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MARILYN HAGERTY: Kids have much to say about elders

Dear Shirley,

This is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s the second week in May and fourth grade students always read their winning essays about their favorite older person.

This week they were at the Senior Center and introduced by Ernie the Angler. He is really Rob Horken, manager of the local WDAZ television station. They were welcomed by Mayor Mike Brown, who delivers babies for a living and positively loves kids.

In fact, the mayor has invited essay winners to come down to City Hall at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, May 19, and share their essays.

Here’s an idea of what some of the winners wrote, in part, about their favorite older person:

  •  Emily Robson of Century School said her grandpa, Roger Kieffer, always makes time for her. She wrote that he likes strawberry ice cream, and she loves playing cards with him.
  •  Rachel Anderson of Century School described her grandma, Wita, who lives in Virginia. “I remember than when I was little, Wita would hold me and we would look for shells in deeper water and jump over little waves by the shore.”

… What I noticed, Shirley, that these children love older people who spend time with them.

  •  Katherine Blackmun of Kelly School described her dad, Michael Blackmun, who takes her fishing at the lake. She said, “He makes me take the fish off the hook even though it is gross.”
  •  Jackson Poiries of Lake Agassiz School wrote about his grandfather saying, “You can’t empty the ocean with a spoon.” And Jackson said he has learned that means time, patience and hard work make anything possible. If you couldn’t do a layup in basketball or skate backwards or do a hockey stop, you just have to keep trying.
  •  Harrison Stockeland of Lewis and Clark School described his Grandpa Tom. “He fought in World War II. He was on a submarine. He never got attacked by the Japanese. … I love him because he tells me stories and he is always happy.”
  •  Grace Nelson of Phoenix School says her Nana in Milwaukee is fun. “She is a good listener. She likes to hear all of our stories. She loves to watch old movies and knows all of the stars.”
  •  Josiah Charles Williamson of Riverside Christian School in East Grand Forks wrote about his grandpa Willy. “He is kind, loving and understanding. He answers all my questions in a kind and loving way. He plays board games with me, and he plays fair and square.”
  •  Emma Tolan of Sacred Heart School in East Grand Forks talked of going shopping and swimming with her Grandma Dotes. “She takes me sledding. I don’t know why, but she is 72 and she goes sledding.”
  •  Paige Herda of St. Michael’s School says her Grandma Angles Guttierez is not a superhero or a famous person. But, Paige wrote, “She means a lot to me. She teaches me basic skills of sewing, cleaning and cooking. … She has always taught me to believe in my faith. I go to church with my grandma every Sunday.”

… The words of fourth graders in these essays make me think things are going all right in this world, Shirley.

Let me know how you are doing in Tucson. Maybe I can send you more excerpts from the winning essays.

Your sister, Marilyn, eating miniature Mr. Goodbars on the banks of the Red River of the North.

Reach Marilyn Hagerty at or by telephone at (701) 772-1055.