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Time alone with grandma a special memory

When I was growing up, I only had one living grandparent. Most of the time, I felt like I didn’t really know my grandma because I had to share her with 20 other grandchildren, five of whom lived next door to her. We lived about 30 minutes away, so we only got to see Grandma about twice a month.

The summer I was 10 years old, my grandma insisted that I come spend a whole week with her. It would be just the two of us, and I was thrilled, to say the least.

The first afternoon I was there, Grandma went to a drawer and pulled out several new pillowcases and a small tablecloth. She let me pick which one I wanted. I quickly picked the tablecloth, which had a girl in a hoop skirt on each corner.

Then Grandma got out a basket of embroidery floss and needles. She patiently taught me how to embroider. The first few hours were trying for her, but she never once raised her voice to me.

For a couple of hours each afternoon, we’d work diligently on my tablecloth. By the end of the week, I had a good start on the tablecloth, and I had learned a new skill.

What a special time that was for us. Just a couple years after that, Grandma had a stroke and was never quite the same mentally.

It still warms my heart when I think of that tablecloth with the girl in the blue bonnet and hoop skirt on each corner. I will never forget that week when I had my grandma all to myself.

Deep River, Iowa

Grandma takes pride in grandsons

I thoroughly enjoyed raising my three daughters, but grandchildren awakened a different kind of love in me that’s hard to explain. My three grandsons and great-grandson are my treasures and the light of my life. 

One of my fondest memories is reading to my grandsons at bedtime, although I sometimes dozed off before they did. When I wasn’t with them, I taped their favorite stories and sent the tapes to them. They listened to these “grandma tapes” at bedtime and when they missed school. One story was played so many times, the tape snapped, and I had to record the story again.

All three grandsons are grown now, and the oldest is married. He recently became a father, and he asked me to make tape recordings for his son to enjoy someday.

I’m grateful to have been a part of their lives, helping them become the fine men they are today.

Sylvania, Ohio

Students celebrate Grandparents Day

When Grandparents Day was established in 1979, I saw an opportunity for my students. Sometimes we’d visit a nursing home nearby to visit with the residents and sing to them. On other occasions, we made cards, wrote poems and sent letters.

One year, I involved a Chinese student, who had just moved to the United States, and I recruited a local Chinese man to help.

I read a book called Grandfather Tang to the class. The story told of using tangrams, a type of Chinese puzzle. The Chinese man interpreted the story for the Chinese girl while she put tangram figures on a chart.

Then the rest of the class and their grandparents made tangram figures. It was one of our best celebrations.

Watts, Okla.

Favorite TV or radio programs

Did you have a radio or television when you were growing up? Do you remember when you got either of them? What was your favorite radio or television program? What is your favorite program now?
How have radios and televisions changed since you were a child? Do you watch a lot of television now? Do your children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren watch a lot of television?

Tell us about your favorite radio program, television show, or both. Send your letters (and photos) by Oct. 8 to CAPPER’S, Kate Marchbanks, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265.

Easy-to-travel wraps perfect for families on the go

Even if you’re in a rush to pick up one child from soccer practice and take another one to dance class, you don’t have to resort to fast food. Everything you need for something quick, delicious and portable could be in your kitchen already.

In just minutes, you can wrap up an easy meal for your dashboard dining experience using tor-tillas. They’re versatile, with recipes that go beyond traditional Mexican fare.

Most tortillas are made from either corn or flour, but they come in a variety of flavors and sizes, as well as fat free, heart healthy, low carb, whole wheat and multigrain versions.

Wrapping up favorite ingredients inside a tortilla is a simple way to make breakfast, lunch or dinner a moveable feast the whole family can enjoy anywhere.

Recipes for healthy, easy-to-travel meals can be found by visiting www.MissionMenus.com.

Low-Carb Stromboli Wraps

4 low-carb 8-inch soft taco flour tortillas
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
6 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
4 ounces provolone cheese, thinly sliced
4 ounces salami, thinly sliced
4 ounces ham, thinly sliced
1 jar (4 oz.) roasted red bell peppers, rinsed and cut into strips
4 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
Marinara or pizza sauce, heated, optional

Heat oven to 400°F.

