Tag Archives: Grandma

Poetry Potpourri

the museum of americana is a literary magazine with a mission close to my heart:

the museum of americana is an online literary review dedicated to fiction, poetry, nonfiction, photography, and artwork that revives or repurposes the old, the dying, the forgotten, or the almost entirely unknown aspects of Americana. It is published purely out of fascination with the big, weird, wildly contradictory collage that is our nation’s cultural history.

They’ve published two of the poems I intend for my chapbook of poems based on my family history. You can read them here.

Two poems by Luanne Castle

I love how my interest in family history and genealogy and research connects with my partnership with poetry in these poems.

On another note, if you bought a copy of Doll Godsend me your address and I will mail you a sticker to complete your book cover.

If you haven’t bought a copy, please consider it if your finances allow–either for yourself or if you think you’ll hate it (gotta allow for that) as a gift for someone you think will enjoy it. Amazon says it will arrive before Christmas.

Have I ever told you what book existed before Doll God? It’s a scrapbook my daughter made for me two years ago. In it, she hand wrote many of my poems and she included posts from the adoption blog, Don’t We Look Alike, that we worked on together.

In the slideshow you can see a sample of the scrapbook. Note the subtle cat-themed touches. And if you see a pic of a high school couple just remember that it’s easy to find stock pix online (big winky face).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

30 Comments

Filed under Book Award, Book contest, Book promotion, Books, Doll God, Family history, Literary Journals, poems about dolls, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Publishing, Research and prep for writing, Vintage American culture, Writing

Red in the Words

I decided to leap back into prose by taking a look at the drafts I wrote for the flash nonfiction course I took in July. While I was searching for those in my closet, I ran across a few of my Red Riding Hood books.

As a fictional character, she’s been quite an influence on me and my writing.

But who is she?

There are hundreds of versions of the story and they come from many different countries. Some are old versions from traditional literature and some are contemporary retellings of the tale. Some are children’s stories; some, such as those that spring from the oral tradition, are for the general public; and some, usually feminist or sexualized versions, are for adults.

I’m guessing that most of us are steeped in the European tradition of red hooded cloak, little girl, wolf, grandmother, and woods. We might or might not think of a huntsman. Our Little Red might get a warning from her mother–or she might not. She might get eaten up just before the reader is left with a strong “moral.” She might kill the wolf in a gruesome manner. Or the wolf might run into the woods, never to return. Pinterest is full of images that resonate, so I started collecting them onto a “Red in the Woods” board. I’ve only got 35 pins so far, but there are some beauties. Many of the classic book illustrators have created Little Red art.

Arthur Rackham’s Little Red Riding Hood

Every culture incorporates some of these elements in their little red stories, but the most important part is that a little girl is threatened by a dangerous animal (usually a wolf, but in Asian countries, sometimes a tiger) and either she becomes a victim, is rescued by someone else, or she is victorious over the “bad guy.” The undercurrents involve a girl going out into a threatening world on her own for the first time and the possibility of sexual violation. But those are adult readings, of course.

Sometimes Little Red is a bad ass. Those are the best versions! One of my favorite picture books for children is Ed Young’s Lon PoPo where the Little Red protagonist is a smart, strong oldest sister who outwits the wolf and protects her siblings.

Have you ever seen Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s musical Into the Woods? In this version, Little Red is definitely a sexual target for the wolf, but the question becomes: is she complicit? Does she  in some way lead on the wolf? Is the red hood to draw attention? (And where does the red garment come from? Not from the girl herself). Or is that an adult male (pervert) reading–a Humbert version of Lolita? Another adult reading is that the red hood is a metaphor for Red’s vagina/clitoris/youpick.

In this clip of the 1991 Broadway show, the lyrics say a lot about our culture’s interpretation. It becomes clear that this version is about the loss of innocence.

In the Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs’ song, the wolf leers at Red.

There are other strange bits and pieces that show up in some Little Red stories. The wolf tricks Red into eating her Granny’s flesh. Red tries to get out of bed with the wolf by telling him she has to go pee. At that point he tells her to pee in the bed, but she says she can’t and he lets her go outside tied to a long rope. Some of these elements that seem vulgar  or creepy have been edited out of the most popular versions published in the last few hundred years. The confusion between wolf and grandmother is still with us, though. And that alone is pretty strange. Dangerous wolf looks like beloved grandmother? Beyond strange.

Is the wolf a perv or is Red a Lolita? Or is that a red herring (sorry)? Is the story really about something else?

45 Comments

Filed under Books, Characterization, Children's Literature, Fairy Tales, Fiction, History, Inspiration, Writing

The Glad Game, or Happy Birthday, Pollyanna

The best contemporary children’s literature is usually not preachy. If there are good lessons in the book, they are natural byproducts of a good story. That’s how we best absorb what they have to teach us.

A book that most influenced me for the lesson it taught about optimism was Pollyanna, written by Eleanor H. Porter. Published in 1913, the book is 100 years old this year. Happy Birthday, Pollyanna!

Pollyanna didn’t teach through preachiness, although there is a preacher in the book. While it is sentimental, the characters, especially Pollyanna herself, are vital and memorable. I also fell in love with the beautiful dresses Aunt Polly bought for her niece, with the crystal prisms at Mr. Pendergast’s mansion, and with my identification with Pollyanna herself.

My first introduction to the story was the Disney movie starring Hayley Mills, which I saw the summer before I started school. I read the book a couple of years later when I found my mother’s old copy at my grandparents’ house. There are many sequels to the book, written by various writers. I read my mother’s copy of Pollyanna’s Jewels, by Harriet Lummis Smith, which is about Pollyanna’s children. This was eye-opening to me that a happy, independent girl like Pollyanna could turn into somebody’s mother. But I digress . . . .

1943 edition of 1913 book

1943 edition of 1913 book

A few weeks after I saw the movie and near the end of the summer, my mother was working in the kitchen, while I sat at the table, finishing my lunch.  Mom handed me some Ovaltine in a coffee cup and said, “I have exciting news.”

“Is it about school?” I said, staring down at the murky liquid.

“No, but it is exciting that you are going to start kindergarten, isn’t it?”

Winter resistance? That sounds scary!

“Ye-es.”  The idea of starting school thrilled and terrified me at the same time.  My hands got gooey just imagining the experience.  Mom had raised my suspicions by serving me Ovaltine right at this moment.  It was supposed to be a chocolaty treat, but in truth, it tasted like molasses and made me gag.  Mom always said I had to swallow it down because it was good for me.  What if school turned out to be like that?

“You’re going to love school, LuluBelle.”  Mom nodded at me.

I raised my shoulders and brought them down heavily, sighing just loud enough so that I wouldn’t sound too dramatic.

I thought of Pollyanna.  What would she think about school? Whenever something bad happened, Pollyanna played The Glad Game to make herself and other people feel better. This game is merely a positive attitude and a determination to find something good in the midst of something bad. A silver lining, so to speak. Pollyanna’s deceased father taught her the game and she eventually teaches it to the citizens of her new town.

I struggled to come up with the reason to be glad about starting school when the idea made me anxious. “Ooh!” I said, as a happy idea came into focus.  “I’m glad I’m starting school because I’ll get to take the school bus with all my friends.”

Mom changed the subject.  “My news is that I got a job!  I’m going to be the personal secretary to an important man at The Upjohn Company.”

“That’s good.  Right?”

“Yes, it’s very good.  Kindergarten is half day, so you will be staying with Grandma before and after school.”

“I love them!”  Even as I said that, anxiety flickered at my hands and feet, fluttered across my stomach.  I loved Grandma and Grandpa Zuidweg and Aunt Alice and their house, but especially Grandma.  What I didn’t love was Aunt Alice’s English Springer Spaniel Sandy.  Not that he and I had had any run-ins to my memory, but when he was near me, people rustled me away from him, with panicked admonitions of “Don’t go near the dog,” and a whispered story about a jealous Sandy biting off my eyelid when I was a baby.

“Yes.  It also means you’re going to go to kindergarten at McKinley school because it’s across the street from Grandma’s house,” she explained.

“Is that where Debbie and Judy and the rest of them go to school?”  I listed the neighbor kids in my mind.

“No, they go to Gull Road School.”

There went the buoyancy of the latest gladness I’d invented, popped like a birthday balloon by a pin.  Now I had to find a reason to be glad to go to some school where I didn’t know anybody.

That’s the problem with The Glad Game. You have to keep playing it–over and over and over again.

Just my little dose of sarcasm for the day!

