Monday, September 17, 2012
Grammy's Book-of-the-Month Club
Oh, I remember those special afternoons like they were yesterday: Mom and I would find a brown cardboard box from Random House leaning up against our apartment door, and it was addressed to me! I would be so excited to see my new offering from the children's Book-of-the-Month Club that I'd dance in circles around my mother. When she would finally free it from it's packaging, I would grab the colorful hardback, hug it, smell it, and escape to a quiet place to slowly turn through each of its beautifully illustrated pages. Then, to mom's lap I would go, and settle in for the brand-new story.
I was only three or four years old, but I remember the carefully-chosen, award-winning titles so well: "Grandmother Lucy and Her Hats", "The Griffin and the Minor Canon", "Harvey's Hideout", and my all-time favorite, "Old Black Witch".
"Old Black Witch" was an at first scary, then wonderful book about a mother and daughter who buy an old, dilapidated, cobwebby house with the idea of turning it into a tea room and restaurant. As they move in and start banging around, clearing out, and cleaning up, they wake up Old Black Witch from her nesting place in the dark, batty attic.
She is a crotchety sort, and tries to sabotage the mother and daughters' efforts as they begin to transform the house. But the mother CAN COOK, and the aromas that waft from kitchen make Old Black Witch salivate! Gradually she is lured out of her dark hiding place and into a lovely little friendship with the mother and daughter.
Soon, OBW has donned a red kerchief and is sweeping and polishing alongside her new friends. The tea room opens, and guess who's the most popular waitress? You got it, Old Black Witch! And the BEST PART? There was a recipe for the menu's most-ordered item, Old Black Witch's Blueberry Pancakes, on the last page. Needless to say, those became a favorite breakfast for Mom and me during my nursery school days.
I think I adored "Old Black Witch" because it combined some of my future favorite things: mysteries, cooking, moms / daughters, homemaking, friendship, and yes, blueberry pancakes. This book now rests on my own daughter's shelf, an "autograph" by three year-old me (and a "1968" in my mother's handwriting) inside its front cover.
Do you remember your favorite childhood stories?
My sweet little granddaughter Addie lives 800 miles away, and though the modern technologies of texting photos and FaceTime help to "shorten" the distance, it is still hard to be so far away from her. What to do??
An idea come to me while Addie was still in her mommy's tummy: start a Grammy's Book-of-the-Month Club right away!! I didn't need to think twice about that fabulous little bit of inspiration!! Before Addie was born, she already had a few grandmother-chosen titles on her little shelf: "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" (both my daughters' favorite) was one of the first, followed by "The Butterfly Girl and Bingo", and one of the Carl books by Seattle author Alexandra Day, one in a delightful series about an adventurous little girl and her faithful dog.
Making a plan to choose, buy, wrap, address, and mail something special to Addie each month has made me feel a little bit closer to her! Imagine my delight when my daughter posted some photos of Addie receiving her latest delivery, siting up like a big girl, and playing with the bow!
You could do something similar with your grandchild or favorite little person. Let your gifts reflect whatever it is you are passionate about! For me, it's obviously books, but it would be equally wonderful to send a tiny toy, or art supply, or hair bow, or recipe, or yummy treat, or baseball card, or funky socks, or anything! What we all really want to enclose in our monthly packages is the warm feeling of "I love you, I'm thinking about you, and I chose this JUST for you!"