Monday, August 6, 2012

The Kindness of Strangers


American soil firmly under foot, Neighborhood With the Hills our new home, the White Behemoth shared transportation for two, a mother ready to spread her wings. My father thought it a foolish waste of money for my mother to form a group of like minded women who wished to sell the art they had created. Highway driving every evening to Iverson Mall, hours spent hoping for any sale at all.


My mother was a gifted painter and a prolific one as well. Every painting she took to display easily sold, the money in her wallet increasing. The month's end would be a day of reckoning with a husband who needed convincing.


The last day of the month only days away, highway driving home interrupted by the sight of a young man standing alongside a station wagon that had gone it's last mile. My mother pulled over and rolled down her window. The man asked, "Can I walk to the nearest service station from here?" My mother noticed his young wife, an infant in her arms, in the front seat. "All of you get in, I'll take you there myself."


Interior warmth welcomed by the trio, a further explanation given. "We sold all of our belongings to buy this car to travel to Florida for a job interview. I'm afraid we won't make it now, the interview is in two days."


Instead of taking the young couple to the service station, she took them to a Used Car Lot where she retrieved the earnings from her sold paintings and purchased the couple a car to continue their journey. The grateful man promised to repay her kindness, her address tucked into his wallet now filled with money to continue the trip.


When my mother passed away, the remaining members of her art group gathered for a memorial luncheon hosted by my brother and myself. My brother rose from his seat to share a letter that had come in the mail from Florida. The letter recounted a story we had never heard. "I am now the head of the company I interviewed for so long ago. My wife and family have flourished all these many years. Your mother kept in touch with us, and we are so sad to hear of her passing. We have never forgotten her kindness."


A package came in the mail for me today, without a return address. A waterfall of vintage handkerchiefs opened themselves across my craft desk, "Dear Elizabeth, You don't know me, but I feel as though you are a friend. I get so much enjoyment from your blog, I wanted to give a little back. Your little corner of the internet is a wonderful place to visit."

I thought of my mother as I hung these wonderful treasures above my craft room closet. We often would ask my mother why she was such a generous person. She would tell us that joy felt when receiving a gift is exactly the same as the joy felt when giving one.  Today is a joyful day. Thank you Daisy!

41 comments:

Sandy said...

E,
These kinds of stories give me hope for mankind.....your Mom was really special in this way, even then a lot of people would have driven on by....I love the hankies! Too cute! Just your style too! :)

GARAGE SALE GAL said...

Paying it forward ~ doing unto others are you would do unto them ~
What goes around comes around ~
blessings from God!
Awesome story and gifts from the heart! Love our blogging community!
Warmly,
deb

Kristen said...

You made me tear up....thank you for sharing such a wonderful story...my mother has done the same thing your mother did so many times over. I hope someday I can help others as our mothers have done. :)

My Vintage Mending said...

Oh how I have missed your sweet stories. May I just say, how beautiful your "hometown" was. Just made it home this evening and am ready for a wonderful nights sleep in my bed....your bounty is beautiful...smiles...Renee

Terra said...

How kind your mom was to help the young couple in a very generous way, and you received a sweet surprise gift. There are many good people, aren't there?

Tammy's in Love said...

What a great story of self sacrifice and generosity! No wonder you share so much of yourself, you learned from your Mom; she would be so proud! What a hankie haul! Your colors and Scotties! Good heavens!

Terri said...

Beautiful post!
Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story about your mother. I love hearing good new. We need to share more of all the good that goes on in the world every day by incredible people like your dear mum.
The gifts you received in the mail are gorgeous! The hankies are amazing. What a kindness : )
Hugs,
Terri

laurie -magpie ethel said...

What a wonderful thing your mother day. What goes around comes around in life. Love the hankies...

laurie -magpie ethel said...

oops. mother did.

vivian said...

Elizabeth, what a great story! YOur mom was obviously a wonderful person, and you take after her in many ways!
xoxo
vivian

Shean said...

Thank you for sharing such an uplifting story, as I sit here reading your story about your mother spirit it made me think of my own mother. What happy thoughts I will have as I go to sleep tonight. Many blessing to you.

Diane Mars said...

Oh yes I have the same comfort in the memories of days gone with my mom she is still with us but much older and it is very hard to see the changes in life. But to also remember all the beautiful things we were taught from our Mothers growing up. Wow it looks like you have a Fan out there in Blogland! Hugs & Kisses, Diane

Erica of Golden Egg Vintage said...

I loved every little bit of your post Elizabeth. What a sweetie your mom was. The hankies are darling, but the real gift was in their message to you...keep it up!
Erica :)

vintage grey said...

Beautiful story and what an amazing mom! I adore those sweet hankies!! xo Heather

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

What a beautifully touching story, Elizabeth. A wonderful thing for your mother to do and so lovely that the family never forgot her kindness. Obviously you learned the gift of giving from your mom. And in return you shall receive. Enjoy those beautiful gifts. Best wishes, Tammy

Dorothy Prudie Vintage said...

