I actually remember when the alphabet clicked and I understood the letters could be put together to make words; and words could be put together and make sentences.
I also remember that while I would often buy candy with the loose change, I would sometimes buy a workbook, notebook or pens at the office supply store inside the newspaper office.
I will never forget the first time I entered a Barnes and Nobel with an attached Starbucks. I thought, I might never leave such a wonderful place.
I was one of those girls with a box full of stationary and envelopes and a pen pal to write notes to. A nerdy girl, who loved the smell of the inside of a new book and to check the mail.
You cannot help what you love, and there were probably a lot of times I opted out on normal social activities to hide inside a book or notebook. It was a safe place for me to gather courage and share my fears. I owe that to my grandmothers.
My grandmothers were good note writers. They never missed a birthday or special holiday. Sometimes they wrote, just because. It was a lovely feeling and memory.
Like everyone else, my thoughtful note writing is pretty much diluted to posts on fb and quick emails, and now blogging. Even though I still like to buy postage, I hardly ever actually have a use for it anymore.
The other day, when I open my laptop to begin my morning, a note fell out. It was a little card with a black puppy and kitten and an old red chair. I did not remember seeing the card before. I opened it.
Inside it read, in my grandmother's blind-scribble, "guess who loves you. I do. Love, Grammie." It really, truly, felt as if she sent it to me that morning and had intended for me to get it, first-thing. She is in heaven, so such a thing is possible.
Anyhow, the note did more than just cheer me up. It brought back a memory of when I first began making the cards, now available here at the Wild Nevadan HjB website. I'm going back too 2005 I think. And, after I worked out the prototype, there were a lot of ugly ones. I mean ugly. I held on to them, with the hope I might find a use for them.
My Grammie was visiting and I showed her my stash of lovely cards I meant to sell at a local shop. She was so enthusiastic. She wished me luck and said it was a great idea and they were fabulous pictures. All grandmothers are good people.
Next thing you know she has her eye on the stack of cast-offs. "What are these," she asks, picking them up.
"Those are the mess-ups." I tell her. It's true. I get a little carried away when the glitter and glue come out. It is why we don't use glitter and barely any glue, now.
"What are you going to do with them?" I knew where it was going. This is the lady who still has the knitted pot-holder I made in second grade that you cannot even use because I was so bored with the project I only knitted it half way and stretched it right before I gave it to her. She still declares her love for it.
"Nothing, I guess."
"I will use them," she can see me well enough to know I am hesitant, so she adds, "They are fine!"
I know she will use them, and tell everyone I made them, and say, aren't they lovely? And they are ugly. It makes her seem more blind than she is. It makes me look very glitter-happy.
And then the bribe comes in. "I will give you all my leftover notepads and stationary." It was a clincher. She was the original stationary hound.
"Okay." I let her have them and about 1/2 the pretty ones, just to balance out the damage. What can a girl do? Grandmothers are awesome. And she did give me a slew of paper to fold, cut and glue.
From that point forward, I promised myself I would never let her see the uglys again, and keep her stocked up in pretty cards.
The story gets better. After my grandfather passed away, a year ago, I was visiting the house in Kingston and found a little box of the ugly cards in a drawer. I think it was where I was reminded that I like pictures and paper and glue and little notes. I think it was then I decided I was going to make a batch of cards for the bazaar and Christmas...
The seed was planted...it wasn't long before The Wild Nevadan HjB website was born. Funny how I can put it all together in retrospect. The missing clue, was a note from my Grammie. What a great lady she was. How, I miss her so.
Check out the treasure chest and our cards and picture pages and think of your grandmother. Trust me, the ones who do not facebook and email are especially in love with the old fashioned note. Homemade, like these, are even better. You will earn brownie points, I promise.
Who knows, a few years from now, when she goes off to heaven, she just might re-send you a note to cheer you through the day. She just might help you put together the memories so they make sense to you still, in this hectic and digital world. A note from my Grammie did just that.
Friday, April 15, 2011