(A lil' blog on a dotty hill somewhere)

Wednesday, June 7

Scribble Picnic and Letters


With another cold upon me, no doubt from all the travels, I decided to redraw the redhead from a few weeks ago, imagining her this time opening up an envelope and discovering a lil' love note inside.

This picture actually reminds me of the one and only time I ever gave a Valentine card to someone (before adulthood, that is). I quickly learned, however, that this was not copacetic! In fact, not only that, it turned out I was the only one in our little village school who had sent such a card to anyone and to make matters worse, it was to the Headmaster's daughter, no less!

That morning I had carefully drawn a heart on a piece of paper, folded it and declared my 7-year old admiration and "love" to her. While unable to remember now the exact words, I do recall taking my time to write it legibly enough, very much feeling that romantic stir within my buoyant boyish heart whilst scrawling out my note in red crayon. I just wanted her to know that I thought she was sweet, kind-hearted and pretty, to boot... and, of course, signed it with love. Oh dear me.

Waking up a bit earlier, I rushed across the village green to the school, hoping to be the first one in class so to simply drop the note onto this girl's desk and she would never know who sent it. Trouble was, while Catherine White was not there, other school kids were! Quickly, I determined to non-challantly slip the note into her desk while no one was looking. Of course, as soon as the desk table lifted, it creaked, and the girl who sat next to her (who happened to also be her best friend) inquired as to what was I doing? Telling her it was just a little secret and nothing more was not good enough for her though. Rushing over and grabbing it out of the desk, she proceeded to read it aloud to all the other girls there with everyone having a good laugh, pointing their fingers at me, etc. Ha-ha, at this point, I wasn't so put off by the embarrassment as much as distinctly fearing expulsion from the school by her father and then what would my mother do? We had only recently moved to Norfolk (from London) and there were no other schools around in this little village of Briston!

All day long, I tried to avoid the headmaster and just waited for him to call out, "MacVean, come here at once!" Thankfully, nothing happened and later that week I think chicken pox broke out or something so people had other things to worry about. A few weeks later, I do recall that when the boys would try to round up the girls as "prisoners," pulling their hair and so on, it was always me who protested treating them as such and was very much the egalitarian. Catherine would then sometimes wryly smile at me for my chivalry, I suppose, nothing more. :)

OK, well, with that lil' diddly out of the way, it's time to discover what the rest of you conjured up with your picnic mail or letters....

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26 comments

  1. Great and heart warming thoughts indeed. Greetings!

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  2. That is such a sweet sketch and story, good for you Michael, chivalrous from a young age. If only more little boys/men were like that.

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  3. Oh I loved this story Michael - you were chivalrous right from the start. Oops just saw Christine used the same word - but you were. I've had a teary morning writing my post. Hope you enjoy it.
    Blessings
    Janis

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    1. Well, I did use that word in my write up too, so makes sense. lol. Anyway, your post was incredible...as was the art. I totally LOVED reading it. So romantic.

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  4. Almost more than the sketches the stories that give us a little picture into your life is so precious. This is a wonderful and heartfelt story as most of us might have had a similar experience with childhood "love". I recall a boy Bobby Stewart (oh my I can't believe I remembered his name) from 1st grade...he wrote me a note...see you will remember you to this day!!! Thanks for sharing a slice of your childhood. My letter illustration is also a slice of my history. Love you tons...

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    1. Thank you so much, Wanda! You are the best..and your own story and art work were so captivating too, much like Janis', as you noted. I LOVED reading it and seeing your beautiful painting.

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  5. opps.... I meant SHE will remember you to this day!!!!

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    1. I am positive she does not. not even sure I got her first name entirely right! lol. hahah. I think it was Catherine though! I do recall hair being mousy blonde. lol.

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  6. I like her pigtails and your story.

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  7. that's a wonderful story. & just right for your redhead girl, she's adorable. I''m thinking she could be slipping a card into the envelope instead of taking it out but it works both ways.

    have a lovely day.

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    1. OOh, I so love that idea! And then maybe adding the confetti afterwards? Clever. :) I can leave it to the imagination.

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  8. What a sweet memory. Thank you for sharing that. She looks like a little sweetheart too! Feel better.

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  9. Loved reading your story Michael, then opened the link to your little village of Briston and thoroughly enjoyed reading about what sounds like a near perfect English village!
    I've yet to visit Norfolk - some day hopefully.

    Catherine White is adorable with her red bunches and fringe - and the blouse with the Peter Pan collar and cardigan (probably knitted by a loving Granny) is what all we 'proper' English girlies wore back then, haha!

    Just lovely. Hope you are doing better by now - I tell you those European colds are the worst - still coughing from mine and it's now over a month. Hang in there!

    Get well hugs- Mary

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    1. . . . . . on looking again, you have her blouse buttoned on the "boy's side" - an easy slip, haha!

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    2. OH! That is so annoying as I actually looked at one of Alexandra's shirts before drawing it and thoughtI got it the right way around! LOL. I suppose it's that mirror image affect of seeing it the other way around. Oh dear me. Lol. Well, we can say she is tomboyish then but Catherine certainly was not. lol. But in reality, I seem to recall she had mousy blonde hair. Yes, you totally got the Peter Pan collar. Amazing! Way to go. And yes, I was imagining it was a hand knit scarf from her mother of grannie! haha, you are a sharo one, dear Mary!

      Wow, you are still sick too, no less? Whoa. Best part about not traveling-- not getting sick as often. hahah.

      Thank you.

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  10. Michael, this is such a sweet illustration and story. Love it! I agree with the others, you were chivalrous even at a young age. A wonderful character trait to have. I do hope you feel better.

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    1. I think I still am. For example, my mother taught me to always walk on the outside with a female so I do that with Alexandra but then of course it was to prevent splashes from wagon wheels, etc. now, I think of it as to be her buffer from crazy erratic drivers or terrorists..should that ever happen in Fort Collins (unlikley but one never knows)!

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  11. Lovely story! How brave you were! And I love your sweet sketch.

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    1. Ha, maybe more stupid and naive? lol.

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  12. Darling girl, and I just loved your story. Could envision and almost hear every part of it! Was this on an actual Valentine's Day? I do hope she remembers!

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    1. I very much doubt she remembers and never occurred to me she might until you and some here have suggested it. what a thought! As Brits tend not to do Valentine cards in schools, especially then, it's possible I suppose that she might recall that event. whoa. I was gone form that school and back to London within two years.

      Yes, I think it was on Valentine's and thus why I did it. lol.

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  13. I'm sorry the simple and kind act of giving a little girl a valentine was so loaded for you. Thanks for sharing this story. I often dreaded giving valentines because of what the kids would think when I was young but my mother always got me one along with a small gift to mark the day and a few of those survived to this day despite our tumultuous relationship. I do love your art and sometimes miss your alter ego, Mr. Toast. All the best to you!

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  14. Michael ~ You are so truly wonderful with your personal comments that you share with each of us individually. You know us each so well, and it shows in your loving care for us.

    My parents story is a beautiful one, but cut short as my father passed away at 58 with colon cancer, leaving my mother a widow at 54. She never remarried and devoted her life to us children and her grandchildren. When I ask her why she didn't want to remarry she said I'm a ONE MAN woman. My dad was a very hard man....not like the love letters, but had a very disturbed childhood himself, and was left at 16 to be the man of his home and help raise all the siblings as he was the oldest. His father died in prison. My mother knew his hurts, and she was the beautiful oil of comfort he needed for those years, and then she loved on us...why we turned out so nice...haha. Love you Michael, love that we can share personal stories. I'm not good with"birds" so we'll see what next week brings...hahaha.

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