Grandparenting Game Archives

Of baseball, astronauts and decisions we make

Posted on April 13, 2012 by Leave a comment

Opening Day at Fenway. It has a certain ring to it, I think, and always has ever since I moved to Massachusetts 36 years ago and became a faithful member of Red Sox Nation.

I’ve never been there on Opening Day. But my grandson Jack will be there today, heading in to the iconic ball park with his cousins Cooper and Camden and their dad, Jack’s Uncle Bobby.

He was more than excited when he got the news yesterday. But there was a little concern, at first at least, about dismissing the boys from school early for the big event.

Do it, I encouraged. They’ll never forget it, and it’s the last day of school before April vacation. How much work will they really miss?

The discussion carried me back a half century ago to a cold spring day in 1962. I was a senior in high school. I’d been accepted to college. All was right with the world, especially since the astronauts were coming to New York City for a ticker tape parade.

These were the original Mercury Seven space men – John Glenn, who’d just orbited the Earth, Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, Deke Slayton and the rest.

It was a no-brainer to my friends and me. We were going in to the city to watch our national heroes in person being deluged in ticker tape, one of the most iconic events that New York City throws to honor heroes and celebrities.

So we cut school —  but it wasn’t a sneaky cut. We told our parents and they gave us the OK. Go on, have fun, enjoy yourselves, it’s a day to remember and celebrate, they said.

So we did. We took the ferry into the city, bought steaming cups of coffee to warm us from the biting cold and joined thousands in a cheering throng that lined the streets. I bought a pennant with the astronauts’ names and a newspaper with Glenn’s and the others’ pictures filling the entire front page, items I still have in my high school yearbook.

It was a day to remember, for sure, and we got to cheer our heroes and see them up close as they rode by in open air convertibles, waving to the crowds.

It was history in the making and we were awash in the thrill of the moment.

But Mr. Samsel didn’t see it that way. The next day he called us to his office, and, as the assistant principal responsible for discipline told us we would be given zeroes for the day and have to serve detention for a week.

My father would have none of it and that night wrote a letter in our defense, pointing out that we’d had permission, the event was historic, and surely in the years to come, we would remember seeing the astronauts much more than any algebra problem or French lesson we had missed in school that day.

I don’t recall the outcome. Mr. Samsel may have erased the zeroes from our records and dismissed us from detention hall duty. Or he may have not. But it doesn’t matter. I graduated, went to college, did well, and, as Dad pointed out, still remember that special day when I saw the astronauts in person far more than a single day’s lessons in the classrooms.

That will be true for Jack and his cousins today, too, I am sure – even if the Red Sox lose.

Molly meets Miss Alcott

Posted on February 26, 2011 by Leave a comment

I enjoyed a delightful tea party with my granddaughter Molly yesterday at the refined, yet kid-friendly Concord Museum.

There were sweets, of course, fancy mini-cupcakes, brownies and star-shaped cookies. And the tea service itself was fun for kids and their adult companions. We were offered a fine selection of teas from Tea Forte, a Concord business that blends custom teas in intriguing flavors like citrus and ginger and chamomile. But no ordinary tea bags, these special little gems are pyramid- shaped silk infusers, topped with a tiny leaf on a string, that arrive in their own little pyramid-shaped box.

You take the bag from the box, drop it in your individual little tea pot, pull the leaf through the tiny hole in the lid and dip your infuser up and down in the water to brew your tea to the desired strength.

She could have had cocoa, but Molly wanted tea, of course. After all, she’s a little girl who loves tea parties and when you’re having a tea party, you drink tea, don’t you.

I enjoyed watching her take tiny sips of the golden brew, using her spoon daintily, and savoring her chocolate cupcake. And I was  touched when she politely asked if we could take the other goodies home to Jack, Claire and Mom and Dad. Her generosity and love of  family is more evident each day, now that she’s turned five.

