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by Rose-Mary Rumbley

You know you're old when you remember favorite bedtime stories.

"Tell me a story, mama!" is a memorable request all kids make. I remember saying just that to my mother and I certainly remember my children voicing the same plea to me. Now, in my day, the parent/story teller relied on the Grimm brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm, for stories, and were those stories ever grim! The plots involved grandmothers eaten by wolves, children thrown into ovens, woods alive with monsters! After a story by the Grimms, children were expected to go to sleep!

The Grimm Brothers lived in Germany, they were well educated, and they decided on a research project--locating the old German folk tales. The German parents were known for disciplining their children with FEAR! A parent would scare the children to death to gain control. Not a bad idea! Remember when we use to be afraid of our teachers? There was never a problem in the classroom as there is now. I had this horrible Latin teacher at North Dallas High, Miss Griffin. We kids called her, The Griffin. I remember one boy in my class was terrified of her. This guy grew up and went out and committed armed robbery and was sent to prison. He was scared of Miss Griffin, but not of the law!

HANSEL AND GRETEL, SNOW WHITE, LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD, SLEEPING BEAUTY, and RAPUNZEL are the well known tales told by the Grimms in 1812. They are still popular stories. They are still being published today, but the illustrations in the current books are very different from the ones of my day. Sleeping Beauty is wearing a mini skirt and Red Riding Hood's grandmother has a flattering hair-do. Even the trees in the forest have a "with it" look! The children of today are "hip." We were all pretty drab!

Today, the kids are reading the Dr. Seuss books--THE CAT IN THE HAT, GREEN EGGS AND HAM, or THE GRINCH WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS. Theodore Seuss received a degree from Dartmouth--not a Doctorate, only a BA Degree. He gave himself the title of "Doctor," and after he became so famous as a writer, Dartmouth did give him an honorary Doctors Degree. His goal in life was to get children to read! He pleaded, "Kids, read anything--just read!" He also wanted them to laugh, and he was able to do this by exaggerating everything in his stories. In 1984 Dr. Seuss was given a Pulitzer Prize for Literature. I think he deserved it!

There is nothing finer than a good story.

I recently wrote an article for a magazine about Memphis, Tennessee. Of course, I included Elvis, who called Memphis his home, and also mentioned the Peabody Hotel with the marching ducks. There is a great children's book about the Peabody ducks, and I bought it for added material for my article. There are about a dozen ducks who live on the top floor of the Peabody Hotel. At four o'clock each day, the ducks descend on an elevator and arrive in the lobby. They waddle/march to the pond in the center of the lobby, jump in the water and swim around for a while, and then they get back in line and march to the elevator and return to their penthouse on the top floor.

I bought a great children's book about those ducks, which proved to be much more informative than any information that google offered about them on the computer.

I highly recommend children's books for reading! They are fun and full of great information!

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