The “dashboard” of my blog software allows me to see the countries where people are viewing my posts, typically 15 or more. I can’t tell who the readers are, but in the case of a few countries I have a pretty good idea… Philippines, Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Belgium, New Zealand, Australia, Jersey Island, Japan, Norway… to name a few that cause me to smile. I am clueless when I see Korea, China, India and a number of others.

The only way that I know with certainty that a post has been read by a particular individual is when they make a comment. Recently this comment caught me by surprise:
“I love the stories you tell. They are so persuading and realistic. My mom makes me read for an hour for home school, so I always choose your stories.” – Olive

Olive is 10 years old. We have known her, her parents, and her 13yo brother Liam since she was a toddler. Early on we happily assumed the role of their “adopted” grandparents, Papa Pete and Grandma Chris, including them in family gatherings and pictures.

The same day that Olive posted her comments (there were three of them) she sent me an email message, “Hi Pete, I sent you a comment and I just wanted to say I love your stories…” She added that she would like to talk. I called her Mother, Jenni, who was aware that Olive had reached out. Jenni said that Olive had some questions and just wanted to talk about some of the things that she had read. Olive was especially taken with the post, “Through a Child’s Eyes”. She discusses her readings with Jenni who shared with me a few of Olive’s reflections:

“Through a Child’s Eyes is how I really think. I agree with the description about time, especially about the birthdays. It’s really how time works for kids.”
“He says things I’ve never thought before, but he explains all the pictures and all the things that have happened in his life.”
“I like his blogs because it’s not thoughts I would think that he might say out loud… I wouldn’t know that he’s thinking those things…”

Wow… Olive, at 10 years old I would never have known that you were thinking those things either! Perhaps you have hit upon an idea for those like you who are spending so much time being homebound.

Jenni arranged a “Facetime” session which allowed for some real-time questions, answers, and just plain conversational catching up. Jenni added some insights about both children. Olive is a big helper at school and has the gift of foreseeing problems before they arise. She is in the 5th grade and loves to read. Mom requires an hour of reading each day from both children and Olive chooses “Papa Pete’s blog”. Liam is 13 and a huge “bookworm”, often reading mom’s novels and books when she has finished with them. He is a deep thinker. Big concepts and heavy topics are comfortable for him. Both children speak French fluently.

For her part, Jenni is thrilled that the writings are both informative and challenging for Olive. She absorbs the vocabulary and is excited to learn about new places and experiences.

I asked Jenni if it would be ok to feature Olive in a post. She and Olive were thrilled. I am thrilled to share something that is not about covid-19, the economy, or politics.
Recent news programs have highlighted teens endlessly partying away their Spring vacations, intoxicated and oblivious to the looming pandemic. The stories are deemed “newsworthy” because of the controversy and ire that they generate. However, Olive and her brother are the real story. They are examples of the millions of young people who are guided by parents who care… parents dedicated to raising thoughtful, moral, and well educated children. They are the next generation, the one that will have the tools and know-how to fix the problems that we have left them with.

Peace Everyone. Pete

PS. This post was the result of a comment posted by Olive. I read and enjoy every comment that readers make. Most readers remain silent, some of you comment but occasionally… a few of you regularly. My number one commentator was my 94 year old Mother, Pauline Schloss. She rarely missed an opportunity to throw in her “2 cents”. Mom was proud of me but in her eyes I remained her willful child. We clashed on politics, and she was ever concerned that I was too much the risk taker. She thought I should have been a teacher, to which I would reply, “No Mom, I’m a lawyer.” It’s funny how our impressions of others change but slowly. For most of my life Mom saw me as a bit of a spendthrift with a poorly developed work ethic. My posts provided her with fresh insights into me that she treasured. Mom died March 24th. Christine and I are grateful that we were able to spend time with her a few weeks ago when she was still her sharp and alert self. The day that we left her side she was transferred into the care of Hospice. Her decline to a peaceful and painless death rapidly followed. But for the pandemic related “social distancing”, her funeral would have drawn quite a crowd. As it is only 3 were permitted to attend her funeral Mass. I am at peace that Christine and I could not be among them. When things loosen up we will drive to her home near Chicago and retrieve some personal effects. I will take some time to sit by the final resting place of my Mother and Father, expressing my gratitude for everything and forgiving them for anything.