But the proper tea wasn’t our only treat. A special visitor had stopped by the museum, stepping in from the cold after her carriage broke down on the way home from Boston. It was none other than Louisa May Alcott (or her alter-ego, Jan Turnquist, who manages the nearby Orchard House, the Alcott homestead where LMA wrote Little Women nearly 150 years ago.)

Molly is still too young to read Little Women, but she gamely got into the spirit of the visit, chatting easily with Miss Alcott. Among  tidbits she shared was that she likes to make books; that, like Jo in Little Women,  her Molly doll’s dad serves  in a war and cares for sick soldiers; that, like Jo’s sister Amy in Little Women, she has a teacher named Amy; and the she misses her friend Finny a lot. 

Miss Alcott encouraged her and other children there to read good books if they want to become good writers, to write letters to friends if they miss them and to keep a journal or diary with their thoughts inside. She also said that acting out stories is a good thing – and that’s something Molly excels at. 

Molly was enthralled with Miss Alcott. And the feeling seemed mutual, as Miss Alcott smiled and responded warmly to her frequently raised hand each time. Once Miss Alcott left, several ladies helping at tea told Molly she had asked  good questions.

We ended our day with a scavenger hunt through the museum, something Molly relished as she discovered the antique clocks, pitchers and the Paul Revere lantern. We never found the bonnet, but we’ll save that for another day.

On the way out, she asked to stop in the gift shop to buy “pirate hats” for Jack and Claire, and, oh, yes, one for herself, too, at my urging.

“I had such a good time with you today, Grammy,” Molly said, nodding into a nap in the back seat.

“I did, too, Molly, it was special,” I replied.

Molly made my day shine.  And she and Miss Alcott inspired me to keep reading and writing – maybe even a children’s book to commemorate this special day when Molly met Miss Alcott.

Happy Halloween

Posted on October 31, 2010 by Leave a comment

Is there a more fun holiday for kids than Halloween?

I think not. After all, who doesn’t love dressing up in costumes, parading around the neighborhood, getting free candy and even getting a little scared?

Halloween is second only to Christmas now for partying and decorating. But it’s also gotten more expensive, especially wih the elaborate costumes kids tend to wear each year. Looking back, in the good old days when I was in my trick or treating prime, we made our costumes from what we had on hand, or draped a sheet over our heads, cut out eyes and went as a ghost.

But it’s still more fun than ever and I’m looking forward to watching Jack head out as a ghoul, Molly as a pink power ranger and Claire as Strawberry Shortcake tonight. I’ll be at the door, witch’s hat on and candy bowl in hand, to pass out the goodies to the neighborhood kids. But I’m keeping most of the Reese’s peanut butter cups to myself. After all, every good witch deserves a treat, don’t your think?

Playing doctor

Posted on June 9, 2010 by 2 Comments

What  could be more fun or delightful on a cool June morning than being administered to medically by a  4- year-old and her 2-year-old assistant? i It happened to me this morning when Dr. Molly and Physician’s Assistant Claire stopped by before school. Molly, toting her medical kit, applied bandages and ointment, cut tape for a first aid application and also took care of her play cat, proclaiming “I want to be a vet.” Claire, in all her adorable “me-too” way, helped and participated fully. Molly’s kind, concerned bedside manner was duly noted and she beamed when I told her she’d make a good doctor since she knew how to treat her patients. Medical school in 20 years? Who knows, but it was a golden moment in in these golden days with the grandkids. What’s your favorite grandkid playtime tale?

Mouse house

Posted on June 9, 2010 by Leave a comment

June Cole, an old friend from my days at the weeklies, proudly sports a Mickey Mouse insignia on her wallet, calls herself a Mouse head and says she can’ t get enough of Mickey and his Magic Kingdom. But my Magic Kingdom – a/k/a home – has been besieged by mice this spring and we’re not talking the cute little Mickey variety. The latest episode took place over the weekend when I was moving a bookcase from one room to another and a mouse, encased in wool, escaped from under the bookshelf. Eeek!

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