Thursday, July 31, 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

It’s ‘camping for 30′ at the Solano fair

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Cities dealing with state drought rules

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Muralist helps locals ready for some painted wall history

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Rejection makes us each stronger

By Angela Borchert | From Page: A2

 
Highway 12 crash sends 2 to hospital

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Mall to host Ultimate Army Throw Down

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Police release name of Vallejo homicide victim

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: July 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: July 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Peace Corps evacuates over Ebola as 2 isolated

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Pipe break that flooded UCLA dumps 20M gallons

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Deadly Israeli strikes hit UN school, market area

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Obama takes tougher line against Gaza casualties

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

AP Analysis: Amid war, endgames in Gaza emerge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
2 women survive ordeal along Indiana rail bridge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Ex-IRS official called conservatives ‘crazies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Dissent quieted with most Israelis behind Gaza war

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Congress cooperates – and fights – as recess nears

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Powell maybe not told early about CIA techniques

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Crews work to keep Yosemite fire from sequoias

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Sanctions will damage Russia if not lifted quickly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Clashes prevent experts from reaching bodies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

 
Cruz gets border crisis wrong

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A11

Editorial Cartoons: July 31, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
What happened to the US?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 9 Comments

Am I blaming victims?

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
Why ‘compassionate conservatism’ is still dead

By Ramesh Ponnuru | From Page: A11

.

Living

Community Calendar: July 31, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History for July 31, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Horoscopes for July 31, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
I want to change my daughters last name to my maiden name

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Commentary: ‘Orphan Black,’ Emmy snubs and questions of identity

By Los Angeles Times | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Allison Williams headed skyward as NBC’s Peter Pan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Contract dispute delays ‘Big Bang’ production

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Complete game shutout lifts Expos to State Tournament win

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Hammel fails again for Athletics in loss to Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Ray Guy’s long wait for Hall of Fame comes to end

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Raiders owner confirms talks with San Antonio

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Lloyd’s film watching impresses 49ers teammates

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
SF benefits from Pirates’ blunder, ends skid at 6

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Stanford star Ty Montgomery rehabbing shoulder

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Greg Ives to crew chief Earnhardt in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Steelers to retire Hall of Famer Greene’s No. 75

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Fairfield-Suisun 6U Bobby Sox win titles

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

Usain Bolt in controversy at Commonwealth Games

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Indians trade pitcher Masterson to Cardinals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Riley speaks out, insists Heat will be competitive

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Nadal out of 2 tournaments because of right wrist

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Pipe break that flooded UCLA dumps 20M gallons

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Business

US judge slaps $1.3B fine on Bank of America

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

 
A more vigorous US economy appears to be emerging

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Overhaul approved for troubled California refinery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Judge says Crystal CEO should testify in lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

.

Obituaries

Clifford C. Hemler

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Louise Scholten

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Ronald Witt Escue Sr.

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Scott Allen Shaver

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9