###

My good friend and foe Wikipedia lists some interesting facts about the influence of this story on popular culture:

“When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will find it.”

Although a quote similar to this was attributed to Abraham Lincoln and inserted by the director into the 1960 Disney movie version of the story, it is actually, as written here, from the original book and not attributed.

The novel’s success brought the “Pollyanna principle” (along with the adjective “Pollyannaish” and the noun “Pollyannaism”) into the language to describe someone who seems always to be able to find something to be “glad” about no matter what circumstances arise. It is sometimes used pejoratively, referring to someone whose optimism is excessive to the point of naïveté or refusing to accept the facts of an unfortunate situation. This pejorative use can be heard in the introduction of the 1930 George and Ira Gershwin song But Not For Me: “I never want to hear from any cheerful pollyannas/who tell me fate supplies a mate/that’s all bananas.”

The word “pollyanna” may also denote a holiday gift exchange more typically known as Secret Santa. This term is used in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas of Pennsylvania. It can instead mean a gift exchange rotation in which several families each give gifts to one other family in the “pollyanna” each year. This is often done when siblings in a large family begin to have children of their own.[2]

Pollyanna is still available in reprint editions. At the height of her popularity, Pollyanna was known as “The Glad Girl”, and Parker Brothers even created The Glad Game, a board game. The Glad Game, a type of Parcheesi, was made and sold from 1915 to 1967 in various versions, including: “Pollyanna – The Glad Game”; “Pollyanna – The Great Home Game”; “Pollyanna – Dixie”; and “Pollyanna”. The board game was later licensed by Milton Bradley but has been discontinued for many years.

“Glad Clubs” appear to have been popular for a while; however, it is questionable if they were ever more than a publicity gimmick. Glad Clubs may have been simply a means to popularize The Glad Game as a method for coping with the vicissitudes of life such as loss, disappointment, and distress.[citation needed] Nevertheless, at least one “glad club” exists today, in Denver, Colorado.[3]

In 2002 the citizens of Littleton, New Hampshire unveiled a bronze statue in honour of Eleanor H. Porter, creator of the Pollyanna books and one of the town’s most famous residents. The statue depicts a smiling Pollyanna, arms flung wide in greeting. Littleton also hosts a festival known as “The Official Pollyanna Glad Day” every summer.[4]

The vocalized version of the song “Pollyanna” for the video game Mother characterizes a cheerful girl that believes in fairy tales and optimism, but disregards any comments towards her sanity. The girl rejects the negative opposition against her and the mockery that comes with it, saying “You can call me ‘Pollyanna’/Say I’m crazy as a loon”. The name of the song, and that of the girl in the song, is most likely a direct characterization of Porter’s character. Another theory is that the name is based on Ana, a character in the game.

The celebrated American science fiction writer Ray Bradbury described himself as “Janus, the two-faced god who is half Pollyanna and half Cassandra, warning of the future and perhaps living too much in the past—a combination of both”.[5]

23 Comments

Filed under Books, Creative Nonfiction, Essay, Memoir, Nonfiction, Vintage American culture, Writing

Can Bad Girls Just Stay Bad, OK?

When I was in kindergarten, Grandma picked me up from school every day at lunch time.  We walked home and ate a hot meal she had cooked that morning. After Grandma did the dishes, she and I lay down head to toe on the couch and took our catnap.  Grandma faced the little black and white television and turned on As the World Turns. Since the TV was above my head, I had to lie on my side and squinch my neck so I could watch the show, too.  As far as I know, this show was my grandmother’s only “vice.”

Every few minutes, Grandma said, “Turn your head around and go to sleep,” but I couldn’t get enough of Lisa, the bad girl (to my young mind, the wicked queen) of the soap opera. She reminded me of Maleficent in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.  I kept expecting to see a long robe hem swirling around her ankles, turning into green flames.  I never took an afternoon nap when I was with Grandma.

Eileen Fulton who played Lisa in As the World Turns for fifty years

Eileen Fulton who played Lisa in As the World Turns for fifty years

I first met Maleficent before I started school, when I was a few months shy of four.  My parents took me with them on a car trip to New Orleans.  On the way, we stayed in a large Texas city with streets that reminded me of Chicago.  It was there that my mother and I went to see my very first Disney movie, Sleeping Beauty. Unlike a regular flat movie screen, this movie was shown on a curved screen; I think this is called Cinerama, and the effect is that the viewer feels as if she has walked into the world depicted on screen.

