Back in the Saddle Again…

Dear Reader:

It has been a long time since I have done a story in a school and I didn’t realize how much I missed it. Rutledge’s kindergarten class was just precious and every pair of eyes listened intently. Mollie said that when she asked Rutledge what story he thought his Boo Boo was going to tell…he said it would be something about history. He knows me so well.

My Mohs foot surgery ( the one gone awry) with six months of foot treatments really put me out of commission doing a lot of things I loved and storytelling was definitely one of them.

I decided to take a cute, creative story about a famous landmark and personalize it using clues for the children to gather while I told the story. I never read a story …at least not first…because it is so important for children to use their imaginations to picture the story as they listen and not depend on a book illustrator’s perspective.

I told the class that this was the story of a special little girl who would grow up to be a famous Some BODY or Some THING! They had to listen to all the clues and at the end of story raise their hands if they thought they knew the answer.

ON a hot July day in one neighborhood in Paris, France the cries of a newborn were heard. All the neighbors wondered if it was a little boy or girl…but no one suspected just how special this baby would be. The doctors and even the baby’s mother and father were really surprised, even shocked, at their little girl….because, you see, she was a little…um…green! And not only was she green but she grew several inches each day causing her poor parents to finally give up buying baby clothes… when something that fit in the morning…didn’t fit by the evening.

So the mother took her BIG little girl to the store and bought her a queen-sized green sheet to match her special color. The baby did have a huge appetite…but just not for food, but knowledge. She read everything she could get her hands on from cereal boxes to billboards. She was simply amazing…as she grew and read and read and grew some more! She always kept two of her favorite books under one arm.

One day her mother took her to the store and told her she could pick out anything in the store she wanted…and what she wanted was this most peculiar-looking hat…actually a crown with strange spikes coming out of the top.

When she started school, you might imagine the other children didn’t quite know what to make of the huge green girl with a queen sized sheet, two books under her arm, and a spiked crown. But one thing they could agree upon…was that she was the smartest girl in the class..maybe even the whole school.

Every time the teacher asked a question her hand shot up like a rocket going skyward…she answered so many questions that her arm one day froze in the upright position.

She was also the kindest student….every time a new student came she befriended him or her and make them feel welcome and accepted in their new environment. 

In the blink of an eye she had graduated from school and none too soon. By now she had outgrown her bed, her chair and table, her house, and even her beloved Paris. It was time for her to leave and find where she belonged in the world.

Her parents were sad, of course, but they wished her good luck in finding her new home and before she left, they gave her a lit torch to carry in her frozen upright positioned hand. Her parents told her to always follow the light.

She went to countries all over the world and discovered that no matter the language or customs all people were kind at heart and she promised herself that one day she would welcome them to her home…when she found it.

She did know that she didn’t want to live in the Great Plains…too windy…blew her sheet up all the time, or the mountains…too cold with just a thin sheet, or the ocean…too wet and too fishy.

As she was emerging from an ocean onto land one evening something on shore was beckoning to her…calling her towards it. It was a large pedestal...all gold with lights shining around it. She knew immediately she had found her place. She shook the sand out of her sandals, wrung out her green sheet, straightened her spike crown, chose two special books to keep under one arm and re-lit the torch for the other outward arm. 

And then it happened. Magic! Suddenly she froze right there…and do you know that she is still there today? Welcoming lonely, scared immigrants, from other countries, who want to make America their home too. She is still growing…(over 300 feet tall) and getting smarter every day.

*I stopped there and asked if anyone knew the name of a famous some thing in her honor…four hands went up, including Rutledge’s…so on the count of three all four children shouted out “The Statue of Liberty” or “Miss Liberty” ….or, as in the title of the book….

I then showed them all the pictures of the clues and asked if she looked like what they had imagined…and some said she was close while others had her as a different nationality-theirs :)….perfect responses. What a great day! Back in the saddle again!

This is too funny! There was a luncheon for mothers and grandmothers after the story-telling yesterday. Rutledge told Mollie Sunday night (when she asked if he knew what we were having for lunch) about the most hilarious menu….she texted me laughing… “Rut says we are having strawberries, pickles, and sour raisins for lunch tomorrow. He assured me it’s really yummy!” 🙂

I texted back…”What a coincidence…I had been craving sour raisins all day…can hardly wait.” You can imagine both our disappointments when we had chicken salad, ham and cheese croissants, along with raw vegetables with salad dressings, and a variety of fruit, chips, and drinks.  🙂

So until tomorrow….Thank you Father for days spent with family and memories made for a lifetime.

Look at the pretty bouquet of flowers I got from Mollie.

Mandy went to Eva Cate’s school for a Mother’s Day brunch last Friday and she loved Eva Cate’s “interpretive” artwork for Mother’s Day!


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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4 Responses to Back in the Saddle Again…

  1. Patty Knight says:

    Loved this!!! You are a precious grandmother!!!! I understand the part about Back in the saddle. I enjoyed it so much more than I remembered! It was our calling , for sure!! Love you, sweet Becky!!!


  2. bcparkison says:

    You are a good story teller for sure. and childrens art work is always wonderfully artistic.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      So much fun! Love laughing with children over a story…seeing them get excited and having little ones come up and thank you for the story…too precious!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Becky Dingle says:

    I know you helped Kristin out when she was going through chemo in her classroom….and remember you saying how much fun it was…especially lower elementary after we tackled middle school all those years. It was and is our calling….my chance to story tell …my favorite thing to do.


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