Most of us are familiar with the old saying, “WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES”; an expression that flowed from the lips of adults when we were only children. In retrospect, was the importance of these words that were passed down to each generation internalized by the receiver? In a single day, how many facial expressions of both friends and strangers we encounter do we recall? Do we focus long enough on each person’s countenance to know if all is well with the soul? Are we prepared to identify signals of sadness, hunger, fear, depression, or despair? Do we stop and try to walk a mile in an individual’s shoes, or ignore the plight of another because we might be called into action or have a schedule interrupted? If we truly believe in the teachings of Jesus, he adamantly announced to everyone that the Kingdom of Heaven is for such as these; the downtrodden in society.
After answering a phone call from a lady in the community stating the need for a story that would help in solving the issues she faced when dealing with her aging mother, the importance of showing empathy for all mankind was brought sharply into the writer’s focus. In a worried voice, she described her loving family members consisting of both grandchildren and children, resisting the act of visiting her mother; a wonderful Gramme now elderly and in need of help with her daily care. Believing them to be afraid and uncomfortable when in the presence of an older person whose body had aged, she desperately wanted to find a way to show them that their loved one’s heart was still the same and suggested a book for all ages would be the answer for not only her dilemma, but offer a solution to others facing identical issues.
After contemplating the conversation, memories of how my sisters and I clomped around in my Aunt Dollie’s shoes flooded my mind. Joined by two cousins, we all paraded up and down the winding wooden staircase making unbelievable noise while not only wearing her shoes, but make-up and clothing as well; all while she lovingly gazed upon our actions accompanied by enormous laughter. Obviously, we all had a home in her heart. Although these childhood memories brought on a search for old photographs, followed by a gush of joyful tears, the caller’s mother sharply returned into the writer’s focus. The solution was to motivate each family member to ask, “How did Gramme feel as she gave up freedom due to an aging body?” As an answer to this question, “IN GRAMME’S SHOES”; a book for all ages was born.
“IN GRAMME’S SHOES” is a tender story that will carve a home in the reader’s heart for the elderly as the realization of role reversal is internalized by a loving grandson who experienced the impact of wearing Gramme’s shoes not only as a child, but later on in life. The spectacular illustrations drawn by Tommy Bolls, a senior at Catholic High School, will demonstrate to all mankind that both empathy and compassion are deeply rooted in even the hearts of young people in our society. After viewing each illustration, I am sure you will agree with the writer that Tommy truly captured Gramme’s heart. He obviously reveled in the fact that Gramme’s unique personality would live forever in the heart of her grandson. This wild, crazy, humorous, tender grandmother whose love flowed like a crystal clear stream would touch a little boy’s heart forever and teach others to rise in the presence of the elderly.
It is the writer’s hope that you will download this story to your technical device and share with Grammes throughout the world. Shout from the mountain top that Gramme is still Gramme! Now and forever!