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July 26, 2004 - "A Grandson's Footstool" by Melodie Tilander

(Photo of Melodie's stepping stone is above, along with a photo of Debbie Wells, Susan Fahncke, and Melodie Tilander on the Oregon coast last month!)

Welcome to 2TheHeart!


"Every day that we wake up is a good day. Every breath that we take is filled with hope for a better day. Every word that we speak is a chance to change what is bad into something good." ~Walter Mosley


After reading this story, I realized where my dear friend gets her creativity. She recently gave me the most extraordinary gift of a beautiful stepping stone for my garden with the 2TheHeart logo embedded with stained glass! It's beautiful! You can see from her writings about her grandmother that creativity and beauty are a family trait. 

PS - Check out the Letter Box for a wonderful poem written by a very smart and talented 11 year-old!

"A Grandson's Footstool"
by Melodie Lynn Tilander

Grandma didn't have much in the way of material possessions or money, but what she had she shared joyfully. And what she didn't have, she made. My grandma could literally create something out of almost anything that had been thrown away or discarded.

She was a woman who placed value on everything. Needless to say, she never threw away anything. In Grandma's eyes it was never so used up or beat up not to serve a 'purpose'. I am sure Grandma was the original dumpster diver. She loved to retrieve, salvage, recycle, and restore anything she could get her hands on.

Interestingly enough, she felt that way about people too. Anybody worth a chance was worth a second chance in her book. She used to say, "If I was a betting person, I'd bet on you again!" She believed in the good side of people and didn't let their vices taint her view. Instead of talking someone down she would say, "Well at the very least they're interesting."

She saw things differently than most folks. When looking at what seemed worthless and mere garbage, Grandma would amazingly see the item's potential, future, and next purpose. When spotting a bunch of quart-sized juice cans she did not see it as garbage to be thrown away. No, she saw each can as building blocks and the beginning of something grand...a footstool.

I remember asking when I was little, "Grandma how can you make a footstool out of these empty cans?"

Grandma would just start laughing and with the excitement of a magician she would share the marvels of making a footstool.

"It's easy honey, all we have to do is upholster each individual can, then wire them all together. When that's done, you put some extra padding for the top and then glue on a leather cover and bottom. And we've got ourselves a footstool."

Christmas of 1964 was the year each of Grandma's grandsons received their very own footstool. Ten expertly made footstools crafted out of quart-sized juice cans. Each were different colors and decorated with its own specific animal. My brother's was decorated with a brown bear.

I don't know how many hours she labored on those stools, but it was a lot. They were labors of love, given to what she felt were ten very deserving Grandsons.

My brother Ed was four years old at the time he received his footstool from Grandma. His was a rich blue upholstered footstool accented on top with a powerful looking brown bear made from leather, hand sewn on to the upholstery, then hand painted by Grandma.

I never knew how much his footstool meant to him, until one day I stopped by his office and for the first time noticed it next to his desk. At seeing it, I asked, "Ed is that the footstool Grandma made for you?"

He answered enthusiastically, "Yes!"

Leaning over to look at it more closely, I said, "Wow, that's got to be over forty years old, doesn't it?

My brother with a big grin replied, "It sure is! Grandma made that for me forty years ago."

"I can't believe the shape it's in Ed. It looks great!"

"You know Mel, whenever I need a reminder of what's possible in life, or when I feel discouraged about my resources, I just look down at my footstool Grandma made me. I examine it closely. Then I am reminded that inside this beautiful forty year-old footstool are used juice cans wired together. You know, instantly my perspective is renewed on what all my true possibilities are. In fact, I can just look at this footstool sometimes and become inspired."

I wonder, if Grandma knew that the footstool she gave my brother when he was only four years old would have a new 'purpose' for him when he was a grown man of forty-four. A footstool with a purpose... to inspire!

Yes! Grandma must have known. She always knew the potential, future, and the next purpose of everything she made!

Copyright 2004, Melodie Lynn Tilander

Melodie is a graduate of the 2TheHeart "Get Published!" writing workshop! She is now published in the 2TheHeart book and in the new Chicken Soup for the Caregiver's Soul! She lives in beautiful Oregon and you can find more of her writing in the 2TheHeart archives.

Free Magnets for Home or Office 

Just in Case
by Evan Manchester

Just in case you wanted to know --
when I was born I could only see shadows.

Just in case you wanted to know --
when I was two I was curious about the world.

Just in case you wanted to know --
when I was four I believed I was a superhero.

Just in case you wanted to know --
when I was six I started to be afraid of the news.

Just in case you wanted to know --
when I was eight I met the best schoolteacher.

Just in case you wanted to know --
when I was ten I caught more fish than my Dad.

Just in case you wanted to know --
I'm now eleven and I can see people.

Evan Manchester copyright 2004

You can contact Evan in care of 2TheHeart or his dad, who is a 2TheHeart writer. Be sure to visit his web site! The Manchester men are gifted writers!

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