The Carriage House

The Carriage House

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Be The Best You Can Be

The Carriage House

A hug is a great gift — one size fits all, and it’s easy to exchange.

~Author Unknown

My grandfather lives in a nursing home called the Carriage House. That’s where my grandmother goes almost every day to visit him.

When I sleep over at her house, we go to see him, too. There are lots of old people there. When I first started going there, they would see me coming and hold their arms open for a hug, but I would pretend that I didn’t see them and hurry upstairs to Grandpa’s room. Just thinking about the other people with their wrinkly faces and hands made me shiver.

I felt safe up in my grandpa’s room with him, even though he can’t walk, talk or do anything for himself. I would tell him all about my life and sometimes give him a kiss. Even if I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom or I wanted to go to the soda machine, I didn’t leave the room.

The first time my little brother, Ben, came with my grandmother and me, he looked like he was going to cry. I understood how he felt. I didn’t blame him because he’d never been around people who were so different from us.

One day, I asked my mom about the old people. She told me that they can’t take care of themselves anymore and need special care from the nurses, so they live there at the nursing home. I thought about that for a while, trying to imagine not being able to live in my own home anymore and not able to see my family and friends every day. I began to understand how they feel, and I thought, They must be so lonely when no one visits them. So I made a decision.

The next time I went with my grandmother to visit my grandpa, I actually hugged the other old people — and it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.

Now I am getting used to being in my grandpa’s new home, and I’m getting to know some of the other people who live there. And now I know that just because they are old doesn’t mean that they don’t have feelings or deserve to be loved.

~Victoria Thornsbury, 8

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