Heart of a Tiger: Growing Up with My Grandfather, Ty Cobb
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Dad said I was absolutely not to touch anything, or else. Best of all, there was a steering wheel right in front of me, just for my seat. It was really only half of a steering wheel because the bottom was missing, but I took it in my hands and held it just like I was flying the airplane. I was so excited, I was grinning like mad. My dad’s seat also had a steering wheel, exactly like the one in front of me. The plane had dual controls. He was the main pilot and I was his helper. The plane rocked
over to the sofa where Susan was now sitting. We both liked Uncle Ty. We didn’t know him well enough to say that we loved him. But our cousins, Ty III and Charlie, loved him deeply, and everybody who knew him did, and that was good enough for us. We knew that when our father died, we would be spared, and terror and pain gone. But, Granddaddy loved him, and Aunt Shirley loved our dad, no matter what anybody said. And that was that. We sat, looking around a room where we had experienced nothing but
on the rug with her. The scene was scary-strange and I didn’t like it. I told her hello and left. I took my bicycle and rode over to Miller Street School. Mom traded her uppers and downers for a nightly quart of Old Crow. Susan continued to help with meals and take care of us “boys.” The tension in the evenings depended on how the Old Crow affected Mom or what her plans were for going out. School became more and more of a refuge for me. The old sad cycle had started up again. CHAPTER SIX My
center oval was a picture of Granddaddy’s face, and then four action shots in pie shapes filling the corners of the poster. At the bottom, in white, slanted capital letters, it read, “Ty Cobb, World’s Greatest Baseball Player.” I was transfixed. His picture in the oval was just like he looked now when he smiled, only he was younger. His eyes were looking off to the left, and the collar on his uniform stood up, close to his neck. I felt a tingling rush through my whole body, finishing in my head.
would be nice to write something about Ty enjoying a good time with a friend, laughing it up and carrying on a little bit. People like to read about that stuff, you know?” He smiled broadly as he spoke. “What ‘stuff,’ Mr. Stump?” I stiffened again in my chair. I didn’t like talking to him anymore. I also remembered my grandmother’s instruction. But I was here and felt a wave of determination to correct this man. “I heard a story once that Ty had too much to drink at a club at Tahoe and made