I have had several people ask me to provide an update to last year’s blog post about The Hardest Working Anniversary Card, a card that my family has been sending back-and-forth, unsigned, for over forty years. I’ve been trying to write this post for days and it has been a hard one to write. I thought the first story about the anniversary card was hard, but I have shed buckets of tears over this one.
It’s surprising – and yet not – that with all of the gift lists and gift suggestions that I’ve written, it was the post about The Hardest Working Anniversary Card that was my most popular. To this day, April 1, 2015 still sits on my WordPress dashboard as my Best Views Ever. I think I’ll almost be sad to see it surpassed, it makes me smile every time I see it and I’m thankful that so many people got to read about something so precious to me.
I didn’t mention it in the original post, but my family knew then that 2015 was going to be the last year that this well loved anniversary card celebrated my Aunt and Uncle’s anniversary **crying again** as my Uncle was losing his hard fought battle with cancer.
On that day last spring, when I posted the original story, Aunt Janet and Uncle Richard celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary as they had many times before. Flowers and cards were delivered, phone calls were received and that one very special, and still very unsigned anniversary card arrived, wrapped securely in plastic and so much love.
The Hardest Working Anniversary Card is Retired
Last month, on March 7th, my parents celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary and a beloved anniversary card was passed along one final time.
Still in it’s original plastic sleeve, my Aunt Janet lovingly placed her anniversary card in a pretty double-sided frame and mailed it off to her sister-in-law one final time.
Tucked inside, next to the anniversary message shared nearly 90 times, was a photo of that young soldier who in 1971 purchased the card for only a quarter.
I remember talking with some of my Aunts years ago about how we would celebrate once this card made it through 50 years of anniversary celebrations – a golden anniversary card. What a great story this would be to share with the world! The card didn’t quite make it to 50 years and 100 anniversary celebrations, you never know what life has in store. I’m certain though, that this card has witnessed more love than any other single card has been lucky enough to share.
I love coffee like a Gilmore Girl, so even though it means TWO blog posts in one day (woot!), I just couldn’t let National Coffee Day pass without a few gift ideas for coffee lovers. So here are some really cool surprises to celebrate your coffee lover’s next birthday, anniversary or just because they’re #winning the day.
7 Coffee Inspired Gift Ideas
1. Coffee Hand Grinder
Many coffee lovers enjoy not just the end product, but the zen-like experience of creating the perfect cup of java. And for the truly dedicated, a hand mill like this turkish coffee grinder is not just beautiful, it’s the first step in a very intimate coffee experience.
Caffeine delivered. Driftaway Coffee is the passion of a super adorable couple in Brooklyn, NY (they really are super adorable, just checkout the story page on their website.) Every Driftaway Coffee subscription starts with their tasting kit, a sampling of 4 coffees with different roast profiles. Next, by using their app to track your tasting preferences, future deliveries are tailored to your tastebuds.
Coffee doesn’t get much more luxurious than this. Roasted fair trade coffee beans are paired with aromas of chocolate, vanilla, black pepper and cardamom for a truly decadent exfoliating and antioxidizing body scrub.
This creamy curd is handmade in small batches right in the founder’s kitchen. She blends freshly roasted coffee and local whiskey into a distinctive and “full-on” Irish coffee flavor. Serving suggestions include pancakes, scones and ice cream!
This is the 11th year (or 77 years to our pooches) celebrating National Dog Day, a holiday created to honor some of the greatest members of any family. It also shines a spotlight on the rewards of rescuing a loyal friend who will shower you with unconditional love. Pet rescue is a cause near and dear to my heart (and how Bug and Bella came into our lives), I hope you’ll consider adoption if you are looking to add a 4-legged prince or princess to your home.
April 10th is National Siblings Day. That’s right, there is a whole day to celebrate the giver of noogies, the person who read your diary, and in my case the master of that annoying childhood game where they refuse to say anything other than to repeat-every-word-you-say.
And hopefully, as in my case, they are also the one(s) you built forts with, went on adventures with and helped take over Mom’s kitchen to try and recreate the slime from You Can’t Do That On Television.
If your brother and/or sister are your oldest friend and confidant and one of the only people who really get your crazy family, then we’ve got you covered with some easy and fun ways to celebrate National Siblings Day.
12 Ways To Show Some Sibling Love
Let your inner child out to play:
1. Check out attractions together like the zoo or an amusement park.
3. Get competitive at the arcade (they do still exist!) Search for Arcades in your area on a site like Yelp.
Revisit a favorite childhood activity:
4. Go for a bike ride.
5. Throw the frisbee around or take it up a notch and find a local disc golf course.
6. Game Night! Dust off the Risk, Monopoly or old Pictionary board games.
Sibling Day Out – if you have significant others, kiddos or grandkiddos you may not remember the last time you had some sibling-to-sibling time:
7. Grab the fishing poles for a day on the lake.
8. Organize a round of golf.
9. Or the less physically demanding, round of beers.
Gather the whole family together:
10. Include the spouses, significant others, kids and grandkids, make some old family favorite recipes and pull out the photo albums. What a great way to demonstrate what you’re always telling your own kids “Be nice to your brother! You’ll always have each other.”
