Paper Flowers

May 11, 2022


It's a small "do-it-yourself" booklet. Printed on a copy machine and stapled together by hand, and yet, it offers the comfort and style of a professionally bound classic. 

"Paper Flowers" is a collection of short verses, deep thoughts, funny sayings and poetry, written by a cousin of mine, Laura Nell Harrison. 

Laura Nell was actually married to my father's first cousin, Kenneth, so she would be a cousin by marriage. She always seemed like an aunt because she and my mother were close in age and loved visiting one another. 

Verses written with great thought, and some, probably scribbled in the margin of the church bulletin, were collected for years and finally  printed in 1995. Laura Nell was tickled when her sister threw a book signing party for her and they sold out! No problem, since they were easily replenished on a nearby copy machine. My mother recalls each sold for only $10. Just enough to cover the cost of paper, ink and gas to her sister's house. 

I never heard her discuss it, but these verses reveal that Laura Nell's mother died when she was a baby and she was raised by an alcoholic  father. Such a rough childhood for a little girl, yet she grew to be a gentle mother, pastor's wife and wonderful school teacher. Laura Nell loved children dearly and loved life itself without any bitterness. 

Many of my readers ask how they can publish a book. They want to leave their story or collection of thoughts for their children. Laura Nell found the simple solution. Just write it down. There's no need for a fancy publisher (they'll irritate the life out of you anyway). There's no need for a designer cover (hire a teenager to draw something). There's no need for any of those things.

As this little booklet goes to show, there's a lovely connection between someone's thoughts and our hearts.  It doesn't have to be a perfect professional book . . .It just has to be your voice. 

I love this photo of Laura Nell because it looks like her daughter, Lona. 

What a gift she left us, and what an inspiration she continues to be, to take a moment (perhaps a summertime project?) to write our thoughts down for those we love. 

Copies of the booklet were available to guests at Laura Nell's funeral. What a beautiful gesture and a great way to remember a sweet lady. 

Do you want to write your story, or perhaps random thoughts? There's no time like the present. 

Someday, someone will cherish it. 

Leave a Reply

  1. Laura Nell sounds like she was a practical lady who understood important life lessons. Great inspiration.

    1. She was indeed practical and I consider that to be a lost art. Thanks for the comment Thomas.

  2. This is just a precious gift she left and I agree no publisher is needed. The gift you are giving your family is far more precious. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story.

    1. So true. I always wish my grandmother would have left a few notes for me with thoughts about this and that.

  3. What a sweet and inspiring story, I have some books written by my father’s relatives with stories of his family back in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They have been passed down and are treasured memoirs that have given me the opportunity to peek into their lives…you’re so right, write it down and share!

    1. Yes! So glad you “get it.” Future generations just want some sort of connection. Even if it’s in a simple printed copy machine format. So glad you have your family history and are sharing it with future generations. They’ll love you for it.

  4. This is such a sweet tribute to your cousin and to your family who treasure her writing. She sounds and looks like the beautiful woman she must have been. I decided to start printing copies of books I’ve written to be given to my children. Especially since even self-publishing scared me off when I learned that I couldn’t use even a partial line of the songs that an early country music artist recorded that were a theme in one book. I recorded a lot of oral history my parents did for me and typed them up and enjoy them so much so I’m hoping my kids won’t use mine to wrap the garbage in!

    1. You won’t regret making copies of the work you’ve done. Music is dicey and I’m glad you took matters into your own hands. I’m sure you didn’t mean to copy the exact lyrics, but even a phrase here and there needs credit, and I’m sure you did for the small lines you used. They mean so much. Music is powerful. Garbage? Never! Your words will be treasured!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
%d bloggers like this: