All you wish for yourself / Todo lo que deseas para ti

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

MY MOTHER THE DOWAGER DUCHESS was a woman of many talents. One thing she loved to do was paint watercolours. Before my father died in 1987, the duchess worked in oils — on large canvases as well as on small remnants of wood paneling (click here for one we shipped to Spain).

Years ago, the duchess began creating paintings on heavy watercolour stock that she would then fold into cards. She collected blank envelopes of all sizes and created her artwork to fit. Whenever an occasion arrived, she’d go through the box and select a card she felt was appropriate. I have the box of blank cards and envelopes, and used many of them as thank-you cards after she died. But I just came across six watercolour cards sent to us over the years — for our birthdays and our anniversary.

It was entertaining to read the messages. Of the six cards, four read: “Good luck in your new home,” and all but one read “I wish you all you wish for yourself/selves.” One read, “Good luck in another new home. Looking forward to my visit in February.” She always complained she didn’t know what to write.

She sometimes included The Kid Brother in her sign-off, but mostly did not. Although we called him Chuck and Chucky, he has had a number of other nicknames. After his first year at summer camp, we were required to call him CB; he would answer to nothing else. At work he’s known as Charlie. She was Mom to me and Mim to San Geraldo. So she signed every card Mom/Mim. When we packed up her apartment in 2016, I laughed when I saw all the cards and letters she had saved over the years. If the duchess could see me now!

Anyway, whatever the occasion, I wish you all you wish for yourself.


MI MADRE LA DUQUESA VIUDA era una mujer de muchos talentos. Una cosa que le encantaba hacer era pintar acuarelas. Antes de la muerte de mi padre en 1987, la duquesa trabajaba al óleo, tanto en lienzos grandes como en pequeños restos de paneles de madera (haz clic aquí para ver uno que enviamos a España).

Hace años, comenzó a crear pinturas en acuarela pesada que luego doblaba en tarjetas. Recogió sobres en blanco de todos los tamaños y creó su obra de arte a la medida. Siempre que llegaba una ocasión, revisaba la caja y seleccionaba una tarjeta que consideraba apropiada. Tengo la caja de tarjetas en blanco y sobres, y usé muchos de ellos como tarjetas de agradecimiento después de su muerte. Pero me encontré con seis tarjetas de acuarela que nos enviaron a lo largo de los años, para nuestros cumpleaños y nuestro aniversario.

Fue entretenido leer los mensajes. De las seis tarjetas, cuatro decían: “Buena suerte en su nuevo hogar”, y todas menos una decían “Te deseo todo lo que deseas para ti”. Una estaba escrito: “Buena suerte en otro hogar nuevo. Espero mi visita en febrero”. Siempre se quejaba de que no sabía qué escribir.

A veces incluía El Hermanito en su aprobación, pero la mayoría de las veces no lo hacía. El nombre formal de él es Charles (como Carlos). Y aunque lo llamábamos Chuck y Chucky (que son apodos comunes para Charles), ha tenido otros apodos. Después de su primer año en el campamento de verano, se nos pidió que lo llamáramos CB; no respondería a nada más. En el trabajo se le conoce como Charlie. Ella era mamá para mí y Mim para San Geraldo. Entonces ella firmó cada tarjeta Mom / Mim. Cuando empacamos su piso en 2016, me reí cuando vi todas las tarjetas y cartas que ella había guardado a lo largo de los años. ¡Si pudiera verme ahora!

De todos modos, sea cual sea la ocasión, te deseo todo lo que deseas para ti.

Pencil. / Lápiz.
Oddly, she spelled The Kid Brother’s name wrong.
Extrañamente, escribió mal el nombre de El Hermanito.
No new home that month!
¡No hay casa nueva ese mes!

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

26 thoughts on “All you wish for yourself / Todo lo que deseas para ti”

    1. David:
      Thanks. She always said she was a copier while I did originals. She didn’t always copy and, even when she did, she made the copies her own. She also sculpted, made puppets, sewed, knitted, embroidered. Truly gifted.

    1. anne marie:
      They do. Had I known how consistent her messages were, I would have made her a couple of rubber stamps.

  1. Love these watercolours and your mother had a beautiful penmanship. For someone who claimed that she did not know what to write, she certainly wrote nice messages simple to the point but nice.

    1. larrymuffin:
      She did have beautiful penmanship. Always, even into her late 80s before she died. She copied the “I wish you all you wish…” from a printed card and used it whenever she could. It didn’t matter what she wrote, however, people loved receiving her original art.

  2. Watercolour cards are so nice to give and receive! And your Mom had beautiful handwriting too.

    1. Debra:
      Many people we knew framed the cards she sent them. And, yes, her handwriting was always so beautiful. I guess she learned and learned well when penmanship mattered.

  3. So good you have these from the past. Was your mother’s artistic skill ever encouraged as a child? Or was she self-taught?

    1. Jim:
      Although my mother sewed, knitted, and did beautiful needlework, she mother said she never knew she had any artistic talent until a neighbour convinced her to take an oil painting class with her in the early ’60s. They went to another neighbour’s house once a week and she was hooked for life. After my father died, she registered at the local community college and took every art class she could, plus lots of academic work (including Spanish language, culture, and history, which took her to Spain with her class when she was 70 years old). That’s side of her was amazing and so admirable.

  4. Enchanting! My favorite aunt (Aunt Lil as it happens) also did watercolors and produced watercolor cards. In her heyday, she even did her own Christmas cards – which were outdoor scenes and winter birds happily.

    1. Kirk:
      I know what you mean. I especially love that one. She said that reminded her of my doodles.

    1. Wilma:
      I never noticed that about the B (I noticed the sweep but never connected it with a winding road). She would absolutely love that description. Thanks for putting that in my head.

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      They’re all scanned and will be added to SG’s genealogy website for posterity. But I still can’t part with them!

    1. Bob:
      She was happiest when she was creating art. I remember coming home from school some days to find her sitting in the kitchen doing oil paintings at her table easel. Lunch? Get it yourself? Dinner? We’re going out.

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