Saturday, December 22, 2007

Joy Books - Merry Christmas!

This is a long one...but so cool - from Needlecraft Magazine, 1924.  Author is just listed as A.G.F.  I made a notebook cover for Max's teacher - sadly, no time to take a pic.  Max said she was pretty happy to receive! 

Her Book of Joys

Very often during a trolley trip in town or out again, I hear a sermonette which means so much to me that I cannot resist the temptation to take it down and send it on a mission.  This time it concerns a joy-book.  One of my girls has it; at least, I hope she is one of my girls and that if she sees this she will write and tell me so.

She sat just behind me the other morning – which happened to be a cloudy one.  A friend was with her; bright pretty girls, both of them – but with a difference as I discovered when I cast a brief glance over my shoulder after a minute or two.  One face was alight with the sunshine of good-nature and gladness, the other shadowed by discontent.  And it wasn’t a bit difficult to be sure which was which; the voice matched the face.

Said one of them, “I think it is too mean for anything.  You know I found a lovely piece of crepe in town yesterday – just what I wanted for my regatta – frock – and asked the sales woman to hold it until I could find out how much I needed.  And this morning when I telephoned, they said it was all sold.  I can’t find anything else I’ll like half so well.  Oh, of course I said I’d let her know in an hour or two, but I forgot it –and anyway she needn’t have been so fussy; a few hours couldn’t make any difference.  I don’t see why people have to be so disobliging.  I know it’s going to rain this afternoon, too, and I want to go canoeing.  O dear!  Sometimes I think I’m the most unlucky girl in the world.  Nothing ever goes right for me; my joys always turn out glooms.”

There came a soft little laugh from the other girl.  Said she, “There’s where you and I disagree. Now I think there could hardly be a luckier girl than you dear mother.”  There was a quick catch in the voice, and an instant’s silence which I understood.  “Why, it would keep your busy until the skies fall just to count your joys, and by the time you were half through there wouldn’t be a gloom in sight.  It is the way we look at things, and think of them, that makes the difference you know.  Want me to tell you about something that helped me to send those glooms flying?  Two years ago I spent the summer with grand mamma down at the old farm.  It was pretty lonesome, and I’d wanted awfully to go into camp with the other girls, so what with the disappointment and all I fancy I wasn’t very happy company.  But grandmamma didn’t seem to mind – only one day I cam across a queer old book that I’m sure she’d left where I’d be likely to find it.  It was made of letter-paper, with pasteboard covers, the pages yellowed and the ink faded – not so much but I could read every word, though, and I did.  It was like a diary.  There was something for every day – something good and joyful, something to be glad of if it were only a robin’s son, or the first ripe apples, or going to the village with father; never a whine or a grumble anywhere, made me ashamed of my fussing, and I said so to grandmamma.  ”It’s a regular book of joys,” I said.  And grandmamma smiled.  “Well, I guess that’s a good name for it,” said she.  “You see, I used to look at life through blue glasses when I was a young girl, and that’s why my mother took to break me of it.  “She made the book for me and told me to write down at least one thing I found to please me every day, no matter how small.  At first I couldn’t find much of anything.  I’d fallen so into the habit of having things go wrong; but I had been trained to as mother said, and so I began looking sharp for pleasant things.  And it was really wonderful now they multiplied, and how the unpleasant things dropped away.  We’re bound to see what we look for, you know – and the choice is ours.”  So grandmamma said, and it is true.  I made a joy-book for myself to prove it, and I’ve been a thousand times happier every since.  When you keep your eye single to joys, you know, you cannot see glooms,” said the other girl between a sigh and a smile.  “Well, you surely are a brightener, and everybody always wants you along.  I’ve sometimes wondered why – maybe it’s the joy-book.  Anyway, I believe I’ll make one and try it.   The sun’s coming out – see!  So we can go canoeing, after all.  And probably we can find just as pretty a color of crepe.” 

Then the car stopped at my subway station, and I heard nothing more save a gay little laugh from both my girls together.

But I am already making a joy-book of my own.  Will you? 


Needlecraft Magazine September, 1924

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