I thought that seeing Gehrig’s house was going to be the highlight of my trip until fellow writer and editor Billy Brost told me that Gehrig’s final resting place was not very far away from where I was. A day later I went to Valhalla, New York to see Gehrig’s grave and pay my respects.
I have not spent a lot of time in cemeteries. I have a very small family and I was very young when my grandparents died. I didn’t know what to expect when I was driving to Kensico Cemetery. I just knew that this would be a more serious experience than going to his house.
It took me longer than I thought to find his grave. There were sixty or seventy headstones in his section. Finally, I found his. It was all alone on part of a minor hill. I saw it from behind, but I knew it had to be his. As I walked around to the face of the headstone I was greeted by about a dozen baseballs. They were all on the ground, one saying, “Thank you for inspiring me.” I obviously was not alone in making this trip.
Like Gehrig himself, his headstone was simple. Half for him, half for his wife Eleanor. There was a compartment in the middle of the headstone for his ashes. I am not a religious man, but I spent a few minutes in silence dissecting Gehrig and everything he has meant to me over the years. What was initially a trip back to the Bronx to visit family turned into an important journey with some great lasting memories. I’m very glad in how I spent my very limited time in the Bronx.
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