By Barbara Hansen
My granddaughter was six-years-old when she began writing her stories. We sat at a table in a restaurant, I with pen and paper and she nibbling on her grilled cheese and french fries, over lunch. Each time we met, I began, “Sweetie, would you like to write a story today?” With absolute joy, she answered, “That would be really fun, Grandy, let’s do it.”
I would begin our writing session with, “Once upon a time, there was a little girl named___?“ Without missing a beat or bite she answered, “Jane,” next time and next story it was “Suzy.” Interesting, she never faltered, never had a moments of, “I DON’T LIKE THAT NAME, CAN WE CHANGE IT?” I was reminded, small children are blessed not to have an inner powerful censor guiding their writing. They simply create, feel free to express themselves. They are blessed and free of the sometimes annoying inner editor, we adults have.
I admit to never having a plan for each storyline, it simply evolved. When I asked one day, did she have a favorite friend, her face changed, and with a tear in her eye, she answered, “it was Joanie and she moved away.” It was that easy to add a new chapter in her story. We of course followed that lead to the end. When I asked “What is the name of your book?,” she answered, “I miss my bestest friend.”
As the story progressed, I responsively wrote each sentence in my notebook. Shortly before dessert, I read her story back to her, praising her for writing so well. After lunch we were off to Office Depot where for not, more than a dollar, two at the most, a printed version of “My Bestest Friend,” became her book, with of course, her name as the author.
Writing a new book became our bonding rite, during each visit. The years passed and each year when we arrived, after a kiss hello, my granddaughter would say, “Grandy, are you ready for me to write another story? “ Walking to the dining table I secretly smiled, noting the table was set, with pad and pencil awaiting my arrival and the beginning of a new writing session.
Imagine my elation when my Granddaughter at age 12 answered her Grandfather’s question, “Sweetie, what do you think you might like to do or be someday? ” Without a moment’s hesitation, she answered, “I am going to be an Author and go to Harvard.”
As a grandparent, there is no greater joy than knowing I have shared my love of writing with my granddaughter, and to recognize her goals at 13 are simply amazing. I share this story with all grandparents because, not only is it a joyful experience for you, but, It’s a “cool thing” to do and share with your grandchildren.
About Barbara HansenFrom 1995-2004 Barbara wrote a monthly column for the Englewood Sun Herald, in Englewood Fl.Her column, A “Write” Thought, is a graceful blend of thought provoking and humorous snapshots of life,In 2006-2007 Barbara served as President of the Sarasota Branch of American Pen Women. This organization, of artists, writers and musicians, is headquartered in Washington D.C. In May of 2014 Barbara will begin serving a term as 2nd VP of the State of Florida for the American Pen Women Organization. Barbara considers it an honor to serve an organization whose honorary members include, Columnist Erma Bombeck, writer Taylor Caldwell,artist Georgia O’Keeffe, and Helen Keller. Barbara’s A “Write” Thought columns have been published in not only The Englewood Sun Herald, but also in the St. Petersburg Times, USA Today, in Louise Hays book, Modern Miracles and her, Column, “Confidential for Adults Only “in GRAND Magazine, 2003. Barbara served as First Vice President of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club Women’s Club. She served on the Board of Directors of the Englewood Women’s Development Center. She was appointed to a nine member Grant Panel,serving the Sarasota Arts Council. As a volunteer for the Sun Coast Humane Society, Barbara designed an Outreach Program on animal care and adoption, spending two years implementing the program to second graders throughout Sarasota County. Barbara is a mother, stepmother and a grandmother to her five grandchildren. She and her husband Ty, recently moved from St. Petersburg Fl. and now live at 6518 Oakland Hills Drive, Lakewood Ranch Fl. 34302. [email protected] Tel: 941-907-1938