I often sit down with my grandchildren to talk about events that have happened to me and those who came before me. I tell stories on their level so that they understand why things happened the way that they did.
I told my granddaughter that my mom grew up very poor in south Dakota and that they lost their crops during the destructive dust bowl days. Mom had to wear her sisters’ worn hand-me-down dresses to school. When my grandmother was able to buy flour, she would find the flour sacks that had a pretty design on the front. She would soak the dress to soften the burlap, perhaps with baking soda added to the mix, and then rub it back and forth between her hands to help make it wearable. Then she would cut out a dress pattern from the flour sack, paying special attention to the different kind of pattern that the company created on each sack, and she sent my mother off to school.
My granddaughter decided to draw some pictures to show how much she learned about my family “history lesson.” She drew the first picture with a dress that had a small flower in the middle as she thought I meant “flower” sack dress. I then drew a picture of what a “flour” sack looked like, but that didn’t stop her. She wrote “old days” on the first picture. I reminded her that she needed to use crayons to color the picture, but she said that she wanted to leave it the way it was because that’s what old pictures look like. I didn’t even know that she paid attention to that detail about “old” pictures from the past!
On the “New days” picture, she drew a “heart dress” and she colored it with crayons. Even though there were some bad times associated with the first picture of the “flower-sack dress,” the sun was always shining and the grass was still growing!