Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Birthday Cards and the Jewelry Box

Today, I have spent some time marking off items on a to-do list.

The list is not that long, but it is full of little bitty nagging ... things that I need to do.

I mean, how silly is it to put "Mail Jane and Gloria's birthday cards" on a to do list?

Well, to answer my own question, if I don't, then Jane will turn, I dunno, 63, and she will not have received a birthday card from me. I send her one every year -- and as long as she can remember who I am, I will send her a card. I like sending cards. :)

Jane: Hare? Ladies don't tell their ages.
Me: Uh? I didn't tell my age -- I told yours. Bwhaha.
Jane: Totally not funny -- and btw, I'm only 62, and do I know you?

I am currently into the habit of making my own cards [I have a "Happy Birthday" stamp and a box of Suicide Bunny cards] since Hallmark and those other makers of cards have lost their sense of humor -- or maybe getting old just ain't that funny.

*rubs arthritic knee*

Jane's birthday is the same day as my oldest friend Gloria's birthday. I have known Gloria since the fall of 1967 when I entered eighth grade.


Eighth grade?

After 43 years of birthday cards, I mean, are there any new jokes?
I'll answer this question too. Nada.

About ten years ago, I told Gloria that it was silly to buy new cards every year. Let's do this for Al Gore. Let's recycle.

So, we now buy about one birthday card a decade -- and mail it back and forth {I send it to her -- she sends it back to me} until the card turns yellow or there is no more room to write a little sentiment... which ever comes first.

The current card reads, " Life's short; enjoy the ride," [Ya think?], and we use the inside left white space to write a ditty like ---

"Uh, has another year passed? Happy Birthday."

"Damn. You're old. Happy Birthday."

"Wait. Didn't I just mail this card? Happy Birthday."

Gloria's birthday is the ninth of May -- mine is the third of July. There is ONE big downside to this....

Guess who has to keep up with the card for, uh, ten months?

You guessed it. Me.

So, I keep the card in my jewelry box.


Such a silly question...

Well, then I always know where it is.

On the inside lid of my jewelry box is a velvet pocket. Over the years, since I hardly open the box anymore, I have begun to keep sentimental notes [what is that the purpose of that pocket anyway? Should it be for dried roses, kept from all the bouquets given to me by my lovers? Was I supposed to hide Grandma Dunavant's Baroda pearls from the Yankees?] ... and it's also where I keep that recycled birthday card [for ten flippin' months] that I pull out the first week of May to send to Gloria.

Today, when I went to retrieve the card, I found a letter [I had forgotten about] that I had written my aunts in 1966 to thank them for my birthday money.

Little background info:

When I graduated from college in 1976, my Aunt Ava pulled me aside and said, "I have been busting to tell you this for four years."

Me: Tell me what? [I thought she was gonna drop the bomb that my college degree was paid for by Richard Nixon or that I was going straight from my graduation to a fabulous paid for Malibu beach house or that I was an alien baby she found out behind the tobacco shed that she handed to my mother to raise.]

Aunt Ava: I almost died laughing when I heard you were majoring in English.

Me: Really? Why?

Aunt Ava: Because you used to write us letters -- well, that made us think you might be "flicted."

Me: Flicted?

Aunt Ava: You know --- "touched."

Me: Ouch.

I can't remember what else was said after that, but I remember that it hurt my feelings .[You mean, I wasn't always a good writer with a decent command of the language?]

-- until --

I began to bury my family members one by one, and in sorting through their personal papers, I began to find letters I had written when I was young.

They are laugh out loud funny anyway, but considering what I spent my working career trying to change, one "touched starfish" at a time, so to speak, even funnier.


So, today, when I was looking for the annual birthday card to send to Gloria -- I came across a letter I had written on July 15 of 1966 -- I had just turned twelve.

Here is a taste of it -- and I did not edit -- at all:

"We have only 8 more days of summer school. You may think I'm glad but I am not. One reason is because I like it. Today, Lois, Kenneth, and I carried Kenneth's bike up to the shopping center to get it fix. We ate lunch up their because we had to wait.
For my birthday I had a hotdog roast. We went over to the park that is, Barry and Bill, Marcie, Stan, Ced, Carol, Dana, and every body in the family inculding one of Margaret's frenids. We had a nice time because we got to wade in the creek. We played some real fun games."


"Also, tonight Marcie and I pratice folding up each other in a deck chair. That is a lot of fun. Tonight we walk Margaret and Mike up the street. She always takes on a walk up to the school to swing. You may wonder who is Mike well he is Marcie's little brother. Margaret has taken a fancy to him. He is only 1 year old."

"Thank you for the dollar."

That was one dollar from two aunts.


And don't you just love that future English teacher's letter? You should read the whole thing.


Pictured above: November 1966 -- my brother Kenneth, in the lovely white knees socks -- me, and my sister Margaret.

Also: Brother Kenneth and I at my college graduation. :)

BTW: I think I understand now while I was a poor speller and an even worse math student --- Marcie and I were folding each other up in deck chairs for fun?



  1. Writing those letters must have been a popular thing in our generation. I used to write letters to my Grandfather Rhodes because he was a mean old man and wasn't nice to anyone but me. Being a teacher, he would correct my spelling, facts and anything else, in a bright red pen and mail them back to me. Didn't write too many letters. My daughter, now 26, wrote a monthly news letter for a couple of years when she was about 8 or 9. The only news she had was about our family. She would mail copies to my parents, grandparents, in-laws, ex-in-laws and the other ex-in-laws to keep her circulation up. She would report things like "Mom and Joe had a fight and he threw a plate. Not to worry, she ducked in time." I still have many of those newsletters and can not wait to gift them to her daughter, should she have one, at the right time. :)

  2. 河水永遠是相同的,可是每一剎那又都是新的。......................................................

  3. 死亡是悲哀的,但活得不快樂更悲哀。......................................................

  4. I love readding, and thanks for your artical.........................................

  5. If it makes you feel any better I have a to do list as long as my arm with little things like
    "Pick up photo frame from Michael's" and "File away notes" and the best one "Mail out letter to Resa." See I told you I was born in the wrong century! I exchange letters with some friends living out of state on a regular basis. It just feels more intimate to mail someone a card or letter or open open knowing that just a few days ago your friend was sealing it up for you.

    I'm starting to think I'm flicted.

    By the way, I love your brother's hair at your graduation.

  6. Well I like the fact you still send cards even if they are recycled ;)! I love cards and to me it's a tradition that has fallen through the wayside. No one likes to do it anymore. It's too expensive, postage costs too much. I'll just send a ecard. Do you know how much I really don't like those things. Yes, it's nice that someone thought of you, but to me it's kind of a cope out.....just sayin. Hope I didn't offend anyone. Oh, and $1 for your birthday. Girl, you were livin large! It's a good thing that lounge chair from Home Depot doesn't fold :).

  7. LOL - Not only did you fold each other up in deck chairs for fun, but you "practice" it. Practice makes perfect I guess. Bwahaha

    I totally agree on the Hallmark thing, and I like to make my own cards, too; however, I have to warn you of the addiction that is soon to follow. Ask my colleagues at work... First it is a "Happy Birthday" stamp and a box of cards. Then you find you need a specialized glue stick and acid-free ink. Before you know it, Joann is putting their specialty papers on sale 6 for 96 cents and you spend an hour at the store trying to figure out what you have and what you "need" to get although you have 6 drawers of paper at home in a special cart made just for the purpose of storing scrapbook paper. It's a sickness.

    *signs off to go and find the Joann coupon*