We used the grandchildren as our "visuals", however you could also recruit older people at various ages (as long as they aren't shy about telling everyone how old they really are). In our case, we lined the kids up from youngest to oldest. If the kids could read, they read their part. If not, a parent "helped", while the child in question smiled at Grandpa (in a perfect world). Simply calculate how old "Grandpa" was when he was the same age as your "reader" and list three fun facts about the world at that time in history.
Here is our entire script so you can see exactly what we did!
WHEN GRANDPA WAS MY AGE…
Grandchild #1 (age 1): Grandpa was born during the Great Depression on _______, 1933. When Grandpa was my age, the year was 1934. Franklin Roosevelt was president of the United States, gas cost 10 cents a gallon, and Donald Duck appeared in his first movie.
Grandchild #2 (age 2): When Grandpa was my age, the year was 1935. Babe Ruth hit the final home run of his career, number 714! Parker Brothers released a new board game called Monopoly, and paperback books were printed for the first time ever.
Grandchild #3 (age 3): When Grandpa was my age, the year was 1936 and President Roosevelt was re-elected for a second term. The Summer Olympics were held in Berlin, Germany, and the Hoover Dam was completed.
Grandchild #4 (age 4): When Grandpa was my age, the year was 1937 and his future wife was born. Amelia Earhart disappeared over the Pacific Ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge was opened in San Francisco.
Grandchild #5 (age 6): When Grandpa was my age, the year was 1939. Germany invaded Poland and World War 2 started. Regular T.V. broadcasts began in the United States and people went to the movies to see The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind.
Grandchild #6 (age 7): When Grandpa was my age, the year was 1940 and gas was now 11 cents a gallon. Franklin Roosevelt was re-elected and became the first third-term president of the United States. A new thing called nylon stockings become popular with the ladies.
Grandchild #7 (age 8): When Grandpa was my age, the year was 1941. Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States was drawn into World War 2. Dumbo was a popular movie and everyone was singing the Chattanooga Choo-Choo.
Grandchild #8 (age 10): When Grandpa was my age, the year was 1943 and the Great Depression was finally over, thanks in part to the war-time manufacturing boom. Rosie the Riveter encouraged women to enter the workforce and due to shortages, America sees its first rationing, starting with coffee and gasoline.
Grandchild #9 (age 11): When Grandpa was my age, the year was 1944 and gas was up to 15 cents a gallon. Franklin Roosevelt becomes the only president elected to a fourth term and a young girl named Anne Frank was captured by the Germans and sent to a concentration camp.
Grandchild #10 (age 12): When Grandpa was my age, the year was 1945 and World War 2 was officially over. America elected Harry Truman as president after Franklin Roosevelt’s death. The first electronic computer was built and scientists also discover that microwaves can be used to heat food.
Grandchild #11 (age 15): When Grandpa was my age, the year was 1948 and the post-war baby boom had begun. Prefab houses sprang up all over the country and as fashions became more daring, the bikini was becoming popular. A new game called Scrabble was released, and going to a movie cost 60 cents.
Grandchild #12 (age 16): When Grandpa was my age, the year was 1949. After many years of hardship, post-war prosperity begins with companies now able to supply over 6 million new cars and nearly 10 million television sets to the American consumer. A new type of program is created to advertise to the stay-at-home mom: The Soap Opera.
Grandchild #13 (age 18): When Grandpa was my age, the year was 1951 and he had just graduated from ______ High School. Minimum wage was 75 cents an hour and a gallon of gas cost 19 cents. Rock and roll music was becoming popular and I Love Lucy was a top-rated TV show. We hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down Memory Lane and now we would all like to say:
HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDPA…WE LOVE YOU!!!
This is an interesting way to put a personal timeline on historical events and I think everyone enjoyed it. Let me know if you try something similar for your event!