Wonderful story...enjoyed reading it. The goodies received are a testament to the joy you bring others. Thank you.

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Such a great story to go along with this post today, Elizabeth! The hankies are just lovely and are a lovely gift. Your Mother sounds like she was a very caring and generous woman.

Pieceful Bits said...

Ooooh...this story gave me goosies (goosebumps). The apple does not fall far from the tree <3
(~~)
Julie

Holly- Cutie Pie Cottage said...

Oh my! This story gave me goose bumbs! I like to have goose bumbs at least once a day so thank you for sharing. ;)

Holly- Cutie Pie Cottage said...

Oh I see I'm not the only one with goosebumbs! :)

Lynn said...

Those stories brought tears to my eyes. You never know what will happen when you take the time to reach out to someone you needs a little help at the moment. What a wonderful and generous person your Mother was! I know now where you got you kind heart and the way you encourage others when you don't realize it yourself.
Have a wonderful day!
Hugs,
Lynn from Life on the Wienee Ranch blog

Nancy D said...

What a great story! The thing that caught my eye though was the mention of Iverson Mall. I grew up in that area and remember when it was built. It was a nice place to grow up in the 60's and 70's.

LBP said...

What a wonderful story! As my Grandma used to say "What goes around, comes around". I can see where you get your generosity gene from! The hankies are adorable! There are such sweet ladies in the blogging world.

Blessings

Linda

RetroSandie said...

What a wonderful story, E!! Your mother sounds like she had a heart of gold!

chris mckinley said...

WHat a great story!!! It sounds like your mom was an amazing person. Isn't it funmy the things we don't know about our folks until they pass...a friend from high school came to my dad's funeral..we were friends, not close friends...I thought it a nice gesture I hadn't seen in him in 20 years. He said do you remember the summer I painted your house? It didn't need it but I needed a job and your dad paid me to paint it. I just had to pay my respects to a kind man, who helped me out when I needed it.
You have so many of your mothers qualities...Lucky you Elizabeth!!

chris

Joanne said...

Goodness, I can never find a tissue when I need one. This is such a beautiful story! Your Mom was an amazing woman who I am sure touched so many peoples hearts!
Thanks you for bringing a bit of sunshine into my day...Loved this!
Blessings, Joanne

Shirley Hatfield said...

Kindness is in such short supply these days. I am so touched by this story. We never know how our actions can affect the lives of others. Your mother's kindness changed the life of that little family. What a blessing to have known such a lovely soul. I pray often to be the kind of person that makes another's life easier. I have to remind myself daily not to be the unkind person that makes the grocery clerk's day harder. I try to be patient when standing in a long, hot line at Disneyland...so I will not be the biddy who spoiled a child's happy excitement. It's so hard! Thank you for inspiring me to try harder.

Pink Roses and Teacups said...

What a wonderful story, and such a nice package of vintage hankies!!

Debbie

ImagiMeri said...

How wonderful a story, and how blessed you must feel with the bountiful gift.

Love ya'
Meri

Debby said...

Your mother was a special person. Unbelievable what she did for this family. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree as they say.

kimber said...

You, like your mother share gifts beyond words! Thank you so much for sharing and for being you!

Judy said...

What a beautiful story.
Thank you for blogging again.
You are such an inspiration, and every bit as generous as your dear mother.

Sandy said...

Incredible woman your mother! Thank you for sharing her wonderful brand of kindness.

Sandy Michelle said...

That is so sweet of her to do that! I just posted what I did with my hankies-on my blog. Anyway, I just got an e-mail from Vivian saying that we are witch hat swap partners and I am so excited! Will send an e-mail soon.

Sandy xox

craftyles said...

Your mother sounded like a giving and wonderful person. What a beautiful story. The hankies are so pretty, I know you'll do something wonderful with that thoughtful gift!

~Damita's Pretty Wrap~ said...

Lovely story and your mom :) Love those pretty hankies!! Happy Wednesday! xo Holly

Celestial Charms said...

What a endearing kindness your mother beheld. You definitely have inherited that lovely trait, as you touch the hearts of many. The story here of your mom has stirred the memories of my own mother's saintly qualities. I often think as daughters of such "larger than life" moms, we sometimes don't ever think we can "measure up" to their abilities and personalities...but I'm sure they would think so very highly of us today!
Your surprise package was a delightful gift, from a wonderful soul.
Maureen

Ina said...

Wow, what a generous woman! I love hearing these things. It reminds me that there is good in the world just waiting to be shared.

Lorraine said...

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful memory. How fortunate you are to have had such a caring family. And the hankies are simply charming.

marie said...

Beautiful hankies for a beautiful lady!
Thanks for sharing the story about your mother...what a lovely woman she was.

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