Shared love can be with anyone, not just between caregivers and loved ones! I ‘received’ lots of love this week and it felt good! Let’s all spread some love!!
While cleaning out my desk used for over thirty-five years, I uncovered an old leathery piece of history. I knew by the zipper around the edges of this once loved, soft, brown find, with the colorfully embossed school images, that I was holding my one and only autograph book.
Immediately, my thoughts shifted to friends from elementary school who wrote on those pages sixty-eight years ago. It was a different time and place I have seldom returned to since. I even had a flashback of a high school friend signing her name. Here was a real treasure.
Surprised to see it, I stopped cleaning and started remembering. I sat on the side of the bed and carefully unzipped the book. There in pencil, on faded and brown smudged pages, beside a small sticker of a camp I had attended two summers, I had written my name in cursive. I had noted it had been a present for my eleventh birthday from a new friend, one I remember being in my life until our family moved to another place.
A small gold and purple card fell to the ground, a reminder of a high school moment in October 1959 when I was chosen Panther of the Week my senior high school year, a warm memory. I put it between the back pages and read on.
It was fun to bring up memories of the sweet young friends who had signed their names, who had inscribed little sayings they had learned, or even had written personal notes, or their personalized poems.
“Roses are red, violets are blue….”
…Sugar is sweet, and you are too. Or
…Sugar is sweet, and I love you. 💖 Or
…You love Jim, and I do, too. Or
…I like pecans, and nuts to you.”
“Down in the valley carved on a tree, are two little words, “Remember me!””
“I’ll be yours ‘til Russia fries Turkey in Greece and serves it on China to the US.”
These were not likely political thoughts then, but just fun words.
Most entries were signed with full names, in various degrees of their cursive evolution. Some added a ‘closing’ remark, like:
“Your good pal,” or “Your best girl friend” or “Love ya,” or “The one behind you who pulls your hair,” or “The boy who draws maps.”
I found one entry from a friend who is still my friend, after sixty-six years!
There is one page with large swirling letters that reads: “Gene Autry,” a singing cowboy star of the day. I had asked him to sign after seeing him in a show back in those young years. I truly don’t recall the show!
I even found incomplete entries by my own two children when each had just learned to print. Like many kiddos, they probably had been ‘looking around’ and had found the book and wanted to sign it, too. I am glad their attempted ‘love letters’ were added twenty years later!
My book is signed by teachers, principals, school friends, church friends, camp counselors, camper friends, and even my six year old brother, ten year old sister, plus an aunt and uncle. It covers eight of my younger years. My life is reflected in those pages by people who have impacted my life, important enough for me to want them to sign my autograph book.
Of course, the universe ‘helped me find’ this prized possession just as Valentine’s 💘 Day appeared on the calendar, just in time for me to begin thinking of the importance of ‘little love letters’ that I could write when “time permits.”
What a collection to find! How fitting their words are, how they coincide with the memories that I recall about each person. The funny ones, the studious ones, the sweet ones, the jokers, the athletes, those I did not know well and those I had known since fourth grade … I can put a young face to most, but not all. It feels rather good, after these years, to know I did have those friends.
And more, it generates a sense of loving that part of my life, knowing that through the years I had so many ‘friends’ who even signed my book. That made me feel really good now, years later. Not one mentioned my myasthenia gravis issues. Not one made fun of my height that seemed to showup before others in my class. No one told me I wore clunky shoes. Oh, some said funny things, most had a touch of kindness, and some just signed their name. But what a wonderful, happy, loving, memory upon which I can reflect in these elder years. Those autographs from years ago became notes of love that still make me laugh or feel warm fuzzies today. Even cry.
As I was reflecting on how reading these pages made me feel so happy, I recalled a program online where we focus on gratitude, on appreciation and caring for others and how those others have impacted our lives. We think about, appreciate, and write out our thoughts. Sometimes we go further and encourage others or thank them and acknowledge the wisdom they have shared.
In the end, we reassure ourselves of the love we have to give to others – not just to caregivers and loved ones.
Happy Valentine’s Day, dear friends.
In the spirit of Love inspired by Valentine’s 💘 Day, I want to ‘encourage encouragement’ by spreading love through writing little love letters. I suggest topics below that might nudge you forward to spread some love, to let even just one someone know how much they mean to you…child, parent, friend, relative, co-worker, someone you know, someone you have never met. There is no boundary surrounding the potential of our love.
When the spirit moves, you can write to someone to leave a mark on their heart and in their memory, a warm fuzzy for them to open and re-read at some point, realizing the difference your words might make in their life, now or later, just as these autographs have done for me.
Ideas that come to mind now:
- a short note in a lovely greeting card
- a brief message texted,
- a handwritten letter with specifics
- a labour of love with photos and drawings illuminating your words.
- an easy peasy ‘tee-hee hapiness’ is putting hearts on paper with a quote and dropping them like confetti on the shelves of a store, grocery, pharmacy, bookstore, or anywhere that is open. Put them in mail boxes along your street. No signautre, just message of love. See Tee-Hee Happiness page here.
These ‘encouragers,’ in the spirit of Valentine’s 💘 Day, help us think of fitting little love letters for those who hold a meaningful place in our life. In the same way you as readers continue to inspire me to encourage you, I, too, hope to be inspired to reassure, comfort and lift others up throughout the year!
💝 Have a loving day.
Each day, do something that makes others smile and your heart sing!
Little Love Letters (c) 2021 Judith Allen Shone
💝 Remember, caregivers need love, too! 💝
Ice cream 🍦 and cookies 🍪 seem to be an appropriate sweet treat on Valentine’s Day!