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Friday, October 14, 2011


I have wanted to write and share about a wonderful day, meeting some very special people.   Tuesday I was made welcome by my grandson’s teacher and first grade class to read the children’s book and speak to his class. 

You would not think that would make me nervous since I have told the story for years to so many children and always had such fun doing it.  As the day and time drew near I felt some apprehension.  This was not just a time for fun…it was a time that created so many emotions whirling within me.   I wanted the children to have fun and enjoy the story.  I wanted them to be inspired enough to feel the desire to share their own thoughts, fears, feelings, ideas and more.  I wanted to be able to share with them the idea that what they learn is so much more than the grades they might make.  Education is a gift to last a lifetime and open doors to the world.

This was my grandson’s class.  If the children did not like me or what I had to say or thought it was dumb…would it be something that reflected in reactions to him?  What about his teacher?  I had never met her but she was nice enough to allow me to come and share this with her class.  I did not want to let her down by doing something that would be disappointing to her class.  I am not an experienced public speaker although I have on numerous times spoken in public.  I usually just go with the moment and have fun.

I did have fun.  I had so much fun.  As I drove home, I tell you that it seemed even the sun shone brighter and the Fall colors seemed to glow.

When I arrived at the school it is so beautiful and cheerful.  The people there are friendly and told me where to find the class.  I had arrived early and thought it might give me time to rest from the drive and walk into the school, but they told me to go right on down to the class.  When they told me where the class was I wondered if there was anyway I could get there.  If you had to pick a place that was the farthest from the door, that was it.  I was lucky that they had benches placed along the way and I could take breaks.  That was how I made it.  One little walk at a time and then rest a bit.

When I got to the class I did not want to interrupt but there was no bench down there and I had to sit.    When I knocked on the door one of the little boys got excited telling his teacher there was some lady at their door.  She was so welcoming and invited me to come in.  I explained that I knew I was there early and did not mind waiting but she was so nice offering to begin and introduced me to the class.  All little eyes were upon me and I felt that moment of apprehension.  Would I be able to do this?  Would I forget the words to the story I had written.  How should I read it and share the pictures at the same time? 

She had me sit at her desk and the students gathered together in front of me on a big rug they use for story time.  My grandson made my heart fill with emotion as he seemed so proud.  He was my helper…a lot.  I handed books to the students so that they could look at the pictures and maybe follow along but in first grade, patience is not a strong point and they got so excited they looked at each and every picture.  As I watched the young faces I was delighted to see interest and delight with some of the pictures.  They were excited and gathered head to head smiling and pointing and speaking in excited tones. 

We started out talking about what it takes to make what you write into a book.  That part threw me for a moment.  Usually when I talk about writing and what I went through before I could hold something that I had written in my hand as a book, it is to older people.  Every eye was upon me and there was no giggling or talking.  They were so interested and attentive.  They were alive with the wonders seen only through the eyes of a child and this was a chance to try to fire their imaginations for the things that they could do and accomplish.  This was a chance to help them to realize that all of the lessons and papers and tests were not just things they had to do, but accomplishments they had the ability to do because of the wonderful teachers and all that they had learned.  Would I be able and good enough to reach out and touch them?  I was going to try.

I would love to tell you how inspiring I was but the truth is that I was the one that was inspired.  They were so wonderful.  Each and every little face showed such emotion, enthusiasm, intelligence and wonder as we talked of many things.  Their questions were direct and showed they were thinking of many things that they could do and would do.  When I looked at those faces I was looking into the future.  I could see that each and everyone would have so many things in life ahead of them and who knows what all they may accomplish?  They are so precious.

My grandson was by my side and helped adding his thoughts, memories and ideas.  He has so many ideas on his own.  The next children’s book is one I am co-writing with a 6 year old.  I do not mean that I am writing it and letting him help.  The new story that continues is his own idea.  One day after he had asked me to read it to him he smiled and said he could not wait and we needed to do the next one together.  I mentioned we had to think of a story first.  We have come up with dozens of little stories together through the years.  It is fun and I think helps them to develop creative thinking and problem solving as they find their simple plots and story lines.

He looked so serious and said  “This one is about when they follow the path through the pumpkin field and go out into the woods.  The pumpkins go with the boy because they are his friends, but he only thinks they are.  One of them just acts like a friend but he is sneaky and mean.  There will be a lot of other stuff too and things he sees and meets but it will be a good story.”

