Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

FB, letters, and other little things

photo the author's

photo the author’s

I’m huge on writing, as you know if you’ve read almost any blog post of mine. What you might realise, however, is that I’m huge on letter-writing, as well. In fact, I actually bought a life-time membership to the Letter Writers Alliance. Which then sent me a darling membership card, now pinned onto my bulletin board.


So recently, when my aunt posted that she thought of me when she read a James Baldwin story, recently, I sent her a card. Just a note saying that it really touched me that she took the time to post the comment(I’d posted a shout-out on Baldwin’s birthday, the 2nd of August).

Her one-minute comment prompted my 10-minute note, complete w/ pretty card (she so deserves one!), my bee seal w/ my name & address, and a flower stamp. And pretty washi tape (with birds — sooo Portlandia!) to secure it all.

And that prompted a half-hour phone call yesterday, from her to me, where we just reconnected.

As she notes, we see each other a couple of times a year, at least. But there are always her 3 daughters, often my 3 sisters, my niece(s), her granddaughters… It’s a crowd, and far too happily crazy for us to talk about old times.CarolDeborah


My aunt Carol is the closest I have to an older sister. As a baby, I lived w/ my mother, my grandmother, and Carol while my father was in Korea. Carol is one of my first memories, up there w/ my mother and Grandma. The picture is taken at Grandma’s, when I was about a year old.

When I was little older, I was in her wedding as a flower girl. From then on, I was at her house, visiting my Uncle Jim’s family — his mother was like a 4th grandmother to me (along w/ my own two grandmothers and my great-aunt Bonnie). Sometimes I would stay for more than a week. She would load up on colouring books & crayons — new ones, each time! — and I would sit happily in the floor, colouring away.

My other aunt (I’m fortunate to have TWO wonderful living aunts!) is also very dear to me, but as I hit my tweens and teens, I spent a great deal of time w/ my aunt Carol. It was Carol who taught me make-up, baby-doll pjs (her hand-me-downs made me feel absolutely elegant), the lotions and potions so many American girls still love. Music (although I never quite caught her fondness for Elvis…), books, just about everything.


Carol & DeborahWhat I didn’t want to talk about w/ my mother I could take to Carol. She’d listen. And as her own three daughters grew, I would babysit them as she had me, although I’m pretty sure I was neither as patient nor as loveable! Years later, one came to me for help w/ college. Another exchanged info on doctors. And each time, I would be grateful I could give to her children the way she so often gave to me.

This is a convoluted way of saying: small actions bring HUGE dividends, folks. I had noooo idea, when I posted my Happy Birthday, James Baldwin to FB that this blog would result. But here’s the deal: it was also the tiny amount of time it took to send a card, stick a stamp on it. Let someone I love dearly know that I often think of her.

Take that moment. I can’t tell you how grateful you’ll be that you did.



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