Do you remember what it was like to daydream? When you could simply sit in your favorite chair and let your thoughts wander? I do that a lot these days.

As I was daydreaming the other day, a name flashed across my mind, one I hadn't thought of for 60 years.

Mrs. McGee was the name that filled my mind, a woman who was like a grandmother to me when I was very, very young. My first memory of Berkley, Mich., was skipping down the sidewalk to go visit Mrs. McGee.

She was an elderly woman with silver hair that sparkled in the sunlight as she moved. I loved visiting her, because her house always smelled like cookies or something delicious from the oven.

When I visited her house, filled with ornate furniture and hardwood floors that I could slide across in my stocking feet, we would sit in the parlor and talk about everything.

Mrs. McGee loved to make up stories. She had a unique way of telling a story, one that would keep you on the edge of your seat, leaning forward to hear every word. Stories about a frog, a cat and a deer lost in the forest, or a little girl or boy. Her stories always started with "Once upon a time." I would sit for hours at her feet listening to her relate stories of her life in Scotland. She was fascinating.

As we whiled away the hours, we would always have a big cup of cocoa and a plate of warm cookies. Sometimes she had hot gingerbread from the oven that would melt-in-your-mouth; it was so good with a glass of cold milk.

Mrs. McGee sat in her big wooden rocking chair, with her knitting in her lap, telling her story and never missed a stitch. Her fingers were as fascinating as her stories. The sunlight streaming through the leaded windowpane caught her silver hair as she bent over for a new ball of yarn.

Her skin was soft and creamy and her touch was gentle and kind. I have so many beautiful memories of the time I spent with her.

I remember watching the light dance on the wall, from the prisms hanging from her lampshade. She would open the window so that the wind would catch the prisms and create a twinkling ballet on the parlor wall.

We would sometimes lie on a blanket on the grass and try to pick out pictures in the clouds. She would say, "There is an elephant, can you see the trunk?" or "Look at the ship with a sail. Isn't it beautiful?"

It's wonderful what the imagination can conjure up in the minds eye.

Mr. McGee was a carpenter and he would let me sit and watch as he turned a chair leg on the lathe. Those were exciting times for a little girl like me. I couldn't have been more than 4 or 5 at the time.

We had just moved into a four-room house in Berkley and my father was going to remodel it for our growing family.

Daddy jacked up the house so he could dig a basement for us to live in while he remodeled the house. Mr. McGee was right there to help dad every day and the house turned out beautifully, with lots of bedrooms.

The McGee's were good friends and their Scottish accent made them fascinating to a little girl like me.

My childhood in Berkley gave me many stories to pass on to my children over cocoa and cookies.

Daydreaming can be very satisfying. Try it!

Betty Kuhn, of Boardman, can be contacted at or the East Oregonian, P.O. Box 1089, Pendleton, OR 97801.

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