A Trip down Memory Lane

A Trip down Memory Lane

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.
Friday’s blog a private peep, right?
All this week I have been absorbed in the Nursery Rhyme art from my past, the first real artwork I took through from start to finish, and then launched commercially.
You know how memories sometimes bubble to the surface?
Well, this morning a worthy contender popped up, and this one I would like to share with you.
Are you sitting comfortably?
Then I shall begin…
I wasn’t involved in stamping or craft at all; I was into languages.
I had designed this educational phonic alphabet, 
and then I was taking it to market.

I could write a book about where NOT to sell educational rhyme charts! Folsom Chilli Cookoff was certainly not a great outlet for us! My brother Steve was with me there. 
I remember we laughed a lot there too.

San Jose Wine Festival NOT a smart move either.
Half cut, dehydrated shoppers weren’t really looking for a 
Victorian alphabet!
Oooh! I’ve just had another memory, about a cowboy boot turned into a birdhouse! But I shall stick to the plan, and bury that one again, for another day….

When you think about it, the clue was in the name really…
Chilli and wine???? What was I thinking?

So what would you think of the 
California Educational Conference in LosAngeles?
Probably a better bet, right?

And that’s where my memory took me this morning.
Right back there.

I had set up my little table with the rhyme charts 
and the ABC stamps. 

The conference delegates – all teachers and educators – began trickling in during the break, looking at the various products on offer. It was very, very slow, nobody wanted to stop and engage, quite soul destroying actually.
Then a black lady stopped and picked up one of the handmade, handcut, mounted stamps
(I’ll say that again slowly: S T A M P S).
Guess what she said.

“Just as I expected. All white kids.” 

She threw the stamp back on the table and went to move on.
You can take the girl out of London, but you just can’t take London out of the girl, can you?

“Ang on, ang on! What are you talking about ? Firstly, it’s a stamp! Where’s the colour in that? Secondly, if you took the time to actually look at the poster which accompanies the stamps, you would notice that A, the first letter in the alphabet, is a little mixed-race girl. And I know this to be true, because I modelled her after my daughter, Grace, who is mixed-race. 
That’s right. Her Dad’s black. 
In fact, funnily enough, so’s my son, and he is the letter U, because he has a shock of tight curls.
And Z? He’s a little Mexican kid. And how so? Because the lady who helped me finish the rhyme chart at the printers was a single mum who always had her beautiful, bashful little lad Zachary with her when she came to help me. So I dedicated the last letter of the ABC to him. And yeah, Mexican. 
So don’t be laying your Racism on me! Just because I’m white, don’t make me responsible for the racism in your country! 
I’m not from here, and I’m married to a black dude, so you picked the wrong one to target. ”

Well, they say in life you have to pick your battles, and that was one I decided to engage in.
She backed down so fast, probably because the older American  black lady who had the table next to mine pitched in. As soon as I was done, this other stallholder kicked off,
“How dare you come in here venting your racism at innocent educators? You should be ashamed, Sister!”
And she let her have it big style. 

All I wanted to do was share the knowledge that rhythm and rhyme were vital for language acquisition, and that simple verses, like Mother Goose, were key learning tools!

Once she scuttled off with her tail between her legs, 
the lady next door and I introduced ourselves to each other.
I don’t know who was more surprised.

“I’m Barbara Gray”, she said.

Even more astounding :
We also shared the same birthday. 

It’s a funny old life, isn’t it?

So there we are.
A little memory which came up today.

I wonder where Zachary is now. 
He was such a lovely boy.

I hope you can join me on Sunday.
Lovely, talented Tina and I will be on at 2pm.

I shall have an hour of stamping and paint at 5pm.

And then at 8pm, it’s finally time to get these little Groovi plates out! Can’t wait! So many memories! More than you can imagine. 

Love & hugs,

36 thoughts on “A Trip down Memory Lane

  1. Coincidences like that are amazing and meant to happen! What lovely memories. You'll have so many more pop up over the next few days!
    Love and hugs! Xxxx

  2. Hi Barbara, it's been good to hear your memories. I've been wondering whether the chart could be turned into a x stitch chart ? Looking forward to the tv shows this weekend too. Xx

  3. lovely memories Barbara will be watching Sunday with a glass of wine in my fist hehehe……. well it is my Birthday……. [73] lol

  4. Wow, it clearly was all meant to be. And so spooky that the lady next to you had the same name and birthday. What a great memory, thank you for sharing. I can't imagine how long your alphabet took to illustrate. And it also seems integral part of so many life changes and journeys for you. No wonder it's so dear to your heart. I'll be watching and recording all your shows, looking forward to them. See if I can stay awake during your Monday 9am show for once!!! I do have a better chance this month, been managing to get up a wee bit earlier quite a lot of mornings! Hope you're still excited and not nervous about them. And I hope you've got your prep finished so you can go spend all tomorrow with your Mum and Dad, celebrating his birthday. Love Brenda xx

