Bridging Generations

Don Douglas and his graddaughter Jessica Martin, 8, walk

Three generations filled St. Mary School Friday as grandparents,
parents and children shared in the fun of the annual Grandparents
Gilroy – Three generations filled St. Mary School Friday as grandparents, parents and children shared in the fun of the annual Grandparents Day.

“We value our grandparents for family traditions and history,” said Christa Hanson, the school principal. “When we were growing up grandparents never came into the school.”

The principal said the school has held an annual Grandparents Day for at least 12 years, and children are allowed to bring along parents, younger siblings or aunts and uncles if their grandparents are unable to attend.

Carlos Estrella stood on the school’s blacktop during recess with his eighth-grade granddaughter Christina Estrella-Lemus. Dressed in a blue St. Mary sweatshirt, she smiled as her grandfather talked about her.

Estrella has attended Grandparents Day at St. Mary since Christina started kindergarten.

“We get to see what they do,” Estrella said. “It’s one big family.”

Christina added that her grandparents live in Santa Clara so it gives her an extra chance to see them.

Grandparents Rosemary and Larry Gardner took turns traveling between the third grade and kindergarten classrooms, since they have two grandchildren at the school. The day was bittersweet, Rosemary said, because she and her husband will soon be moving from San Jose to the Palm Desert so they won’t see their grandchildren as often.

“But we will always fly in for Grandparent’s day and visit often,” Rosemary said. “It’s great to interact with them and watch them.”

She sat in a pint-size chair facing her third grade grandson, Cole Doty, while her husband visited with Cole’s younger sister, Taylor, in the kindergarten room. Each teacher planned a different activity for the students to share with their grandparents. Cole had a sheet of interview questions to find out more about his grandparents when they were his age.

Larry returned to switch off with Rosemary just before 11am.

“It’s wonderful,” Larry said. “It’s surprising how fast they learn. Cole reads better than I do.”

Still, Cole said his favorite part of Grandparents Day is going to lunch with his grandparents at noon. He and his sister planned to have lunch at Mimi’s Cafe with their grandparents. The visitors have a choice of staying on campus to eat a pizza lunch with the youngsters or checking them out of class to have lunch and spend the afternoon together.

Hanson acknowledged that some grandparents traveled from out of town or out of state to see their grandchildren so they allow them an option to spend more time together during the afternoon.

“We try to plan it for a Friday so they can stay the weekend if they want,” Hanson said.

Richard Vickers and his wife, Mary Ellen Weiby, came from Oroville to spend the day with their first-grade granddaughter Sarah Weiby.

“Its always good to see the kids,” Vickers said. “Whether its birthdays or holidays.”

Spending the day watching Sarah cut out a jack-o’-lantern and decorate it with pasted pieces of construction paper reminded him of his school days.

“It reminds me of when I was in first grade,” Vickers said. “I made a gift for my father. I was gluing on a cigar box and we used white flour and water to make a paste.”

But the 76-year-old grandfather said with a laugh, it has been a long time since he was in school.

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