Rainbows for Charlie

I haven’t mentioned yet that we have family in Italy. Our son-in-law Ben is a navy Lt Commander stationed in Naples, so he, our daughter Ashley, and four-year-old grandson Charlie have been there since late last summer. We visited them shortly after they relocated for our very first trip to Europe and came home in early November. All was well until Covid-19 hit Italy with a vengeance, taking thousands of lives, decimating the Italian economy and putting three people we love very much in danger. What followed once the Italian government got tough was over sixty days of complete lockdown. Our son-in-law went to the base only a few days a week, but he was out of the house, which was scary. He, of course, was the official hunter and gatherer for the family’s food. Every day we would check in on the numbers and reports out of Italy, and those reports were dismal, indeed. FaceTime calls were numerous, and as parents we lived in fear for our kids, not just that they might get the virus, but that their lives had taken such a claustrophobic, strange, and frightening turn.

Charlie and his rainbow poster. The edge of his yard was as far as he could go.

In the midst of all this, and just as things were starting to affect us here at home, we were hearing that rainbows were becoming very symbolic in Naples. The USO in Naples was encouraging children to make posters using rainbows to try to keep people’s morale up. Charlie participated in that effort. We learned that ‘andra tutto bene’ (everything will be okay) were the words to live by. My daughter Katie here in town helped me make a bracelet representing Italy and rainbows and her sister in Italy, and I wore the bracelet for a lot of tapings. It brought me comfort. This all prompted me to do an episode of GG Sprinkles on rainbows, and I pulled out a ton of stuff I had around the house that somehow dealt with rainbows. I used to sing a song to Cooper when I was nannying called “I Can Sing a Rainbow,” and I decided to use it in the episode. I’m not a singer, but I decided that was okay, that the heart was the important thing. So I downloaded the karaoke version and at the end of the episode, you can pretty much tell that I’m having trouble keeping it together (and even after I practiced all that day in hopes that I WOULD keep it together).

The fabulous Naples rainbow; my rainbow/Italy bracelet; me trying to get through ‘I Can Sing a Rainbow;’ just a little of our rainbow decor for videoing.

So the rainbows were for everyone, but I was singing for Charlie who hadn’t left his house or yard in weeks and still had weeks to go. I think it was the next day that, when Ben stepped out onto their balcony and looked toward the ocean, he saw the most incredible rainbow stretched across the water. It brought Naples comfort and it brought comfort to a very worried GG here in the States who sang badly (but with heart!) and who was struggling to understand how all of this could be happening to beautiful Italy and her children. But it also made me want to bring rainbows into the lives of any little ones who might tune in to that episode of GG Sprinkles. And I certainly had rainbows to spare in my family room. I hope I succeeded. ❤️


I’m a huge believer in two things: the wisdom and potential of our children and the importance of poetry and imagination in their lives and development. My teaching background is at the high school level, but my methods in the classroom ran high in interaction and whimsy, at least as much whimsy as preparation for state testing allowed. I have four young grandchildren, and I nannied a little boy for over four years from infancy, so I like to think I know children pretty well. And I used poetry to teach and inspire no matter what ages I was called to teach. Poetry takes very big ideas and boils them down to nuggets of wisdom more easily understood. And then there’s the rhyme, such a valuable asset to pre-reading and a great hook to pull the little ones into the poetry itself. The rhythm, cadence, and yes, the rhyme, all have value for kids. Even if the full meaning of the words eludes them a little, there is value in what they do process. I have written and published two books of essays and poetry for teachers, but my greater joy came in writing poetry for children. I began a book of children’s poetry the day my first grandchild Samantha was born and fourteen years later I continue to add to it. I entitled it A Duck in the Sky, which comes from a discussion we had with Sam when she was just a toddler. We were talking about the meaning of life and Sam assured us that the meaning of life was, in fact, a duck in the sky. Fair enough, and a very good title. I never published my children’s book, although that will happen. But in the meantime came Covid and quarantine. I wanted to contribute something, to help entertain young children stuck at home, even if for only a few minutes at a time. So GG Sprinkles was born, someone who reads poetry and entertains with props, demonstrations, etc. Our videos began on a GG Sprinkles Facebook page, and shortly after that became a GG Sprinkles YouTube channel. So we now have quite a few videos available and I continue to write poetry. I have learned a great deal about a lot of topics: fairies, zebras, angels, octopuses, birds, superheroes, blanket forts, dragons, space, buried treasure, planets, burping, puppets, trains, unicorns, kites, magic wands, and so much more. It has been a pure joy to do this for the kids. And, of course, I’m learning so much along the way. We intend to keep the videos coming as long as the poetry comes and the kids and parents are interested. We’d be delighted to have you come along with us as we explore new topics poetically and just have some fun. GG Sprinkles welcomes you to any of the videos you’d like to watch and further thoughts here on my blog. Enjoy!

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