As I entered Princess Aurora’s world, I left my own behind. Of all the characters, I particularly loved Flora, leader of the band of good fairies, who reminded me of Grandma. My terror of Maleficent, the evil fairy, was the most severe I had ever experienced. I’ve rarely been as terrified since then either. When we left the theater, rain poured onto the busy city sidewalks and the street out front of the theatre.  Dad pulled up to the curb and we climbed into the car.  “How was the show?” he said.  My head was inside the movie, and I couldn’t answer–my body still filled with terror and awe.

Today I happened upon an article about the making of a new movie about Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie. Even after all these years, as I read that news, fear radiated through me.  Something about the depth and breadth of evil coming from a powerful female character frightened me more than if Maleficent had been male. I don’t know why. Was it because in those days the bad guys were usually the men in the black cowboy hats? Or was it because I expected that bountiful nurturing would come from a female like my grandmother? Maleficent seemed to spring from some primeval source of horror that I could not understand.

Maybe I needed to see this evil so that by contrast I realized the power of nurturing women like Grandma and Flora. I’ve written about Grandma’s positive influence on me in other posts, including “Grandma and the Purple People Eaters.”

When the movie is released, I’m going to get a chance to see a modern, breathing version of the realization of my deepest fears. Since Jolie terrifies me anyway, I think she’s a great choice for this role.

The film purports to show the Sleeping Beauty story from the viewpoint of Maleficent. It sounds as if they took a “page” from the script of the Broadway musical Wicked, where Elphaba’s childhood allows us to like and feel compassion for the Wicked Witch of the West.

Can I just let the filmmakers know right up front that I’m not interested in hearing Maleficent’s sob story? Her power comes from her unabashed evil. I don’t want anything or anyone interfering with my fear.  For some dumb reason.

Flora

Flora

31 Comments

Filed under Creative Nonfiction, Essay, Nonfiction, Vintage American culture, Writing

Grandma and the Purple People Eaters: Re-Post

This week I need to take a little blog rest so I can focus on my other writing. In case you weren’t reading my blog back in December, here is a post from back then about my grandmother.

###

When I was little I stayed with my grandmother during the day while my parents were at work.  It was just Grandma and me at the house.   Grandpa worked down the block, at his Sunoco filling station.  Every day at noon, Grandma and I brought his lunch to him.  He’d climb up out of the pit where he worked under cars and smile when he saw us with his gray lunch box.

Sometimes I played with the girl up the street and other days I’d pick through the toys and books left behind in their bedrooms upstairs by my mother, Aunt Alice, and Uncle Don.  I found a giant printing set, a potholder loom and loops, and a collection of miniature furniture and animals.  In my aunt’s room, I read my first chapter book, The Bobbsey Twins.   Grandma and I fried donuts and sugared strawberries.  We sang Ethel Merman songs like “Anything You Can Do.”  I could always manage to sing louder and higher than Grandma.

Any note you can reach
I can go higher.
I can sing anything
Higher than you.
No, you can’t. (High)
Yes, I can. (Higher) No, you can’t. (Higher)
Yes, I CAN! (Highest)

Occasionally, we walked “uptown” to the bank, passing the thrift store, which fascinated me. I thought it was a combination antique store and fine dress shop.  Also en route was the home of the Purple People Eaters.  My overweight, matronly grandmother sang the song and danced right there on the sidewalk for me.  It was years before I realized the building was actually a dry cleaning establishment, painted purple.


Grandma carried the filling station’s bank deposit bag in her big pocketbook, which also held mints and pennies for me.   We stopped at the florist to say hi to some relatives and at the bakery for sugar cookies.

With all the fun Grandma orchestrated, I still got bored one time.  I was in “that mood,” the one where it seems that all is wrong with the world.  Grandma knew how to handle the situation.  She put me in an old work shirt of Grandpa’s and handed me a paint brush.

“Come outside,” she said.  On the back stoop, she’d placed an old wooden child’s chair on a spread-out newspaper. “Go to town, Luanne,” she said.  I worked hard for a long time, painting that chair, which seemed so big

When my mother picked me up after work that day, she laughed.  “Mom, you had her do the same thing you made Don do to keep him busy!”  Even today when I feel “at odds,” this example keeps me working, moving forward through the doldrums.

