Baby Steps, er, Cards

I love history, no surprise since I write historical westerns. But it’s weird to think I am a part of history, too. Let me explain. A few years ago, I helped clean out my mom’s old house when she moved into a retirement apartment. I came across virtual treasures–my great-great-grandfather’s discharge papers from the Union Army as part of Sherman’s Atlanta campaign. Pictures of my great-uncle who had been killed in European combat during the First World War. Ration coupons from the Second. Athletic awards from too many ancestors to count. (I did not inherit the athlete gene, sadly.) Every scrap, every knick-knack, every tintype told some sort of story.

Then I came across a tiny box full of teeny cards. From my baby shower and birth in the days dinosaurs roamed the earth. These precious little bits of my history are too adorable not to share. One card came in a wee envelope wearing a THREE-cent stamp. In those days, a woman signed “Mrs. George Jones”, not Mrs. Ann Jones. Or apparently, not even Ann Jones. Since the size of these cards is so preposterously miniature, I took photos with a quarter so you could visualize better the sizes.

But what impressed me most was the simplicity of the gifts. My mother had painstakingly written on each mini-card what the giver had bestowed on me. (She was the daughter of a minister. I’m thinking all the ladies in the congregation gave me something…there are dozens of cards.)

In these days of strollers the size of Noah’s ark, and gift registries every which way and then some, it’s kind of endearing to know what treasures I’d received on my natal day. Things like these gifts from three separate givers: White nylon dress with pink slip;  Three safety lock pins and two yellow terry washcloths;  White wool bonnet (handmade.

For the cards depicted below, I’ll list the gift underneath the photo. Thanks for hobbling with me down Memory Lane.

                                                                                                               Kleinert’s quilted rubber pad.

                                                               2 cup pyrex measuring cup; metal funnel, silver dollar, diaper bag.

                                                                                                        2 undershirts (short-sleeved)

                                                                                                Hand-made white dress (from Philippines)
                                                             Plastic bib, pink rayon and plastic wet proof panties, rattle (pink doll)

                                      White wool soakers, white nylon wet-proof panties, pink wool robe and hood.

                                     Knee-high pink wool booties, pink plastic crib and doll, rooster rattle, tiny blue celluloid doll

And I couldn’t  leave out my dad. Here’s the front and back of a card wishing him well.

And last but not least is a mini-card from a man! Daddy’s co-worker Don. (This one came with a “stork”  feather.) Guess what, I ended up working at Daddy’s office during my college summers, and yup, Don was still there!

Okay, so what’s your favorite baby gift to give? What do you think is meant by “white wool soakers”?

With my niece newly-pregnant with a girl, I’m open to gift  ideas!


Coming print and e-book July 2013

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14 thoughts on “Baby Steps, er, Cards”

  1. Really Tanya,, dinosaurs/ LOL Yes, these gifts were so nice and appreciated. Now, seems people go overboard with all gifts no matter the occasion. Ministers daughter? Yes, that would definitely give you more gifts. 🙂 WOW! This book of yours looks so good. Need it. Maxie mac262(at)me9dot0com

  2. What treasures you have! Love the history! As far as gifts go I usually give diapers, a toy, and something for the mom; like chocolate!:) So happy that your husband is doing well

  3. Congratulations on your book and great Aunt status!

  4. Favorite gifts:

    Sophie the giraffe teether, Pooh Bear series stuffed toys, children’s books (we asked everyone to bring a book in lieu of a card), bibs that can be easily washed off and hung to dry, (not cloth) = Dr Seuss 2 pack from Babies R Us.

  5. What a great find. I love the cards and the fact that your mother wrote what gifts were received.

  6. What a precious find, Tanya. And I agree, baby gifts are over the top these days. But I guess it’s just the times. When my nephews (my only sister raised 6 boys) had their first babies I gave them each a big set of baby/preschool learning videos and little books from my work as an educational designer. They got passed down through the family and taught a lot of little kids their alphabet and numbers. Now that I’m retired and no longer have access to them, I miss being able to give them.
    Wonderful that your mother kept these little cards and wrote what the gifts were.

  7. Hi everybody, I’m out of town babysitting my eighteenth month old grandson who’s on my lap right now…I’ll post more personally later soon as I get the chance, we are off to Gymboree which our six year old grandson calls gymnastics . Thanks for stopping by with the fun posts, back soon as I can. Xo

  8. Usually something to wear when a little older… crib sheets [hint: put 2 on with rubber sheet between.. saves when diapers leak].. story books..

  9. Hi Tanya — How beautiful and creative those cards were. And the baby gifts sure have changed, haven’t they?
    Those are truly treasures!

  10. Tanya, the cards are precious! I’ve always been a giver of books. I come from a family of book-givers. Some of my most treasured items were 3-D books I received from my grandparents. I had the joy of passing them on to my new great-nephew–a couple of months ago—his parents asked everyone to give a book. And you know I loved that idea. 😀

  11. Such precious cards. I like to give size 18months or 2 out fits. When our nephew was born my sister-in-law had a closet full of tiny clothes many of which he never wore because he grew so fast.(They had a lot of friends and a lot of gifts.) It was my inspiration to look for larger sizes. Story books are also a favorite to give.

  12. Wow what a find, those card are so precious. The last baby gift I gave was a bathtub full of odds and ends that you need like lotions and things like that. I was out of girl baby quilts. Must get back into sewing again.

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