A Scatter Love story

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I don’t know about you, but I love getting mail. Love it. And that’s the idea behind the Scatter Love project. We love the power of making people happy, and how that can really spread {hence the ‘scatter’} so we dreamt up the Scatter Love project, where people send on happy mail to people around the world.

I got an email last week that just made me so happy that I just had to share it. Thank you Marney for firstly scattering love, and secondly for sharing your story:

I’ve lived in my current home for about 6 years, and like most people these days, I don’t really know my neighbours.  During that time, we’ve always noticed an elderly lady who lives in a highest home over the back from us, and she’d often spend hours on end just sitting on her balcony by herself, smoking and staring.  I’d often see her there when I was hanging the washing, weeding the garden and despite her staring at us, she didn’t ever say hello or wave.

My husband and I long ago came to the conclusion that she was old and bitter, and if we were in the backyard we’d just ignore her and then later complain about how annoying it was that we couldn’t even be in our backyard without her being there, watching us from a distance.

Since becoming a mum I’ve had a fast of what it’s like to often be home alone (i.e. -without any adult company) and how lonely it can be some days.  I’ve even found myself waiting for the postman, just so I can give him a wave, or loitering at the post office just so I can discuss the weather, which is completely out of character for me. It got me thinking about the old woman on her balcony – always alone, and how she must feel to look down and see a young family in their backyard, playing with the dog, and how we’re at different places in our lives. I’ve never been happier with my little family, however she just looked miserable.

Once I received your scatter love postcards, I decided that I’d figure out her address on google maps (as she lives in the street behind me) and send her a “Hello” card.  I addressed the card to “Our Neighbour” and told her that we often saw her on her balcony, and if she ever felt like waving or saying hi we’d wave right back.  I drew a little stick family to depict, myself, my husband, my baby and our dog, with our names underneath so she didn’t feel like we were just crazy strangers.  I popped a stamp on the postcard, sent it and then wondered if anything would every come of it.

Every few days when I was in the backyard, I’d look up to her balcony to see if she was there, but a few weeks went by and there was no sign of her.  I started to feel silly, she was obviously a cranky old woman who didn’t care about my little family or a post card in her mailbox! I wished I hadn’t sent it.

My husband then mentioned to me a few days later he’d been i the back yard, and looked up to see the woman watching him from her kitchen window.  At this point he had no idea I’d sent the card and just thought she was being nosy, so he just looked away.  He told me he’d seen her watching him, and commented on how rude that was. It was then that I told him about the card I’d sent her, and maybe she was waiting for him to acknowledge her. He felt bad – what if she was looking at him for some confirmation and he just ignored her again?!

The next day, my husband and I took my daughter into the yard to hose the garden.  She’s 8 months old and ALWAYS happy, so was giggling away and laughing, when I happened to glance up at the balcony.  There was the old woman, and she was watching us.  I froze, and felt a little awkward – but it was now or never.  I waved, and held my daughters pudgy hand up to wave also.  It was then that the old woman stood up, smiled and waved back!

I couldn’t believe it! After 6 years of pretending that we didn’t exist, we’d connected! this continued for a couple more days, we’d see her, she’d wave, we’d wave back.  I felt amazing – I’d done something a little out there, but I was so happy that we might have made this lady’s day a little happier, it was worth it!

Today I came home from a girls lunch, and found the lady standing on my doorstep, talking and laughing with my husband and my daughter! I was shocked, but recognised her straight away. She introduced herself as Pam.  She said she was so happy to find our card in her letterbox.  She told us she’s lived in the same highest home behind us for 40 years! She said she used to know all her neighbours and watched their children grow up.  She said she used to love the neighbourhood kids visiting her and she’d babysit them and buy them treats.  She explained how one of those children was now 30 and still lived nearby, but the girl no longer spoke to her or acknowledged her. She said she loved to watch our dog (A British bulldog) from her balcony as she was quite the character, and she couldn’t believe our little girl was already 8 months old.  She also told us that she gets scared living alone sometimes, and that she worries that if she fell or hurt herself at home that no-one would notice for days.

I couldn’t believe it.  The cranky old lady that we’d spent 6 years ignoring had a name: Pam! and she was a sweet, no-nonsense woman who was all by herself in a big house. She knew everything about the neighbourhood and told us how it’d changed since she first moved in. I felt awful, but at the same time glad I’d reached out to her and that we had the beginnings of a friendship.

We chatted for about 20 mins, and I invited Pam in for a cup of tea but she politely declined. I said she was always welcome to pop by for baby cuddles and she reciprocated and said we were welcome to visit her anytime.  I also told her if she ever felt scared or alone to simply call out, and we’d be there for her.

I’ve never felt more charitable, and such a sense of community, and I have you (and Emma) and the Scatter Love project to thank for that!

How cool is that?

Do you have a story to share? If you’ve scattered love, who did you send it to? And if you haven’t yet, who would you send some happy mail to?

P.S. If you want to grab one of the last packs of Scatter Love cards, you can do so here.

Comments

  1. VickiShoppeGirlsBlog says

    Amazing!I have goose bumps all over my body. I am so happy that Marney reached to this lovely lady who was mistaken for a grump. I feel these days most people stick to them selves and we are scared to reach out in fear of being rejected. A beautiful story of a lovely new friendship. Thank you for sharing. x

  2. Julie M says

    What a lovely story! I love receiving ‘snail mail’ from my UK penpal of nearly 30 years! We don’t send as many letters as we used to so when I do receive one its quite special :)

  3. Risa says

    This is just so sweet. We used to be really close to the couple next door to us. When they moved and a new family of neighbors moved in, it was the complete opposite. Those people drove us to put up a 6 foot fence! I loved this story.

  4. Lisa Mckenzie says

    That is so beautiful I have a great relationship with my neighbour she says she moved in next door for a reason so she could help me anytime I needed it and she is the sweetest kindest woman and she is 83 and looks in her 60s I am so glad your reader sent the card to Pam she will have a lifelong friend now and Pam won’t be so lonely!Those stories warm the heart.

  5. says

    I’m sitting here sooking, this is just lovely. Makes me sad to think of all the lonely people in their homes without any contact in their lives. Thanks so much Chantelle for adding a little more happy into the world xx

  6. Deb Richmond says

    This is such a lovely story. I’ve sent my “hello” card to a little girl in my town who is recovering from cancer treatments. Lots of the wonderful people I’ve met through FMS PAD are sending her cards from all over the world. Thank you Chantelle for making so many great things happen.

  7. Deb says

    Beautiful story, the sense of community has definitely disappeared in recent years, so it is so glad to hear someone take that first step, just lovely xo

  8. Kirsty Russell says

    omg that was beautiful… I think it’s so important to know our neighbours and I used to live next to a nice elderly lady and talked to her nearly everyday and she would even mind my kids if I needed. I love the postcards and just bought some and already can’t wait to get them! I just know the very people that will receive them ~ so excited about that!! Just work love it x

  9. Rachelp says

    That is fantastic! Just what I bet Chantelle and Emma hoped may happen to at least one person who sent and received a card.
    You have inspired me into action Marney…I think good thoughts and “what ifs” but you acted and that is what counts :)

  10. says

    This made me cry a little. It’s suce a sweet story about a universal thing. Often people just want to connect and it’s really good that this happened!

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