By COLLEEN MCCARTHY
The latest edition of the popular “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series features a story from a local man and a very important woman in his life, his grandmother.
Mark Baldwin, who is working on his Ph.D in earth and atmospheric science at Mississippi State University, submitted a story about reconnecting with his grandmother, Lorene Lowe of Crossville, Tenn.
“I decided to write the story when I found out Chicken Soup for the Soul was looking for stories about grandmothers,” Baldwin said. “I love to write and I knew I had an interesting story to tell about her and me making pizza and swapping stories.”
In his story, “Pizza Night” Baldwin returns home after a particularly difficult week away at college and turns to his grandmother for support and some delicious pizza. Despite growing up with his grandmother nearby, he realized he had never really gotten to know her.
“When I was home every day and Grandma lived just a few miles away, I never made much of an effort to visit. I just took it for granted that Grandma was always ‘just down the road,’” Baldwin said. “When I moved several hours away and only got to visit on weekends, at best, I realized how much I really didn’t know about Grandma.”
Their pizza nights, now a regular tradition, have brought them so much closer. Now Baldwin hopes the story will do the same for other grandparents and grandchildren.
“I just hope that when people read the story, whether they are a grandparent or a grandchild, they stop to think about how well they really know each other,” Baldwin said. “I thought I knew Grandma until I started taking time to visit her and really talking and listening to her.”
“Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grandmothers” is a collection of 101 inspirational stories about grandmothers and their grandchildren. The series has sold over 100 million copies over the last 17 years. Baldwin’s story is number 41 in the book, included in the section called “Grand Friends.” The book is available for $14.95 in stores and online.
“Our grandparents have so much to teach us,” Baldwin said, “and if we just take the time to slow down enough to really listen to them, their life lessons will enrich our lives and make us better people.”