Many mornings, Julie Lisi and her husband, Michael Lisi, head to a thrift store in Jupiter, Florida, to look for treasures. They will walk around for 30 minutes or so, and usually leave empty-handed.
“We are retired, and it is something to do,” Lisi said.
But on a trip to the store last Wednesday, they were floored. There, sitting on a shelf, was a baseball glove that belonged to their son, Christopher Lisi, 40 years ago in Willoughby, Ohio, where the couple raised their family and still spend part of the year.
“My eyes just happened to glance to it,” Lisi, 78, said in a phone interview. “It didn’t really register. Things were whirling in my mind.”
The glove was weathered. In its 1,000-mile trek to Jupiter from Ohio, the mitt’s once lustrous dark leather patina had been worn down to a sandy shade. The gloss was gone, but the name was still written in bold letters on the mitt.
“I could see the name Christopher Lisi written down it,” Lisi said. “That is when I thought it is his, but it really didn’t seem possible.”
Michael Lisi, 81, could not immediately tell what was going on.
“When I first saw my wife, she was on the verge of tears and shaking,” he said. “I thought something happened and she turned the glove over and right down the side I could see.”
Lisi immediately sent Christopher, 52, a photograph of the glove. He responded with a text that simply read, “buy it,” and so Lisi paid $1.49 to get the glove back.
“I thought, ‘It can’t be,’ but you can always tell the markings on your kids’ things,” she said.
Her son is now a math teacher and a football coach at a high school in Ohio. He was always into sports, according to his mother.
“Even before he could play, he’d go out and play catch with his dad,” she said.
“I was just a little kid that liked to hit the ball and run around the bases,” Christopher told WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio. Phone calls to him were not immediately returned.
In 1978, he was on a Little League team in Willoughby. That year, during the season’s final game, he hit two home runs and his team won. His parents recorded him on their 8-millimeter camera as he was mobbed by other players in celebration.
In the excitement, Lisi said, her son may have put his infield glove down.
He never saw it again.
“The next day, he went back to find it and it wasn’t there,” Lisi said. “He never did tell us he lost it.”
Her son knew immediately that it was his glove.
“He was thrilled, he was jumping up and down,” Lisi said. “He just said, ‘Mom, bring it home.’ ”
Baseball gloves carry emotional weight in the family. Michael Lisi keeps his own 70-year-old glove on top of his television, where it sits next to a Yogi Berra bobblehead and a New York Yankees cap. He did not pass that glove on to his son, but Christopher intends to do so with his newly discovered mitt.
“He plans to pass it on to a grandson someday,” Lisi said.