When I Was Little

Grandparents’ Day was chosen in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter to be the Sunday after Labor Day each year. In elementary school, we celebrate the whole week long…inviting grandparents to have lunch, spend some time with their grandchild at school and maybe even read a story.

Second grade children are asked to do an interview with their grandparents, finding out three questions: What was transportation and communication like when they were little and how did they have fun with their family?

I read a captivating story to my second grade class called “When I Was Little” by Toyomi Igus that focuses on the special relationship between a little boy and his grandfather. The little boy, Noel, can’t imagine living without TVs, video games, refrigerators, and indoor plumbing. Noel is taken to another time (maybe seventy years ago) and tries to imagine what it would have been like back when his grandfather was little. What they realize is that the need for love and caring never changes.

I’ve given this assignment for years but this year, because MY daughter is in second grade, has been the most meaningful. It was so sweet to hear my daughter interview both sets of grandparents…it was funny too! 

We had my husband’s parents on speaker phone and my husband would whisper a question for our daughter to ask her Nana and Pappo. “Did you chase dinosaurs? Was everything in black and white when you were little?”  Nana just happened to be making cookies while we were interviewing her.

We were also delighted to hear that both sets of grandparents learned something new about each other (after forty-one years for my parents and 52 years for Derek’s parents). It was a pleasure to hear them laugh and say, “I didn’t know that about you!”

I think you’ll enjoy taking a walk back in time through several seven-year-old’s interviews with their grandparents’. Take a look at some highlights from my second grade class (and my daughter’s) interview with their grandparents:


· There were no electric windows, seat belts, or air conditioning. They had to walk, bicycle, ride the trolley or the bus. They had airplanes but most people didn’t fly…if they did, they would dress up.


· They did not have cell phones, but rotary phones. They sent letters. They had a party line which about eight other families shared so you had to make sure you answered the right calls!

Family fun:

· Fishing, swimming, camping, drive-in movies, playing in the woods, helped make butter, picnics, going to the A&W root beer stand for fresh watermelon, jumping rope, going to Bell Dairy for ice cream, roller skating, camping, ice skating, ice fishing, riding horses, going down to the train station and watching the trains go by, flying kites, playing cards, going to sporting events, listening to the radio, playing cowboys and Indians, playing with dolls…

We love our grandparents. They are the puzzle pieces to who we are and shape who our children become.

“What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies.”  ~Rudolph Guliani

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