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Story Time With Grandma

Over this past year of social distancing, I have tried to maintain a special bond with our two young grandchildren by sending them video stories that I record on my phone. Sometimes these stories are tales of my own childhood, relating how we spent snowy days building snow forts or sled riding in the neighborhood. Or in the summertime, I tell them how we learned to swim or played in the sprinkler for hours on end with the neighbor kids.

Other times I simply invent funny, maybe somewhat silly stories about the antics of a make believe neighborhood that might include fairies in the backyard or a family’s new puppy. The content of these stories are rarely Pulitzer-worthy, but the grandkids say they love hearing them as they snuggle down for the night.

As I record these stories I have found that there are so many experiences and things that I grew up with that youngsters today cannot fathom.

When I talk about how my brothers and sisters would walk with our mom to the corner mailbox to send letters in the mail, I have to explain that every neighborhood used to have a red, white and blue mailbox where you could drop in letters for the mail carrier to pick up on his or her rounds. Those are gone today.

I thought about telling them how I stood inside a telephone booth while waiting for the public bus to take me home following an after-school Girl Scout meeting. The phone booth in front of Hundley’s on National Road kept me out of the rain and cold as I shivered in that thin Scout uniform. Girls did not wear pants to school in those days. Yet I would have to explain what a phone booth was and well, that might muddy the story too much for their young minds.

The grandkids love books and they have had the pleasure of visiting their local library — before the world changed. I’m thinking I will tell them about the bookmobile that used to travel around our neighborhoods. I wonder if they could relate to the excitement we felt climbing the steps into the bookmobile and being able to select several books to enjoy without leaving our neighborhood. Will they understand such simple joys when the world is at their fingertips — only a click away via their computers?

All of the stories I send to the kids end on a high note. They have to use their imaginations as the stories unfold. Sometimes there is a lesson to be learned — like never go near the creek without an adult. Other times there is just a happy ending to send them off to sleep with smiles on their faces.

It’s the best I can do until two vaccines in my arm allow us to share those stories in person. I can hardly wait.

Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at hziegler@theintelligencer.net.

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