Turning Back Time: Grandpa Sounds

One of my favorite memories of my grandpa is walking next to him. He would take my sister and me to the park to play. On top of his head was a hat. Not a baseball cap or a knit hat, mind you. Grandpa always wore his fedora when we went outside. As we walked along, he would whistle a tune. Every once in a while, he would sing the words.

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay

Sometimes we would walk to the little grocery store in town with Grandpa. Quite often, we would sweet-talk him into buying us a small cheap, plastic toy.

My, oh my, what a beautiful day!

Four generations. I’m the baby, held by my mother.

My daughter, Lily, came home from preschool one day, singing that song. I was instantly transported back to my childhood and memories of Grandpa filled my head.

Plenty of sunshine, headed my way

Now that I teach preschool, I sing this song with my class on sunny days as part of our weather routine.

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay!

I’m always hoping for the sun to come out, just so I can sing this song and remember Grandpa!

Four generations; Lily is the baby in my lap.

What song brings you back to your childhood?

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Turning Back Time: Grandma Sounds

I woke up to the sound of pots and pans clunking together in the kitchen. Snuggling under the covers, I remembered that my grandparents had arrived at our house the day before. They had made the trek from Des Moines to Chicago in their huge boat of a car, a thermos of weak coffee and a coffee can full of crunchy cookies to keep them going.

In the morning, Grandma would wake up early. She would move around the kitchen to find a pan to heat up her wonderful homemade sweet rolls. Soon after I woke up, the aroma of cinnamon would waft up to my room. Grandma knew those rolls would lure all four of her grandchildren into the kitchen. And into the kitchen we came to devour those sweet rolls for breakfast. The bottom of the rolls would be crispy sweet, sugar and cinnamon melted together. A thin layer of icing sweetened the top of the rolls. Mmmm…there was no better breakfast than those sweet rolls!


A few years ago, Grandma sent me the recipe to her sweet rolls. She wrote that making them was more than just following a recipe — rather, it “was a process.” She made her rolls for us into her 90’s. While we would turn down weak and watery coffee she made, we never turned down a chance to eat her sweet rolls.

One of these days I’ll try the process of making sweet rolls so that the smell of cinnamon will fill the house. The next morning, I’ll wake up my children by clunking some pots and pans together, so that they will blearily wander into the kitchen to have a taste of time gone by.

What are some of your favorite childhood sounds?

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