Little notes

Every couple of months, I get an unsolicited, unexpected envelope in the mail.

Usually a large manila envelope. My name handwritten in what can only be described as ‘zany’ scrawl.

Inside: scraps of paper. Few words. Rarely a letter. Sometimes a post-it note.

These envelopes have arrived once or twice a year, every year for almost a decade.

Before then, their contents made their way to my bedroom door. My lunchbox.

They come from my father and its something he’s done for as long as I remember.

At first, it was cartoons. Cartoons my dad drew just for me and snuck into my blue and green lunchbox with “Jacqueline” embroidered on top. Mostly, they were my favourite Disney characters. My sister always asked him to draw princesses so I think they were a welcome reprieve from frilly dresses and tiaras.  Piglet, Pooh and Tigger made repeat performances. In my young mind my dad was an ARTIST, but he insisted he was “rusty” and not very good.

As I got older I graduated to “REAL” cartoons. Dad would snip worthy Bizarro and Far Side cartoons from the 3 papers-a-day he would read. The best of THOSE began to paper my bedroom door. By the time I left for university, we had run out of space… but the tradition continued.

And the manila envelopes began.

In university, I pasted the comics to my dorm door. And as I became a “real” writer, he sent fewer and fewer comic strips, and more and more articles. Some of them great writing, some of them sentimental stories. I remember one about a guinea pig,  I remember his Christie Blatchford phase. He would collect them, store them god knows where, and a couple times a year, they’d show up in my mailbox.

I still have them. Almost all of them. As a kid, I didn’t realize that I would want to have a collection of home-drawn Piglets and Tiggers — I’m sure some are in a box downstairs in the basement (hell, if I had the presence of mind to pick a crab apple off a tree in the front lawn of our house as a momento the day we moved out, I’m sure I kept at least one). The comic door in my parents house has since been repainted, but I was assured the comics themselves were saved.

The envelopes, those I have. Those I unearth when I unpack the boxes I keep packing and upacking every couple months/years when I move. And while I always loved the little surprises in my lunchbox and in the mail, I’m only starting to understand why he sends them.

It’s a way of keeping in touch, a simply way of saying “thinking of you” — but it’s more than that.

A blurb about a cheese farm in Kelowna means I miss you and want to come visit again soon.

A piece about a gaggle of female cousins who reunite from across the country every year is a gentle reminder about the value of extended family, something I’m guilty of forgetting.

And an article about a man’s foray back into community theatre says I’m proud of you and I’m glad you’re back doing something you’re good at and deeply love.

 

I love this tradition so much, and drink in every word of every article and every comic chosen just for me.

And as I sorted through today’s manila envelope, I couldn’t help but think: maybe it’s time I start another comic door.

 

 

 

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10 Responses to “Little notes”

  1. Dave Says:

    You have a pretty awesome dad Jackie, but I think you already know that.
    Great post.

  2. Edith MacDonald Says:

    Jackie:

    What a beautiful tradition for you from your dad. Believe the message he gives – you are as special as he says.

    Edith

  3. Faye Says:

    The blue and green lunchbox with your name on it came of course from your grandmother………..I totally forgot about it. What a nice article Jackie. It is so touching!!

  4. Megan Says:

    Very sweet.

  5. Shanlee Says:

    What a nice tradition. Brought tears to my eyes. Nicely written.

  6. Renea Says:

    Aw, that’s so cool. My mom sends me little things too & covers the outside of the envelope in stickers. I have kept them as well.

  7. Percy Says:

    I have a collection of letters and envelopes of the very FEW letters and things that your uncles and father has sent me over the years we well. Precious memories !

    Lov Ya, Percy

  8. Edith MacDonald Says:

    Merry Christmas to you Jackie! I hope you and Sully enjoy the holidays.

  9. Megan Says:

    Merry Christmas, Jackie!

  10. nAN Says:

    Been receiving all those nice and interesting notes from you as well as the messages from your Dad.
    Memories :
    While looking for an item which you could not find,Looking everywhere. “Nana I cannot find it. Really , Nana I CANNOT FIND IT.” OF COURSE ,Nana found it in a few seconds.
    ‘yOU ALSO THOUGHT IT was a big deal if you could have your pictuire taken with a PACK OF CIGARETTES.” At least you never smoked,at least not to my knowledge.
    When driving in a car with Danielle, your mom, Grampie and I . Grampie used to get very upset if Danielle was crying,so much so that he would leave the car and start walking. You would say,’Grampie ,please get back inthe car. We love you.’ hE WOULD GET BACK IN THE CAR.’ There were many more instances but those were a few that I have remembered. You always seemed to see the other side of things.
    Thinking about you and loving you. Nana and grampie

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