The Lesson of the 29 Cent Angel

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal 18 Comments

I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus that He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35 NKJ)

Did you ever get one of these Lifesavers Books for Christmas when you were a kid? I did and I remember how I savored each roll of candy circles. I had a terrible sweet tooth when I was young. Well, I admit that I still have that sweet tooth, but the difference between now and then was that we didn’t get much bought candy back then. Most of our sweets were homemade cookies or jams and maybe ice cream now and again. We did sometimes make candy. Homemade chocolate candy and popcorn were favorite snacks and really good together. Still, it was a treat to get bought candy and there was just something about those rolls of lifesavers in a little book. I loved books then too.

So when I got a Christmas memory story from Jean Ann about a time she hoped to get a Lifesaver book of candy, I knew how she felt. She has a touching story of how her mother helped her learn a lesson about giving and receiving gifts that has stayed with her all her life. So here’s Jean Ann’s story.

When I was in first grade, we had a gift exchange for Christmas. My heart was set on receiving a box that opened like a book and contained rolls of Lifesavers (that was something that my family would never buy).  I watched other kids unwrap their boxes of Lifesavers and I got more excited by the minute. My teacher finally put a wrapped gift on my desk. I was so excited and hurriedly unwrapped it to find a little plastic angel (with a price tag still attached) and a handkerchief. I was so disappointed. I didn’t cry, but I remember that I wanted to.

When I walked in the door of my house, my disappointment about a chintzy angel and an “old” handkerchief “let loose”. Then Mom sat me down and set me straight. My gift-giver was a skinny frail looking little girl who lived with her brother and grandmother in what once was a chicken house. She gave the best she had and something that she probably would have been very happy to receive, something that she thought I would like. Mom ended with “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Even as a 6 year old, I was ashamed of myself.  That Christmas I learned what it meant when someone gives the best she has to offer.

Every year since that Christmas 1952 the plastic angel which no longer has its shine and color hangs on our Christmas tree.  Every year I retell this story to my family and I remember my classmate and the gift that had far more value than the 29 cents sticker.

Love your story, Jean Ann, and how you have shared the story with your family through the years. Sometimes the blessing is in receiving a gift with joy and grace as I’m sure you always did after that. And I hope you got that book of lifesavers sometime along the way on other Christmas days.

Remember, you have until Saturday, December 16th to enter my Christmas giveaway. You can enter by leaving a comment here or sending me an e-mail from my Contact Page. You can see the prizes and details on my News & Events Page. 

As always thanks for reading and for sharing stories with me.

Comments 18

  1. Jean Ann Lemon

    Ann mentioned that she hoped I have received a book if Luvesavors. Yes, under the Christmas tree last year was a Book of Livesavors, a gift from my oldest daughter. It didn’t matter that it was 46 years late. We are all children at heart.

  2. Jean Ann Lemon

    Thank you Ann for sharing my story. I enjoyed reading all of the comments about my 29 cent angel and learning about others’ Lifesavor experiences. This post has offered your readers an excellent opportunity to share memories. Memories are treasures.

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      Ann H Gabhart

      Indeed, memories and stories we share are wonderful and make our lives better, Jean Ann. Thank you again for sharing this touching story. And I’m glad you got that book of Lifesavers too. Fun that your daughter was so thoughtful although after sharing that story with your family over the years it might be a wonder you don’t get dozens of Lifesaver books under the tree. 🙂

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      Ann H Gabhart

      It is a sweet story, April, made sweeter by the fact that Jean Ann remembers it every year and shares it with her family, friends and now us. 🙂

  3. Karen Jones

    Candy was hard to come by at my house, also. About the only time I got a candy bar was if I could save that nickel from my 50 cent weekly allowance which also had to go for entrance to the Saturday morning movie, popcorn and a drink. 🙂

  4. Joan Kurth

    That was quite a story! I remember if I got one of those Lifesaver books for Christmas, I really thought it was great. Tried to make them last as long as possible.

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  5. Loretta Shumpert

    What a wonderful sweet story. I can relate to the sentiments of life savers. As children my aunt brought her three daughters and we shared christmas and exchanged small gifts. There were three of us girls in my family. The oldest cousin gave me a book of life savers one year, of course I loved it. But the memory is not in the candy…but the cousin. She grew up, married and had two little girls, Peggy and Marie. At twenty-seven years of age my cousin had a massive heart attack and died. The girls were ages four and two.

    Of course, their father kept them and later remarried. I had grown up and married and began a life of my own and we lost touch with these two little girls. Life moved on for everybody. Probably about five years ago I began to try to find them, they didn’t live too far from me but I didn’t have a way to contact them. I did find one on facebook and sent friend request but remember, fb wouldn’t notify someone if you weren’t already “a friend”. Finally, I was able to have another cousin tell Marie about me and we were able to connect about a year ago. I love this girl! We spent about seven hours together the first time we got together, there was so much to talk about and she absorbed it like a sponge. She said that is the only way that she knows her mother….is by the memories of others. We get together now and spend time, she is so precious. Eventually I will get to meet Peggy, the holdback there is that Peggy and her husband are long distance truck drivers and are gone all week and she has very little time at home on weekends to see her grandchildren and catch up with her housework.

    I told Marie about the lifesaver book and found a picture for her. I told her about the little candy dish that came from her family one christmas, all my memories. I thank God for this relationship with this precious second-cousin.

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      Ann H Gabhart

      Thank you for sharing your story, Loretta. So glad you reconnected with your cousins after so many years. That is one of the good things about Facebook – finding old friends and also relatives we’ve lost touch with. And sounds as if Marie was very glad you found her to share your memories with her.

  6. Debbie McCollister

    I love this story of the angel. I used to get LifeSaver books every year, because I loved books so much that anything book related made me happy. But that was all about me – I wish I’d had the selfless lesson of the angel.

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      Ann H Gabhart

      It is a lovely story, isn’t it, Debbie? I was like you and think I did like those Lifesaver books partly because they were “books.”

    2. Phyllis Miller

      what a sweet story, I enjoyed reading it Loretta, so happy for you that you got to reconnect with your cousin, what a blessing!

  7. Karen Jones

    Now I have a place to leave a comment. I’m not sure if you got my entry as I had to leave it in your F B page. Loved the Lifesaver Story. Back in the early 50’s, I too, remember receiving the Lifesaver Books. My dad was one of seven children so there were a lot of cousins. Each Christmas we all received a box of Lifesaver Candy from our Grandfather. How much fun we had savoring all those circles of candy. To this day I still don’t know why they are called lifesavers??? They, or a facsimile of, are still around but instead of being assorted they’re all the same flavor and not as many rolls. That reminds me of the Three Muskateer Bar. Back then instead of one flavor, the bar had three humps and each was a different flavor—chocolate, strawberry and vanilla and they were a nickel, but of course we had not had all those “cost of living” raises. All relative!
    Merry Christmas!!! 🎄☃️🌲

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      Ann H Gabhart

      Got your comment and glad you stopped by, Karen. Your grandfather said I’ll get something to fit all and please all, didn’t he? It would have pleased me, I know. 🙂 I looked online to see if there was a reason they are called lifesavers. I found this on Snopes. https://www.snopes.com/business/names/lifesavers.asp. They happened to use a press that made a hole in the middle and called the candy lifesavers because of their shape.

      I don’t remember Three Musketeers having three humps. Makes sense with the name, but I never had one of those. I do remember nickel candy bars and at our country store you could get six for a quarter. But I suppose quarters were harder to come by then. I know candy bars at my house were. LOL.

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