You’ve Got Mail

June 24, 2009

I love getting the mail – it’s like anticipating a little surprise every single day.

Many days, of course, it’s nothing but HEB flyers and coupons for Pizza Hut, but on occasion something lovely shows up and it keeps me anxious to keep checking the mail (wasn’t there a study about pigeons and random reward allotment?).

On Sunday, I went to get my Saturday mail and there were TWO delightful things there:

RA, of Definitely RA, had sent a card addressed to “Janssen, MS (Great Librarian Overlord).” How can you not love a card that says that? I now need to get bookplates or something that has that title on it. The card included a recipe for Sour Cream Cookies. She said she sent the recipe instead of actual cookies in deference to our two desserts a week limit, which I thought was very thoughtful. Oh, I just love the Internet.

And then, a small package from Bart’s dad. When he’d been here for graduation, he’d noticed the five green-spined books up on my mantle, all by Louisa May Alcott.

My mom told him about stopping at a used bookstore on her way to the grocery store one day when I was young and finding two of them and then searching the rest of the store until she found the entire set (six books) and buying them all with about half of the week’s grocery money.

Sadly, I had lost one of the books at, I believe violin camp, years ago, and the set had been incomplete ever since.

Unbenownst to me, Bart’s dad did some research to figure out which title I was missing (we’d thought it was Rose in Bloom), emailed Bart to double-check, and then found an identical copy. If that isn’t the nicest gift you’ve ever heard of, well, I probably won’t believe you.

And as if completing the long-incomplete set wasn’t enough, he sent me a guidebook to all the Laura Ingalls Wilder sites as they just went to visit a few of the sites in the midwest. My family are huge Wilder fans (in fact, my original hardback library editions of the entire series(purchased from our Wisconsin library for 25 cents each when I was six) sits on the otherside of the mantle from my Louisa May Alcott books), and I plan on seeing all of the sites sometime during my lifetime.

I’d planned on waiting to reread the books until my children are old enough to listen, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to wait. I just love those books so very very much.

It’s really the days like this that will have me checking the mail with great excitement for weeks to come.

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  • Reply Jenn June 24, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    I read the Wilder series at least once a year and have since my fourth-grade teacher read the entire series to our class throughout the year. I actually just finished reading them through again recently. My paperback's are looking very well-loved and for my birthday last year my mom and sister searched used books stores for a replacement paperback set.

    I visited the South Dakota sites when I was about twelve, but didn't fully appreciate the visit at the time and now want to go back. Since we're so close to her house in MO I have plans to visit sometime in the next year.

    Lovely gifts, both of them…

  • Reply Shelly June 24, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    They are both lovely gifts. Such thoughtful people.

    And the reward thing you mentioned is called "intermittent reinforcement" and it is the hardest contingency to break. (Psychology minor FTW!)

  • Reply RA June 24, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    I hope you like the cookies as much as I do! They are my favorite to bake (super easy) and eat (deceptively yummy). A little dipping in chocolate never hurt anything, either. 🙂

    Those gifts from your FIL are great! My MIL takes charge of all gift-giving; I'd be shocked if my FIL ever knew what any of us were getting.

  • Reply Lisa June 24, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    That is the best gift ever, I agree. (Even if I didn't love Little Women when I reread it as an adult, sorry!)

    If you ever do make it to the South Dakota Wilder site let me know! Nobody EVER visits South Dakota.

  • Reply Elizabeth June 24, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    That is such a lovely thoughtful present.
    I want to come on your Laura tour!
    I have my original books too. But I am nervous to read them out loud to my kids because they make me cry. When Mr. Edwards brings the Christmas presents from Santa? BAWLING.

  • Reply Heather June 24, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Dee-lightful. I love thoughtful friends.

  • Reply Lexilooo June 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    that sounds like a very good mail day! as you know, I too, love getting mail, along with sending it randomly. brightening peoples mailboxes is a very good thing!

  • Reply Lexilooo June 24, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    ps. steve grew up in iowa and one summer, his family drove to south dakota to see the wilder sites there. when his mother told me this, I was so jealous, I've always wanted to go! I also want to go to prince edward island to see green gables and anne's other haunts 🙂

  • Reply Emily June 24, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    That's the sweetest gift I've ever heard of! I, too, am a huge Wilder/Alcott fan so I'm loving that story! What a thoughtful FIL.

  • Reply Terri B. June 24, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    I love my set of Laura Ingalls Wilder books too and look forward to another re-read soon. I've got a cookbook that I think came out in the 80s that uses the Garth Williams (did I get that name correct?) illustrations and provides recipes for the food mentioned in the books. So fun. Wouldn't that be wonderful to visit all of the sites? Hope you get to do that someday!

  • Reply Angiegirl June 24, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    Incredibly thoughtful. I love it! And I love ROSE IN BLOOM. Such a sweet story.

  • Reply Kelly J. June 24, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    Interestingly, there is supposed to be a bit of cool Laura Ingalls Wilder stuff at the Hoover Library (yes, the presidential library) in Iowa. Funnier than that tidbit is that that's also in the top 5 requested collections of that presidential library 😉

  • Reply Nina G June 25, 2009 at 4:04 am

    I got a little misty when you told me of this wonderful book gift. Don't you just love G? (And K, of course!!). Another evidence that you were meant to marry Bart –which, I remind you, I knew from the second I met him.

  • Reply Science Teacher Mommy June 25, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    I do love HEB. I also love the Little House books; my kiddos and are are currently starting Farmer Boy.

    And yes, your FIL sounds like the nicest person ever. This bodes well for your husband of the future as well.

  • Reply Megan June 25, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Dear Janssen,
    You've Got Mail. There is a letter waiting for you on my blog. Please read it.

  • Reply Katie Rich June 25, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    Those are sweet surprises!

    PS – spell check corrects me every time I spell surprise. I think the first "r" should be taken out.

  • Reply Sherry June 26, 2009 at 4:01 am

    I would love to read the Wilder books again. I haven't read them since I was like 12. Did you know there is quite a bit of controversy over whether or not Laura actually wrote the books? I read it on Wikipedia.

  • Reply La Petite Chic June 30, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    That is such a lovely gift from Bart's dad! My mother-in-law keeps an ancient collection of the Wilder series in the bedroom we sleep in when we visit and I enjoy reading through the collection before I go to sleep.

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