When Bess, a resident of Holiday Parkside Court, remembers her childhood, she pictures her grandma’s polka dot apron. The apron was part of her grandma’s daily wardrobe. It remains a formative memory, along with the many adventures she had on visits to her small Ohio farm.
The sense of magic Bess recalls from rural life, before electricity and running water, inspired her to author and illustrate a children’s book – Grandma’s Apron Tales.
Along with Bess’ daughter, her granddaughter – a preschool teacher – recently visited Holiday Parkside Court with her class in tow eager to hear these stories. Bess’ great-granddaughter was also present to help narrate.
For this remarkable occasion, four generations of women from the same family gathered to share stories and traditions that began almost a hundred years ago.
“The book was my daughter’s idea,” Bess says. “She came to me and said, ‘Mom, we’ve always enjoyed these stories; get ‘em together and make a book!’ So, I got busy writing and painting. And that’s how it came to be.”
Grandma’s Apron Tales reflects themes about the importance of nature and the simple joys to be found in everyday life. Through the eyes of a child, tasks like gathering water from a spring, helping pick vegetables and watching the clumsy movements of baby chicks are wondrous experiences.
From the looks on the faces of the preschoolers as they listened to Bess and her great-granddaughter share these tales, the wonder carries through ‘til today.
When asked what she hopes others, especially her children and grandchildren, learn from her experiences, Bess says, “Appreciate what you have. You can miss the whole boat if you only care about material things because that’s not what life is about. Life’s about showing love as an action. And my grandmother, she showed it.”
For those who have found careers in senior living, these occasions are especially memorable.
“It’s a privilege to witness family history like this,” says Kyla Lowe, General Manager of Holiday Parkside Court. “Seeing this kind of wisdom being shared – it’s one of my favorite aspects of working here. Days like today – with four generations under the same roof – they’re definitely meaningful to me.”
In words and in painting, the lessons from Bess’ childhood will live on for generations to come.