Grandma did her chores while I was at her house.  She cooked and baked and ran errands, which were all on foot or by bus, as she didn’t drive.  I helped her and learned at her elbow.  She ironed my parents’ clothes, too, while I played at the kitchen table and sang with her.   She didn’t waste our time cleaning too much, but everything else got done—and done well.

She devoted a half hour to herself every day, watching As the World Turns while I “napped” beside her on the couch.

Mostly, though, Grandma doted on me and made sure I could learn and use my imagination.  She sat me on her lap and told me stories “from her head.” Her attention wasn’t fragmented by a cell phone or computer.  She limited her telephone and TV usage.  She was completely there in the moment with me each day.

Can we say the same today for our children and grandchildren and the children we babysit?

4 Comments

Filed under Creative Nonfiction, Memoir

Deviation and Beauty

The red maple up past the McKinley Elementary School playground on Emerson Street, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, is etched on the backdrop of my mind like a permanent screen saver.  A symmetrical outline, the tree turned crimson every October for exactly one month.

As a kindergartener looking up the street from my Grandma’s side yard, the tree represented perfection to me.  The first time I noticed it was probably when I was pushed in my stroller up the street and someone, my mother or grandmother, gave me a red leaf from the ground.

Later, Grandma ironed one under wax paper for me to keep.

When my mother worked at Checker Motors and I entered McKinley school in the morning kindergarten, I stayed with my grandparents during the days.  I used to gather leaves from under the tree by myself.  Each leaf, shaped like a small hand, matched my own as I picked it up and placed it in my palm.

When I looked up into the leaves, the light sparkled, dappling my view of the world around me.

Red trees stir me with their deviation from the norm, their place in the firmament of “all things counter, original, spare, strange” (Pied BeautyGerard Manley Hopkins)  Like the passion of tender new peony shoots against a backdrop of green bushes, the red tree blazes against greenery, blue sky, or dreary human-drawn landscape.

***

On a related note, I am wondering if I am obsessed with trees.  I’ve written about the palo verde, the elm, the plum, and more.  If I didn’t have this paper trail of evidence leading me to the source of my obsession, I couldn’t have told you that this is one of my writing topics.  I recognize my obsession with writing about family and my childhood, but I didn’t see the trees until I looked back.

In her seminal book Writing Down the BonesNatalie Goldberg suggests:

Writers end up writing about their obsessions.  Things that haunt them; things they can’t forget; stories they carry in their bodies waiting to be leased.

She insists that obsessions have power.  “Harness that power,” she urges.

What are your writing obsessions?  If you look back at what you have written, can you identify an obsession you didn’t realize you had?

20 Comments

Filed under Creative Nonfiction, Memoir, Memoir writing theory

Today’s reblog is about an influence on my life–and a prevailing metaphor.

Writer Site

I stand on a chair to reach my grandmother’s birdcage.  My dress and petticoat flip out in back, as I balance on my palms, my sturdy toddler legs straining toward the parakeet.  The parakeet contemplates my nose poking between the bars.  I want it to sing.  It’s all I want of this place, this apartment which rattles like death when the El rushes by. I think how much I miss my own home.  Unless the bird will sing.

Maybe it’s something that happened to me even before I was born.  I started reaching out for the word music with my baby fists, if only to rush them like a bottle to my mouth:  “Little Miss Muffet”; “See You Later, Alligator”; “A Fairy Went a-Marketing.” I recited and sang them repetitively—until my mother screamed at me to stop.  Even then, I slipped under the bed covers and sang “

View original post 1,141 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Creative Nonfiction, Memoir, Poetry

A Christmas Photo: 1959

021

In this photo, which was taken in my grandparents’ living room,  I am four (almost 4 1/2).  It is marked with the year 1958, but I believe it must be 1959 because a photo professionally printed with 1958 has my hair shorter.  Also, my darker-haired cousin in this photo is a sitting-up baby, and he was born in December 1958.  This goes to show that it’s important to be careful about assuming that notations on photos are correct, even if the handwriting looks old.

My pretty mother has her eyes closed from the big flash, and I am standing with an opened gift in my hands.  I look a bit overwhelmed from the excitement and the unwinding of anticipation.  My aunt is smiling at me and Grandpa looks at the photographer.  The little boys are my uncle’s two oldest children–the youngest had not yet been born and neither had my brother.  My aunt was still young and unmarried, a college student.

