One of them targets grandparents. The scam artist calls (often late at night when old people — or anyone — may be wakened from sleep and in a confused state) and says that he is a grandchild who is in jail and desperately needs money. The caller tries to get the victim to send bail money to help that grandchild.
My father-in-law actually got one of those calls several years ago, when he was living in Nebraska. He didn’t fall for it, though. He was a bit suspicious, so he asked the caller (who supposedly was his grandson) where he graduated from high school. The caller/scam artist obviously could not answer that question and he hung up.
The sheriffs advise that, if you get such a call, you should ask the caller for the name of the jail. The names of people in jail are public record in Ohio, so you should be able to verify whether your grandchild is actually in jail.
I have two grandsons. They are 2 and 3 years old, so they are unlikely candidates for jail at this point. We recently visited them in Texas and I can tell you this: if I knew for sure that my grandson was in jail, I would give my life savings away, if necessary, to help him.
That is, I think, a grandparent thing.
I am pretty new at this art of grandparenting — three years ago, I became a grandparent for the first time. Then, my son was living in New York and I rushed out there as soon as I could after the birth to meet my new grandson.
Keep in mind that my daughter-in-law had done all the hard work of carrying this child for nine months and going through the birth process. My son and daughter-in-law have all the obligation of caring for this child, keeping food on the table and a roof over his head, sending him to school and teaching him to be a civilized human being.
Me? I just get to enjoy him.
I never anticipated how wonderful it would be.
I had no qualms about people considering me “old” by being a grandma. I felt this yearning to see my grandsons as much as humanly possible, to hold them, to buy them presents and to read books to them. Diaper changing and laundry are optional.
The sweetest sound to my ears, now that they both can talk, is to be referred to as “Grandma Debbie” — or “Bamma Debbie” as the younger one calls me.
Although we live a thousand miles away I look forward to our weekly FaceTime communication, where — usually when they are sitting down to breakfast, because at least they stay in one place — I can see them and talk to them and they talk to me.
But FaceTime isn’t enough. I am attempting to hold the record for traveling the most miles to attend a 2-year-old’s birthday party. I traveled to Dallas for a weekend so I could be there.
My grandson won’t remember that I was there. Maybe he’ll look back at the pictures someday, but it doesn’t matter. I did it not for him, but for me. Inexplicably, I felt I needed to be there. FYI, if you need to go to Dallas, Southwest Airlines has a direct flight from Columbus to Dallas and it’s pretty cheap if you book it far enough in advance.
I think I would do anything to protect these two little boys. I want to be part of their lives as much as our distance, and their parents, will allow.
Of course, if I ever get a phone call that they need bail money, I will try to verify first whether they are really in jail.
Debbie Leffler is a free-lance writer who lives in Norwalk. She can be reached at [email protected]