The sun was shining brightly on the morning of July 8th 1955. At Queen of Angels Hospital in Hollywood, CA Rosalie Griffin had just given birth to her 4th child James Brian Griffin a healthy 9lb. baby. Rosalie now was the mother of four children. Just 23 miles down the road Disneyland was celebrating their grand opening – Oh Yes, this was a great time to be alive ! Honestly I do not remember anything about my early years birth though age 5 other than what I see in the old photos. I sometimes wonder if anybody remembers much in their infancy because I sure did not. My 1st memory starts in 1960. I was starting kindergarten and the pain of the first day of school was too much. Inside my stomach was nervous and I was numb knowing I would be away from my mother and home. It was terrifying. The skies were gray, a gloomy day. I remember the chill of being cold and my nervous stomach dominating my thoughts as I was shuttled off to my 1st day of school by my mom. When we arrived at school for that 1st day the excitement was almost too much for me, The (2) Giant Yellow School Buses with smoke bellowing from their tailpipes and idling engines growling, the sounds of students with clanging lunch pails, the screams and laughter of of kids who were excited to be back after the summer break. To say I was a shy kid was an understatement. Bashful was the word of the day and I was 110% Bashful to the point of hiding behind my mom when introduced to Miss Tuesberg my Kindergarten Teacher. Miss Tuesburg had wiggly gray hair, was tall, stoic and wore black rimmed glasses. She was the perfect role of a teacher as if Hollywood had hand picked her for the Teacher role. She was stern, to the point. I recalled in later years I thought she resembled George Washington. The highlights of my Kindergarten Year in 1960 was presenting a lava rock at “show and tell” and getting tied down by 2 aggressive girls in my class. They not only tied me up but managed to drag me into the girls bathroom, despite my kicking and screaming. Learning to climb to the top of the Jungle Gym where I kissed my 1st Girl, was probably the highlight of 1960 . To be Continued ..........................
3rd Grade was a bit of jump for me in my confidence. I knew I lacked what it took to be the tough kid, leader , athlete and was for the most part a follower. I shared a room at home with my older brother Bobby who was gifted athletically and in many other ways. As his little brother I felt inferior and accepted that fate in my early days. Kickball was our favorite school activity. I will never forget the day our 3rd Grade Teacher Miss Parker was knocked off her chair, glasses shattered and blood streaming down her face from a line shot off the foot of my best friend and tough guy Nathan “Corky” King who was the class clown, character and very mature for his age. Corky took me under his wing. I was shy, immature lacking confidence and Corky gave me some help in all the areas I lacked by being my friend.
I was all of 8 years when and fanatic about Baseball. Collecting Baseball Cards and keeping them sorted by teams was my new passion. Why I fell in Love with sports at an early age I do not know. That passion of loving sports has remained with me today, My only regret in my life is that I did not pursue sports as a career. If you have a passion about something at an early age then my advise to to stay on that path for a potential job, career path. I made some bad decisions which are discussed later in this book which caused me some pain and suffering from those bad decisions that I made in choosing a career that was not one of my passions but more of way to be near my Father.
Collecting baseball cards not only kept me occupied but also helped me read and be able to interpret charts, batting averages, spell players and teams names. My favorite player in 1963 was Micky Mantle of the New York Yankees. One of my biggest thrills was writing a letter to the NY Yankees Office and receiving an autographed B & W picture signed by the Mick himself I thought. Actually it was a printed signature and not his original and it did not matter. Receiving that letter made my year and kept my love affair with baseball firmly intact. I started playing organized Baseball playing for Roys Pumbing in 1963 in what we called the T-Shirt League. Each player received a T-Shirt and Hat and we played Baseball just like the major leaguers except we wore jeans as Pants and we were one year away from playing in "Big Time" Little League Baseball. I remember the 1st hit I made as a member of Roys Plumbing. It was pure joy. Life was good and I loved playing the game of baseball. It did not matter to me that I was learning the game from others and not being taught or coached by my Dad who was not into sports.
I had something I loved and that was all that mattered.
It was a cold morning in 1963 when we first heard about President Kennedy being Assassinated a day earlier in Dallas TX. Our President was shot while in a motorcade it was huge news and I will never forget that day.
