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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Grandparent(s) (04/03/08)

TITLE: It Could Be A Stretch
By Sharlyn Guthrie


My Grandma’s hammock fits me just right. When Grandma climbs in and lets me push, the hammock fits her bigger, rounder body just right, too. Once, when Grandma was in the hammock, Grandpa crawled in beside her. They were so smushed together they couldn’t stop giggling. I thought the hammock would burst, but it stretched to fit around them both.

“Grandma” is a stretchy word. In fact, I think it’s a lot like a hammock. It doesn’t matter who climbs in, it stretches to fit. Some words aren’t very stretchy. If a bunch of people drew pictures of an apple or a baseball bat, their pictures would all look alike, but if they drew grandmas, their pictures would be very different.

Grandmas come in all shapes and sizes. They can be tall or short, thin or plump. Many grandmas play sports, ride bikes, or exercise, but some need a cane or walker just to cross the room. My great grandma shakes her cane at me when she means business. Some grandmas wear glasses, and some don’t. Their hair can be long or short and can come in any color, with or without some gray hair mixed in.

Most grandmas enjoy taking their grandchildren for walks. They are good at noticing things like ant hills, robin’s nests, and cats curled up in window sills. But grandmas might also drive you in their van, sports car, pick-up, or tractor. They sometimes ride motorcycles, horses, carousels, and roller coasters.

You never know where a grandma might pop up. She could be your teacher, your waitress, your doctor, your school bus driver, or your mail carrier. Some of your neighbors are probably grandmas, too. I’m pretty sure every grandma knows how to bake cookies, but I could be wrong about that.

Grandmas know all about little kids, because they had kids once. Just don’t expect them to know your favorite cartoon characters. They have lots of toys stashed away in boxes, but the cars look funny, and some are missing important parts like wheels. Their dolls’ pigtails have been chopped off, and they have lipstick stains on their faces. For some reason, Grandmas get teary eyed when they see you playing with those old toys. They don’t care too much if you make a mess.

If you want to hear a great story, just climb into your grandma’s lap and ask for one. My grandma’s lap is as cushiony as a pillow, but your grandma’s lap might not be so soft. Still, she probably knows “The Three Bears” and “The Three Little Pigs” by heart. She can tell you things that no one else knows about your daddy, and about all kinds of strange things she had as a little girl –like roller skates with keys, records bigger around than dinner plates, and black and white television sets without remotes. She will show you pictures of Grandpa with hair and a mustache, and your aunts and uncles in diapers.

Grandmas make pretty good teachers, too. Some grandmas can teach you how to plant flowers. Others give music lessons on the piano or violin. Some grandmas are good at using tools, and can help you learn to build or fix things. Lots of grandmas know how to sew, knit, or crochet. Maybe yours can teach you how to swim or do karate.

If you ever start thinking that your grandma doesn’t look or act much like a grandma, that’s just plain silly. God knew the kind of grandma you needed, and when she came along, He stretched the word “Grandma” to make it fit.

There’s one more thing; some grandmas don’t want to be called “grandma.” Their grandchildren call them “Nana,” “Granny,” “Babi,” or “Noni.” It doesn’t matter. Just like my grandma’s hammock, “Grandma” will fit them, too, if they ever change their mind –and grandmas often do.

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This article has been read 845 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 04/10/08
I love the message and that second-to-last paragraph is the best of the bunch. Well done.
Joanne Sher 04/12/08
I love the analogy, and all the wonderful descriptions. A delightful piece in every way.
Lyn Churchyard04/13/08
This was a lovely story. I could see your MC standing up in front of her classmates telling the story. I loved the scene with Grandma and Grandpa in the hammock together laughing. The idea of a Grandma being able to "stretch" to fit everyone into her love is wonderful. Very, well written and extremely enjoyable.
Benjamin Graber04/14/08
This one is cute! Grandmas are wonderful for creating lots of special memories...
Jan Ackerson 04/14/08
This is very sweet, and you really got the voice of a 7-year-old narrator...

...except, I think, for the abstract parts near the beginning and the end, about the "stretchiness" of the concept of "grandma". I'm not sure 7-year-olds think that abstractly.

The examples in the rest of the essay are precious--I loved this.
Joanne Sher 04/18/08
Congratulations, Sharlyn, on placing 14th in your level and 22nd overall with this piece. Great work!