Sunday, August 14, 2016

A Special Annotated Gift

A few weeks ago (June 20) I introduced Hannah Brencher's book, If You Find This Letter. I liked Hannah's idea of writing letters to strangers; I wrote a stack of my own to leave for others in various places around town.

Having enjoyed Hannah's book so much, I bought two copies, one for each of my daughters. The book brought up memories reminding me of Sarah and Anna. Hannah mentions her mother's habit of writer her letters at college - I did the same and continue to write to each one frequently as both live far away.

I read one book through the lens of Sarah's life experiences and the other through Anna's. Throughout the book, whenever I found descriptions that linked our lives to Hannah's, I wrote a note or underlined the sentence or paragraph.

For example, on page eight, Hannah describes the lunch her mother made and gave her shortly before the train left to take her to her first job in New York City. "Without unfolding the square mess of silver (aluminum foil), I knew it was two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Four slices of whole wheat bread." In Sarah's book, in the margin next to that passage, I commented, "Remember your elementary school lunches - peanut butter and jelly every day on crumbly homemade bread."

Page 142 brought to mind Hannah's favorite coffee shop. "The Blend was a little coffee shop Libby and I had discovered as we made our way toward Arthur Avenue one morning." This sentence merited a pencil drawing of a coffee cup as well as underlining, since both girls enjoy coffee shops and relish their coffee each morning.

I saw so many connections between Hannah's life and my daughters'. I couldn't resist purchasing two copies of the book, underlining, drawing little pictures with my pencil and adding my own comments.

My oldest daughter, Sarah, celebrates her birthday this month. One of her gifts was my annotated copy of If You Find This Letter, along with ten notecards I embroidered in case she decides to write a few notes to others.

Our family tradition on birthdays is to give the non-birthday celebrant a "sibling box" of small remembrances. This year, Anna will receive her annotated version of the book along with ten notecards.

My prayer is that these two sweet daughters will spread words of affirmation and encouragement in Colorado and Oregon, here and there, at some of the places they like to visit.

Prayer: Thank you, God, for words from others that awaken memories and make connections in joyful and surprising ways. I am so grateful for the wonderful gifts of my daughters and the fun we have together. Bless the writing in the book that enlivened my memory; bless my annotations that will fill their hearts with joy. Our lives are always in your hands. Amen.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely brilliant. I've never ever thought of personalizing annotation for a friend or family member, but this is the sweetest, neatest idea EVER. Love it!