Sunday, September 21, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

‘Grandpa Walter’ shares his love of reading with children

By
From page OSF6 | December 13, 2012 |

VACAVILLE — Brayden Sisson, 3, wanted a sticker. But he hadn’t quite warmed up to the white-haired man who had them.

So, he walked around “Grandpa Walter,” found some books, sat down and looked through the pictures. A few minutes later, the bravery surfaced and the toddler was standing before Walter Phelps, ready to say the magic word: “please.” Phelps gently put the sticker on the boy’s arm, per the youngster’s request.

Phelps, 90, started volunteering at the Vacaville libraries shortly after moving to the town 15 years ago. He’s at the Town Square Library each Wednesday morning. Phelps chooses a few books and finds his chair, or “headquarters,” as he likes to call it. There, he can see the toddlers and they can see him as they pass by on their way to or from storytime.

The former Episcopal priest and psychiatric social worker loves what he does.

“I needed something to do,” Phelps offered as a reason for volunteering, adding that his wife encouraged him.

Phelps has two children, a son and daughter. The daughter lives in France with her husband and two sons, “who speak better French than I do,” Phelps said.

While he read to his children, distance kept him from doing the same with his grandsons.

“I get to do grandpa here,” he said. “I couldn’t do it with my grandsons.”

He encourages the children to use common courtesy. If they’re too shy to say “please,” Phelps will make a deal.

“I’ll let you have a sticker on credit,” he said to one girl who was clinging tightly to her father.

Oliver Cramer and his friend Maddyn Wiltsey, both 3, knew to say please and thank you. Oliver spoke up, telling Phelps his younger sister, in a carrier, couldn’t talk enough to say the magic words.

“She can owe me a ‘please,’ ” Phelps said.

One young girl said, “yes, please.” Then, she told Phelps she wanted it placed on the sequin heart on her top. He explained that he didn’t want to ruin the heart and put it on another part of her shirt. She promptly removed it and put it on the sequin heart.

Phelps does get an occasional thank you.

“It takes a lot of coaxing to get ‘please,’ ” he said.

He prefers parents not push their children to interact with him.

“They have their moods,” he said of the children. “You have to respect that.”

Libraries have always been an important part of his life.

“I remember getting my first library card. I was thrilled,” he said. “I didn’t quite understand the rule that if you read a book in two days, you didn’t have to keep it for 14. I kept thinking you couldn’t turn it in earlier.”

His love of reading surfaced in elementary school when his teachers often asked him to read aloud. Phelps’ father often brought books home for him to read.

Phelps is often spotted in public. And he happily answers to the name “the sticker man.”

“He has such a warm presence and a wonderful voice,” said Kevin Tolley, youth services librarian at the Vacaville Town Square Branch. “He really shares his love of reading.”

Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or amaginnis@dailyrepublic.net. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey joined the staff of the Daily Republic in 1980. She’ll tell you she was only 3 at the time. Over the past three decades she’s done a variety of jobs in the newsroom. Today, she covers arts and entertainment and writes for the Living and news pages.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

County makes recommendations for crude-by-rail

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Hartley House offers look into Vacaville’s past

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1 | Gallery

New toilet paper sizes will wipe me out!

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2, 4 Comments

 
Coastal Cleanup helps get rid of trash in area

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

Travis teachers bring creativity to Shakespeare

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A3

 
Olympians to participate in swim Lap-a-Thon

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

Circle of Friends director to speak in Fairfield

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Be alert to stroke warning signs

By Marilyn Ranson | From Page: C4

Recovery community works for lifelong sobriety

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Musical merry-go-round at Jazz Festival

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Deadline looms for lobster boil tickets

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

 
Crashes blocks parts of eastbound I-80 in Fairfield

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5

 
Seven Artisans opens tasting room

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B7 | Gallery

BABA makes big spash

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

 
Old Kmart site sees signs of new life

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | From Page: B8, 2 Comments | Gallery

Veterans with PTSD could see discharge upgrades

By Tom Philpott | From Page: B10

 
Airmen with local ties finish basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

Fairfield police log: Sept. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Sept. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Potential push for Obama to expand military effort

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Teams assess damage as California wildfire burns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

McInerney, Duka help Impact beat Earthquakes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Old pets, new chances: The case for senior adoption

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: C4

Jailed, some mentally ill inmates land in lockdown

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Custer youngest winner at 16 in NASCAR series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

Retro-hip barber is growing an ‘empire’ by staying on the cutting edge

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: C6

 
Tense hunt in trooper ambush case hits 8 days

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Tour ship runs aground by NYC’s Statue of Liberty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Astronauts getting 3-D printer at space station

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Chrysler recalling nearly 189,000 SUVs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
Fire captain injured in ice bucket challenge dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

More than 1K people search for missing UVa student

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Second man arrested trying to enter White House

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Pope chooses a moderate for Chicago archbishop

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Turkish hostages freed, but questions linger

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Sierra Leone staggers in Ebola isolation effort

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
El-Sissi ready to back anti-IS fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11 | Gallery

NATO chief: Ukraine has cease-fire ‘in name only’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Kurdish fighters head to Syria to face militants

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Polly Bergen, versatile actress, singer dies at 84

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
.

Opinion

Stores miss bus on public transit

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

 
Sunset Animal Hospital is the best

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

Sound off for Sept. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
New car’s fuel mileage accuracy put to the test

By Glen Faison | From Page: A8

 
 
Will they ever get the message?

By Rod Keck | From Page: A9, 5 Comments

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Sept. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Sept. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

There is no message of hatred of violence in Christianity

By The Rev. Rick L. Stonestreet | From Page: C3, 7 Comments

 
St. Paul pastor’s pulpit? A food truck

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3 | Gallery

Horoscopes: Sept. 21, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

 
My child’s father and I worked things out – but now I’m not so sure

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

.

Entertainment

Springsteen picture book out in November

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Erdrich wins lifetime achievement literary prize

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Designer Donna Karan memoir expected next year

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Author says Christian novel plagiarized, sex added

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2 | Gallery

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

Patriots big favorites vs. Raiders despite mediocre start

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Williams beats A’s for third time with third team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Cardinals look to shake off distraction vs. 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Cashner, Padres beat Giants 3-2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Prep boys soccer preview: Indians, Vikings off to fast start

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Schumacher, Hagan win rain-delayed Carolina event

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

College football Top 25

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
No. 1 Florida St survives against No. 22 Clemson

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Sprint car driver killed in Wisconsin

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Vacaville Christian volleyball team falls in playoffs

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B3

Mi Jung Hur, Paula Reto share lead in Alabama

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
Stars Recreation results

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

Estimated 7,000 fans trade in Ray Rice jerseys

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
Travis Bowl results

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

This date in sports history for Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Sports on TV for Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B5

Harvick dismisses wins as key to Cup title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
Gaughan snatches Nationwide win at Kentucky

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

.

Business

Extended warranties a big sell. Are they worth it?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Recalls this week: fire alarm bases, swings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

US tobacco growers brace for tougher competition

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12 | Gallery

 
Marijuana industry battling stoner stereotypes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

George Junior Rhode

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics