A Day Down Yonder

After reading Richard Peck’s Newbery winner, A Year Down Yonder, the Odyssey students visited Manatee Historic Village, a small, early 20th century town reminiscent of the novel’s setting.  We imagined ourselves arriving on the train with Mary Alice to live with her Grandma Dowdel for a year.   As we walked through the farmhouse and barn, by the privy, into the one-room school house and the church, and browsed in the general store, we imagined Grandma Dowdel pouring glue on Augie’s head, ramming Old Man Nyquist’s pecan tree with the tractor, letting Mildred Burdick’s horse loose, and serving burgoo at the Armistice Day turkey shoot.

What is your best memory of time spent with your Grandma?


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33 thoughts on “A Day Down Yonder

  1. My best memory of time I spent with my grandmas are when I flew to Kentucky alone. She had so many things planned for me. We went to the Kentucky horse park, the art center, went to see ‘Grease” at the Jenny Wiley Theater, and we even identified her calves. Another memory with my other grandma that I had was when my mom and dad went to Jamaica, and she watched me for the weekend. We saw my cousins, and just chilled at her house. Those are the best memories that I spent with each Grandma.

    • I can’t wait to hear about identifying your Grandma’s calves! That sounds like a real “country” experience, just like Mary-Alice Dowdell. I used to love it when my Nana babysat me, too. She always made me cocoa with real milk.

  2. My favorite memory with my Gramita is the time she took my brothers and I to the Zoo. My parnts were at a wedding that day, so Gramita was in charge of us, so she took us out for a day of fun. Yes, it was fun!
    I also like when she cooks authentic cuban meals for my cousins and I.
    Black beans and rice, yuca, cuban steak and much more! I hope someday she’ll teach me how to make all of her great recipes! Well, that’s my favorite memory with my Gramita!

    • That food sounds so exotic! I’ve never had yuca, although I have seen it at Publix. I also don’t know what Cuban steak is. You’ll have to tell me all about it when I see you next. Sounds delicious. Grandmothers are great cooks! My grandma made a delicous frosting for birthday cakes called White Mountain Cream Frosting. My nana made raisin squares which I loved so much I sent the recipe into a Gooseberry Patch cookbook and they printed it!

  3. My favorite memory with my Grandma was when we went to North Carolina. My Grandma and I did a lot of fun stuff like climbing Grandfather Mountain and hiking along a lake. We also went fishing, and my Grandma reeled in a huge rainbow trout. Then we brought the fish to our cabin and had a fish fry. On the last day my Grandma and I went to the zoo to see many animals like grizzly bears, jaguars, giant snakes, and a whole lot more. At the end of the day we bought fudge to eat that day and on the car drive back to Florida.

    • Sounds like fun, Michael. Your grandma is quite the outdoors enthusiast. I’m impressed. We just returned from North Carolina, but we didn’t go to Grandfather Mountain.

  4. My favorte time I spent with my grandma was about four years ago was when she took my cousin and I to Jungle Gardens! We got to do lots of fun things like holding birds on our arms and an alligator show. In the alligotor show, the trainer jumped into the water with the animal and tied a rope apround his neck! My cousin and I were so scared that something might happen to him. We also got to see a bird show where I got picked out of the audience to help assist the bird trainer. We also got to feed these really pretty golden colered fish in a pond! I had lotsnof fun spending time with my family!

    • Erin,
      What a fun and exciting day you had with your grandmother and cousin. I would have been a nervous wreck if I saw the trainer with a rope around his neck and an alligator on the other end! Crazy! We brought our grandmother to Jungle Gardens, too. We liked feeding the flamingos.

  5. Even though it’s hard to pick out which time I had the most fun with my grandma, I think it would be the time we had a girl’s day out. Every year my grandma and I try to do something super special since I only get to see her about a month every year. One day we decided to have a girls day! To start off we woke up and made a breakfast fit for a king! Then we did each other’s nails and picked out our outfits to go shopping in the town! We had the greatest time shopping, so afterwards she suggested to go to dinner! We went to La Familia restaurant and had the most delicious lasagna. That was one of the best times I spent with my grandma.

  6. My favorite memory of time spent with my grandma was just this past summer in New Jersey. We went to the boardwalk in Ocean City a lot and bought lots of fudge at the Fudge Kitchen. We also went to the beach a couple of times. But most of the time we just hung out at the beach house and read books on the porch. I’ve had tons of great memories with my grandma and I hope to have a lot more!

    • I used to love to spend time with my grandmother on Cape Cod. She floated in the ocean with her ankles crossed and her toes sticking up out of the water. We also played Scrabble almost every night, sometimes on the porch. I miss those days.

  7. My favorite memory with my grandma was her 85th birthday party! The whole family was there to celebrate. For her birthday present, I made her a necklace. She loved it! She wore it all the time and always loved to show it to her neighbors. I had a great time with my grandma and my family that day!

  8. My favorite memory of time spent with my grandma is when we went on a trip to New York. We went to visit family. My grandma and I always have a great time together, so wherever we went we shared a lot of laughs. I think we had the most fun when we went to the Broadway play, Wicked. We talked to each other about the strange, yet truly amazing sets and costumes. It was awesome to be able to experience this with my grandma and I hope I have the chance to experience much more with her.

