Jill, a good friend of The Grandpa Project, recently shared a story with us about the Sharing Day held at her son’s school. When I was a boy, we called those days “Show and Tell” – a day when we could bring something unique to school and share it with the rest of our class. I remember classmates that brought puppies, toy trucks, favorite dolls, and one girl that even brought her new baby sister (along with her mom). Show and tell was a fun day and deciding what to take was always a big decision.
But I didn’t have a grandpa.
Jill’s son had a much easier decision to make. He decided to take his handcrafted wooden boat that was made with love by his Grandpa Don.
Jill described Grandpa Don, her father-in-law, as a man who is incredibly smart, adventurous, and bold. Apparently, he has some exceptional carpentry talent as well. Each year, in Grandpa Don’s free time, he creates a hand-crafted wooden toy for each of his grandson’s at Christmas and their birthday. He designs them on his own and uses wood he selects from his pile of scraps and objects that he’s collected over the years.
In an email to Jill, Grandpa Don explained why he makes the cherished toys.
“It’s quite simple, he began. I noticed one of the few things Kirk kept from his childhood was the yellow wooden Blazer I made him and thought his kids might like some wooden toys. I don’t much like the modern plastic; battery operated, noise making, easily breaking toys they make for kids now. I enjoy designing and building the toys myself. It isn’t something I specifically learned to do, although I’ve gotten better at it with experience. Many of the toys have some connection to things the kids have seen or done, and, Don concluded, it gives me an excuse to buy some new tools.”
The toys that Grandpa Don creates don’t have lights. They don’t make noise. They aren’t found in catalogs or superstores. These wooden treasures are one of a kind and hold a place of love in the boy’s hearts. A place where they’ll reside forever.
Jill’s husband Kirk has a special yellow blazer that he’s kept for years and years. I’m sure it has special memories attached because it was created by his dad. Now there’s another generation of toys for his boys to enjoy and share. A wooden toy that’s been beautifully crafted with a grandpa’s love is the perfect treasure to take to “Show and Tell.”
Submitted for use by The Grandpa Project by Jill Alm, Shoreline, Washington
Does the grandpa in your family life in another city, state or country? Here’s a way to feel closer!