I am on vacation this week helping my wife babysit our two-year-old grandson. What an absolute joy! My own kids have all completed their college undergrads and the two oldest hold master’s degrees in their fields. All of their toys from when they were little kids are still in a whole bunch of boxes in our “warehouse room” in our basement, along with my old toy Marx playsets and toy soldiers. I have dug out some of my oldest son’s old Fisher Price playsets and other vintage toys for my grandson to enjoy, and this morning he has been happily playing with them.
You can tell that he is a product of a family who loves history and frequents the nearby Gettysburg battlefield. In our yard, we have a series of small round flat stepping stones that have mythical faces of the moon, sun, and various stars on them. We use them to mark the four corners of our property. As these are gray in color and stone in texture, the little guy delights in running around the yard and finding them. To my surprise, he informed me they are “sol-jers” like at Gettysburg. He apparently compares them to the many stone monuments at the Gettysburg National Military Park. Yesterday, at least six or times he asked to see the “sol-jers,” and spent many happy minutes walking the perimeter of my subdivision lot to find them.
It won’t be long before he and I are debating the merits of Stuart’s ride or the wisdom of launching Pickett’s Charge. His love for the battlefield monuments and grandpa’s yard “sol-jers” are themselves stepping stones to what hopefully will be a lifelong interest in learning about what our past was so we can dream about what tomorrow may be.