I was reading Stacking Pennies’ latest post when I remembered something that happened to me a few months back, and some childhood memories that went along with it….

When my cousins and I were younger, my grandparents used to come to the states and with them bring us presents. Traveling with gifts was a hassle, so more often than not they’d opt to just give us envelopes with money. Before you get too excited, it was often silly little amounts…$2, $5, $10 if we were really lucky we might get a $20 (it probably had to be your birthday though). Back then it was all about the money. (I was between 5 and 10 years old?) No amount was too little, and we all knew we had the coolest grandparents ever!

A few months back though my mom and I were doing a thorough cleaning of her files and junk (she, like me, is an avid pack rat collector) when she found something with my name on it. It was a small, simple white envelope with my name on the front. Written in my grandfather’s neat, blocked lettering. It was empty, but on the inside of the flap he had written: “a little something for my special granddaughter”. I didn’t remember the envelope at all, but then my mother reminded me of the little “gifts” they used to bring us when they visited. In the hurry to see how much money we’d each gotten the envelope had been forgotten.

My grandfather died 6 months ago. Finding that envelope brought up a lot of different thoughts and memories…how much he loved his grandchildren and was always thinking about us, how recently he passed away, the years that he spent in bed unable to recognize us, the fact that very few things remain with his handwriting since it had been years since he’d been able to write.  It sounds silly, but I immediately took note of the engineering block writing he had used to write the note. It just so happens that I studied the same kind of engineering he did (without knowing until my second year in school). It makes me a little sad that he never knew that his own granddaughter was an engineer like him.

Anyway, I found it interesting how a simple envelope could elicit all those thoughts….an envelope that I had thrown aside as a 7 year old confronted with a $5 bill. I’m so glad my mom kept it all those years.