One of the great pranks will always stay in my mind that occurred in 1963 came from none other than my best friend and mentor Corky King. Here is what happened. It was a habit for the music students to leave their Instruments including a Large Cello by the Recess box with the jump Ropes. When the recess bell rang the students would run to the box pull out the ropes and dart to the door leading to the playground like 100 meter sprinters, Corky had a plan and it worked brilliantly. During class he excused himself to the cloak room where we hung our sweaters & Jackets. Behind that covering Corky managed to tie the recess jump ropes to the necks of a Cello that wae neatly lined up next to the recess rope and ball box. Well you can image what happened when the recess bell rang. The students darted to the rope box as planned and pulled on the ropes and darted toward the door, The explosion of the cello banging against the wall was maddening. Wood and strings were flying everyhere.. bata boom.. bata.. beam botta..boom. The Cello went. We rolled laughing so hard our jaws ached and thank God Corky was never caught since the damage to the cello was total and beyond repair. The prank was innocent as I look back now. I still laugh and know that it was wrong but when it happened it was spectacular. The look on the students face was total horror when he realized the noise and destruction that he was hearing was tied to the rope he were running with to the playground
1964 was a pretty uneventful year other that my life as Little Leaguer was taking shape and my keen interest in sports, statistics was getting stronger. As a 9 Year old I was fortunate to be of Member of the National League Live Hardware Sponsored Team coached by the best Manager a young boy could ever have. Russ Rose was a former Professional Baseball Player with the Brookyln Dodgers and Oakland Oaks. Manager Rose had a way of coaching and teaching that made a major impact on my life. What Manager Rose did for me was exactly what the Doctor ordered. Knowing I was not as gifted as talented as the other natural athletes Coach Rose like he did to everybody treated us as equals and made us all feel important which was not what I was used to on the playground sports battles where the best kids are spotlighted and Team does not exist. Manager Rose was all about the Team Concept and not the Individual which suited me perfectly. For the next four years I learned lessons on sportsmanship and teamwork that have lasted a lifetime. Mr. Rose believed every player deserved to play ½ of the game and by allowing that practice he built champions from the youngsters that played for Russ Rose coached teams. In the 4 years I played for Manager Rose we won 63 out of 72 games and won the National League Championship several of those years . As a starting Catcher and 2nd baseman as a 12 year old I was beaming in pride as on the last inning of my Final Season with Coach Rose I asked If I could Pitch and he allowed me. I threw 10 pitches 9 strikes and struck out the side to end my Little League career on a high note. Going back to the Summer of 1966 I entered a City Sponsored Golf Clinic at our Local Golf Course, My Dad was an avid golfer and had taken me out on a few occasions teaching me the basics of grip, stance, swing and keeeping my head down. Going to the Youth Golf Clinic I had a bit of an edge on most of the kids who had never picked up a club before the clinic. Well as luck would have it when the clinic ended I entered the 11-12 year Bracket of the Tournament and ended up in a tie with a 12 year old shooting a 32 on the 9 hole par 3 course and was forced into a sudden death playoff. On the 1st hole I put my tee shot within 8 inches of the cup and tapped in my putt for a Birdie to Win the Tournament.
I proudly brought home and displayed that trophy in my room for the rest of my youth It was one of the few trophies I would earn in my life for athletic prowness.
With Elementery school behind and Junior High ahead the pain of being immature, a late bloomer and insecure was tough. Looking back I feel that growing up with the peer pressure we face as kids is probably one of the most crazy times in the life of a human being. As kids get older and start looking more like adults and reach puberty the pressure on the late bloomers comes in the form of one question Why me ?
Athletically I was inferior and I watched in horror as my friends and girlfriends were growing and I was not . It was not fun and embarrassing most of the time I recall.
Life doe even out although and the good Lord does allow us all to catch up although late too late at times for High School Glory. I was fortunate that I made some good decisions toward in my Junior Year and decided that rather than pursue the party scene I would try the jock route of which as I mentioned I was not really primed for since I was a late bloomer. Well the Goods news Is that I got the guts to tryout for the High School Varsity Football Team for my Senior Year in High School which meant I was in Spring Practice as a Junior. On the 2nd day of my debut on the Gridiron I was involved in a crack down block on my right leg and suffered serious enough damage to be put I a leg cast for the summer of 1972 - The cast came off just in time for Fall Practice and to say the least I lagged on many of the skills and experience of my colleagues and was relegated to 3rd and 4th string and watched most of the Friday Night Games from the sidelines although the Coach was nice enough to let us Scout Team Players get in a few plays throughout the season. The experience was fun and I did manage to stay pretty much Injury free other than suffering hip pointer in the 2nd Game JV where I tackled a running back from Blair HS and felt my hip being crushed into my hip socket . I was fortunate to make the varsity football Oski club for making a fumble recovery against Salesian HS in one of my brief game appearances which was a fluke To Be Continued
My Senior year in High School my older Brother was taken from us too early when he and his roommate at University of California Santa Barbara were killed when their Cessna 150 Airplane crashed into a mountainside near Newhall CA . Bob and Mike were both 19 . The pain of the loss was intense ... To be continued
Raised in a Catholic family I was introduced to Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Priests Nuns, Church Attendance and Catechism classed Saturdays from elementary School through High School. I always felt and accepted that God existed but never felt a personal relationship . At the age of 19 while sitting alone in my dorm room at Rochester Institute of Technology in upstate New York Jesus entererd into my life his presence was real ..... To be continued
Jobs yes have had a few and to this day God Continues to direct my paths .. To be continued
As believers in Jesus Christ we continue to cherish our families , friends and grow and forgive those who may have hurt us (broken relationships). We also seek forgiveness for those we may have hurt. The bible states that all things are possible through Christ who strengthens us ... To be continued
Yes Grilled Cheese, Tomato Soup and Nuts .. To be continued
Looking back the humor in life is what makes it all worthwhile. While pain, suffering, grief, despair are unavoidable it is true that Happiness and Laughter is the best medicine for our short time on the planet ..
Never let go of your god given talents passions and dreams, You are unique and God made you and wants to see you use the talent and gifts you have. Whether it is to bge the best Trucker, Chef or Retailer you are unique and always remember you are not working for man for working for God who is watching you and takes pride in whatever you do. To Be continued ....
Stay close to moderation in all things and and know your body.
It's the only one you got. Use it or lose it and please dont abuse it . To be continued
Whatever your passion love interest go after it ... To be continued
In the end it does not matter how much money you made, what matters is where you are going when you leave this planet and how those you love will remember you. Be the person that you were God designed you to be . Submit your cares and troubles to the Lord and let the Lord direct your paths for what I believe will be a life not without troubles but a life that has purpose knowing that Jesus Christ is with you always in the flesh and after life in the Spirit for eternity .........To be Contunued