Spring… At Last?

Dear Liza,

This winter has felt extra cold and wet. We have, in fact, had four inches more rain than last year, and a few more nights that went below freezing. But spring can’t wait forever!

We are seeing tiny signs of it everyday. Snowdrops have sprouted in yards in our Sunnyside neighborhood, cheering up some very muddy gardens.

This amazingly tall azalea bush in Laurelhurst Park bloomed last week in a burst of energy. This week, leaves too tiny to photograph are showing up.

The local daffodils are thinking about blooming, but aren’t sure. With the cold and snow we’ve had lately, I don’t blame them for being a bit reluctant.

But on our walk yesterday evening, we had a clear sunset, and today we have sun! It is predicted to get above 50F, which means I can spray the protective coating on your book cover and wrap it up for delivery.

See you soon!


Grandma Judy

Spring Ups and Downs

Dear Liza,

Having celebrated my second lockdown birthday, I have lost some focus lately. Doing art with Ruth Inman and Jody Tockes on ZOOM makes me very happy. So does practicing French on Duolingo, and watching cool British sitcoms and documentaries. But for just a while, these were not feeding what needed feeding.

I got a bit blue. Nothing seemed fun or interesting. I had zero energy and couldn’t carry a conversation. My poor people knew I was sad but didn’t know what to do.

I did a lot of sitting and staring, or holding a book and trying to read. It felt like a light had gone out, that fun was something just out of my reach. I am lucky enough to only deal with this very rarely, and I know it will pass. It is, sort of, day by day.

I go for walks and notice spring flowers and the oddities of our old neighborhood. I try thinking about family and friends, but that just makes me sadder because of the impossibility, just now, of seeing them. I make art and learn history.

I know there is a ramp up out of this darkness, and if I just keep going, I will find it.

See you then.


Grandma Judy

Laurel’s Rainbow

Dear Liza,

When I became a teacher in 1988, I met a woman who would become a life long friend, Laurel Sherry-Armstrong. Besides being a natural teacher, she was, and is, a talented musician and poet. I think about her when I think about colors, rainbows, and spring.

One of the many pieces she wrote for use in our class of “Kinderbloomers” was called The Colors of Promise. It is about rainbows.

The lyrics are a lovely way to remember the colors of the rainbow in order, a lesson in what causes rainbows, and a hint at the God’s biblical promise after The Flood, never to destroy mankind again.

“When sun shines through raindrops

An arc of hope is seen

Red on top, orange, yellow and green.

Indigo blue and violet, too.

Down come the colors of promise to you.”

Laurel retired from teaching before I did, and now lives half the year in Ashland, Oregon, and the other half in Honolulu, Hawaii. She plays music with her lovely husband Milton, dances the hula, and teaches kids how to play the ukulele.

She is living the life I would have wished for her; happy, busy, filled with music and love.

Laurel, dancing with Milton at Auntie Katie’s wedding


Grandma Judy