WOW!  What an idea and from a 6 year old at that.  I could already hear the words and see the story coming together.  All we have to do now is polish it up finish it up and do a whole lot of art work.  I would not mind sharing credit for that book with him.  It is his idea.  We really are going to do it and he was so proud as he told his class.  I could tell by the looks on their faces they had their doubts.

I explained his story idea and their expressions changed.  Their surprise at what he could do reflects the idea that they could too.  There is no limit to what we can do but the limits we place on ourselves.  There may be some things we can not do, but we just have to find ways to keep going and do other things even better.  What we can not do one way we try to find a way to do it another way.

It came time to begin the story.  I was only nervous for a moment.  I have told that story so many times and always had the same result.  The children have always sat patiently, even intently listening to the very end.  There is always such a range of expressions and emotions cross their little faces.  I want to tell it so that it is interesting and they can almost see and feel it but not to the point that they stay frightened.  There is a fine line there and these are some young children but we did have fun.

When I started with the very first line there was not a sound from them.  Their eyes were as big as mine, thinking about what I had said…..”It was the dark of night………..but the moon shone bright……casting shadows on things below.  What was the cause……..the reason for it all……even with time we may never know.”  I had long pauses and spoke slowly as the words created the feeling and the pictures showed the rest.  I love it when a story comes to life.

As the story went on and at the end it suggests it was only a dream….or was it… careful and watch out for the moon.  I hoped it had been more fun than scary so we began to talk about the story it’s self.  We discussed the beginning and I asked if it really was dark at night.  They all agreed it was and I mentioned about the bright moon and beautiful stars that sparkle like diamonds in the sky.  There is so much light if you really look that you can see your own shadow…..”The moon casting shadows on things below”…It did not sound so scary that way.  We talked about the witches and how if things are different that does not always make them bad.  Maybe the witch was just an old, ugly, woman who dressed weird.  One mentioned that the one that flew across the sky silhouetted by the moon was a witch.  I asked him if he was really sure.  If you were scared of the dark and all alone and something whizzed by in the dark might you just think it was a witch because that is what you were afraid you might see.  Sometimes we see what we look for.  If might have been a black bird that you did not get a chance to really see clearly.

One little boy proudly announce, “I wasn’t afraid.”  Another answered, “I WAS… but I’m not anymore.”  Then they all began to share thought and feelings.

We talked of many things.  I could not find words then or now to say how wonderful it was.  I noticed other things.  Their teacher was so welcoming and helpful in keeping the event going smoothly adding interesting points and helping me to find things to talk about that related to their studies.  It is amazing how much they learn at that age.

This woman clearly has a bond with her students.  You could see by the way the acted and reacted with one another that she is someone special in each of their lives.  We do not always take the time to stop and realize what an impact these people make in not only the education of the children but the very lives they have before them.  People like this woman, inspire these children to believe in themselves and then teaches them providing them the tools to succeed.  As you watch her with the students you see order and organization but you also see the interest she has and by the reaction of the children you can see the love and respect they have for her.  Those are not things that just come with the job.  Those are a result of a personal relationship that involves care and that something special, allowing one person to reach out and touch another sharing and giving to them. 

When we talk about teachers….they are so much more than a person who instructs.  They are out there inspiring and offering gifts for the future to a whole generation of children and adults alike.  Their jobs are difficult but I think we should take the time to let them know how much we appreciate all that they do.

This was a wonderful day for me in so many ways.  I do think the sun shone a little brighter.  I think they colors did almost glow around me.  I am so thankful for being allowed to share such a special time with these wonderful students and their teacher and to be able to do it with my grandson at my side.  He makes me smile and gives me hope in life.   Every time he said “That’s my Mamaw.”  ( He calls me Mamaw instead of Grandma) It made me feel so proud.

I hope you all have a wonderful day and take the time to hug the kids and thank the teachers.  I thank Beth Stricker who is the first grade teacher where I read the book and  Green County Tech School.  People like her make a difference and touch not only the lives of her students but their families and futures.

The Pumpkin Field may be found at


  1. I have nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award.

  2. I want to thank you more than you could ever know. When I read what you wrote it made me fee alive and as if I could reach through the miles and share.