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September a ‘grand’ month at Martin

In the children’s book “Curious George Plays Baseball,” theloveable primate doesn’t exactly do too well behind home plate, butthe children of Cindy Davis’ second-grade class at Mamie MartinElementary School cheered him on regardless.

They hung on every word Friday morning when Janice Everettvisited the class to read the 32-page tale aloud as part of theschool’s recognition of National Grandparents Day, which this yearfalls on Sunday. While visiting Brookhaven for the week, Everett,of Newton, accepted an invitation to come to the class and read thebook, chosen by her grandson 7-year-old Brady Spring, who is amember of Davis’ class and loves the game of baseball.

“I love reading,” said Everett, who participated in the eventlast year as well. “I think it’s very important to expose childrento books. It broadens their horizons.”

The celebration of National Grandparents Day is now in its 31styear since being declared by Congress, and children across thecounty paired up with their family matriarchs and patriarchs tohonor them. Grandparents were welcomed with food and song during areception at Enterprise Attendance Center, and the preschoolers ofFirst United Methodist Church invited their grandparents for amorning walk to Janie’s Pastry.

National Grandparents Day began in a small level in 1970 in WestVirginia, when Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade set out to establisha special day to honor grandparents, involve them more in theirgrandchildren’s lives and help children take stock of the knowledgeand experience every grandparent possesses.

Governor Arch Moore proclaimed National Grandparents Day in WestVirginia in 1973, but legislation seeking to establish the daynationally stalled in the U.S. Senate that same year. McQuade beganrattling for support in the media and sending letter to seniorcitizen-based organizations nationwide.

It took five years, but President Jimmy Carter signed NationalGrandparents Day into recognition in 1978. It falls annually on thefirst Sunday after Labor Day.

At Mamie Martin, however, the holiday has been stretched acrossall of September. Principal Danita Hobbs said the month is known as”GRAND Month” at her school.

“We have around 800 children here, so it would be a monumentaltask to have grandparents come on one day,” she said. “We inviteall grandparents of our students to come any time during the monthto come and read to our kids.

“It’s a special day for the children when they come – we sitthem in a special place in the room, the grandchild gets to standup front with them,” she continued. “It’s a special time to thinkabout, hear about, learn about and honor our grandparents.”

For Everett, it’s a special day for the grandparents, too.

“I love being a grandparent. Grandparents can have all the funwithout the responsibility,” she said. “You can spoil the kidswithout worrying about the consequences. When the kids wantsomething, they say, ‘I’ll ask gran and pop.'”