Posted by: Lori Schmidt Lutze | August 23, 2009

The Gift of Joyceland Josie

We’re feeling very italics today . . . so here goes:
Yesterday we were surprised and delighted to go to the mailbox and see a letter.  Yes, inside our mailbox was a small little gift called ‘the handwritten letter’.  You don’t see much of that anymore.  It made us jump up and down in the cul-de-sac and scream a little while standing there in our jammies.  The letter was from our Joyceland friend, Josie in St. Paul, who understands that a little something in the mailbox (besides bills and wasted paper) can do lots for a girl.  It came with a gorgeous card
(http://www.curlygirldesign.com/) . . .

Tiara Magnet | Curly Girl, Magnets, Leigh Standley, I'm Fairly Certain That Given A Cape And A Tiara | Catching Fireflies - photo 

. . . that mentioned capes, tiaras, and saving the world.  So important in these trying times!  What would we do without our capes and tiaras in Joyceland?  And it included several articles cut from the newspaper.  Remember the newspaper?  Yeah, that paper thing everyone used to read in the morning and dirty their hands with while drinking a cup of coffee.  One of the articles Josie included was from The New York Times and it told the story of a man trying to cope with being a single father after his young wife passed away unexpectedly.  It got us all verklempt and we shed a few Joyceland tears for him. 

And inside the card, Josie shared a whimsical story she’d heard while attending a recent wedding.  In the father of the bride’s toast, he spoke of his two daughters–Jane, older; Susie, younger.  He explained, “When Susie arrived home from the hospital, Jane loved her dearly.  Two months later Jane still loved her but asked, ‘How long is she staying?’  Well, she stayed 24 years and tonight she’s leaving.”  Awww . . . in Joyceland we are real suckers for stories celebrating the human spirit.  And we’re suckers for stories about big sisters who want to give away the new baby in the house.  And for anything about Princess Diana and the Kennedys.  Oh, and People magazine.  Yes, we’re suckers for all that and a little more.

Josie has never married or been a mom and she’s now a retired teacher who is seventy something.  She’s always been fond of frequenting the deli counter.  You buy a little of this and a little of that and–there you have it–dinner!  She was a master educator and so admired by her peers.  And yet, when she taught down the hall from us when we were brand new and nervous young teachers, Josie would toss us a few secrets from Joyceland every now and then.  One day when we were especially overwhelmed at final exam time she said very nonchalantly, “I’ve always felt that a good teacher knows how to use the wastebasket.”  That little tip, so very Joyce, helped us out in our most desperate moments.

Last year Josie fell and broke a bone in her foot.  So where did she recuperate and rehab?  Well, certainly not at home!  Hello–she stayed at a nearby hotel!  Room service, no stairs to climb, new friends to meet in the lobby, and maid service for the sheets.  We said ‘Welcome Home, Joyce!’ to that one and cheered Josie on! 

So, we’ll treasure our gift of this handwritten letter ALL WEEK.  We’ll touch it frequently and re-read it a lot.  We may even put it back in the mailbox a few times so we can run out and be surprised over and over again.  Do you need a little Joyce for the Spirit this week?  Put pen to paper and send someone a handwritten card or letter.  They will adore you for it.  And true Joycers adore being adored. 

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