Grandmas Can Be Queens Of Their Grandchildren’s Hearts

Generations United
3 min readJun 8, 2022


Photo by Tomas Martinez on Unsplash

By Rev. Jason Carson Wilson, M. Div.

Enjoying tea and sandwiches with Paddington Bear was among the ways Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Platinum Jubilee — 70 years on the British throne. Her Majesty and Paddington Bear have been a constant throughout my life.

Before becoming fascinated with Buckingham and Kensington Palace intrigue, Paddington Bear drew me in. Watching the quaint exchange between the Royal great-grandmother and Paddington bought memories of kindergarten.

Yours truly cherished the moments sitting in an oversized Paddington Bear’s lap to read in the Yankee Ridge School library. Those moments in the library didn’t just give me a chance to befriend Paddington. It also gave me the chance to forge my first intergenerational connection outside of my grandma — Lucille Mae Denniston Wilson Harrington.

Grandma is an angel now. She died on April 19, 2009.

Having moments with Paddington gave me the opportunity to learn from librarian Dorothy Vickers-Shelley. As a biracial boy, who identified as Black (and still does), who was born into a White family, interacting with Black adults didn’t happen often. So, the tall and elegant Black woman amazed me.

Her voice made every book she read to us more interesting somehow. But, beyond that, to me, she represented what I could be. Of course, being 5 years old, tying my shoes remained a challenge. So, charting a career wasn’t in the cards yet.

While Ms. Vickers-Shelley represented what I could be, Grandma pushed me to be what I could be — despite being born prematurely and diagnosed with normal pressure hydrocephalus. Intergenerational relationships invite us to challenge expectations in many ways.

No matter their notoriety or station, basking in the presence of many grandmas — including the Queen and my Grandma (my emphasis) — is as comforting as sitting in Paddington Bear’s lap was for me.

Remembering those moments bring memories of snuggling next to Grandma in her double-seated rocking chair flooding back. Perusing photos of Her Majesty AKA Gran, it seems she’s the Queen of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s hearts — just as mine remains to me.

About the author

Rev. Jason serves Generations United’s Communications Specialist. He coordinates communications across Generations United. He brings nearly 20 years of communications experience. Rev. Jason gained that experience messaging for national faith-based advocacy organizations and serving as a journalist for small to medium newspapers throughout Illinois. He also produces freelance content for various publications and has done some podcasting. While Rev. Jason’s writing has primarily focused on policy, he’s chronicled his experience as a Grandfamily member. Rev. Jason, an ordained United Church of Christ minister, was raised by his great-grandmother.



Generations United

National nonprofit that improves children, youth and older adults' lives through intergenerational programs and policies. Why? Because we're stronger together.