Monday, March 30, 2020

Packing For A Woman's Journey

Image by Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life

"You don`t study here;
you graze on words and images.

We're into our second week of the 'pressing my books into service' series. This is my little contribution here in blog-land as a way to help create community in isolation. If you are arriving in this series mid-stream, you can find the earlier posts by clicking HERE or on the Tab above: Press My Books Into Service.

In this book you will find a lovely collection of essays that were first published in Victoria magazine—Nancy Lindemeyer was Editor-in-Chief at the time. Fans will remember the delightful Jenny Walton stories that appeared from time to time in the Chimes column on the last page of the magazine. What a pleasant surprise to learn some years later that Nancy was the author; Jenny Walton had been a carefully chosen pen name. I was glad when the essays were assembled into a book. So much easier to pick up a single volume and bring it to your armchair with tea than to leaf through an unwieldy armload of issues in hopes of finding the Jenny stories in them.

In the intro, Nancy says that she used this series as a way, not to write her life's story exactly, but to write from what she termed as 'reflected memory', to share the best she had to remember and pass it along. She wanted Jenny's articles to inspire women "to live with pride in a woman's journey, and to take with (them) all that is good, kind, graceful, generous, and beautiful, despite the vagaries of time and place."

During this season of isolation, I've been sorting through a box of old scrapbooks see earlier post which is why today's excerpt resonates so particularly. It's very easy to say one must deal with this old stuff; it's quite another to actually toss away the touchstones that remind us of another life time.

Hope you'll enjoy it.

An aside: if you don't have the book, or the old magazine issues anymore, take heart: the book is available in various used book places, including Amazon's used bookseller page. I saw one copy advertised for as low as $2.89 Cdn. Even with shipping, it'd still be a bargain.

March 30th

from Jenny Walton's Packing for a Woman's Journey
by Nancy Lindemeyer

" We have a room that is an archive, a treasure trove of objects we cannot seem to part with. Once this room was a garage, but someone with an automobile too big for its slender proportions made it part of the house, and for the nearly twenty years since, we have filled it to capacity . . . Every now and then I venture into this annex, thinking that at last the moment has arrived to make use of our reserve possessions. Recently, I decided to open a cedar chest I hadn't looked in for years, since getting near it requires an adventurer's temperament. My husband, legendary for his car-packing ability, also has a talent for ingeniously stacking mountains of things on top of idle surfaces.

This is the chest that holds forgotten mementos, long buried at the bottom—the fabric bunny with ribbons given to me the night I was voted best student in my high-school class. As I pick it up, I ask myself why in the world I would keep such a thing; but then I tell myself it doesn't take up much room, so why should this be the day I part with it?

Further down, I discover a cotton dress with a full skirt in a very soft shade of green. I used to starch this dress so stiffly it almost danced by itself when I wore it to the Pleasure Beach Ballroom so many years ago.  . . . I see my seventeen-year-old feet moving along the wooden floor, as close to the open doors as possible. Images of sea and sky and moon and cool night air are what come to mind with this simple dress in my hands. And while I don't think there were Chinese lanterns in that long-ago darkness, I make them part of my thoughts now, turning the ballroom into a brilliant memory.  . . .

I danced those last dances of adolescence on a stage that was nearly perfect in a dress with a full skirt and tiny puff sleeves and a slip of a peplum, which I still have stored in this chest.

I am glad my husband keeps this vault so cumbersomely guarded. It is meant for infrequent musings, for a hot afternoon like this, when at summer's end I am comfortable with this reverie. I do not think I will take the green dress (out) from the cedar chest after all—it really doesn't take up much space, and I cannot imagine what I would ever do without it. "  ~ excerpt from p 90-91, originally in August 1991 issue

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Wishing you a beautiful day, dear friends.


Heart Hugs,


  1. It sounds delightful. I have always enjoyed essays of this sort. (I am glad that she did not toss out her green dress.)

  2. Hi Brenda. You are doing a great job with the posts. We like the same kinds of books, too.....kindred spirits! Susan

  3. Brenda this looks like a wonderful book...her words really touch my heart. It also gives one a sense that certain treasures should remain with us just for such times as these when we need a good memory or two. Take care and bless you. Now I am going to go back and check out your other posts. Take care friend and keep the faith - we are not alone - God is near! Hugs

  4. So true, it’s not the objects themselves, but the memories they evoke, that keep us hanging on long after their usefulness and pretty looks have faded. So glad you mentioned Amazon’s used books. I’ll keep that in mind.


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo