Do you remember a couple weeks ago when I told you about my mom and how she always sends me boxes of books and what a great gift that is? (“Reason #4353 Why I Love My Mom!”)
Well, when my mom read that Simply Celebrate email, (because she always reads my emails, which makes me feel so loved, which makes that another gift, but that’s not the point right now), she immediately wrote to me and said, “We owe all this book lovin’ stuff to Sister Ida.”
Apparently Sister Ida was the person who encouraged my mom to read. Sister Ida was a nun at the school mom attended in Mount Vernon, Ohio. My mom remembers this sister saying to her, “Always carry a book. Read a book a week.”
My whole life I remember my mom saying, “You’ll never be bored as long as you have a book.” (See! That’s the quote on our l’il free library pictured above!) I’ve always carried a book with me wherever I go. And I’ve quoted my mom to my son countless times, ever since he was a baby. Now, my son is not only an avid reader, he is in the writing program at the School of the Arts here in San Francisco.
Suddenly, through my mom’s emails, I’m learning that all of us owe our love of literature to Sister Ida!
This is her!
Here’s the person who left the Belul clan a legacy of literary leanings.
Thank you, Sister Ida!
So you may be tapping your foot right now and saying, “C’mon, c’mon … where’s the gift idea you promised us?”
An idea dropped in when my mom was telling me Sister Ida stories. (She kept sending me emails with little snippets, like how she was the teacher’s pet so she got to drive the nuns around on the errands. “They were wearing full nun gear and had huge wooden rosary beads around their waists.” My mom also said she got to go to the convent and she would snoop around, “wanting to find out things like whether the nuns wear regular pajamas!”)
The idea I got was that I would write to my mom’s childhood parish to see if they had a photo of Sister Ida and then I would make a personalized bookmark with Sister Ida’s quote, “Always carry a book.”
Since my mom reads every day, I thought it’d be fun for her to have a bookmark to remind her of both Sister Ida and me!
It took some legwork, but I did finally track down the photo I posted above. And with a search on Etsy, I found someone who makes custom bookmarks.
For just $5 plus postage … I sent this to my mom, along with the backside message:
My mom loved it! And it started a whole new swarm of emails about Sister Ida. It was really fun to connect with my mom and hear her stories.
About a week later, I got another box in the mail, with some books from my mom. (And some candy!) If you missed it, the inspiration for my original post about my mom and books was a text from her that said, “A good book and a bag of candy is sometimes all it takes.”
Who can YOU send a personalized bookmark to?
If there is a book lover in your life who has inspired you, why not make ’em a custom bookmark? You can take a selfie of yourself peeking over an open book or use a favorite photo of you and the gift recipient.
It’s simple to upload your photo and type in some text for the front and back!
I’m not affiliated in any way with this Etsy seller. And I’m not responsible if you don’t like her bookmarks! I just wanted to share the resource I used to make it easy for you. (If you’re crafty, you can also just make your own bookmark!)
You can have the bookmark delivered directly to your fellow book lover. Or, have it sent to you so you can package the bookmark with a favorite current book and maybe some fancy tea to sip along while they read. What a great gift!
What legacy are you unknowingly leaving?
Thanks to my mom for inspiring this. (Hi mom!) And thanks Sister Ida for inspiring my mom. And thanks to whomever inspired Sister Ida to read!
We truly don’t know the legacy we leave behind. Sister Ida passed away in 1970, when I was just six years old. She couldn’t have imagined there would be something called email newsletters and that she would be the honored subject of one forty-seven years after her death.
But here I am, expressing my gratitude to sweet Sister Ida, who may be responsible for the fact that not only do I love to read, but I also love writing.
Never underestimate who you are + the impact you have in the world!
Happy reading — and gifting — and leaving a legacy,
P.S. Oh! And my mom inspired me to send a bookmark to the person who helped me track down Sister Ida’s photo. Here’s what I sent to her. Isn’t that fun?
P.P.S. I’m rather wow’d by the thought that 47 years after her death, Sister Ida is right here with us in this community of celebrators. That her spirit is alive and thriving through that one single sentence — “Carry a book with you” — that she spoke back in the 1950’s. Think about all of the sentences you’ve spoken in your life. Now imagine that one random sentence was the one that impacted someone’s life to the degree that this one has transformed my mom. And me. And my son. You just never know the ripple effects of your life!