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What Did You Do When You Were Little?

June 2, 2018

Another Way for week of June 1, 2018

What Did You Do When You Were Little?

My oldest grandson, Sam, asked his mother recently, “What did you do when you were a little girl?”

So that evening she put him on the phone with me and I recalled a few pastimes or activities, and promised I would think about it more. Some of those details from 35 years ago have gotten swallowed up in time, but pictures helped me think about the particulars. I’m writing this as to him (and of course some of it applies also to his cousin who’s just two months younger than he is). If you have littles or grandchildren, you can read it to your own and insert little changes to make it fit your family. Or get out your own photo album (archaic?) to help recall their fun.

  1. Your mommy and her sisters (and here, with a first cousin Cathy who loved playing with them)

    Tanya in front, Michelle behind, cousin Cathy.

    used to spend hours playing dress up—not with Halloween costumes, but their own creations. They had a big box full of scarves, grandma’s old housecoats, slippers, blouses, shirts, hats, and once, a little girl loaned us ballerina costumes for a couple of weeks. Oh

    Michelle and Tanya.

    what fun they had then!

  2. Your mommy loved playing with the cats—especially when there were baby kittens. Oh the

    Tanya, left in kindergarten with “show and tell pet day.”

    tiny mew mew mews that came from their nests of old soft towels. The baby kitties were blind at first, couldn’t open their eyes. They had to hunt with their heads poking around to find their mommy’s milk. And of course it was very hard for your mommy to wait a week until the kitten’s eyes were open. (We said if children played with them too soon, they might make the kitties have mattery eyes.)

  3. Your mommy was just like you loving books and enjoying many hours of someone reading to her, or looking at the pictures and “reading” to herself.

    Little sister Doreen front, Michelle and Tanya.

  4. Your mommy loved to play in snow. Don’t all children who live where it snows love it? You are learning more about snow since you have moved further north!

    Michelle, left and Tanya, right.

  5. Just like you, your mommy learned to fish—at first throwing a fishing line in the yard, and later, fishing at a lake and river. You are lucky to have a grandpa that has his very own pond.
  6. Just like you, your mommy enjoyed playing in leaves in the fall,

    Tanya swimming in leaves.

    wagon rides in a little red wagon,

    Indiana cousin Scott (he has a son now who looks just like him) on Grandpa’s wagon with baby Doreen, Michelle and Tanya.

    and swimming. When she got bigger, she loved rock hopping in creeks, and also looking for crawdads and little fish in mountain streams. Maybe you can do that sometime soon.

    Riven Rock Park where we sometimes swam. Tanya in a contemplative mood.

  7. Your mommy enjoyed climbing or hiking and rarely complained—not even when she climbed the Statue of Liberty when she was only three. We hope as you get older you will like hiking on trails and through woods and mountains.

    Lady Liberty–and yes Tanya climbed clear up to that torch at age 3.

  8. Just like you, she enjoyed hunting for and hiding Easter eggs—endlessly sometimes, playing with sisters to hide the eggs again and again.

    The annual Easter egg hunt at Trinity, with Thomas Barber and Peter Grandstaff checking her stash.

  9. Just like you, she enjoyed music, and loved playing the piano. When she got old enough, she took lessons—many years, and became a flute player too. Sometimes practicing was work instead of fun, but she stuck to it.

    Tanya circa middle school.

  10. Your mommy had a dog and you have a dog. I know you love to feed your dog, even though he is much too big for you to take on a walk. (I love that our old dog Wendy is laying very close to the gold chair your dog Ike slept on for many many years!)

    Our family dog, Wendy.

  11. When your baby brother was born, you couldn’t wait to play with him, and to help change his diaper. Your mommy loved playing with her baby sister as well. While babies are not toys, you enjoyed a doll to help teach you about taking care of a baby.

    Baby sister Doreen; note Tanya’s bliss!

  12. The little airport you still play with at Grandma’s house was once your mommy’s. She was very excited to get it for Christmas one year. She was even more excited when our whole family got to fly to Florida and see real baggage carts, and airplanes being filled with fuel. We are happy you can still play with your mommy’s airport.

    Tanya opening the Fisher-Price airport that her children still play with today.

Love from Grandma Davis.


What did you enjoy doing when you were a little girl or boy? Write your own letter for your children or grandchildren. I’d also love to hear what you have to tell them. Comments welcome here!

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  


  1. Beverly Silver permalink

    As for me. loved paper dolls. Fortunately a collection of mine was kept, and I brought it to Hbg when the house in Rich mond got cleared out. I kept them here and put them in a binder with each doll and its clothes on several pages. I named them all, had two families, one blondies and one brunettes. I even had Daddys – rare male paper dolls. I Loved them and played a lot. When sick and in bed and not in school, I had pattern books which I cut up and made pictures with the children in their Simplicity and McCall fashions!

    • I love this, Beverly! Do you still have the blondies and the brunettes? And you cut out clothes from old pattern books? But oh yes, lots of dolls–they had paper sometimes but mostly played with their Barbies and Kens after they were a bit older. I didn’t want them to play with Barbies too young. But then someone gave Michelle one and that was the start! Tanya and Michelle’s boys also play with trains–lots of train time on the floor, the little wooden variety on wooden tracks, creating and recreating paths and stories.

  2. What fun memories for your grandchildren to be able to see – stories of their mom with pictures too. Perfect!! Things like this will be wonderful keepsakes for them their whole lives.

  3. Thanks, Trisha, I should have used larger photo files so they could be enlarged when viewed but with so many photos, I was steering away from slow load times for people. Not sure this blog will be here their whole lives (pondering technology 60 years from now!) but …. yes, your point!

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