Michelle Staubach Grimes, daughter of Cowboys quarterback legend and military veteran Roger Staubach, has written a children’s book for everyone who has felt stuck in the middle.
Called Where Is Pidge?, it is a picture book for all ages. The story is about a middle child who feels left out and decides to run away. Adventures ensue, and Pidge and her family learn a valuable lesson.
Grimes, who studied law and graduated with a Juris Doctor degree in 1994, returned to school in 2012 to participate in the creative writing continuing education program at SMU.
She self-published Where Is Pidge? this year and is traveling the country to promote it. Grimes will read and sign copies at the AAFES Exchange Store at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth on Saturday in an event for active-duty military, their dependents and military retirees.
We chatted with Grimes recently to find out how her life experiences became part of her story.
What inspired you to write Where Is Pidge?
I was inspired by a combination of things, really. Writing for me came from journaling. The story of Pidge came through studying creative writing at SMU. “Pidge” is my mom’s nickname, so the inspiration came from my life, too. And sometimes as a writer, you don’t know. It sort of naturally just came out of me.
Have you always wanted to write?
Writing is a new adventure for me. I’m in my late 40s. In college I studied history and then went to law school. I loved law school, but not the day to day of practice. After that I stayed home with my kids. I’ve always been a storyteller and so I told them stories.
How have your kids reacted to Pidge?
I have three kids: a 16-year-old boy and 14- and 13-year-old girls. You know, there was excitement in the beginning and it kind of stressed them. They’re teens and these are important years.
They were used to me being home, so sometimes they have been Pidged out. I have a life-size Pidge that I take to events. One day it was by the door when my son came in and it surprised him.
I hope they’re seeing me following my passion and my dreams, though.
What was it like growing up as the child of a local celebrity?
I didn’t know any different. He’d already won the Heisman Trophy when I was born. It was very different than I think kids have it now. We grew up in Richardson, right by a park. I didn’t see myself different from my friends.
We had a pretty normal life. Sometimes people would come up to him when we were out for dinner. My dad always set an example of being nice to fans.
Football was his job but not our life.
What advice would you give to kids today?
Make sure you’re your own person. I’m proud of my dad, but you can find who you are. You should feel good about who you are, even when your family is a big part of that.
Are you the middle child in your family?
Sort of. My family has five kids. There were three within four years, and I’m the middle of those. Then there was a gap and two younger.
Being in the middle for a while, are you and Pidge alike?
In some ways, yes. I think even when you’re not a middle child, we’re all still in the middle in life. We have those moments when we can all relate. We all find ourselves in the middle of a group or a situation.
It drives us to be better and find how we make a difference.
When my son was a sophomore, I went to parent night and they said sophomores are the middle child of high school. Freshmen are new and the seniors are getting ready to leave. In my story, I also want to encourage kids to see beyond setting. You can still have those feelings of being stuck.
What’s next? Do you have another book in the works?
I’m going to continue Pidge. I drafted a second book and hope to have that to the publisher in the new year. There will also be a Pidge plush [doll] in the spring.
I love storytelling and using that to promote literacy. I believe a good picture book resonates with the adult reading to the child. With Pidge, there are lots of emotions in the story. Picture books are a great way to engage kids and talk about emotions and things like that.
I’m also visiting schools and bases to share my book. I love the military bases. These families make a huge commitment. I meet such amazing people at each base. My father was in the military. I was born on base and lived there until I was 1. I’m not a military kid, but my dad had friends there and it’s always been a big part of my life. It’s always been special to me.
Visiting the military kids, hopefully they can relate to Pidge. They move around a lot. They’re always trying to find their place, just like Pidge.
Michelle Staubach Grimes’ book-signing
- 10 a.m.-noon Saturday
- AAFES Exchange Store at Naval Air Station Join Reserve Base, 1880 Military Parkway, Fort Worth
Note: The event is open only to active-duty military, their dependents and military retirees.
Find the book and learn more: Where Is Pidge? ($16.95) is at retail stores and bookstores, and online at www.whereispidge.com.