My Great-Grandmother’s Magic Pencils

When I was a child, my favourite pastime during Summers at my grandmother’s house was to go through her drawers. They were packed with beautiful treasures from all over the world, as well as from generations of my Polish family.

When I was maybe 8, she gifted me with two of my great grandmother’s mechanical pencils. I loved them beyond measure and wrote every day with them until the lead ran out. Then, they sat, nothing more than trinkets of the past.

Until today.

My great-grandmother’s mechanical pencils. One even clips to a Chatelaine.


In a few days, we will honour the fourth year since my mother’s passing. I have struggled deeply in my relationship with her before and after her death.

This past year, the work my brother and I have done to reclaim our roots, heal generational wounds, and pull ourselves out of shadow has transformed that struggle into understanding and my own ability to step beyond what was never spoken between her and myself in life.

These pencils, tools of the storyteller I never knew, surfaced today without explanation at a moment when I required a provocative sign. From there, I understood what my mother and the women before her had waited nearly 50 years for me to hear.

Magic is always with you—even when it lays dormant until you are ready for it.

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