11. When’s the last time you had professional family photos done with your sibling? Professional photography has come a long way from small studios with the screen backdrops being pulled down behind the carpet covered wood boxes we all sat on. Today’s lifestyle photographers are more likely to meet you at a local park, landmark or your own home. The results are amazing and BONUS – – instant Mother’s Day gift 🙂
Have a virtual get-together:
12. Maybe like me, one or more of your siblings live in a different city. How about using FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype or even a good old-fashioned phone call to catch up with ole’ dookie head.
However you choose to do it, take the opportunity this National Siblings Day to recognize your brother or sister. It’s a sweet thing to do and it’s why you were always Mom’s favorite.
My parents recently celebrated their Sapphire Anniversary, 45 years of marriage. And though they chose to celebrate with a quiet dinner, family and friends still feted them with phone calls and anniversary cards. Among those anniversary cards there was one card that even I was anticipating – asking my Mom as the day approached “did you get the card yet?”
My question needed no other details or prompts, the card is still wrapped in its protective plastic covering and unsigned; the card predates me and has celebrated more than eighty-five wedding anniversaries. Purchased for a quarter on an army base in 1971, it makes it’s appearance every year.
If you just did a little math in your head you may be questioning my own math skills regarding how an anniversary card purchased in 1971 has celebrated more than eighty-five wedding anniversaries. Let me assure you that my math (in this case at least) is not faulty and allow me to share with you the beautiful story of two of my favorite couples and one very special anniversary card.
Meet My Parents
The story begins with my parents, Storm and Virginia, who were married on March 7, 1970. Uncle Richard was serving in Vietnam and missed his sister’s wedding. He returned to the states in January of 1971 where he was stationed at Fort Devens in Massachusetts; and thanks to his trusty yellow Ford Pinto, he made frequent visits home to his family in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
In March of 1971 before heading home to visit, he stopped at the PX (a general store on base) to purchase an anniversary card. In a rush to get on the road (or maybe to see a particular girl named Janet), he tossed the unsigned card in the Pinto’s glovebox…where it was a round-trip passenger to Lancaster and back to Fort Devens.
Well it’s the thought that counts, right? … because by the time the young soldier on leave reached his hometown, the thoughtful purchase in the glovebox was forgotten. The card didn’t quite make an appearance at his sister’s first anniversary celebration.
A few months later Richard found the once forgotten card and showed it to my Mom, “Hey Virginia, here’s the anniversary card I got you.” And familiar as I am with my family’s sense of humor, it doesn’t surprise me that he wouldn’t actually let her have the anniversary card – after all, it wasn’t her anniversary anymore. He stashed the card back in the glovebox, and showed it to my Mom again for year 2…and AGAIN managed to reappropriate the card and stash it back in the trusty Pinto’s glovebox.
So if you’re counting, that’s 1972 and two wedding anniversaries, my parents’ 1st and 2nd years of marriage.
Another Happy Couple Ties the Knot
Uncle Richard married Janet in the spring of 1972, and the following March as she prepared to celebrated her own 1st wedding anniversary, Aunt Janet found the card and mailed it to my parents for their third anniversary, still unsigned, with a note attached proclaiming Richard had a special anniversary card for them. My Aunt had no idea how soon she’d see that card again, when just a few weeks later her sister-in-law mailed it back to Richard and Janet to celebrate their first wedding anniversary – April 1st, 1973.
Yes, I am telling you that on April Fool’s Day my Aunt and Uncle celebrated their paper anniversary by receiving back the card ….. still unsigned, still sealed in plastic.
The Making Of a Tradition
Obviously, no one knew then how significant this card would become. It all started out with a card that a brother forgot to give his sister and then decided to recycle – a few times. And on a whim, with her own clever sense of humor, my Mom recycled it again and sent it back to him. And then like most traditions, it just becomes part of the fabric of the family.
May a perfect anniversary
Hold the happy promise, too
Of another year that brings you both
Your favorite dreams-come-true!
And another year, and another year, and another …..
For over 45 years, they have been exchanging that greeting card, still in its protective plastic covering, still unsigned, for their respective anniversaries. Some years the card was delivered in person. Some years the card arrived via mail. One year the card even traveled to Egypt where Uncle Richard and Aunt Janet were living.
As a kid, I thought it was a fun tradition, a cool old card that showed up every year. Today, I see the beautiful testament to two strong marriages and a lasting friendship. Two hard-working families with busy lives, busy kids and hectic schedules, they never forgot – every year, twice a year, the card shared it’s wishes back and forth between a brother, a sister, in-laws and good friends. It never needed a signature, the love was written all over that card.
This year my parents celebrated 45 years of marriage and today Aunt Janet and Uncle Richard celebrate 43 years and that card has witnessed every one of them.
UPDATE: Read the final chapter of the story of this anniversary card here.
You Get a Card! You Get a Card! You Get a Card!
Who do you know that’s celebrating an anniversary or a birthday this month? Who can you send a card to TODAY?
And now that you’re feeling inspired (how can younot be?!), join me in the #write_on campaign for National Letter Writing Month and let’s send out the love with 30 cards in 30 days!