I just found this on Facebook this morning. It’s a picture of my Grandmother Mary and my brothers and sister and I. My youngest brother, Eric (the one looking at me adoringly), appears to be less than a year old, which would make this summer, or possibly fall of 1979. Clothes were awesome back then, yeah? Anyway, it brought back to memory a gift my Grandma Mary gave me. It wasn’t anything more than a simple note. She wrote it two days before she met me and I didn’t receive it until two decades after she’d passed away. I still have the note of course, and it remains one of the best presents I’ve ever been given. Finding and reading it brought on a whole flood of emotion I wasn’t even halfway prepared to deal with at the time. After reading it, I sat down and wrote about it. This is what I wrote:
I was up at my parent’s place a couple weeks back, when my mom came into the room holding a small box saying, “Look what I just came across.” It was a box full of Baby Tim crap from when I’d first been adopted by she and my father. Out of curiosity, I took it home with me and, this morning, finally got around to taking a look at it.
The box is powder blue, with a picture of a stork carrying a baby, inlaid with gold foil. Over the baby that the stork is carrying, is a metal plate with “TIMOTHY” engraved on it. Underneath that, it says “Baby’s treasure chest.” Inside the box, are several different items. Among them are; a bonnet that barely covers my fist, booties that are literally no longer than my pinky, two silver diaper pins with my initials on them, and a small envelope. There’s a 6 cent stamp on the envelope with a picture of FDR on it. It’s addressed to Master Timothy Burton Hatch. Inside, is a note from my Grandma Mary, written on Norcross stationery with a picture of a simple rose and stem on the front. The handwriting is elegant and precise:
May 5, 1969
Your father just phoned me and told me the most wonderful news of all – that they are bringing you home tomorrow! Even though miles separate us, I know the joy that is in the hearts of your Mother and Father. They have waited so long for you, Timmie as we all have. I talked with your Grandfather Russ over last weekend and he is as happy as all of us are.
I do have an advantage with you Timmie as I know your daddy very well and your beautiful mother almost as well. I know how lucky and fortunate they feel in their hearts to have you and we all share in that beautiful feeling. Life is a series of choices and to be chosen Timmie, is a very special feeling.
I’ll be up bright and early Sunday morning to see you all. May God bless you, my first grandson!
All my love,
It really isn’t possible to explain everything that’s going on in my head right now, so rather than struggle with the words, I’ll leave it at this: I think it’s really cool that Grandma Mary wrote me this note two days before she’d ever seen me. And while I’m sure it was just a simple note in her mind, it’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. The gift being not the note itself, but the reminder that “to be chosen is a very special feeling.” Truer words are seldom spoken, and I couldn’t have been chosen by two finer people had I done the choosing myself.
My Grandma Mary passed away a little over twenty years ago, and her note is also a reminder of how much I loved her and how much I regret that I didn’t get to spend more time with her. I’d give anything to be able to thank her in person and tell her how much she meant to all of us. Thanks, Grandma.
Almost 7 years later, and I still can’t think of anything more appropriate to say than, “Thanks, Grandma.”