I returned from my granddaughter's graduation from William and Mary with a Mother's Day carnation, a gift from the restaurant where we celebrated. It was evening when I returned home and I went straight to my china closet to select a vase.
A slender porcelain vase caught my eye. It had been my mother's and I was glad to notice it on this second Mother's Day without her.
Kathleen and Jean Ferrick with the tiny Dutch shoe.
I ran some water in the vase, trimmed the flower's long stem and put it in. It stopped half way. Puzzled, I removed the carnation and peered into the vase. A wad of paper sat on the bottom. I poured out the water and paper wad into the sink and was surprised to hear a kerplunk! Surely the paper wasn't heavy enough to make a sound. I picked it up and squeezed out some water, wondering.
My mother was famous for forever making notes on whatever paper was handy. Small note-sized pieces, even scraps, would have memos about what time her brother arrived to play Scrabble, what their respective scores were, what time he left. My mother should have been a reporter - no factual detail was too minute to escape her pen.
I wondered what I might read on the wadded up paper. Knowing she never kept what I would consider a diary, with feelings about life or even happenings, I wasn't excited about what I might see, just curious. That was about to change.
Puzzled, I removed the
carnation and peered into the vase. A small wad of paper sat at the bottom.
In the center of layers of napkins, it turned out, was a tiny shoe. Not just any tiny shoe but a tiny, green, ceramic Dutch shoe with a history.
I was perhaps five years old when my father took me to Newberry's Five and Dime and watched me walk down a wide stairway ending in front of a wall of knickknacks. It was there that I found that tiny Dutch shoe for my Mum. It was the first present I remember giving her. Over the years I would see it move with her and always be displayed. I gave her another, much larger Dutch shoe in later years, just for fun. Eventually, I gave her a small gold shoe that she wore on a necklace.
My sister and I had packed up her belongings that we would keep and I brought home a box with small items that sat in my garage until I felt ready to see them again. Earlier this spring I unpacked the box and placed the vase in the china closet.
Finding it made my Mother's Day complete in a whole new way. It was the first time I ever received a gift from my mother on Mother's Day. And that's exactly what I believe happened.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.
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