The Things My Grandma Taught Me: Write Your Name On Everything

retrochick.JPGIvy says:

Longtime readers of the site might remember when I lost my grandma suddenly a couple of years ago. She was like a mother to me- she lived with us for 8 years and even before she lived with us, we were always very close. I ain’t gonna lie, Home Eccers, her sudden death was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through and I spent a *very* long time mourning her.

I’m over it now. I will always miss her and wish I still had her in my life, but the mourning period is finally over and I can think about her in a positive way without plunging into an “OMG, I’d give anything to have her back,” teary, bawl-fest. I can’t have her back, but I can honor her memory *and* share her with all of you. So, from time to time as I think of things she taught me, I’ll share them.

Today’s lesson: write your name on everything. My grandma wrote her name on nearly everything she owned. When we were clearing away her stuff, I had to laugh as I’d find 10 pairs of scissors, all neatly engraved (or sometimes Sharpied) with “Vivian J. Hogan” in her elegant scrawl. Writing your name on everything comes in handy more than you would think. When my other grandmother got her new (and very nice) wheelchair, my grandma told me to write her name on it. I did. Several months later, her wheelchair was “lost” at the assisted living home. After going in there and raising several million kinds of drama with them, we determined that it was lost forever.

Not so, however. When my grandmother died, my mom marched into the assisted living and told them she was NOT leaving until they ponied up two wheelchairs and four walkers, all the stuff that was “lost” while she lived there. About 15 minutes later, they came back with two wheelchairs and four walkers. Some of which we’d never seen before, but one of which was the wheelchair my grandma had told me to write my other grandmother’s name on. The name was still on it.

It also comes in handy around the house. After the kids ripped off about 10 million pairs of my scissors, I finally wrote my name on my favorite pair. I caught my son using my favorite pair of scissors cutting paper. (!!!!!my fabric scissors!!!!!) “Hey, man.” I said, “I believe those are my good fabric scissors.” The denials came fast and furiously. “Noooo! These are the scissors you put in the junk drawer for cutting paper!!!” I took them from him and flipped it over. “Ivy Hogan”, it said. BUSTED!

You’d be surprised at what all you can write your name on, from scissors to your tools (that’s MY screwdriver! get your own!) to books. So get out your Sharpies, Home Eccers. Start identifying your stuff.



15 Comments

  1. caryn verell on July 8, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Grandma was right!!! When serving in the military you learn to do this the first week of boot camp..and not just your name but the service number that goes with it…spent a good part of a night with a govt. issued stamp kit stamping name and service number on everything from undies to outerwear..i still use that old service number with my name on many things just in case someone has the same name as mine.

  2. Arr on July 7, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    I have been known to label my children.

    Paranoia is the mother of invention as often as necessity, at least in my house. When my tiny little children started going on field trips with Day Care and School I would write my telephone number on them with marker. I felt that if they got lost someone honest and kind could call me.

    I no longer tattoo my children with phone numbers, but I do send my calling card in their pocket, just in case.

  3. Diaper Cake Becca on July 7, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    What a great story, Ivy! I, too, am a firm believer in sending your children out into the world with clothing marked with their name (ESPECIALLY at daycares and school) and especially outler layers that tend to be taken off (coats, sweaters, gloves, etc).

    We grew up labelling our covered-dishes with masking tape on the bottom with our names written on. A label maker would be much more modern now, I suppose! We also use our address labels to mark our books (whether it is the pool-side summer read or your child’s 11th grade trig text).

  4. Deanna on July 7, 2009 at 11:11 am

    I like the idea of you sharing tips from your grandma. Grandma’s are smart! Mine, somewhat similarly to yours, writes the date on everything she buys. Medicine’s and foods for the most part. She no longer trusts the sell by date after opening a box of cake mix and finding an unpleasant surprise years ago. Thanks for sharing Ivy.

  5. Judith on July 7, 2009 at 10:26 am

    I’m with you, Ivy! And what a smart Grandma you had!
    One of the best labeling inspirations I’ve had was to use my label printer and mark all the different electronic devices’ charging cords so we would know what is what and whose was whose (eg., Mom Cell or Liz iPod) That way, even if we had 2 the same (like cell phone chargers) the owner could claim his or her own. (And it helped me remember which was which of mine!)

