An Unexpected Visitor From The Past

12:01 PM

My mother's birthday is January 1st and since this year was her 80th birthday, we had a big blowout to celebrate. With my mind on the party, I was a little surprised when an unexpected visitor from the past showed up.

My grandmother showed up at the party.

She died back in 2007.

Before you wonder if I've lost my mind, let me explain.

When we cleared my grandmother's home before she moved into an assisted living home, my aunt found a box of cards in the back of the closet. My grandmother was extremely sentimental and no one wanted to throw the cards away—they had obviously meant a lot to her. So my aunt took the box home with her. She'd planned to go through the cards and do something with them.

Like most of us with good intentions, the cards sat in the closet for many long years before those good intentions were realized.

At the party, my aunt gave a number of us a pack of cards that we had given to my grandmother over the years. In my pack, there was also a photo from our wedding and a photo of me when I was 3 or 4 years old.
If I'm not mistaken, this photo used to reside in a silver family tree frame with all of my grandmother's grandchildren's photos. Another blast from the past. I hadn't thought of that tree in years.

But what truly captured my attention and brought tears to my eyes, was the small skate pictured above.

Some of my earliest memories were of my granny creating something.

She crocheted, she sewed, she crafted, she gardened (she could make a dead stick bloom!), she baked (her 7 layer chocolate cake was divine!) and cooked, she was always doing something and I've long suspected that my seeds of creativity were cast from watching her.

She never used expensive materials. The skate above is made from a piece of felt, a paperclip and some yarn and thread. So simple and yet so "Granny" that I would recognize it anywhere as her work.

To me, it's a priceless piece of art.

I also have some "chickens" that are made from the same material…and now I'm on a hunt to find where I put them.

Over the years, she and I dabbled in a number of different craft projects together. When she moved back to Florida from Georgia, I was amazed at the number of items she'd kept from the past of things I'd made with her or for her.

While there were tears, it was like a gift of a visit from my grandmother after these many long years of silence.

She was a such a special lady that left a huge legacy of love, craft-iness, creativity, and making do with what you had.

I wanted to preserve the moment and be able to revisit it without having to hunt down the ornament or cards, so I've created a page in my sketchbook.
Granny's Skate
Stillman and Birn Beta bound sketchbook
5.5 x 8.5
watercolor and ink
In the space at the bottom of the page, I'll add the details of how the skate and cards came to me from my aunt.

Many thanks to my Aunt Lala for the visit from the past and the work of going through all those cards and there were a bunch of them! Many thanks to my granny for the legacy of creativity and love.

To this day, she is fiercely missed.
____________________________

On an entirely different note, I have had to turn on the word capture feature on the blog due to some persistent spammers that refuse to take "no spam" for real. My apologies for the inconvenience!

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22 Creative Thought(s)

  1. What a wonderful blog post. I hope that I'm that kind of Grandmother to my 8 grandchildren!

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    1. Thanks, Shirley! I'm sure that since you're aware of it, you will be.

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  2. I loved this post, Laure! Your story is wonderful, and the painting of the darling skate is beautiful. It melts my heart because my Aunt Pat made me a little set of skates with a paperclip as well! Hers were crocheted, and attached as a set, but so similar. I love that she made them as ornaments for our tree, and I can see them every Christmas!

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    1. How cool that your aunt made those too. There may be some crocheted ones around for all I know. You can bet this one will be on our tree as well!

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  3. what a really special and wonderful moment to see that skate emerge Laure!

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    1. It was truly wonderful, Carole! It was like having my grandmother's presence in the room again.

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  4. Love the painting; I can see just how to make one of these. I'll have to see if the granddaughters want to make one! I hope I am the sort of grandma who encourages and helps the kids grow to be creative adults. You are lucky to have such a one (yes, I know, she died but as you see, not really). Hope your mom had a great time at her party.

    Sometimes the spammers don't know they are spamming as in the case of yahoo group names being constantly hacked so our whole email lists get doses of spam and no, I really didn't do it even though you've probably gotten some from useruser at yahoo. ! Some may mean to be spammers but some just get their names or emails used. Yahoo groups seem to be the most hacked which makes me cautious of going to any group I am a member of!

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    1. Yes, you are the sort of grandma that encourages creativity! Good for you. Mom had a fabulous party and it was great seeing everyone again. As for the spammers…they're spammers. It's not accidental.

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  5. Dear Laura - what a special post. Happy Birthday to your Mom too. Like you my grandma was a special lady very much missed. I love your painting of the red felt skate. Thanks for sharing these wonderful mementos of the past. May you have a great start to a wonderful New Year. God Bless.

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    1. Thank you, Debbie! I hope your new year is absolutely fabulous too!

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  6. What a delight! Tears in my eyes, too. Oh, it's those little things that speak volumes and are filled with tons of love.

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    1. Yes, as Gandalf says, "small acts of kindness and love" are what keep the darkness at bay.

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  7. What a touching story Laure. Taking out all those Xmas ornaments always bring so many memories. What a great idea to sketch/paint them and share them with others. That just might be my Xmas card next year ... And, what a gorgeous little Laure too :). Happy New Year! May this year bring you and yours health and much joy.

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    1. I'm hoping to do a class on ornaments one of these years as I think it would be a great way to revisit those treasure and memories throughout the year.

      Happiest of New Years, Diane! Hope it's full of what brings you joy!

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  8. How exciting to get back so much more than what you gave. That lovely touch of love. Lucky you to have such a loving Grandmother.

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    1. She was a wonderful grandmother and friend and sister and wife and mother…she was someone who truly enjoyed life!

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  9. What an auspicious start to the new year. Be sure to show us the chickens when they come home to roost!

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    1. Well said, Judy! I suspect the chickens are hanging out in a box in the attic and it will probably be close to the end of the year before they poke their red heads out!

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  10. What a really special gift from your grandmother through your aunt. It must have really made you feel good to get everything (and sad too since you miss your grandmother). I found cards that I'd made for my mom when my brother and I cleaned out her desk, and it was really special to realize that she'd saved them all, so I have a little understanding of how you must have felt. Wonderful way to preserve the memory in your sketchbook as well.

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  11. What a beautiful salute to your Granny! Full of warmth, love, and respect.

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  12. I read this post the other day and it has been 'mulling' around in my mind ever since. I could relate to most of your words from my own life. My mom, dad, and grandmother were all 'card savers', and I guess I've inherited it as well - as I have a hard time disposing of cards/letters with handwritten words from family or special friends. Handwritten words have become rare these days, so my heart really has a hard time parting with them. A couple of years ago I even posted images from a simple card I made as a child for my Dad. Your memories of your granny 'creating' are similar to my memories of my mom and grandmother - which is where I guess I got my love of creating. I can really see how the rediscoveries that day felt like a visit from your granny. What a special time. I think your journal page is a perfect way to remember the recent discovery as well as your memories of your granny, the long lost photo, and simple red skate. What a wonderful story!

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  13. Oh what a lovely young photo of you Laure! and such a great story...it's bringing tears to my eyes too! Life always has a way of showing what you need to see at the right time! Can't wait to get together!

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