Friday, March 27, 2015
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 [email protected]. 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

Everyday life inspires model’s music

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Hosting gig for comic, birthday party on weekend schedule

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Brasher new president, CEO of Jelly Belly

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Rio Vista singer ready for Rancho Cordova show

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
 
 
Spring Fling set to return to Rancho Solano

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Kids fishing day events return

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: March 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun police log: March 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Co-pilot believed to have purposefully crashed plane

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Lawyers dispute hoax claim, boyfriend says he was drugged

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
L.A. river revamp to cost double previous projections

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Harris tries to pre-empt ballot initiative called anti-gay

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
State to alter ban on where sex offenders can live

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Governor awaits $1B drought relief bill

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
US drops graphic leaflet to possible Islamic State recruits

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

AP Exclusive: Special ops troops using flawed intel software

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Talent agency wants Matt McConaughey speaking fee secret

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Grateful Oklahomans salvage belongings after killer storm

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Fact Check: Myths in the political roar over Common Core

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
US: Chicago-area cousins planned US terrorist attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Report: Teen says mom killed her siblings found in freezer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
House OKs bipartisan Medicare doctor bill; fate up to Senate

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Tunisians assure Star Wars sets safe from Islamic State

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
US Thunderbolt II attack planes on training in Poland

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Syrian government shells kill 18 in south, activists say

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Turmoil in Yemen escalates as Saudi Arabia bombs rebels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Russian, American ready for a year in space

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Living

Today in History: March 27, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: March 27, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Parents may be enabling son’s drinking and hurting his employment chances

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview March 27 to April 3, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
‘Downton Abbey’ to end after upcoming 6th season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

With ‘Downton Abbey’s coming demise, here are 5 past deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Ken Burns unravels the mysteries of cancer in PBS film

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Review: Animated alien adventure ‘Home’ lands with a thud

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Entertainment Calendar: March 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Marleau, Niemi lead Sharks past Red Wings 6-4

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Warriors can match franchise record for wins at Memphis

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Prep swimming preview: City teams look to make big splash

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Notre Dame races by Wichita State 81-70 for Elite Eight spot

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Kentucky overwhelms West Virginia 78-39 in NCAA Sweet 16

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
San Diego city, county join forces on bid to keep NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Labor, developers reach deal on proposed Inglewood stadium

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Italians will pull out of America’s Cup if boats downsized

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Fiancee of Aaron Hernandez to be called to testify Friday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Stanford’s VanDerveer, Notre Dame’s McGraw to face off

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Signups for Friday, March 27, 2015

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B8

 
Former Germany coach Berti Vogts joins Klinsmann’s US staff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Officials OK demolishing Irwindale Speedway for outlet mall

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Sharks sign 2 college players

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Top-seeded Wisconsin hangs to beat North Carolina 79-72

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
49ers waive OL Jonathan Martin after 1 season with team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

This date in sports history for March 27, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Mirim Lee leads LPGA Tour’s Kia Classic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Charley Hoffman takes PGA lead in wind-swept Texas Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

.

Business

Range Rover offers an exclusivity that’s rich with irony

By The Washington Post | From Page: C1

 
Google’s new CFO gets $70M for defecting from Morgan Stanley

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Bankruptcy hearing could decide fate of RadioShack

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Microsoft wants US suppliers to give employees paid time off

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Lawmakers unhappy with new fracking rules

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

 
Authorities go after crooked car deals in national crackdown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Oil prices jump almost 5 percent as tensions mount in Yemen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
New Samsung, HTC phones coming April 10 in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

.

Obituaries

Helen Kalis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Carol A. Vose

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

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

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

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

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9