29 thoughts on “Olive. March 28, 2020

  1. PETE!! Fabulous post … what a great idea – I think my granddaughter might LOVE to read your posts and see your pictures as she remains being home schooled until at least May.
    Your Mother … Another name added to my list of people I wish I had met – even just for a coffee. Her love and concern for you was so evident in her comments. I was always amazed that she could figure out the technology to even get to your blogs!! What a gift to have a relationship like that with a parent/child. Not everyone is so lucky. In these odd times of isolation, I was thinking of her services and wondering how that would be. I am certain if times were different whatever church/building held your Mother would have been filled, and her graveside service would be full as well. Perhaps – and I don’t know this to be true – this is going the way Pauline would have liked better eh? We will just keep saying her name, and she will always be with us.
    Stay well my friend, and give that gal of yours our love – LnF

    • Thank you so much Liz. I think she would have really enjoyed the recognition given to her comments. I shared with her your affection for those comments and she was very pleased! Thank you for that gift. Love to you and Frank. Pete and Christine

  2. Gene and I love reading your stories. Than you, and Christine for sharing your travels, photos and thoughts with us. This story of Olive was a lovely one to start our day ❤️

    • Thank you Moira. It is such a good way to start the day by reflecting let the young people portrayed in the media are not the young people who will inherit this earth. I think we are all in good hands if we don’t make the task too difficult for them

  3. So sorry to hear of your Mother’s death. I enjoyed her comments on your thoughts. Positive thoughts to you, Christine and the rest of your family for peace and comfort.

  4. What a thoughtful story from Olive. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I too look forward to your blog. Always so thoughtful & uplifting which we all need now more than ever.
    I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your mother during these trying times. God bless her. I’m glad you were able to see her not long ago. Know my thoughts & prayers are with you & your family. Hugs to you & Christine.
    Nancy ❤️🙏🏼

  5. Papa Pete and Grandma Chris,

    Thanks for including Olive on your blog! It’s little investments like this that stick with kids in an important way. I remember a similar scenario when I was about her age. I attended an event with my mom (I can’t recall what it was), and was dutifully passing the time as the adults finished up their talking – bored out of my mind. A gentleman by the name of Mr. Kiper challenged me to make up a story and write it down during the meeting. He gave me a topic and told me to create something out of it – write a story about the adventures of a mouse. I did just that and ended up mailing him my story about two little mice who lived in a shopping mall, trying to overthrow the great “Rat King”. He took the time to read my story, and also took on the character of the Rat King, responding in character. We corresponded as subject mice and Rat King for a time, and I remember to this day the positive impact of someone encouraging me through writing and creativity. Hopefully your blog has the same impact for Olive. Thanks for affirming her curiosity and love for reading.



    • Jenni. Before the post even launched Christine and I discussed that very point. We wondered what impact this might have on Olive going into the future. We have often found that viewed in hindsight, some of the most innocuous moments in one’s life create major events that were not appreciated until years later. Love to you and the kids

  6. Tracy Mendenhall says:

    Loved your story about Olive! I so agree with your assessment about the next generation. I taught for 38 years, and I still believe that our future is safe with these young people. They would exasperate me at times, but they never failed to restore my faith in humanity. Keep shining your light on them!❤️

  7. Maxine Harrison says:

    Hello to Olive and family! So happy to now be aquainted with you! And Pete, so very sorry to hear sbout your mom. My mom too is 94, and thankfully is very healthy at the moment but I hate that she is so far away. How could anyone read your blogs and not love them? I feel like I have traveled along right with you…thanks for the continuing adventures and the many people you have introduced me to. Peace back at you, my friends!

  8. Dominic Baliva says:

    Love reading as always. Thanks for the last part about your mom. Hoping you feel God’s peace and love during this difficult transition of life without her. We know from experience how strange the first few years are. Peace to you and Christine on your losses. Love, Julie

  9. Hi dad, I believe this is indeed my very first comment. I just waited for the right time… Very sad to hear that grandma has passed away.
    Your little stories always manage to get me out of my daily routine, but in a very good way. Please keep up your wonderful work! All the best to my whole KC family from a very quiet Berlin. Take care, do good, be safe and healthy! Andre

    • Andre’, I have strongly believed that you were a regular reader. As I said, I can see countries but not people and there is always a quick login from Germany. We figured that was you! Love to you and your family. Please stay healthy. Dad

  10. Christine Petty says:

    Pete, what a wonderful post! And thank you to Olive and Liam and Jenni for allowing you to share their family. Please continue your wonderful writing and sharing, especially in these challenging times. I’m sorry @ your Mom, but I believe she is in a better place. Distant hugs to you and Christine.

  11. Wendy Mejia says:

    Hi, Peter — I’m usually one of your silent readers, sometimes commenting only when I see you in person! Just wanted to say that I, too, love reading your blogs! And also, that I was so sorry to hear about your mom — glad you did have that last visit with her.

    • Thank you Wendy. We are looking forward to again hanging out with you and Pat when this speed bump in the highway of life is in the rear view mirror. Our condolences to Pat and you on the passing of his uncle.

  12. Tino Scalici says:

    Dear Pete,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. Whether or not the story specifically stated an intent beyond entertainment and reportage, I cannot now recall and I’m too lazy to scroll to the top of this page–I bet Olive would be so disappointed by the Sloth of the Aged. Am I superannuated yet, Olive? No!

    But it had this effect: it made me think about kids, social media and how the private thoughts of human beings have become almost unknowable. I hardly think to say something, Pete. Entire lives spent in the company of people who are otherwise very familiar, and like this story demonstrates, “I never knew you thought like that, Pete.”

    And I reflected on the ways people in your story helped and loved each other when their backs are to the wall.

    God bless you and Happy Easter.


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