Sharon reads her story to
Lydia and Giuliana Howard.
Unicorns & Make Believe
BY SHARON FREYALDENHOVEN
Why would a widowed grandmother
write a children’s
story about a unicorn? Well,
she would have to be whimsical and
creative. She would have to know
children and have, to a significant
extent, the spirit of a child. That’s me.
I’ll tell you why that’s me. I grew up in
an incomparable place and time, with
loving parents who did not stifle my
curiosity, creativity, or imagination.
Conway was the place, and the time
was long ago.
In Ancient Conway, when I was
growing up, we didn’t have the fear of
internet stalking, child trafficking, or
gangs that are so prevalent nowadays.
This meant I could be on my own at
times and explore. We didn’t have a
television for a long time, so I read a
lot. I read books of facts and books of
fiction. Either way, it sparked a current
of thought and imagination. I loved
going to the movies, which was easy
for me because my dad worked at the
theater. I lost myself in the characters
on the screen, and it was good for me.
I loved music, including popular songs
whose lyrics were another means of
travel into the imaginary.
All of this led to the development and
avid use of my imagination. I served
mudpie meals to my family of dolls,
caught cherry fish, and made houses
from leaves. I pretended I was a movie
star, a singer, a ballerina, a musician. I
made up stories. I was a daydreamer.
And, of course, I became a writer.
Because of my idyllic youth, I never
totally outgrew my penchant for
fantasy. I added to my feel for childishness
and whimsy when I raised my two
children and when I played with my
five grandchildren. All this gave me the
fuel I needed to write.
I love writing for children. I can put
myself in their place easily, because
my childhood was not something to
suppress, but to hold onto with both
I know children love Santa, and they
love unicorns. What if Santa and a
24 faulkner lifestyle | december 2O18