Keep Smiling with Rosie Preston: Reading, writing and storytelling


By Rosie Preston

If questioned whether I love to read or write the most, I would say it would be that I’ve read far more books than I’ve written articles since I began to write at The Messenger newspaper in 1998. I choose to read and write different genres because it is like you are a traveler in time – the places you visit, the different changes as years are recorded of the past and the present, the people you meet, and I can’t leave out the importance of the daily and weekly newspapers.

There was a fourth-grade teacher who will never know the way she inspired my life and my love of reading. I attended Mitchell School and we were blessed to have that teacher read to our class out loud as we waited for our lunchtime to be called over the loudspeaker.

The book my teacher read was mostly dialogue (when one person is speaking to another or other persons). My classmates and I were very quiet as we listened.  Our teacher would change her voice to sound like the character, as the character’s tones of voice and age may sound accordingly. I sometimes would laugh until I cried! I wish I could remember the name of the book because it was so humorous that I took it home and read it to my parents, who enjoyed it, also.

This was the beginning of my love of books. Back in those days, many of us did not get to go to the big library downtown. But, oh, what a delight it was when the bookmobile drove up in front of our school. If I could not find something humorous, usually I would read one of the classics or a mystery novel. So it was elementary school teacher who introduced me to humor, my mother who introduced me to mystery novels, and my grandmother (Mawmaw) who introduced me to poetry.

As I look back, I consider how lucky I was to have those ladies in my life. If not for them, I may never have loved the look and the feeling I continue to get just by looking at the cover or name of a book and reading the inside and back cover before I choose it. I eventually found some favorite authors and would read every book they had written.

My Mawmaw was wise in so many ways, and not just in her love of poetry. She taught me to sew pillowcases on an old-timey sewing machine and taught me how much fun we could have just by walking around her yard and observing her beautiful little garden spots. Mawmaw gave me a love for many things, but most of all she taught me how to be a grandmother!

The poem I’d like to share with you is one I always asked her to read to me over and over.

Finally, she told me I could memorize it. So when I visited her, we would go over and over the poem until I learned it line by line. I have never forgotten the words, but I did have to Google the title and the author!

Baby Seed Song

Little brown brother, oh! little brown brother, 

Are you awake in the dark? 

Here we lie cozily, close to each other: 

Hark to the song of the lark 

“Waken!” the lark says, “waken and dress you; 

Put on your green coats and gay, 

Blue sky will shine on you, sunshine caress you 

Waken! ‘tis morning ‘tis May!” 

Little brown brother, oh! little brown brother, 

What kind of a flower will you be? 

I’ll be a poppy all white, like my mother; 

Do be a poppy like me. 

What! You’re a sunflower! How I shall miss you 

When you’re grown gol-den and high! 

But I shall send all the bees up to kiss you; 

Little brown brother, good-bye.

By Edith Nesbit

It’s easy to understand about the little seeds talking to each other, babies do it all the time. I believe they may know what the other is trying to convey. There’s nothing more entertaining than watching babies and children at play. I have years of experience as a daycare owner and children can be quite funny. This is somewhat how the baby seed poem affected me. When babies are very young, they don’t see anything but another baby, a child or an adult. Yet, it is as they seem to listen when you don’t even realize it.

My three and four-year-old grandchildren, both girls, often play by using their imaginations. They are communicating very well at this stage in their lives. While at my house, they play with dolls, a kitchen and a make-up station. They color and use play dough to create many different things. They love to listen and sing as they dance to the music they have chosen (of all things) on a phone or computer.

Interestingly enough, I found myself comparing the baby seeds with real human babies. They are so accepting and so kind, and when they find they are going to be different colors and sizes, it seems they accept it as they say goodbye, but will continue to send affection as they mature and grow up.

Hopefully, everyone will relate to the two very different forms of life. As children, we had many friends our age who moved to different schools or towns or had jobs where we seldom saw one another. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone could just be as kind thoughtful and understanding as the little baby seeds were?

Keep smiling, Rosie

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