Friday, December 16, 2011

Granny Glittens and Her Amazing Mittens!

I got an amazing gift today! But, in order for it to make sense, I have to tell you a story about my mom. Her parents were both educators, and books played an important part of their lives. I remember fondly getting a new flannel nightgown made by Grandma, and a new book, picked by Grandpa each Christmas! Wonderful classics like The Velveteen Rabbit, Heidi, Anne of Green Gables, Tom Sawyer, etc. I remember when we would open the box from Grandma and Grandpa, my mom would put her nose in the box and SMELL the smell of her home - apples and home-baked bread, and Grandpa's cologne. I'm sure my cousins can well-remember that smell. I know I do. This Christmas, my mom wanted to start a new tradition with the grandkids, and even though we are far away, we plan to participate long-distance. The Friday before Christmas, we gather at Grandmas, have dinner and a dress-up Nativity, followed by a story and a sleepover under the Christmas tree. My mom sent a box of three blankets, one for each child, and an envelope which contained a special story she wanted to share.

It's an old story; one I well-remember hearing as a young child, and one my Grandparents read to her. It's out of print now, so the story was photocopied, but I knew the story the moment I read the title, "Granny Glittens and Her Amazing Mittens". It's a story of an old woman who knitted wool mittens for boys and girls. One year the store ran out of colored yarn for her mittens, and all they had was white. Granny didn't know what to do. She couldn't give children WHITE mittens! So, she discovered in her pantry Red Peppermints, Green Wintergreen, Brown Chocolate, Black Licorice, and Yellow Lemondrops. She cooked five pots of each ingredient and then dipped the white yarn into the pan and watched as it changed into the exact colors she needed! Then to her surprise, she discovered that the yarn was edible! She knitted the mittens, and the children were delighted that they could use and eat their mittens! The story ends with, "Can you believe it?" :)

The copy my mom sent us was, as she said, "cobbled together". She was missing the first page, so asked her sister to e-mail her the text. Then she had photocopied the rest and stapled it together. You can see the original got scribbled upon. Then I got thinking, I wonder if I could find a copy of that story somewhere for my mom. I searched around Amazon and found a seller who had the story in a book called, "The Golden Christmas Book". There were several editions and publishers, so I contacted the seller to be sure that the one I was looking at (which was $10.00) contained the story I was after.

I called her up, and she was in the middle of painting her bathroom, but she was the sweetest woman! Her name was Gloria. I told her what I was looking for, and that I was in search of this Christmas story to give to my mom. She promised to call me back after she had finished up with the paint and could check the book herself.

I got a phone message from her that the book which was posted didn't have it, but that she had an older, unlisted edition that DID have the story, but the book was in "bad shape," and the only tear in the book was to the very story I was looking for. It was published in 1947 by Simon and Schuster and was a copy from the Navel Avenue Library in Bremerton. She described the book, "The spine is taped with green cloth tape; the edges are all worn to the cardboard cover boards. There are a few scribbles to it and it is smudged a bit and of course the one page with your story has the tear to the bottoms page (the story is still all there)." This actually made me more hopeful that I might be able to get a better price for it. Often these out-of-print books become collectors editions because they are so rare, and they can charge hundreds of dollars, even though they are in pretty rough condition.

So, I e-mailed her back and said that I would still be interested in the book and if she could tell me the price, I'd consider purchasing it. She called me this morning and we talked for a few minutes, and she said she would sell it to me for $2.00, since it was in such rough shape! I was delighted, and thanked her so much and told her how much my mom would love getting a copy of this book. Then I asked if she could send it directly to my mom, and I'd pay her. Then she said, "You know, I'll just GIVE it to your mom, free of charge. It's such a sweet story, and I thank you for introducing me to it!" Then she said, "The books we sell are from our mother's extensive collection, and I try to find loving homes for her books...I can tell this is a perfect place for this one. I'll wrap it up nice and send it to your mom and be sure it gets there before Christmas!" Thank you, Gloria!
Can you believe it?


Heidi said...

What a wonderful story! Both the story AND the story! I'm excited to hear how your mom reacts!

Liz said...

Of course I know that story! I'm sure all the Farrer grandkids do. Your mom is going to love it. I have a big grin on my face right now just thinking about how great a present it will be!

Dianna said...

I love this! What a great experience to have right before Christmas! Now I want to find a copy of that story AND start that sleepover tradition with my grandchildren.