The photo details trigger memories.  Since Grandma watched me while my parents worked (Grandma and the Purple People Eaters), this living room was very familiar to me.  Note the television with family portraits on top.  That’s the TV I watched Grandma’s soap opera with her on week days.  A chair had been moved out to make room for the Christmas tree.  My aunt and I had helped trim it.  Tinsel strands had escaped from the tree and ground into Grandma’s hooked area rug.  I liked to pick them up individually and run my fingers together down the smooth surface.

I could smell dinner in the kitchen.  Ham and Grandma’s special roast beef.  If only I hadn’t eaten so many sugar cookie snowmen decorated with little silver ball bearings and sprinkles.  Grandma and I had made those two days before. She rolled the dough and I cut out the shapes.  When they came out of the oven, I ate all the misshapen pieces.

Without the photo I wouldn’t remember specifics.  I treasure the memories accessible through all my old photos and am grateful that I have them to look at whenever I wish.  I have deep sympathy for those who have lost their mementos in disasters like Hurricane Sandy.  My deepest sympathy and my prayers are with those who have lost their loved ones and only have the photos and memories left.

###

If you wish to help the survivors of Sandy Hook, Newtown, this article lists some good ideas.

5 Comments

Filed under Creative Nonfiction, Memoir

Grandma and the Purple People Eaters

When I was little I stayed with my grandmother during the day while my parents were at work.  It was just Grandma and me at the house.   Grandpa worked down the block, at his Sunoco filling station.  Every day at noon, Grandma and I brought his lunch to him.  He’d climb up out of the pit where he worked under cars and smile when he saw us with his gray lunch box.

Sometimes I played with the girl up the street and other days I’d pick through the toys and books left behind in their bedrooms upstairs by my mother, Aunt Alice, and Uncle Don.  I found a giant printing set, a potholder loom and loops, and a collection of miniature furniture and animals.  In my aunt’s room, I read my first chapter book, The Bobbsey Twins.   Grandma and I fried donuts and sugared strawberries.  We sang Ethel Merman songs like “Anything You Can Do.”  I could always manage to sing louder and higher than Grandma.

Any note you can reach
I can go higher.
I can sing anything
Higher than you.
No, you can’t. (High)
Yes, I can. (Higher) No, you can’t. (Higher)
Yes, I CAN! (Highest)

Occasionally, we walked “uptown” to the bank, passing the thrift store, which fascinated me. I thought it was a combination antique store and fine dress shop.  Also en route was the home of the Purple People Eaters.  My overweight, matronly grandmother sang the song and danced right there on the sidewalk for me.  It was years before I realized the building was actually a dry cleaning establishment, painted purple.


Grandma carried the filling station’s bank deposit bag in her big pocketbook, which also held mints and pennies for me.   We stopped at the florist to say hi to some relatives and at the bakery for sugar cookies.

With all the fun Grandma orchestrated, I still got bored one time.  I was in “that mood,” the one where it seems that all is wrong with the world.  Grandma knew how to handle the situation.  She put me in an old work shirt of Grandpa’s and handed me a paint brush.

“Come outside,” she said.  On the back stoop, she’d placed an old wooden child’s chair on a spread-out newspaper. “Go to town, Luanne,” she said.  I worked hard for a long time, painting that chair, which seemed so big

When my mother picked me up after work that day, she laughed.  “Mom, you had her do the same thing you made Don do to keep him busy!”  Even today when I feel “at odds,” this example keeps me working, moving forward through the doldrums.

Grandma did her chores while I was at her house.  She cooked and baked and ran errands, which were all on foot or by bus, as she didn’t drive.  I helped her and learned at her elbow.  She ironed my parents’ clothes, too, while I played at the kitchen table and sang with her.   She didn’t waste our time cleaning too much, but everything else got done—and done well.

She devoted a half hour to herself every day, watching As the World Turns while I “napped” beside her on the couch.

Mostly, though, Grandma doted on me and made sure I could learn and use my imagination.  She sat me on her lap and told me stories “from her head.” Her attention wasn’t fragmented by a cell phone or computer.  She limited her telephone and TV usage.  She was completely there in the moment with me each day.

Can we say the same today for our children and grandchildren and the children we babysit?

13 Comments

Filed under Creative Nonfiction, Memoir