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December 21, 2012

Personal Matters: Sharing the best of the holidays

Over the 16 years I shared my thoughts in my “Personal Matters” column in the Philadelphia area, and during my four years here at the “Gloucester Daily Times” I have asked column readers to share with me the story of their most meaningful holiday. It is my privilege to share some of them with you:

“The Gift”

“Before I was born, my grandmother sewed a layette of beautiful baby dresses, even though no one (except her) was sure that I would be a girl. She was thrilled and excited when I was born but unfortunately, she died 5 months later. Her other daughter, my mother’s sister, was only 16 when my grandmother died and this young teenage girl was very much affected by the loss of her mother.

The baby dresses that my grandmother made were sewn by hand with embroidery and lace, such as you wouldn’t see today. In those days, though, handwork wasn’t valued as it is today and my mother gave them to me to put on my dolls. Over the years, all but two disappeared.

A few years back, I found these little dresses again, some 40 years after they were made. I took one of the dresses and had it laundered and put it in a shadow box that could be hung on the wall. I sent it to my Aunt for a Christmas present and I was more excited about giving this gift than I ever was about receiving one. It arrived on December 23rd, which was the anniversary of the day her mother was buried. That was a meaningful Christmas for both of us because, until then, we had very little left to remember my grandmother by.”

“Keeping It Simple”

“In October, I went for my annual pap test, expecting the usual clean bill of health. However, my doctor called saying that the lab reported ‘atypical cell formations.’ When I had additional tests done, I was told that the tissue looked possibly pre-cancerous. He performed a biopsy and I waited 4 days for the results.

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