Joy Jam and Gifts

I didn’t get to respond to yesterday’s National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) writing prompt yet, or today’s, so I’ll start there.

“What was the first tangible gift you remember receiving?”

I had to think really hard about this, but I believe it was my Mrs. Beasley doll. The Mattel Company created the Mrs. Beasley doll in 1967, so we were “born” the same year. She was Buffy’s favorite doll on the late 60s TV sitcom Family Affair, and I wanted to be Buffy, imagined I was. Mrs. Beasley wasn’t a baby doll, but rather this strange grandmotherly figure, which seems an odd thing for a little girl to want to play with. Buffy’s doll on the show didn’t talk, (in the sixties, talking dolls were not that common—this was long before Barney the purple dinosaur or Tickle Me Elmo), but mine had a string on the back you could pull and she’d say things like:

  • “Do you want to hear a secret? I know one.”
  • “I do think you’re the nicest little friend I ever had.”
  • “If you could have three wishes, what would you wish for?”
  • “If you were a little smaller, I could rock you to sleep.”
  • “Long ago I was a little girl just like you!”
  • “Speak a little louder, dear, so Mrs. Beasley can hear you.”
  • “Would you like to try on my glasses? You may if you wish.”

Honestly, she was the ugliest little thing: black square framed glasses, gold sock-shoes that covered up oddly large ball-shaped feet, a blue dress/pantsuit thing with white polka dots and gold trim, and bad hair.  And yet, she was so cheerful, had such a happy expression, and I took her with me everywhere I went.  My first official act as a “big girl,” after answering my mom’s very serious “are you sure about this?” many times, was to sell her at a garage sale.  I cried myself to sleep that night.

What was the most disappointing gift you received as a child?

My answer to this prompt isn’t about one single gift, but rather a practice of giving. My dad grew up poor and my mom was from a farm family of twelve kids, and we didn’t have a ton of money either, so my parents were very frugal–and rightly so. I learned a lot from them about simplicity and minimalism that I am so grateful for now, but as a kid, being so careful didn’t seem quite as joyful.

Sometimes in the fall, during the back to school season when all the winter coats would go on sale for 50% off, my mom would take us in to pick out a coat.  However, we didn’t get to keep it just yet.  She packed it away to save for Christmas.  The sense of anticipation on Christmas morning when you opened that package was disappointed by the recognition of the item you helped pick out and already knew about.  It wasn’t that I didn’t appreciate the gift, it was just that I missed the surprise.

Joy Jam: What were the 3-5 things that gave you joy this week?

This prompt comes every Friday from Louise Gale and her new project, “your heART makes a difference,” and the stated purpose is to “radiate the energy of gratitude, thankfulness and celebration of everything that gave us joy this week. Together we will help send positive energy out into the world.” You should join us! The trouble I always have with this prompt is there are more than 3-5 things, so I have to save a few to add to my Monday “Something Good” post.

1. Shopping for “my” Pine Ridge kids. I wrote about the Pine Ridge Holiday Gift Project the other day, and a few days after that in my Monday “Something Good” post.  I magically got assigned the same two kids this year, a five year old girl and a 10 year old boy. I typically don’t really like shopping, but love giving gifts, and buying for these two, now for the second year in a row, makes my heart so full.  A football, flashlights, mittens, hats, socks, soft cuddle blankets, a memory game, silly putty, coloring books, and crayons. I hope these material things can somehow carry all the love I feel for them, somehow communicate all the good I wish for them, these kids I have never met.

2. Walking the dogs Thursday morning with Eric in the snow. Typically, Eric and I don’t walk the dogs together in the morning during the week, but this Thursday, Eric came with us on “my” day. There hasn’t been enough snow yet this year for me to be tired of it, and I miss Eric during the week because we work and don’t seem to get to see each other much, and we had the park all to ourselves.  It felt like we were on vacation.

3. Conferencing with my students. Considering I did this for eight hours straight on Tuesday and didn’t leave campus until 8 pm, you’d think I’d complain, but I have such good students this semester! They make me laugh, make me feel useful when I can help them or make them feel better, have such great and interesting ideas, and like we all do, generate so much unnecessary suffering for themselves. I wish the best for them. Maybe they will save the world.

4. A new pack of metallic markers in fabulous colors. I can’t wait to use these.

5. Rediscovering my knee length sweater. It is so warm and soft, and a bit more stylish than my purple fleece bathrobe.  I can feel like I am lounging, but still look like I am dressed.

  • Wishing you gifts and so much joy!

1 thought on “Joy Jam and Gifts

  1. Leslie

    Oh I am soooo jealous!! I have wanted a Mrs. Beasley doll my entire life!! I was born in 1966 and loved A Family Affair. I never did get my doll.

    I am stopping by from Joy Jam!!


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