  9. My favorite memory with my nanny was when we spent the day together. I went over to my nanny’s house and I gave her a makeover! I did nanny’s hair and painted her nails while she read a fashion magazine. After I finished the makeover, we walked downtown to look in the shops and get an ice cream! After that we would go to the post office and check her mail. We walked back home and read our books and my nanny told me stories of her life growing up on a farm in Alabama with a one room school house (very much like the story with grandma Dowdel) anandd becoming a nurse in the 1940’s. Even though these memories may sound very boring to most people, sometimes small memories are the best memories.

  10. My favorite time spent with my nanny was when we spent the day together! I went over to my nanny’s house and I gave her a makeover! I did her hair and painted her nails as she read a fashion magazine and I planned out our day. After I finished the makeover, nanny got her purse and we walked downtown. We went into shops and looked around. After that we went to get ice cream and we sat outside in the sun. Then we went to the post office to see if nanny got any mail. When we got home we read our books and told each other what our books were about. My nanny told me stories about growing up in Alabama on a farm with a one room school house (which relates to A Year Down Yonder.) My nanny also told me stories about becoming a nurse in the 1940’s! This memory might sound boring to some people, but sometimes the small memories are the best!

    • I agree, Michaela. Sometimes small memories are the best memories. I remember walking in Boston with my grandmother. As we walked by a fancy, old hotel, she said, “Let’s walk through the lobby!” I thought we were very bold to walk through a hotel where we weren’t guests! But my grandmother was so confident; she looked like she owned the place!
      Have you seen the episode of “Good Luck, Charlie” where the grandmother did a make-over on Teddy? It was so funny! I bet you had a great time making over your grandmother.

  11. Probably the best time that I spent with my grandmother was when I went to stay with her in Dunedin for two weeks, the summer before last. We went to the beach and took the ferry to Caladesi Island State Park. Caladesi Island is a long, skinny island with beautiful shells. The water was so clear, and we collected sand dollars and walked for what seemed like miles. We also played a lot of board games, like Chinese Checkers. It was a fun game but she would always win no matter how hard I tried. It was a simple vacation but was so much fun, that I still think back fondly of those memories.

    • Some of my favorite times with my grandmother were on the beach, too. I used to visit her on Cape Cod. She loved to play Scrabble and even called it “The Game” as though there were no other games in existance. She’d say, “Do you want to play The Game?” and I knew that meant Scrabble.

  12. One of the best times I have spent with my grandma was on my 7th birthday. Both of my grandmas (Grammy and Meemaw) took me to have a tea party at a place called Tea Time. It is a VERY fancy place. When we walked in we picked out a fancy tea hat and a pair of gloves. Then they took us to our table which was decorated with flowers and a beautiful candle. We got our drinks in nice tea cups and had the most WONDERFUL lunch and the food was fantastic! I got to talk with my Grammy and Meemaw for the whole lunch and we had a phenomenal time!

    • This sounds lovely! I am a big fan of tea and tea parties. When I retire from teaching, I’d like to open a tea shop myself. I love the idea of picking out the hats and gloves. How fun! I am collecting different tea cups and recipes for scones and breads for the day when I have my own tea shop. What a wonderful time you had with your grandmothers.

  13. My favorite time(s) spent with my Grandma are when we go “shopping” in her closet. We usually do it when we sleepover. Sometimes we even find some of my mom’s old things and give them to her as a present. Though I’ve done it many times there is one specific time I really enjoyed (Frankie was there, too). We woke up that morning and ate Grandpa’s famous pancakes and got dressed (it takes Grandma a little longer to get ready though). While we were waiting we played hide and seek. Frankie and I hid in grandma’s closet in the way back. There we saw something sparkly, so I picked it up…it was a diamond!!! We took it to Grandpa but sadly, he told us it wasn’t real. 🙁 When Grandma was done we went to lunch then came home and fished. So much fun!

    • What a cute game. I used to like to play in my grandmother’s attic. There were lots of old clothes and furniture up there. It was fun to imagine living during the time when all that old stuff was new.

  14. My favorite time was probably when I got to spend week at my mom’s mother’s house. I really enjoyed it. We stayed up late watching the Olympics and talking about all the fun we had that day. We did arts and crafts, baking, and shopping. The visit went by so fast though, but I am going to confess I did miss my parents a lot.

    • I remember staying overnight at my grandparents’ homes. Like you, I always had fun, but I was ready to go home at the end of the visit, too.

  15. I love your pictures. They are very cool. Thanks for visiting my blog. I’ve been on an old fashioned train they’re pretty cool huh?

    • Hi Anna,

      Thanks for visiting our blog, too! We are new bloggers and are planning a blog party when we get to 500 visitors. I think we may get there this week. To celebrate, we’re planning to watch the movie Hercules and have some snacks. Since we just finished our unit on mythology, we thought Hercules would be appropriate and fun. Today and tomorrow the kids are presenting oral reports on Ancient Greek culture, so I will have some more cool photos when they are done.
      Old fashioned trains are fun, I agree! They remind me of the Polar Express and hot chocolate and also of The Little Engine Who Could.
      Keep in touch!
      ~Mrs Donofrio

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