In assembling this first collection of short stories I've chosen to adopt the device used by my short story hero, Paul Gallico, the pre-emptive essay. I first came across the structure in Gallico's collection entitled Confessions of a Storyteller. In that volume Gallico explains the circumstances under which each story was written and describes the appropriate background. The book is now out of print and the essays which precede each story are particularly helpful in explaining the historical significance.
In my own case, the essays are sometimes included after the story where I want to avoid revealing elements of the actual story in the essay. More than that, at least two of the stories were written originally for my grandchildren and the essays seek to explain and expand the learning element I've tried to include in the story.
As I've indicated in my website, I'm a great admirer of the short story format, not least because it adds to the art of simple storytelling the additional challenge of limited time or space depending on whether the original story is for broadcast or print. The extreme example of this challenge is, I suppose, poetry in which the writer must use words that not only meet the criteria of the poem but also embrace the widest and most specific meanings required by the poetry.