Thursday, November 20, 2014

Snowflake Clothespin Ornaments

When I first bought this house, an older couple lived across the street.  The wife's parents had owned the home and she inherited it.  She and her husband lived there for thirty-plus years.

The Dad came into the picture, we got married, and every night when he came home from work, the wife would wave at him from her chair in the bay window.  

When we were pregnant with our first baby, she started shopping for the new addition.  When he was born, there was a bag left in the chair on our porch at least twice a week.  Clothes and hot wheels, mostly, but there were all kinds of things she'd bring over.  She'd stick a post-it note to the front window so I'd know she had left something.  We literally did not have to buy a single item of clothing for our first two kids because of her and her husband.  She started buying at least one year ahead of their age, so I had clothes from them up until last year, in bins in the attic.
Baby is now wearing all the clothes that were given to The Girl.

Five years ago, at the beginning of October, she got a bad cough and went to the doctor.  They gave her antibiotics and sent her home.  She would call and say she had stuff for the kids for Halloween, but wanted to wait until she felt better.  Back to the doctor she'd go, every few days, not improving.  About three weeks in, she was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.  We would call and talk to her in the hospital, and she would still bring up the stuff she had for the kids.  We printed pictures of them in their Halloween costumes and sent them to the hospital with her husband.  

She never came home. 
It sucked.  
The Kid was four and The Girl was just barely three.

Last month, for reasons I won't go into now, her husband moved out of their house.  The family is keeping it as a rental, and some art students have moved in.  I took over a plate of goodies to welcome them.  But it's weird.  I've been here for 13 years and it's weird to have both of them gone.

He had left a bunch of stuff in his garage, and another neighbor was hauling it to the dump for him.  He came over and asked if I wanted to go through it before they loaded in into the truck.  I drug some planters across the street (in the red wagon they had given to The Kid when he was one), a few random garden tools, and a big bucket of clothespins.  As soon as the weather allowed, she would hang all their laundry on the turquoise clothesline in the backyard.  Those clothespins had seen a lot of sunny days.

I sat down one day a couple weeks ago with those clothespins and my hot glue gun, and made a box full of snowflakes.  I was only going to make a few for family members, but I couldn't stop.  Originally, I was going to paint them white, but I love the natural weathered wood.  There were two different kinds in the bucket. Newer ones, and then the older long ones, that have been around forever.  
Yesterday, I hung just a few from the curtain rod in the living room, but when I get into full-on Christmas decorating, I'll hang them all around the house.
I couldn't love them more. 

I bet, never in a zillion years, did she think her old, weather-worn, clothespins would be hanging in the window, directly across the street from the window she always sat in and waved from.
They were very good to us, and our kids, and every year when I pull the snowflakes out of the Christmas bins, I will remember her.


  1. Oh much in this post moved me......I am so sorry you lost her. She sounded like an angel her on earth friend. How blessed were you all to have her as your neighbor. It must be strange to not have them there anymore but how beautiful that you have these clothespins! The snowflakes are outstanding!! I bet she is smiling down at you just seeing those hanging from that window! Moved me to tears friend....people like that are hard to find and you were lucky that you all had a chance to experience this type of love! Just awesome! Nicole xo

  2. awww, Mindy...what a precious heart you have. Bless her heart..she must have so enjoyed you and your family.
    I lost a long time neighbor several years ago and still miss him so much. We were neighbors for 40 years..

  3. What a sweet story. How sad she is gone. You've created a precious way to remember her with her clothespin stars. I'm sure she would've loved what you created! It's rather unique that she was always giving you clothes for the kids and you ended up with her clothes pins!

  4. What a lovely story, Mindy. They sound like wonderful neighbors. I am glad that you were able to come up with a beautiful way to remember them fondly. I hope all is well with you and yours--I've been busy, but the end is in sight! Take care!

  5. Oh Mindy, I love these snowflakes. And, even more, I am touched by the sad but happy story of friendship, devotion, and untimately neighborly love. What a sweet and festive way you now have to honor and remember the couple.

  6. What an absolutely precious story. It must have been heartbreaking when she died but what a beautiful legacy she has left for you. Beautiful people, beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it. The snowflakes mean all that much more now. Hugs to you, my friend.

  7. I love your snowflakes and I love that you have something to display in the house that reminds you and your kids of your neighbors generosity. When I was a little girl, we had really nice neighbors too and I miss them all the time. I keep finding little books of bible verses that she gave us as kids and now my kids can read them too.


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