A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

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V is for Violets, Van, and Vending Machine

Posted by lindamartinandersen on April 26, 2016

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A Writer’s Playground–a place to find wordplay, writing prompts, reasons to celebrate, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart  “V is for Violets, Van, and Vending Machine” by Linda Martin Andersen

This month I’m sharing photos and blog posts from A-Z.  I’m excited about trying something new.  I hope you’ll stop by often throughout the month.

Check out the participants for the April (2016) Challenge.  There are plenty to choose from http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

V is for Violets


BRIDAL BOUQUET African violet chimera -- IN BLOOM!

My maternal grandmother lived in my home for a few months while waiting for a retirement complex to be completed.  She tended to her African violets in a front window of my home.  I admired her ability to keep her violets looking lovely.  When she moved, she gave me a violet stand and a couple of violets. I never was able to keep the plants looking as good as she did.  The violet stand now sits with potted silk violets in full bloom all year long.  They look so real, people often touch them.

How about you?  Can you keep African violets happy?  Are there plants you do have a knack for growing?  Do you enjoy looking for wild violets in meadows?  I do!

V is for Van

I recently began following a blog called “Van by the River.”  Here’s a post about Scrubbing Your Face that includes a video of an orangutan at a Tokyo zoo.  I think you’ll enjoy it.


My husband and I have owned two vans in our adult years which we enjoyed driving on trips.  The first one was a used Carolina Telephone Company van that my husband and I had customized and drove to Disney World.  Joining us were my parents, my two sisters, and our two children.   The second van was a Chevy Astro which my husband, two children, my mom, and I drove to California and back.  Great memories from both trips in our vans.  Just so you know, the photo below was not one of our vans, but it looks like a fun ride.

Would you call this a Hippie van?  What were some of the slogans painted on a Hippie van?  Research to learn more.

Has your family ever owned a van?  An SUV?  Tell about a long car trip.

V is for Vending Machine

Have you ever purchased a snack from a vending machine?  Who hasn’t, right?  What is one of your favorite snacks from there?  Have you ever had to make a vending machine snack substitute for a meal?  Have you heard a pack of nabs or peanut butter crackers called a square meal?  What does that mean to you?  What does your eye search for when you have money in hand and are standing before a vending machine? Have you ever lost money in one?  Have you ever taped a note on the machine stating that you lost money?  Did you ever get it back?  In what locations are you most likely to find vending machines?  Tell about an experience buying something from one.

When a family member is in the hospital, I may raid the vending machine, especially when the cafeteria is closed.  I often pack a lunch when I plan to stay all day.  Have you ever done that when someone you know is in the hospital?

What “V” words come to mind for you? I hope you’ll share why they’re special to you.

Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.”  Come again soon and bring a friend. Please leave a comment.  Remember that children 13 and under need an adult to comment for them.  For more fun, sign up to follow my blog.  Thank you!

13 Responses to “V is for Violets, Van, and Vending Machine”

  1. Thanks for the reblog, Linda. And I did, in fact, own a VW van in the 70’s. We drove it 2000 miles to our new home, one week after the wedding. ☺

  2. Joan Y. Edwards said

    Dear Linda,
    Thanks for sharing about your van rides with your family! Those two trips sound like they were fun, fun, fun! So glad you have those great memories. Good that you had a van big enough to hold all of your people!

    V is for Victory, Vacancy, and Valor.
    Celebrate you today!

    • Thanks, Joan. The family van trips were fun! Yes, we all fit in and with room to spare. We didn’t even carry luggage on top. I guess we pack lighter than some families. I loved your “V” choices. I thought of two of them myself. Great minds think alike. 😉

  3. V is for moving VAN– that has come and gone.

  4. Bee Halton said

    My grandmother was good with those violets too. What a coincidence!

  5. I was looking in my beat up 1959 edition of Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary for the spelling of vituperous (sp?) which I couldn’t find either with an i or an e or an a. Does anyone know the word I want and how to spell it, or did I just imagine the word? Anyway, along the way I found one of my brother Bill’s favorite words: varlet, as in “Unhand her, you varlet!” There are also voluptuous, vocal, vociferous, virtuous and victorious.

    When Dale and I first got married in 1975, we bought a VW van to haul us and the 4 kids around in. (I’m his trophy wife of 41 years.) The summer of our wedding, Dale built a platform for the back of the van, piled all 6 of us into the van, and drove from Jacksonville, Alabama, to Morgan Hill, California, and back. During the drive all 4 tires warped, so we had to buy new ones. Dale strapped the warped ones on top of the van along with all our luggage. While he’s doing this and is not a particularly a happy camper, I’m standing on the ground beside our van trying to be the dutiful wife. The kids are in the motel room watching TV. Next thing you know, here comes Stephen, the 7 year old, wearing an oversized cap and yellow-framed, oversized sunglasses. He saunters up to me, leans a hip on the car next to our van and says, “Hi Sarah…I’m Joe Cool!” Dale almost fell off the roof of the van, he started laughing so hard. Steve, now almost 49, has been the Cool Cat ever since. And it’s fitting because he plays saxophone, clarinet, flute and piano for a living.

    Susanne,14 at the time, was an unhappy person back then. Her mother abandoned her and then her dad had the nerve to marry a bossy woman (me,) instead letting take over as the mother figure. She sat like a malevolent lump all the way in the back of the van–over the engine–and snarled the whole way across and back. But 10 days before her death at the age of 22, she came to visit us. She started talking about what fun she had on that trip. Stunned us! We both were thinking, “What trip were you on?”

    Ah the memories we make along the way. An now we vigorously march onto W. Thanks again, Linda, for doing this.

    • Sarah,
      I loved reading your retelling of great memories. I felt like I was sitting at your feet as you told it. Wow, you’ve had some interesting adventures. I’m sorry I can’t help with the word find, but you came through with great ones without that one! It’s delightful that Susanne came to appreciate that cross-country trip in time. I enjoyed hearing the story behind why Steve is called Cool Cat too.

      You are welcome for the alphabet journey. It has been my pleasure!

  6. Victory is a word for V. Victory for successfully wrestling peanuts from a vending machine. Quite a good array of V subjects…Violet’s which I can’t grow, vans for sitting high in and vending machines that eat money, Linda. 👍

    • Tracy,
      You are so funny! Earlier, I wrote about dryers eating socks and now you’re reminding me that vending machines eat money. So true! I loved your use of V with victory over the vending machine. Now that’s original. Your comment about vans for sitting high reminded me of the fact that we added running boards to ours to help people load and unload. One more thought…Tracy, you can always buy silk violets so you have pretty ones year round. 😉

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