  5. Great memory, how funny to find another Barbara Gray! So pleased your stamps took off and you found your market otherwise my crafty journey would be all the sadder. Have fun at the weekend with your new plates, bet if someone had told you back then you'd be doing demos on TV you'd have laughed at them! Xx

  6. WOW indeed what an amazing coincident! Looking forward to Clarity Sunday! Have a great evening and a wonderful Saturday. Wish you dad happy birthday too!
    Linda xxx

  7. What an interesting tale, love reading about your crafting journey, you certainly peed on that lady's bonfire lol and so nice you Barbara's stuck together, fascinating coincidence x

  8. Fantastic story, whenever you write about your past it moves me to tears. I wish you all the best for Sunday, will be watching and buying no doubt. I has a similar laugh with a lady of colour many years ago, my maiden name was Black, I has cause to ask this lovely woman her name and she said, you aint gonna believe this, my name is Mrs White, Oh I do I said, my name is Black, not a dry eye in the house.

  9. You could NOT make that up! Standing next to your own namesake with the same birthday – incredible coincidence. Life is very strange at times, but I think that these are the things that make our lives so much more. I used my new Faber-Castell Polychromos this afternoon and they are fantastic. I need more colours already! Looking forward to your shows on Sunday (especially the stamping and paint session) E for Excited!
    Tonbridge Sue

  10. What a wonderful coincidence Barbara and is just a magical mystical moment when that sort of thing happens, probably only once in a lifetime. I'm glad you stood up that lady and put her in her place as you certainly had cause to. x

  11. Hi Barbara
    Isn't fate a wonderful thing! You really should write that book one day, it would be a best seller I'm sure. Good for you standing your ground though, this is such a beautiful set and would look lovey around a classroom. Have a lovely time with your mum and dad tomorrow. Happy birthday to your Dad .
    Love Diane xxx

  12. Hi Barbara, what a lovley story true to life.
    You never know anything until you take the time to look and learn and never judge.
    And now look where you are a brilliant business woman who learns us all in the craft we all love and admire.
    Looking forward to Sunday.
    Hugs Lynn xx

  13. What a lovely story I had a friend who has passed away who was coloured and was always making jokes about herself was intown and Noela came up to me tapped me on shoulder said hoy younot speak to blacks and turned round said were hadn't noticed you was different to me both laughed she was a great friend. So looking forward to shows and bit paint stamps as well xxx

  14. What an amazing coincidence, but don't you find life occasionally throws up these little coincidences out of the blue. Glad you stood your ground with that lady. I'm loving these alphabet groovis but I'm thinking I may get more use from the stamps. Shall watch all the design teams samples before I make up my mind.
    Thank you for my gold club membership renewal goodies which arrived today, I love both the stamp and the Groovi and will get lots of use from both.
    It has been horribly windy and cold down here today, more like November than May. Hope it gets back to Spring again soon. xx

  15. Oh Barb, what a lovely ending to that experience. I clearly recall buying a couple of your corner stamps many years ago from you at Ally Pally. You had a tiny little stand yet your products were such a new and innovative idea. Who knew way back there where it would lead!? I still have those stamps BTW! One day they may sell on eBay for a small fortune 🙂 xx

  16. Hello Barb, what an amazing blog post, love your stories and memories. And it must have been fate that you and Barbara where sat together. Glad she backed you up. Bx

  17. Brought tears to my eyes! Great story, cor I can just imagine her face when you spoke back to her! Good for you! And what a long long way you have come. Wxx

  18. Strange coincidence – spooky really. I went to a funeral not long back and one of partners cousins looked really taken aback when I spoke to her. I can't help it she said but I have to tell you when you walked in I thought you were my friend from Canada you look identically like her. Oh I thought yea sure but then she showed me a photograph and it was like looking at myself. Then it turned out this lady was also big into crafts and my age too. Would have been really bizarre if she had my name too but she didn't which was a bit of a relief really. So they always say that somewhere in the world you have a double well I have seen mine!! Hope your alphabets and rhymes go down a storm which I am sure they will, much love Jayne

  19. Oh my I loved reading that story Barbara, it actually made me well up and oh what a coincedence! I read your blog almost every day but hardly post as can't when on my tablet but as on my PC today I needed to!

    Good luck with your shows. I do miss them since you moved to Hochanda as unable to record. I do try to catch the odd one on catch up when I can but rarely possible. Will be a dream come true if ever gets shown on Virgin Media. Thankfully I keep up with Jo Rice's workshops so I am constantly purchasing lol xxx

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