Many years ago, a four-year-old girl named Sandra Louise Doty sat on a stool in a florist’s shop while her grandmother made arrangements for customers. As the grandmother and granddaughter chatted, the child began describing what she thought a grandmother was like. The older woman wrote down Sandra’s words, which have been quoted around the world. Sandra is now Mrs. Andrew De Mattia, and has given us permission to share with you her original composition entitled, “What a Grandmother Is.”
The little girl said, “A grandmother is a lady who has no children of her own, so she likes other people’s little girls. A grandfather is a man grandmother. He goes for walks with the boys, and they talk about fishing and tractors and like that. Grandmas don’t have to do anything except be there. They’re old, so they shouldn’t play hard or run.
“It is enough if they drive us to the market where the pretend horse is and have lots of dimes ready. Or if they take us for walks, they should slow down past things like pretty leaves or caterpillars. They should never, ever say hurry up.
“Usually, they are fat, but not too fat to tie kids’ shoes. They wear glasses and funny underwear. They can take off their teeth and gums. They don’t have to be smart, only answer questions like why dogs hate cats and how come God isn’t married? They don’t talk baby talk like visitors do, because it is hard to understand. When they read to us they don’t skip or mind if it is the same story again.”
Then she finished, “Everybody should try to have [a grandmother], especially if you don’t have television because grandmas are the only grown-ups who have got time.”
Sandra has told us what children value most in adults: one who is kind, appreciates the finer things of life, and isn’t too busy to love a kid.
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