“Postage Money”

“Mom’s Little Gift–Postage Money”
©Jane H. Johann
Palmyra, WI 2017

Early this morning, before the sunrise, I was rummaging through yet another box in my effort to declutter my basement.  My basement is akin to the garage–used as storage rather than for its intended use. I have been working on both the basement and the garage for the past few months…okay, I will fess up…the past five years!

Oh, I have my excuses lined up as to how this clutter happened: cuddling, raising up, and letting go of three daughters, with each returning at various times for a few months  and then leaving their memories behind; teaching full-time for thirty-six years;  studying and obtaining my Master’s degree; cutting the lawn; doing the laundry; paying the bills (missing a few)attempting skill within the culinary field (at least no one died from my trials!); keeping the cars oiled and tired. Through it all, I did attempt a bit of sanity. Nevertheless, CLUTTER wore the crown!

However, there is a bright moment. I came across a tiny envelope:”Postage money.”  A tiny envelope that helped me to refocus on the priorities of life. Tucked inside this little envelope was a dollar towards stamps to remind me to write. The handwriting on the envelope was unmistakable. Immediately, I knew that the envelope was from my Mom as a gentle reminder that she needed to hear from me.

My Mom was so thoughtful and generous. She was meticulous in finding just the right gift for her friends. She would carefully select something the person would enjoy and like!  She could be seen spending an hour or more in a Hallmark store, reading each card and looking for the phrases that would highlight the character of the person to whom she was sending it. My Mom’s sensitivity was deep and caring and so unique.

Taking the time to go through each box was worth finding this little envelope from my Mom. It reminded me to connect to others as she did, to think of the other before myself, to share what I have and to let others know they are important in my life.  The Postage Money envelope is a treasure to me along with the tears that remind me of the blessings I received being loved by such a good and sensitive person.

Mom with her great-granddaughter, Nadia
©Jane H. Johann
January, 2009

Tapestry of a Woman

“Quilt by Audrey Neu”
Photo Credit©Jane H. Johann
Palmyra, WI


dedicated to Audrey Neu


dream at dawn takes shape during the night

cascading into patterned diamonds of delight


colors and hues lend tone to the day

creating a fabric of generosity in her kindhearted ways


inspiration guiding the imagination–buttering her knife

village squares extending into a pattern of life


the triangle design –God, you and me–

woven in and out with the needle you see


taking the abstract into the concrete

concern for others is her mystique


offering furniture to the immigrants

opening her pocketbook and lending a hand


creating time to listen to those in need

community minded…the song in her deeds


sharing laughter inside out

colors of caring painted in cloth


nurtured by her love of God with little fear

onward she prods, strength layered through the years


joy and faithfulness are her threads

as she tends to the hostas in her garden bed


“Quilt by Audrey Neu”
Photo Credit©Jane H. Johann
Palmyra, WI 2016


The two quilts pictured above were sewn by Audrey. She has created over 100 quilts after  45 years of being a Principal and Teacher in the Catholic Schools in Milwaukee, WI. Each year she creates a quilt for the House of Peace in Milwaukee. Each quilt takes about 3 months to complete.

This poem is a small gift to Audrey for all the help and support she has given me through the years and mostly, for her friendship!  Her grandmotherly like kindnesses to my children and grandchildren were pure gift! Thank you, Audrey!