Letters from Grandma

Feb 21

The other day I read of a woman lamenting in this time of troubled economy that she hadn’t given a Christmas gift in five years.  This was a hard thing for her.

Some of us easily relate.  Feeling the squeeze twice that many years ago, I walked through my home wondering what I had to give my grandchildren for their birthdays.  I realized it was time to pass on the “family treasures”.  The first was the most personally demeaning, a 25-piece jig saw puzzle with a piece missing that had belonged to the child’s aunt she never knew.  The shame I felt was terrible at giving such a miserable gift.  Harriet loved the puzzle.   A missing piece and a shabby box wasn’t important to her.  These many years later we still love putting puzzles together and I feel no shame.

I felt similarly when I gave 100-year old necklaces with broken clasps to daughters-in-law.  To me they had been treasures inherited from my grandmother.  I could only hope that these apparently paltry gifts would be recognized for their sentimental value as well as the beauty of the jet and amethyst beads.  One may never know, but at times we simply give what we have with love as the widow gave her mite and it was received abundantly.


Recently I heard Elder William R. Walker, share parts of a letter from his grandma that influenced his life.  In the letter he has kept for 50 years she expressed her confidence in him and this inspiring message, “I pray for you two or three times a day.”  Numerous times over the years he has recalled her interest in him that she would pray for him so often.  Her letter continues to touch his heart.


This was timely for me as I have wondered about the value of the cards with their notes I have sent the past couple of years when I ran out of treasures.  They sometimes seems very insignificant.  They are not the crafty-cards some talented grandmothers make.  At first they were cards made online with photos and a brief story of an ancestor that was timely in the child’s life and reminiscences we had shared together.  Then to cut costs they became photo letters mounted on card stock.  They are letters of remembrances of them the previous year looking forward to their next, always admiring and always appreciating, celebrating the milestones of their lives.

Mine had been a choice of economy prompted by remembrance of  a  friend’s letter to her granddaughter years ago. My friend felt impressed that a letter she had written to her grandchild would be meaningful in that child’s life at some time in the future.  Elder Walker’s experience is evidence of the influence of a grandparent’s letter.


It has been encouraging to notice a card from a couple of years earlier sitting on my teenaged grandson’s desk.  There was also the large piece of coral of the grandfather he’d never known from an earlier birthday. Perhaps my grandchildren like Marjorie Pay Hinckley’s children will say, “Of all of the tangible things that Mother left behind when she passed…we treasure few things more than we treasure her letters,”  “Letters”, by Marjorie Pay Hinckley.


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