‘Grammy’ pens a children’s book

Published 5:11 pm Saturday, October 10, 2009

Norma Benedict never thought she’d be an author.

As she was raising her children, she didn’t have the time to put her thoughts on paper.

“I was a single mother,” the Autumn Care resident said. “I didn’t really have the time to be an author.”

As her children grew up, however, Benedict developed multiple sclerosis, which limited her use of her hands. The disease left her unable to type on a computer.

“I’ve always loved writing,” said Benedict. “I’ve always wanted to write.”

When Benedict decided she wanted to write a travelogue, she enlisted a volunteer to type on a laptop computer while she dictated the words. She got a sister-in-law and a nephew to illustrate the book, and “Grammy Hits the Road” began to come together.

“Grammy Hits the Road” features a granny in a purple T-shirt (loosely based on Benedict herself) and her adventures with her grandchildren.

“It’s based on stuff I did with my kids,” Benedict said, adding that she wrote the book for her 10 grandchildren.

In the book, Grammy lives in Indiana, and had to retire from her job because of health reasons. She develops an imaginary friend, Frieda the Frog, to keep her company. Frieda, a female frog, wears a pink tutu, purple tennis shoes, a pink floppy hat and a purple T-shirt with the letters “FROG,” which stand for Fully Rely on God.

One day, Frieda gets the idea Grammy should go visit her grandchildren who live in Florida. Grammy makes the trip in her Pontiac Grand Am, stopping in the small towns and tourist attractions along the way, kept company by Frieda the Frog.

Throughout the next few days, Grammy takes her children to Orlando’s amusement parks — Sea World, Disney World, Epcot Center and Universal Studios.

After the book was complete, family members did some Internet research and helped her find an online publisher. Benedict held a book signing at the Autumn Care home Wednesday to thank the residents, staff, family members and others in the community for their support of her work.

“I wanted to thank all the people who helped and supported me,” Benedict said. “I had lots of support from my family.”

The people at Autumn Care — both residents and staff — also showed strong support. Others in the facility also have written books in their spare time.

“It’s great how much everybody rallied around me,” Benedict said.

Benedict already is formulating plans for the rest of the books in the “Grammy” series. She has plans to write about going on vacations with her grandchildren and doing different activities with each of them.

The book is about 37 pages long, and was written for children ages 8-12. To find out how to purchase a copy of the book, call 934-2363.