  6. Rebekka on July 7, 2009 at 1:13 am

    I can’t believe that assisted living – “losing” wheelchairs and walkers from the residents! What cheek!

  7. Angie @ Many Little Blessings on July 6, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    In a funny move, I recently put my name, with Sharpie markers, on all of my Sharpie markers. 😉

    Another woman and I were doing crafts for a church retreat, and we were both bringing markers, as well as using some from the church. So, knowing that ahead of time, and knowing that I have a bunch of cute colors of Sharpie markers, I thought I wanted to be sure that I got all of mine back. Apparently it was a good move, because one other lady also brought some, and they accidentally got put in with the church supplies. I’m not sure she ever got them back — but I definitely had all of mine. 🙂

  8. gracie on July 6, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    my children knew that everything they were taking to camp had to have their names on, so to make my life easier they decided to do it for me — so now their names are written rather largely and not on the tags but on the shirts where it bleeds thru and can be clearly seen from the outside on all of their summer cloths and cannot be donated to the good will later, sigh

    but i guess it beats last year — the night before the left for camp, i went to put their names on things only to have the electric go out for about 6 hours and i had to mark everything by the light of an oil lamp!

  9. dani on July 6, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    When my sister and I were little, my mom had one of those labelers that put your name on fabric, and our names went on EVERYTHING. (as it turned out, it came in handy at summer camp and daycare where we routinely lost things)

    My great aunt belongs to a book club and gets a lot of books each month, and likes to share them with the rest of the family. Every single book has her initials and the month/year in it. It’s really funny, when we are trading books at family gatherings, all she has to do is look inside the cover to see if she has read it already!

    Being in culinary school, where everyone gets the same standard knife kit, i learned to put my name on things or people steal them (unfortunately i only learned this after having things stolen). So now my name in on everything in my knife kit and my pastry kit….thanks mom! (Although even though my name was in one of my books, that still got stolen….I went to school in Baltimore, what can I say?)

  10. Kaci on July 6, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    I had to laugh when I read about finding your grandmothers name on everything when cleaning out her stuff. When my best friend had to clean out her mother’s stuff, she found there was a sticker on the bottom of every item, telling how much to sell it for. Her mother had been afraid they would sell her stuff for too little when she died.

  11. Tracey on July 6, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    When my son was deployed to Iraq he kept losing his Leatherman tool. When he called home and asked me to buy another one for him, I found a site online that would engrave them. I had one engraved with his name on one side, and love Mom on the other. My son said after that his Leatherman was always returned to him. His name let him know who to return it to, and the “love Mom” inspired enough guilt in anyone who had considered pocketing it.

  12. AB on July 6, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    This is such a great life lesson. Thank you for the reminder. My grandmother wrote her name on everything also, even with masking tape on her good silver (eek!). It is great to use something of hers and look for where she put her name on it. You just have to remember that it is sometimes her name on the dishes you took to the potluck and not your own! 🙂

  13. Angela on July 6, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    My mom always tried doing this and well, if you are male or you never plan on changing your name, it works out. I still have things that have my pre-married name. My kids take those things and laugh and tell me how old they are. Anything with initials still work for me as I never changed my last name initial. I like to just write our last name as things get past from child to child.

    I always wanted one of those labeler for these things, I would get laughed at though and told I would turn in to my great-aunt. She have her name on and labels everything (she was a 1st grade teacher for a long time). We would laugh every time we would be to her house. All the cabinets would labeled with what goes where and then all her dishes had her name on it.

  14. Jean on July 6, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    Probably slightly less neurotic than my grandmother who used to give every female in the family folding scissors, imploring us to keep them on our persons always becausse you never know when you’ll need them. She cut herself out of restraints at the hospital with hers…

    • kathleen on July 7, 2009 at 7:56 pm

      This made me laugh right out loud.

      I think I love your grandmother. Sounds just like something that my family would do.

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