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Category: Relationships / Topics: Choices and Decision Making Communication Education Learning Relationships Work

Keep 'Em Rolling

by Barbara Greenleaf

Posted: February 20, 2021

Grandparents play a positive and prominent role in latest Business-Minded Teen novel…

Girls in Concord (NH) High School autro shop -

In between annoying my husband—which I find really helps pass the time during lockdown—I put together the third book in my Business-Minded Teens series. Called Keep ‘Em Rolling, it’s the story of Sunny, a Chinese-American girl who wants to go into auto repair. This puts her on a collision course with her father-the-computer-programmer.

In all three novels grandparents play a prominent and positive role, which reflects the real-life importance of grandparents in children’s lives, no matter how old they are. Here’s an excerpt from the book to which you can relate: 

Unmute, unmute!

Sunny was trying to Zoom with her grandmother, but it wasn’t going well. “See the picture of the microphone at the bottom left with the red line across it? Tap that sign.”

“I don’t see it.”

“It’s there, Wàipó, just keep looking.”


“That’s great—I can hear you now, but all I’m seeing is your name.   You have to allow video.”

“How do I allow video?”

“There’s a picture of a little camera right next to the picture of the microphone. It must have a red line across it. Tap that.”  A minute passes and still no picture. 

Just as Sunny was about to give up on the whole enterprise, her grandmother appeared on the screen and they each held up a hand for high fives. But when her grandmother started to talk, her lips moved but no sound came out. 

“Wàipó, you just muted yourself again.”

Her grandmother found the right button. “This isn’t as good as a hug, but I still love seeing your face,” her grandmother said. “It’s so lonely these days, even with Wàiz?fù in the house.”

“Tell me about it.”

“I’m so sorry you have to go through this at the end of your senior year, which should have been so triumphant.”

“Yeah, it’s been hard. Everyone thinks it’s easier on kids, but we need our friends, we need our activities—we need our grandparents!”

“Oh, sweetheart, when all this is over I’m going to squeeze you so hard you won’t be able to breathe.”

“I’d love that.” After a moment she asked, “And what about you? You can’t even see your great-grandson. That must hurt a lot.”

“Grace sends pictures, which is some consolation. It’s funny how much David looks like a baby.”

Sunny giggled. “Oh, “Wàipó, how I miss sharing a laugh with you.”

“Now, tell me everything . . .”

“. . .and if I don’t have anything to tell, make it up! Well, being locked down at home, I probably will have to make it up. Nothing happens anymore.”

“Poor girl, your romance must be frozen in place.”

“Yes, and just when I thought we might be making a breakthrough. Although, I’d hardly call it a romance. Drew is more like a friend . . .”

“. . . With benefits? Isn’t that what they call it?”

“If holding hands is considered a benefit, that’s where we are.” Then she wailed, “But who knows when I’ll be able to see him again?” 

“This, too, shall pass, my darling, and when it does—if your connection is real—he’ll still be there.”

“I know I should be grateful that I’m not sick, and I haven’t lost a job, and I live in a mild climate where I can take a walk or ride my bicycle, but still. . . this whole lockdown business stinks—I hate it, Wàipó!”

And that was the last thing either of them heard because her grandmother tapped “leave meeting” by mistake and was gone.

Search all articles by Barbara Greenleaf

Barbara is the author of eight books, including two of particular interest to seniors. She has given us permission to use material from her newsletter, "From the Desk of Barbara Greenleaf," to which you can subscribe on her website.

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Posted: February 20, 2021

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