits and learned to play during the end of their time at the Club.
There used to be a wall of fame of sorts in the hallway at the Club with names of champions and winners of tournaments form days past. My grandparents’ names were listed more than once, and my mother’s name appears a few times. The few times I have played I don’t honor their legacy whatsoever with my pathetic swings. I hear I have potential to be a better player but I keep embarrassing myself for one reason- it is familiar. For a moment, it brings my grandparents back to me through the scent of the leather seats on the cart, to the sound of a club making contact with a ball. The wind blowing through the branches and the smell of freshly cut grass in the sun.
The Club has been out of our family’s life for years now, and as I am making plans for Izzie’s benefit to be held on March 22, I can’t help but wish we could have it in the place where her namesake spent so much time and loved so much. Where I was so happy being with them on a summer’s day. The Garibaldi club looks to be a better option financially, and that’s ok. The goal is raise money, and our best bet is a less-expensive option. Still, my heart keeps going back to the Club and I just want to see those names one more time.