Three-Year-Olds, Ring Pops and Diplomas

I was getting ready for work when the three-year-old granddaughter came into the room, held up a Ring Pop, and asked if I would open it for her. It was 7:30 a.m.

“Where did you get that?” I asked.

She pointed toward the kitchen, where the candy dish was apparently within reach of a two-foot, eleven-inch child.

“Did Mimi say you could have a sucker before breakfast?” I asked.

Of course, I already knew the answer to this. She was doing the end-around, testing to see if she could catch Pap in a moment of weakness and cause him to commit a major violation of house rules. Mimi – AKA, She Who Must Be Obeyed – is not giving candy to anyone before breakfast. A violation of this rule would not put the three-year-old in trouble, but I would be facing some serious scorn.

She smiled and gave me, “the look.” She knows “the look” will soften me up. I have never been around a child like this one. She can melt my heart one second, and have me pulling out my hair the next. Instead of answering my question, she said, “Ring Pops taste good.”

She had a point. Cherry Ring Pops are delicious. I said, “Yes, they do, but they have zero nutritional value and they’re bad for your teeth.”

I’m not sure what I was thinking, talking about nutritional values and dental care to a three-year-old with a Ring Pop in her fingers. I might as well have been speaking Klingon.

“Candy is good,” she said.

Her verbal skills are still limited, but she was driving home her point. It was a diversion because she had still failed to answer my original question. Being a former newspaper reporter who dealt with shifty politicians, I was not about to let her off the hook. “Did Mimi say you could have a sucker before breakfast?”


She is still brutally honest and has yet to realize the benefits of a convincing lie.

I held out my hand and wiggled my fingers. “Hand it over,” I said.

This did not bring on an onslaught of tears. I suspect because she knew there were more Ring Pops in the candy dish.

They taste good, you know?


I was in North Carolina recently and found this diploma on a wall at a Cracker Barrel restaurant. It’s a 1918 diploma from Rayen school in Youngstown, Ohio.

I took the photo because I’m always curious as to how such an item becomes separated from the family. Maybe I’m more sentimental than most, but I would think someone in the family would consider it a prize.

The graduate was Lillian Mary Weisbeck. I went online and found her in a 1940 census. She had married Walter Ball and was living on Logan Ave. in Youngstown. Her parents were Albert and Theresa Weisbeck.

I haven’t been able to track down any additional information. If anyone reading this in the Youngstown area has information on Lillian or her family, please get in touch with me through my website:


Just so you know that I do treasure such items, here’s a copy of my grandfather’s diploma from Lincoln High School in Brilliant, Ohio, in 1928. To the best of my knowledge, Raymond Yocum was the first member of my family to graduate from high school. He liked to tell people that he finished in the top 10 in his graduating class, which was true. Of course, there were only 10 graduates that year.

On the other side of the family, my grandfather Ullrich left school when he was 10-years old to work in the glass factory in Brilliant. His father said, “You can read and figure numbers. That’s all you need. Get to work.” He became a self-taught engineer who worked on Andrew Carnegie’s famous Carrie Blast Furnaces at the Homestead Steel Works in Swissvale, Pa.

I’ve had such an easy life.

3 thoughts on “Three-Year-Olds, Ring Pops and Diplomas”

  1. Thank you, Robin. I love it! I think your 3 year old granddaughter has a lot of her grandfather in her genes.

    Best wishes for a blessed Christmas with your family.

    Looking forward to your next book!!

    Linda Bond



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