I practically cried when Walt opened the box this evening.
I only remember feeling like this once before. When Jeri was born, I was looking forward to her being old enough to have a tea party with. Sometime after her first birthday, I asked my mother if she could give me my old tea set, which I thought she had been keeping for me. The set had originally belonged to my mother and I remember how special it was. How it sat in its own box covered with silver paper and how we only used it on special occasions, when my mother would fix hot chocolate and home made cookies and would sit with my sister and myself while we had our tea party. I couldn't wait to do that with Jeri.
Only she swore she did not have the tea set. She had given it to me, she insisted, and I must have lost it.
I gradually got over it, berating myself for having lost this precious memory of my childhood. And then one day, I was sitting in my mothers house in Terra Linda and I looked up on top of her dish cabinet and there was the silver box! I opened it and there was the tea set. Jeri was an adult now, but I offered it to Laurel for the girls. However she had her own tea set that had belonged to HER grandmother an she wasn't interested. But in 2013, I decided to give it to the girls for Christmas and that year we had our tea party.
Forty-five years after the fact I finally had my tea party with Jeri...and with my granddaughters. I know it wasn't anywhere near as moving for them as it was for me...and for all I know the dishes have been thrown out now, but I did have one tea party. I still bemoan the missed opportunity to have that special memory with Jeri.
The other thing I longed to share with our kids were the "red books," a set of seven books my parents got for me when I was a baby. It had poems, nursery rhymes, short stories and, in the later editions, longer stories. When I was young, we had no TV, no videos, no movies. Before I was old enough to go to the library by myself, I had the red books and I devoured them. They brought me adventure, fantasy, and magic. I hoped to share some of that with our kids. But the books "disappeared" in our house. I thought for sure they would turn up when we moved to Davis, but they did not. Off and on over the years, I tried to find the "red books," to no avail.
This week Marta's office is having a book drive and she wanted to know if we had any books to donate. I told her my office was all out of donatable books, but I'm sure Walt could fill a box for her and Ned could pick them up when he comes for my mother's birthday lunch.
Tonight Walt proudly said he had filled not one, but five boxes and started to list some of the books in the donation box including the "Book Trails" series. He said he didn't remember whether those had been my books of his as a kid. I had him pull them out of the donation box and there they were....the red books!
I asked where he found them and he said that they had been in the linen closet. All these years. It's 50 years too late and the stories are old fashioned and I'm sure they won't interest Brianna and Lacie, so I will probably put them back in the donation box, and maybe some other mother will find them and read them to her kids. But I get teary-eyed thinking of the missed opportunities to share those beloved stories of my childhood with my own children. They were in the linen closet all those years.....
But before I let them go, I had to revisit some of my favorite friends like
The little doggies were Brownie, Laddie and Bobs.
THE KING'S CREAM
THE GREEDY CAT
Maybe I won't give them away with this box of donations. Maybe the girls will come back before they are too old for them. Maybe I can share a little with them.
Or maybe I'll cut them up and use them for pocket letters.....