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Travels with grands can be memorable

By LAVERNE HAMMOND
Published August 31, 2004

Have you ever thought of traveling with your grandchildren? If you take them to a place you've already visited, seeing it through their young eyes will be like seeing it anew. You will feel the magic and music of life all over again.

And if you travel with them to a place you've never been, their nonstop questions surely will help you develop a keener assessment of the place.

Many grandparents today are more financially comfortable and in better health than their parents were; retired baby boomers are especially active. No rocking chairs for them. They want to stay mobile and travel. Even if you are a grandparent who is still working, there are always the weekends.

Washington, D.C., is a city that caters to youngsters. Many museums are free and the historic sites are interesting to people of all ages. History lessons also come alive in Great Britain, a popular European destination for Americans because there is no language barrier. However, grandparents may wish to introduce their grandchildren to their own heritage by traveling to the countries of their origin.

But short outings are fun, too, and might be a better place to start establishing a relationship with the younger generation. A trip to the library, the zoo, a ballgame, an appropriate movie or even a shopping mall can be an adventure for a child. A drive in the country to a nearby beach with a picnic basket is a treat for youngsters and relaxing for the grandparents.

I have a friend who takes her two granddaughters to a local library book sale twice a year. On the final day she lets them fill a huge shopping bag with books. It only costs a few dollars.

My mother enjoyed taking her grandchildren to the northern woods of Wisconsin, where her sister had a cottage. My daughters remember those trips well. They still talk about learning to put worms on a fish hook and washing their hair with rainwater.

I remember when my husband and I visited Disney World for the first time. It was so much fun to go through it with two of our young grandchildren. With their short legs, the children tired easily and wanted to stop to eat and rest often. That was fine for our weary legs, too.

Whatever your choice or whatever your pocketbook can afford, enjoy your grandchildren now and give them some memories of you so that some day they will be able to say, "I remember when Grandma and Grandpa took us there."

LaVerne Hammond, who divides her time between Wisconsin and Florida, is at work on her memoirs. Write her in care of Seniority, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg FL 33731.

[Last modified August 27, 2004, 10:49:05]

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