But it wasn’t so much what was inside the parcel that made me so eager (and don’t get me wrong, Granny had a knack for finding the sweetest little books which I adored, including the tiny Observer’s Book of Birds which turned me into a Bird Twitcher of sorts – serious bird watcher, I should say or, at least, so far as a ten-year old with toy binoculars can pretend to be – and would probably be a collector’s item today), but rather the parcel itself.
This is because Granny’s parcels were always wrapped in shiny, brown paper and tied up with string, the small, tight knot held firmly in place by a blob of dark red sealing wax. The centre held an image, smooth and flat and probably Granny’s initials, from her personal sealing wax stamp. More than anything, it was that blob of wax that fascinated me.
Strange, I know. But if I was a strange child, then I’m even stranger as an adult: I could barely contain my excitement when I found this little treasure at our local garden centre last week in the ‘vintage’ toy section of its Christmas display…
A Post Office set! I had one of these and oh the fun I had playing office with the miniature notepads, parcels and labels, and, of course, the rubber stamp. Not quite up to Granny’s sealing wax standard, but it would have to do. And it must have done, as many years later, I got a job at the Post Officer working behind the counter with stamps a-plenty. Had to go away for a six week training course and everything.
I wonder if children today are interested in such a game with so much else to amuse. Perhaps my ‘vintage’ generation has more to offer than we think. Back then, I knew one thing for sure: how much I coveted Granny’s sealing wax stamp kit. It seemed quite magical to me, and she was the only one I’ve ever known who had one.
A different kind of vintage attracted the kids at the garden centre, with a lot more excitement garnered around the Game of Thrones display than the Post Office game. No surprise there. And it’s always nice to bump into Jon Snow.
Many Christmases have come and gone since Granny sent her last parcel. Today I take in brown cardboard parcels ordered on the internet and not a piece of string, never mind a blob of wax, in sight. I wonder if Granny would have gone for the convenience of online shopping given half a chance? It wouldn’t have surprised me if she had; Granny had her traditions, but she took to modern advances with gusto if it meant an improvement on what she knew.
But how wonderful it would be to open the door and find the postman holding one of Granny’s brown paper parcels sealed with wax just one more time…
I received books as gifts throughout my childhood, all read avidly. Many I no longer have, but I came across this little pile while recently unpacking after our house move. An eclectic mix from my generation growing up in the 60’s and 70’s that has travelled with me a few times across the shining sea…
Peppermints in the Parlor is Eldest Son’s, one his childhood favourites and read together countless times, but the others are mine from days gone by. I had forgotten about Peter Pan and Wendy, the book at the bottom. It’s inscribed inside ‘To darling Sherri, with lots of love from Auntie Peggy’. She was Dad’s older sister, someone I last saw when I was a teenager.
Last year in my Christmas post, I linked to books newly published by debut author friends, but this year, I’m way out of the loop. The aftermath of a house move and taking care of other ‘stuff’ remains all-consuming, but I do know of one book recently published which I would very much like to share with you:
Author D G Kaye (blogger and friend Debby Gies), through her own trials, has very recently launched her latest labour of love, her May/December memoir: Twenty Years: After “I Do”
‘In this personal accounting, D.G. Kaye shares the insights and wisdom she has accrued through twenty years of keeping her marriage strong and thriving despite the everyday changes and challenges of aging. Kaye reveals how a little creative planning, acceptance, and unconditional love can create a bond no obstacle will break. Kaye’s stories are informative, inspiring, and a testament to love eclipsing all when two people understand, respect, and honor their vows. She adds that a daily sprinkling of laughter is a staple in nourishing a healthy marriage.
Twenty years began with a promise. As Kaye recounts what transpired within that time, she shows that true love has no limits, even when one spouse ages ahead of the other.’
Debby’s beautiful book, inside and out (like the lady herself) is available here (Amazon’s universal link for all countries).
Next Tuesday 19 December, I’ll announce, with great excitement, the winner of my Murderous Musings Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest. And the Summerhouse gets to proudly display its first ever Flash Fiction Rodeo Badge!
And more huge excitement on the way with the imminent release of Carrot Ranch’s very first Flash Fiction Anthology! I’ll re-blog Charli’s announcement post when the news breaks and then Happy Christmas!
Despite my dismal attempts at visiting blogs, thank you again so much to those of you who still visit the Summerhouse, virtual or otherwise. Thank you for understanding my lack of visits. Much of what I want to achieve personally, on and offline, sits on the back burner for now; keeping up with any social media is pretty difficult, making me a rubbish online friend. But I do not want to disappear and I have great hope that things will start to ease soon. I am optimistic, if nothing else.
One more thing, in case you wondered: that little red tin on top of the books in my photograph? It’s a button tin. Because everyone needs a tin for their buttons…right?