When we are children, some of the best stories we hear are those from our parents and grandparents about their younger years. I am not sure what it is about those stories, but there is just something special about hearing about your relatives’ crazy adventures. Maybe it is because it can be refreshing to know that your older relatives made the same mistakes you have, or in some cases, even worse mistakes. The Grandma’s Attic series by Arleta Richardson is a collection of short stories about her grandmother’s life that is perfect for anyone who loves listening to family stories of old. Richardson had a very close relationship with her Grandma Mabel, so every time she would visit her grandmother, she would pull her granddaughter close and tell her about the everyday adventures she had when she was a little girl in the days of log cabins and wagons. Eventually, Richardson wrote these stories to share with millions of people who had a soft spot for those tales like I did.
Regardless of when a story takes place, there are some aspects of being a human that never change. We still have to try, fail, learn, grow, work hard, and find a way to succeed. We have to learn many of the same lessons and attempt to do the best we can with the life we are given. Richardson’s stories from her grandmother revolve around lessons such as pride comes before a fall, heartbreaks can be blessings in disguise, and stupid decisions do not happy consequences. Those are all lessons that everyone needs to learn at some point, but I think far too many people today learn them later than they should because they forget to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors.
I once read a book that said we can learn from the mistakes of others for free, and I think that is why it is so important to study our history and understand why our ancestors made the mistakes they did. We can neither erase the mistakes in our history nor right the wrongs that were caused as a result of their mistakes. We can, however, use that to our advantage. Instead of trying to erase the mistakes of others, we should take pride in the fact that we have the ability to make better choices than they did. We do not have to pay the penalty for their sins; instead, we can create a better life and go farther than our ancestors ever could have dreamed.
Adults and children alike will find plenty to love in Grandma Mabel’s short tales that will make them laugh, smile, and remember their own childish antics. The Grandma’s Attic series shows that sometimes, the simplest pleasures in life are the most precious and the most worth savoring.
Sarah Raymond is a Tullahoma resident and editor of The Moore County News.