John Janson, and his wife of 48 years, Bobbi, were blessed with four grandchildren. Wanting to spend time with them and give their two daughters and their husbands a chance for a date night, the grandparents began weekly sleepovers with all four grandchildren years ago.
Almost from that first sleepover came the request "Tell us a story" from "Pop."
"They didn't want me to read a story, they wanted me to make up a bedtime story. My first one was about frogs who became millionaires," said Janson.
The grandchildren are now 14, 14, 15 and 17.
"They still come for the weekly sleepover but the stories are now more involved and intense," he said.
He estimates he has told over 500 bedtime stories over the years. Many of them became serial stories, with his grandchildren as the featured characters. A few years ago, one of his daughters told him he should write down his stories and try to get them published.
So, about three years ago, he began his first book and after a lot of research and fact-finding, it was published in 2011. It is titled, "Titanic: A Second Chance." It is based on his Great Aunt Zelda series.
He also has a Fairy Godmother series and currently, his more intense series revolves around the Extreme Grandfather character.
Janson said if anyone had ever told him he would become a story teller and someday a published author, he would have laughed at them. But there he was at the Palmerton Area Library on Saturday, Feb. 25, signing his autography to his first book.
Born in Glenside, Pennsylvania, graduating from Doylestown High School, he earned a degree from Delaware Valley College. He retired from his job at 50 and went to graduate school and earned is Masters' in counseling. He and Bobbi live in Allentown, close to their grandchildren and families.
He is planning on his next book which will revolve around the Hindenburg disaster.
As for his weekly Friday night story-telling gig, he said he'll keep on until the grandkids stop asking for them.
(Copies of "Titanic: A Second Chance" are available at the Palmerton Area Library.)