My brother introduced me to Debbie Dickson a few years ago, and I loved her immediately. But then again, everyone loves Debbie. She is one of those people who instantly blends into a family or group of friends like she's been part of the group forever—like an old friend or a beloved family member you don't see very often.
After Debbie learned that I was collecting keepsake stories for a book, she said, "I have a story I'd like to share." A few weeks later, I received her nearly-perfect first draft—a story about castanets, but in reality, the story is about her mother, Joy Schwamb Dickson, who taught school in the Wilcox County school system for years and years.
For those of you who don't know, castanets are those wooden percussion instruments used in Spanish music. They consist of pairs of hollowed-out pieces of wood joined on one edge by a string. Musicians and dancers hold the castanets in their hands and produce those intriguing, rhythmic, clicking sounds. Debbie's mother used castanets to teach Spanish to her students and her grandchildren, so they were always scattered about the house.
In her story, Debbie reminisces about her mother's love of teaching, how her mother loved and believed in her students, her mom's beehive hairdo, and her mom's arduous battle with breast cancer. It's a beautiful story—a beautiful tribute piece. I am thankful I met Debbie, and I am thankful that through Debbie's storytelling, I got to know a little bit about her mother.
Here's an excerpt from Debbie's story. Purchase your own copy of Project Keepsake to read all of Debbie's story and other stories about keepsakes and the stories that give simple objects life and meaning.