I had no idea what it was. When she handed me the package she told me to open it first, and then she had a story to tell us about it. As soon as I had enough of the wrapping removed to get a glance at the magazine cover with the Beatles’ picture, I knew!
“Where did you find this?” I demanded. She began her story as I finished unwrapping the package and passed it around for others to see. The story continued for quite a while.
(Side note: Amy is her mother’s daughter. They share so many characteristics that Amy’s friends refer to Carol as “Number one” and to Amy as “Number Two.” And no, that’s not any kind of reference to waste. Christina, on the other hand, is her father’s daughter. I won’t tell you what her friends call me and her! However, one trait Amy seems to have gotten from me is the ability to tell a story in as many words as possible. Short-winded we are not.)
You already know the story of the search from yesterday’s post. When she got to the part about the dealer asking her how much she’d be willing to pay she declined to tell us what it had cost, saying only, “More than I had planned to spend.”
Now do you see why I was willing to stand outside for four hours in the cold to help Amy get her husband his Xbox 360 for Christmas? Does this better explain the “family tradition of ‘above and beyond’ gift acquisition and giving?” Okay, then. I’m glad you “get it” now.
As far as appreciation of the gift and the effort goes, below you’ll see a picture of the display on my den wall of the magazine (in a glass-front case, matted, complete with a copy of the article AND my Olympic gold medal! Yeah, the medal is a
Yesterday I promised you some irony. Here we go.
When Amy finisher her long, proud tale of her search for and acquisition of this rare treasure that immortalized her father, I excused myself and went to a desk in a different room. When I returned to our den, I handed her another copy of the same magazine!! I think I made some really dumb comment like, “Gee, it looks just like this one.”
Her jaw dropped. “But you said you didn’t have a copy!”
Well, I didn’t. But sometime during that last year I had mentioned in a phone conversation with my mother that I had told my daughters that story, and asked her if she remembered that episode. She told me, “Oh absolutely. I still have several copies of the magazine. I’ve saved them all these years.”
She sent me one so I could show my daughters some time. I put it in the desk drawer and forgot about it. None of us (except now, Amy) had any clue that the magazine had any value to anyone outside our own family.
Oh... My... God! How’s that for irony?
Don’t worry. Amy wasn’t crushed. I told her that the efforts (and expense) she had undertaken in finding that gift made it much more precious and special than any other copy. Hers is the one in the display case!
In response to emails and comments to yesterday’s post:
VIKI, I “dragged you through three days of this” because:
1. It’s a long story. I try to make my posts like Readers Digest stories: short, easy to digest, bite-size. In its entirety with pictures this would have been just too big.
2. I probably don’t create text or type as fast as you do. And I have a life and a job outside of blogging. I simply didn’t have TIME to put all this together into one post. Breaking it up made it possible to still have something new on here every day, and not overwhelm you wonderful readers (I hope).
3. And it DID bring you back, didn't it? (heh heh)
JUDY, finally, yesterday, Amy admitted to me that she paid the New Jersey dealer $75 for the magazine in 1994. But she reminded me that she probably spent a lot more than that in gas for her car and long-distance telephone charges trying to find the thing!
Anonymous Emailer: You asked if I planned to come out of retirement and participate in future ATGA competitions. The answer is no. Like Lance Armstrong, I decided to walk away from my sport at the top. There’s never been another nationally recorded Olympic champion in toilet paper unrolling since I won the title in 1964, so I have continued my reign for over forty years. Not may sports heroes can make that boast.
Yet another Earle family tradition. Eat your hearts out, all you members of lesser family units!