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As the author of a book for new grandmothers, I am always interested in what other Boomer women think of their new role and what they advise new grandmothers.

Terry Clark and Kathy Pokorney are the authors of a new children’s book for grandmothers to read with their grandchildren, Grandma & Me.

The book seeks to change our image of grandmothers from old and rocking-chair bound to active and fun-loving. The delightful, rhyming book, meant to be read with grandchildren, shows grandmothers with their grandchildren in a pumpkin patch, at the Fourth of July fireworks, in the garden and the pool, sledding.

This is not usually the image we associate with grandmothers. But, then, as I found out myself, our mental image of grandmothers is formed by our view of our own grandmothers at the end of their lives, not the young, vibrant women Baby Boomers are when we become grandmothers.

This view is not just a matter of perspective, that is, what my Grandma looked like when I remember her compared to what I see in the mirror today. Life expectancy has been on a steady rise since 1900. Estimated Life Expectancy, shows this increase, as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 1900 to 2006.

My grandmother was born in 1882. Although statistics don’t go back that far, in 1900, average life expectancy was 47.3 years. She lived to be 83. My mother was born in 1917, when average life expectancy was 50.9 years. She lived to 86. I was born in 1947, when the average life expectancy is 66.8 years. My grandchildren were born in 2005, when the average life expectancy is 77.4 years. Over a 105-year span, average life expectancy has increased from 47 years to 77 years. No wonder we thought of grandmothers as old at 60. No wonder they aren’t anymore.

In addition to asking for a review copy of the book, I asked to interview the authors.

Q. What inspired you to write this book?

A. (Clark) After our grandsons were born in March of 2010, Kathy wanted a book to give as a gift to her grandson about a grandma.  While searching the Internet for the appropriate book we realized there weren’t any that depicted a grandma in our age group.

A. (Pokorney)  We were inspired to write this book because my attempt to find a children’s story about a grandmother and grandchild that reflected myself was not to be found.  Grandma’s image was in dire need of a make-over and did not mirror the healthy, active, and stylish person I take pride in being.

Q. Are you both grandmothers? If yes, how many, boys or girls, and what ages?

A. (Clark) I have two granddaughters, Paige, age 8, and Lillyan, age 2, and a grandson, Jase, who will be a year old in March.

A. (Pokorney)   My grandson, Aaryn, will celebrate his first birthday on March 18.

Q. What do you most like to do with your grandchildren?

A. (Clark) All the many activities featured in our book “Grandma & Me” are things that I have enjoyed with my granddaughters. I look forward to doing the same with my grandson, Jase, as he gets older.  Just spending time with him now, watching him grow and develop into such a character is very rewarding.  I love spending quality time with all 3 of them.

A. (Pokorney)   Aaryn is already an entertainer which makes playtime together a blast!  I marvel at how he finds the simplest things hysterical and he draws me in with his contagious giggle.  Before I know it I’m laughing as hard as he is!

Q. What do you most remember doing with your own grandmothers?

A. (Clark) I was very close to my Grandma Eldred and spent as much time with her as I could.  She was a very loving lady.  I always remember my grandma as an elderly lady.  She always walked with a cane, spent most of her time in her rocker and very seldom left her home.  We enjoyed working in her flower beds together and also spent many hours putting puzzles together and baking.  One of my fondest memories of my grandmother was listening to her tell stories of the “olden days” as she would have said.

A. (Pokorney) Both of my grandmothers were/are extremely loving and patient women so my dearest memories were learning something new with them.  One grandmother taught me to knit and crochet while the other shared her baking skills. We would spend hours together and I cherished the undivided attention they gave me.  Grandma Robinson will celebrate 104 years young this April!

Q. What advice do you have for other grandmothers?

A. (Clark) Being a grandmother is one of God’s greatest rewards in life.  Embrace this adventure in every way you can.
A. (Pokorney)   Being a grandmother is a privilege that not every woman gets to enjoy.  Cherish every opportunity to spend memorable moments together with your grandchildren.

Q. Do you have any advice, in particular, for new grandmothers?

A. (Clark) Spend as much time as you can with your grandchildren.  You will develop a lasting bond with them that cannot be described until you experience it for yourself.

A. (Pokorney)   My advice for new grandmothers is don’t be shy, get involved in your grandchildren’s lives. You will find the rewards are endless.

Q. Do you have any other books in the works?

A. (Clark) Our second book, “Grandma and Me- A Day at the Zoo” is currently undergoing publication.  We have a third book about traveling to the islands with grandma that is in the illustration stage.  As we grow with our grandchildren, so will our books.

A. (Pokorney)   Our second book, “Grandma and Me – A Day at the Zoo,” is currently undergoing publication, and our third, which is about island travel with grandma, is on deck with our illustrator, Joshua B. Johnson.  Our stories will evolve from our experiences with our grandchildren.

We recommend Grandma & Me, available at amazon.com, for a much more relevant view of fun with Grandma. We look forward to Clark and Pokorney’s next book, Grandma & Me at the Zoo.