Sunday, March 20, 2011

The MOST AMAZING gift ever!

Well I was going to avoid telling everyone that I had my 40th birthday on St. Patrick's Day. But, because of a gift I received yesterday from my mother, I have to let the cat out of the bag.

One of my gifts I received from my mother was an antique book titled "Life Begins at 40", by Walter B. Pitkin.

At first I didn't know what to make of it until she told me to open the cover. The first page had my Grandfather's handwriting on it with the date 1937. This book was a gift he gave his father (my great grandfather) for his 40th birthday. He wrote:

1937Take a look. Then read this book, you'll like it, (I hope). With all the luck in the world for a Happy Birthday.

From your loving son and Pal,

I never even knew my Great Grandfather called my Grandfather "Squeeze".

Then, on the next page, more writing. My great grandfather gave it back to my grandfather on his 40th birthday.

1961 Best wishes to a loyal and devoted son. Love, Dad

It doesn't stop there! My grandfather gave it to my mother (the eldest child) on her 40th birthday.

1987 Dear Cheryl,
I gave this book to your grandfather when I was 16 years old. He gave it back to me when I was 40, so it rightfully goes to you on September 15th-your 40th birthday. I am very proud of you and the family and love you all very much. Dad

I had no idea "the book" even existed. The last writing is from my mother to me. She knows what a sentimental sap I am, so by now the tears are beginning.

Dear Lisa,
Turning 40 is o.k.!!
What I can't believe is that my "little girl" is 40. It's actually a special day because this book, which is seventy four years old, is now yours. Grandpa would be so proud to know that this is being passed onto his first grandchild~ I know, here come the tears.
You are as special a mother as you are a daughter.

I was not happy about turning 40, but getting this book made it all worth it. I just wish my Grandfather was still here to have shared the day of me receiving it. My oldest son who is now 15, will receive it from me for his 40th 25 years from now. The book is so frail, but I hope it lasts forever and becomes a never ending tradition that began in 1937.


  1. What a special book and gift! Such a blessing to have family items passed from generation to generation! Happy Birthday to you Lisa...and many, many more!

  2. happy birthday! what an amazing gift! so cool to see how the handwriting changed each time and learning new things about family!

    enjoy your 40's!

  3. I am crying. I'm a sap for this kinda loving stuff! Happy Birthday, Friend!!!

    Such a wonderful tradition! Absolutely beautiful!


  4. What a great gift!! I love that it was a complete surprise to you and holds such special family memories.

    Happy 40th!


  5. AMAZING!!! My eyes fileld with tears as I was reading this. Happy B-day friend, you make 40 look BEAUTIFUL!!!

  6. What a wonderful gift, I'm a sap so I was crying as I read this. 40 isn't that bad! I will turn 40 in May and I keep saying it beats the alternative.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful gift with all of us.


  7. Happy Birthday Lisa!!! And what a wonderful gift to receive:)

  8. That is such a beautiful gift! What a treasure to have and to pass on to your son someday. Happiest of birthday years to you!! Blessings, Pamela

  9. This is such a great story! I love "The Book"! How special that it has been passed around throughout your family and now you, my 40 year old friend, have it in your possession! Happy Belated Birthday and as the book must profess ... Life Begins at Forty! xox

  10. That is one special gift! It's true, life does begin at forty. There's something about turning forty, where you don't care as much what others think, you are more self-assured than you've ever been. It's not all that bad!! You've earned it.

    Happy Birthday.

  11. Seriously, I have tears in my eyes. This is SO beautiful and thoughtful!! What a treasure for you to have it. Heck, 40 is worth it!!

    Hope you enjoy your life, which is just starting 40. LOL!

  12. so sweet! happy birthday lisa = )

  13. Happy Birthday! What a special gift passed down from generation to generation! And, yes, I have years too.

  14. What a beautiful gift and wonderful tradition. Happy birthday!

  15. How awesome is this!!!! I love it! What a special gift. Happy Birthday, sweet friend! Hope you're having wonderful weekend (:

  16. what an amazing tradition!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. What a family teasure. I hope it holds together for many more 40th birthdays. Happy Birthday!

  18. Such a great surprise! And happy Birthday. I hope it was great for you!

  19. I love this story!! What an awesome gift. Happy Birthday friend!

  20. Happy Birthday! What a very cool gift!

  21. I had tears in my eyes as I read your wonderful story! Forty is just a number - continue to grow, learn and love. Happy Birthday!

  22. An amazing legacy. Happy 40th. Its a great decade ahead.
    - Joy

  23. Oh Lisa, this post made me tear up! Happy Birthday and thank you for sharing a wonderful family story. :)

    Take care,

  24. oh, i was in tears reading that! what a special gift. that is the best!
    and happy birthday, you sneaky little leprechaun!!!!

  25. Great Gift!! Please do a post on what advice the book gives you!!! Happy Late Birthday!

  26. Hope you had a great bday! What an awesome book!

  27. Oh Lisa, what an absolute treasure that is--and a wonderful tradition. You have a special family--I love the posts you did about your grandparents.

    Best Wishes,


  28. Hi Lisa, and happy birthday! I love old books, (I have a small collectino of lovely children's books from when I was a child, and a few of my mother's) and thought I'd share two useful sites with you.

    The first is an awesome resource for supplies to care for and repair your treasure: I'm not affiliated with them; I just love their products & have purchased from them and been very happy.

    The second is a page on how to repair your book:

    Have a wonderful week, and here's to making your 41st year better than any before!

  29. Happy Birthday (I get to celebrate this same number very soon!). What an absolutely amazing gift...a wonderful way to celebrate family and your birthday!

  30. I love your blog! I turned 49 the same day, it's a great day for a party, lucky us!

  31. This is an amazing gift! Love the tradition of handing it down! By the way I send birthday wishes to You!

  32. Lisa that is so awesome!!
    That is the best gift ever!

  33. What an amazing tradition. I just found your blog last week, but have been busy and am just seeing this posting now. I'm sitting here with tears running down my face because my dear Mom passed away when I was little more than 39, which was almost sixteen years ago. So for me the book itself is just a small part of the awesome gift you received, but I'm sure you already know that. Please hug your Mom for me.
    God Bless....
    P.S. Today I turn 55.

  34. What a beautiful story! I wish that we had something like that to pass back and forth. And you didn't even know that it existed!

    Love your blog, BTW.

  35. That's a amazing gift your mother gave you on your 40th birthday. Is there a back story as to why your grandfather was called squeeze? I'd love to hear it.

    -Zane of ontario honey