Lightly spread one side of each tortilla with softened butter; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Parmesan. Place equal amounts of provolone, salami, ham, roasted peppers and mozzarella in the center of each tortilla.

Roll up into a wrap. Place seam side down on a nonstick baking sheet. Brush with remaining butter; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Slice each stromboli in half diagonally. Serve with marinara sauce, if desired. Yields 4 servings.


¾ cup prepared marinara sauce, divided
4 sundried tomato basil wraps
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
72 slices thin pepperoni rounds

Evenly spread 3 tablespoons marinara sauce on each wrap. Sprinkle ½ cup mozzarella evenly over marinara sauce. Layer 18 slices pepperoni over cheese. Fold each wrap in half, forming a half-moon shape.

Spray a 10-inch nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat skillet over medium heat. Place two pizzadillas in skillet and cook for 3 minutes on each side, or until crisp and golden brown. Remove. Repeat with remaining pizzadillas. Cut each pizzadilla into quarters to serve. Yields 4 servings.

Cheeseburger Soft Tacos

1 pound lean ground beef
Salt and pepper
4 slices sharp cheddar cheese
4 6-inch fajita flour tortillas
1 red tomato, cut into 4¼-inch slices
2 small green leaf lettuce leaves, divided into 4 pieces
1 large red onion, sliced into ¼-inch slices, pulled into rings
12 dill pickle slices

Separate ground beef into 4 equal portions; form each into a thin, half-moon-shaped patty.

Place patties in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes on each side, or until desired doneness.

When patties are almost cooked, place cheddar cheese slices on each patty and allow cheese to melt. Remove cheeseburgers. Warm tortillas in the microwave for 10 seconds.

Place a hot cheeseburger on half of a warmed tortilla; top with a tomato slice, lettuce leaf, onion rings and pickle slices. Fold tortilla in half. Yields 4 servings.

A Letter from Kate:

The only grandparents I knew lived more than 200 miles away, so seeing them was a special treat.

Sometimes we’d go visit them for our vacation. Other times, we’d go to Colorado, or visit relatives in western Kansas, and pick up Grandma and Grandpa on the way. One time, we stopped and picked them up on our way home from Colorado.

I loved going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Grandma had a pantry just off the kitchen, and when she knew we were coming, she stocked it with some of our favorite cookies – sugar, frosted oatmeal and the ones shaped like Dutch windmills. Even now, when I find those cookies in the grocery store, it reminds me of Grandma’s pantry.

I recall my grandma’s delicious homemade bread and her love of flowers, which was passed on to my dad, and then on to me.

Grandma didn’t always show it, but she loved her family and was proud of all of us.

After Grandma passed away, Grandpa came to live with us for awhile. I loved having him close, but he missed his home. My parents found a rest home near my dad’s hometown where Grandpa lived until he died at age 95.

As a child, I loved sitting on Grandpa’s lap, or next to him, so I could play with his crooked thumb. He had hit it with a hammer when he was young, and it didn’t heal properly.

My grandpa was a fun person to be around. He loved telling stories and had a good sense of humor. He also liked teasing people – another trait Dad inherited.

Grandparents are very special people, and even though I didn’t have mine for very long, their presence in my life will stay with me forever.

Kate Marchbanks

Together with God:

This time of year is wonderful for sharing special moments with the grandkids, and grandparents know how to make the most of those times. We don’t have to spend money to go to a theme park, or take them on a vacation – we are the vacation! Our grandchildren might pass an afternoon sitting on the porch coloring or reading a book, or we grandparents might spend time in the garden showing the­ little ones the magic of seeds growing into plants. These are precious times, because it’s time spent with our loved ones.

There are so many choices for entertaining grandchildren. We can turn on the sprinkler and enjoy chasing the kids and the dog through the cool water on a warm afternoon. We can give the kids a disposable camera and see what photos develop. We can sit quietly and flip through photos of their parents as children, or give them a magnifying glass to look at bugs on the sidewalk.

Seeing the world through their eyes is one of the greatest gifts of being a grandparent. How many times as a parent did you drive past the local fire station and think that little Johnny would love to see that, if only you had the time? Now you do. As a grandparent, you can make that stop and impress the children with those big red shiny machines. 

At the end of the day, when all the activities are done, they go home with their parents, and we get to take a nap. 

– D. Susan Rutz