Margo Bartlett

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We're venturing out

For more than a year, we’ve stayed a safe distance from everybody else, worn facemasks, followed guidelines, and scanned the horizon for the specks of approaching vaccines.  When vaccines arrived, we older ones got in line; but our daughter, like so many daughters, impatient to see us inoculated (and also, perhaps, impatient to have loving and protected grandchild-caregivers again) jumped on the internet and found us appointments an hour...

Reviewing outdoor reading

This is what book reading with grandchildren currently looks like during the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic: We bundle up – to the teeth, to the ears, sometimes only to the neck, depending on the Ohio weather – tighten our face masks, and, if necessary, sit both on and under blankets. If...

COVID-19 is like dental implants...

Edging back from a full shutdown to -- not normal; it’s too soon for that -– something near the outskirts of the suburbs of greater metropolitan normal, is like getting a dental implant. Implants take time. You don’t break a tooth, go to the dentist, and come home with a shiny...

Reading Together, Apart

Before the pandemic shutdown, I’d never said the words “social” and “distance” together, let alone adapted my life to fit the words. I’d been volunteering in my older grandson’s first-grade class, collecting him and his brother after school once a week to read and play until their parents got home,...

Volunteer grandma

Ed. note: Obviously, this post was written before the pandemic forced schools to close and families to stay home and visit with friends and relatives virtually. Margo will reflect on the "new normal" in an upcoming post. There I was, on the floor of a first-grade classroom, my grandson on...

Building on the Foundation

For my birthday, my husband gave me a stack of photographs as thick as a Harry Potter book. In almost every picture, I’m reading to at least one grandchild while crouching on floors, snuggled in restaurant booths, sitting on park benches, and all over our house and our daughters’ houses:...

Just the right time

Let’s talk about the book neither of my six-year-old grandchildren would let me read. I almost didn’t read it myself. When I plucked Patricia MacLachlan’s What You Know First from the library shelf, I saw right away the book’s illustrations would not appeal to my young listeners. The pictures are...

Undercover Reading

My daughter and her husband caught their six-year-old reading in bed after lights out and celebrated.Quietly, of course. They didn’t want her to know they’d seen her taking advantage of the fading daylight coming through her bedside window. Still, they managed to take a picture of her, surrounded by stuffed...

A big place to run and play

My husband recently took a picture of me reading to our five-year-old granddaughter. He takes such pictures often; his phone holds dozens of photos of our granddaughter and me behind a variety of books. On this occasion, he caught us at an exciting point of the narrative. My granddaughter's eyes...

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