Saturday, August 30, 2003

'Grandpa' keeps kids laughing

By William A. Weathers
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] Stan Allen, a Covedale grandfather, has a costume for nearly every occasion to entertain the youngsters as they arrive at Westwood's Dater Montessori School.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
| ZOOM |
WESTWOOD - At first glance, you might not want to let your children get too close to the costumed Superman in the crosswalk.

But he's OK.

It's just Stan Allen, complete with an "S" on his chest and a red cape, who greeted Dater Montessori School kindergarteners this week as they reported for classes.

"They get a charge out it," the 69-year-old Price Hill man said. "That makes me feel good. I just like to please the kids - seeing their eyes light up."

Allen is a costumed man for all seasons. Last year, he made such appearances as Santa Claus at Christmastime, Cupid on Valentine's Day and a leprechaun on St. Patrick's Day.

"They love it when he does that," school secretary Polly Nortman said. "The older children know him and have learned that that's him. But the younger children don't know."

The retired truck driver has been making such appearances at the school ever since his granddaughter, now a fifth-grader, started kindergarten.

"I just do if for the kids," he said. He gets the costumes for free from Cincinnati Costume Co.

Prompted by kids who love his act, Dater officials two years ago surprised Allen with a DVD player to show their appreciation.

"It's great," Allen said. "Some of them call me grandpa."

Some of the school's pre-schoolers didn't have class this week, and Allen doesn't want them to feel left out. So Tuesday, he plans to make a return appearance.

So, if you see an oversized SpongeBob SquarePants ...


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