Sunday, February 22, 2009

One Dollar

When I was growing up I used to get a card from my Aunt Luella every single year for my birthday. The card always had a scripture verse somewhere on it and she always wrote a paragraph or two about who called the other day, where she had just gotten back from (she was always visiting someone it seemed) or who stopped by. And, up until I was 18 years old, there was always a one dollar bill in the card.

It was funny, to get a dollar. I think it was because a dollar (even in the 70's and 80's) just didn't buy a whole bunch. Certainly not a Barbie doll or anything, but I did look forward to card from Aunt Luella.

When I turned 18 I got a card and there wasn't a dollar. I was surprised that I missed it. I was very aware that I was all of a sudden an adult. I didn't just get money in the mail anymore. WOW

What I didn't know was that my Aunt sent out thousands of birthday cards. Literally thousands. She sent them to friends, family, people in the church and people she met in her travels. If you were under 18, you got a dollar bill in your card. She died unexpectedly and when we went to her home after the funeral, there, sitting next to her chair was a box of cards. Several dozen of those cards were already addressed and stamped. Just waiting for the right time to mail out.

I honestly can't remember if my sisters card was in the stack at the house or if it had gotten mailed just before Aunt Luella died, but Alison received a card in the mail after the funeral. I guess maybe I should have asked these questions before I wrote this post, but I also can't remember if there was a dollar bill in the card or not. I can't remember how old Alison was that day.

My Aunt Luella, as far as I know, didn't have a lot of money. But she gave more than any person I have ever met. She sent cookies to soldiers - thousands upon thousands of cookies. She sent out thousands of dollars each year in the form of dollar bills. She welcomed people into her home, she made afghans for the church, friends and family. I got one as a gift when I graduated from High School. I remember her asking what my school colors were a few months earlier. She organized functions like she was born into it. I remember going to the small town community center for our family reunions so many times - I once told my mother that I thought the town had the center built because Luella just didn't have a big enough back yard.

The picture above is of my great grandparents and their children. My grandfather is the far right smiling boy with his hands behind his back (3rd youngest) and my Aunt Luella is the woman in the back row with the print dress. You can click on the picture to see a larger version.

Hope you had a lovely weekend!


Ruth Ann said...

Great great post! I sent you an
e-mail, because I didn't want to fill up your page with my comment! lol
But it really touched home!

judith/mom said...

Great post and true story. People in the photo:
Back row: Arthur, Marie, Oscar, Luella and Basil

Front Row: Anderson Campbell Henry, Harold, Robert, Ida Luella Hath Henry, LeRoy (my dad & Kres' grammpa)

Terri said...

what a great commemoration of your aunt!

"J" said...

What a GREAT post!!!! I just love family history and how it means soooooo much more to us today!!!!

Your Grandpa was a CUTE little boy!!!!

What a SWEET Aunt you had!!!!!


Kirby3131 said...

Thanks Mom! (I had asked her for some help in the names - I was missing someone in the photo)

Thanks Ruth Ann, Terri and J. :)

Laurie said...

That is so neat and another great story! My husband's uncle still to this day sends $2 bills in all of his birthday cards... even to the adult nieces and nephews. Maybe it's a generational thing?

amyeile said...

Jody and I still talk about our cards with dollars, too. I can't wait to see her again in heaven. I bet she and Grandpa and Grandma, Aunt Marie and others are having a ball.


Alison said...

and don't forget...I named my daughter, Zora Luella, after our aunt. Plus, what is fun is that my husband's grandmother's name is also Luella. What a strange coincidence.