Monday, June 19, 2017

A Treasured Legacy Worth More Than Silver And Gold!

The main purpose for writing my, 'When We Were Kids' series, was to paint a realistic picture of what life was like in the Fifties. More than anything, I wanted my children and grandchildren to know who I was as a child, my personality, my quirks, my joys, and my sorrows. Although these four books are works of fiction, they truthfully portray my life and the lives of my immediate family. Most of the events happened, and most of the folks included in these stories are real, live people although many of them have since passed away.

As each book was published, I gifted my seven grandchildren with a copy despite the fact that two of them were just babies at the time. I figured they'd grow into them over the years. On Saturday morning, my seven year old grandson, Beckham, called me in a dither. He explained that he had just finished reading, 'Playing Hooky,' the first book in the series, and had a lot of questions. Beckham wanted to know: Who 'Danny' was? (my brother) Did the nun really say, 'that there are poor children in China with nothing to eat'? (yes, many, many times) Did the bullies at the creek split open Danny's head? (yes, he had the scar to prove it), Did my Baba stick me in a pan when I was born? (yes, and I wouldn't part with it for the world) and so on and so on and so on!

Eureka! I had achieved my goal if only for this one Saturday morning conversation. However what followed warmed my heart to the core. Beckham's ten year old brother, Liam, joined in and began asking questions as well. Somehow we got on the topic of what things cost back then. The boys wanted to know if an ice cream cone was really only ten cents. I told them about the 'White Palace' Ice Cream Shop and how often we stopped there for cones, sundaes, and their famous 'vanilla cokes'! They couldn't believe that all of those treats sold for less than a quarter.

Now I was on speaker phone, and the questions kept coming. How much was a loaf of bread, a gallon of gas, a car, a house??????????  I tried to be accurate in my answers to the best of my ability. They were totally amazed!

When Beckham asked if the bakery that I mentioned in the book was still there, I replied that it was and that I'd taken his older cousins, Brady and Brenna, on a tour of my childhood home town last spring. Both boys wanted to know why I hadn't taken them, but since they weren't in PA at the time I promised we'd go upon their next visit.  When I said I treated B&B to one of my favorite pastries from the Blue Bonnet Bakery on  Eighth Avenue, they about jumped through the phone!

We continued to talk about the house I was born in, the 82 steps my great-grandmother had to climb every Monday morning after grocery shopping, where my mom and dad lived, and much, much more. Our conversation lasted a good twenty minutes, yet for me, it covered a lifetime of memories.

I know Beckham and Liam and the other five grandchildren will treasure the legacy I've written down for them forever. I also believe they will pass these books on to their own children, and hopefully they will do likewise.

Just a suggestion, but if you think your children and grandchildren would love to know you as you were as a child, write it down and hand them a treasured legacy worth more to them than silver and gold!