Garnet-Hill received this response from an editor who received the custom card with the sound of children giggling- we call it the “Giggle Card”:
Because it made me chuckle, I took the laughing-children card with me when I went to visit my 86-year-old mother who lives in an assisted living facility. I didn’t tell her what to expect. Just handed it to her and waited for her to open it. She did and within seconds she was laughing so hard tears were rolling down her cheeks. It was a welcome sight.
The past 10 months have been difficult–she had to leave her home and friends in Michigan to live near me; she suffered a broken hip in September of last year and then was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in March of this year. It has been months of pain and struggle, lab tests, CAT scans, doctors’ appointments, and the progression from cane to walker and, now, a wheelchair. Though it all, her spirits have remained fairly high. But, until that card came along, I hadn’t heard her laugh so much in almost a year. It opened up a treasure trove of memories and she told me it reminded her of herself and her four sisters as young girls, giggling conspiratorially and uncontrollably.
There’s more. When she went to dinner that night in the communal dining room, she shared the card with the six women at her table and the results were predictable. The card made the rounds of every table that night and was touched by more than 50 residents. The laughter could be heard in the nurses’ station and in the kitchen and infected the staff. The pleasure it brought lingered for a long time in those deeply-creased faces.
Most of the residents of the place are, like my mother, well into their 80s. They are well cared for but pretty much confined to home. Many, if not most, use wheelchairs to get around. Those who still can play cards or bingo now and then, but much of their time in spent alone in their own tiny apartments, watching television. Consequently, they welcome entertainment of almost any kind. That so much enjoyment could come from something so small, something intended for a completely different purpose than to amuse old people, is pretty remarkable.
Please accept my thanks and distribute my gratitude to all who made it possible. And, if you have any leftovers, I know a few people who call Sterling House in Michigan City, Indiana home who’d love another good laugh.