Monday, October 20, 2008


The Gift Giver
oil on canvas
by Judy Westergard
available as giclee reprint

A catalog arrived the other day in the mail. It featured a lot of modern technology in nostalgic packaging. Taking a few minutes away from my easel, I skimmed through the pages. A photo of a 1950's radio that in reality is a CD/DVD player caught my eye. It sent me back to my 12th birthday.
ike a lot of my friends, I knew the best gifts were to be found in the Sears Roebuck catalog. My dad knew better.
On the morning of birthday I found a
small note on the kitchen table. It directed me to
1. get dressed,
2. eat breakfast,
3. brush teeth,
4. go to the basement, where I'd find my birthday gift.
gnoring directions one, two and three, I raced down 15 stone stairs. I struggled with the heavy wooden door. I scooted past octopus-armed furnace.... There, on my grandma's table, was a ream of paper, a dozen yellow pencils, and a little wheel of an eraser that pivoted above its stubbly black bristle brush. Clamped to the table's edge was a hand-cranked pencil sharpener. And there, in the middle of all this potential...a shiny, black, second-hand Royal typewriter!
My dad's grin was all the go-ahead I needed. I sat my skinny little 11-year-old doopah on the wooden chair, I rolled a sheet of paper into the platen, and with two fingers I carefully typed:

Judith Ann Skovran
children's book writer
I could hardly breathe. How could he have known my deep, well-hidden wish to write stories?
That birthday was such a long time ago. I’m still in awe of the real gift my dad gave to me: the importance of looking for the gift which lies deepest in the heart of the recipient.

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