Some time ago, I read stories written by two nine-year-old children. The first child, a girl, described a special canoe ride on a river close to her home. She told how an aunt wanted a ride in the canoe and how she accommodated the relative with a beautiful glide between the tree-covered shorelines.

Suddenly, the aunt decided that she wanted to take over reins of the canoe. Reluctantly, but willingly, the child and the aunt changed places in the canoe. Suddenly, the boat began to rock (she had called the story, “The Rocking Boat”). It rocked and rocked until it flipped over and they both were tossed into the river.

Fortunately, the water wasn’t that deep at that point, but as they crawled out of the water, the current began to carry the canoe away from them. Just at the right time, the girl’s brother came along, jumped in and rescued the boat, and they all made it to shore safely.

The second child wrote a story about a friend named, “Tommy,” who purchased a model airplane (which could fly) and put it together. The boy, Tommy Migie, took his airplane outside where he met Joe White and Pete Bigfrog. Joe and Pete asked Tommy if he would like to join them in an airplane contest.

“He started his airplane and it flew up into the sky, bumped into a cloud, and fell on a ship in a lake nearby,” described the young writer. “Then it went back into the sky and hit another cloud and fell back to a park where it hit a swing and flew into a slide. The next time it went up and hit the cloud, it fell back and hit Tommy’s house and broke its tail and windshield.”

In the end, Tommy fixed the airplane, was allowed to re-enter the contest, and this time he won. For his prize, he was given the opportunity to fly his plane 5,000 more times.

If you haven’t already guessed, the girl was my mother and I was the boy, two stories written at the same age one generation apart.

I found them both the same evening when I was going through boxes in the attic of our home place in Berne. At first, I discovered a round, wooden box. When I opened it, it was filled with papers from my mother’s grade school days at the old Geneva School. In the midst of the papers was an essay book filled with stories that she had written in 1929, when she was nine-years-old, in the third grade.

It was evident that the story eluded to in this column was an incident that occurred on the Wabash River, behind their home in Ceylon. Her handwriting already carried the illustrious style that she used to sign cards and write encouragement notes to many people over a lifetime. That, in itself, broke down my heart in ways that no other person could.

But I wasn’t prepared for what I was going to discover when I opened another box 45 minutes later. There, before my eyes, were school papers from my third grade days at the same school.

I had recalled that during that time, I would sit by the kitchen table in the evenings and write stories, the same table where my mother had written her stories, the table that she was born on. And there they were, separate stories, and a five chapter book I had written about, “Tommy,” and his various experiences with his toys.

I compared the two, my mother’s stories and mine. I was shocked at how similar the styles were. In fact, it was as though I was whisked into a mystical world somewhere above the earth, a place, figuratively speaking, where I could see the clouds and the Wabash River at the same time.

Words could never do justice to what I felt when I held stories written by my mother in my left hand and those written by myself, at the same age, in the same house, at the same table, at the same age, in my right hand.

But the story isn’t over; the next morning, I laid in bed still trying to digest the spiritual happenings of the night before. I glanced over at the clock to see what time it was and it said, “6:06,” the house number of the old home place at 606 N. Jefferson St.

Two days before all of these happenings, I had attended a grief seminar where the speaker said, “Talk to the deceased. We all do it. We need to let people know that it’s, ‘legal.’ When we talk to people about our relationship with people that die, we don’t necessary have to be grounded. It’s all right if there are things surrounding them after they are gone that are just as real as they are.”

At the end of the story about the river canoe, my mother wrote, “after this, we all ran home and put on dry clothes.”

It’s not very often in this life at my age that we have the opportunity to, “run home,” but I suddenly realized that I had just done that.