Mazie Project 2002 (updated 2/5)
(The original description of the project is now lower on this page.)
The Mazie Project has come to an end and, thanks to all of you, it was a major success. As of Feb. 5, she'd received 54 birthday cards from four countries (U.S., Canada, the Philippines, and Japan). I'm sure a few more will trickle in over the next few days, particularly since 13 (!) arrived on Jan. 26 itself.
I didn't mention it at the time, but Mazie's been through a rough stretch of late. She was diagnosed about a year and a half ago with ideopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a disease that is turning the inside of her lungs into scar tissue. (Ironically, she was always just about the only non-smoker in the family.) She's turned in a short period of time from a very active, youthful woman to being homebound and in fairly constant pain, with an oxygen tank always by her side. (Part of the reason I moved to Dallas from Ohio was to be closer to her, because at the time we didn't think she had more than a few months left. She's hanging on, but we don't really know how much time we have left with her.)
She's adjusted to her new, restricted life, but she certainly needs a little cheering up every once in a while. Which is why I'm so grateful for all of you who sent cards. Every day, around 3 p.m. after the mailman came by, she'd call me to give the update. Whether it was one card or 13, it was obvious in her voice how excited she was. We'd start talking about the places the cards were from, about how people mistakenly thought I was her granddaughter instead of her grandson, about how many people wanted to say hello to her. It brightened her days for weeks.
She's carefully kept all the cards in the order she received them, the envelope attached to the card with a paper clip. Last weekend, when I was visiting her, I caught her flipping through the cards several times, looking at them all again. She really appreciated it.
Before I left, she handed me a little note she'd written that she wanted me to send to all of you. Here it is:
Thank you very much for all the birthday cards you took the time to send me. I do have a very thoughtful grandson and it it is one of the most memorable birthdays I've ever had. Your kindness meant a great deal to me. God bless America.
Again, thanks for every one who wrote, linked to this page, or spread the word. We both appreciate it.
About the project
My dear, sainted grandmother turns 70 on Jan. 26 and I'm trying to think of ways to mark the occasion. You can help, by participating in Mazie Project 2002.
Mazie (that's her name, Mazie) Project 2002 (heretofore MP2K2) is an attempt to get as many people as possible to send her a birthday card. She sometimes gets a little lonely down in Louisiana, and while I drive down to visit as often as I can, it'd be great for her to know that lots of people are thinking about her. (Even if they don't know her.)
So, if you woke up this morning thinking, "I am a good person! How can I show this to the world and improve my karma?", here's your chance. Her address is:
(address removed after 1/26/02)
Rayne, LA 70578
I'd be eternally grateful if you'd send her a card. If you do, please email me to receive my personal thanks. And if you want to feel extra good about yourself, ask someone else to send a card, too. If you've got a blog, feel free to link to this page to spread the word.
Why should you do this? Well, Mazie's really, really cool. There's your reason.
UPDATE (1/22): Five more cards makes 28, including a new long-distance record-holder from Japan. Mazie choked up a little today when she was giving me the rundown of the day's cards. "I appreciate all of them. I'm so excited to see the mailman every day." Only four more days to get your cards in!
UPDATE (1/18): 23 cards now, including the first international card (Canada). Quoth Mazie: "They're writing such sweet little notes on them."
UPDATE (1/15): Total's up to 18.
UPDATE (1/14): The card total is up to 13, from sites ranging from California to New York. Many thanks...only 12 more days until the big event. In other news, I've asked a friend with a scanner to scan in a couple of Mazie photos, and they'll go up as soon as they're ready.
UPDATE (1/7): Mazie has received her first three cards. She expressed confusion at first as to why she was receiving them. I explained to her that I had asked some friends on the Internet to send them to her.
"They don't even know who I am!" she claimed. I explained that it's the Internet, where nobody knows who anybody is. She said, jokingly, if anybody was going to send her anthrax; I told her no, that I hadn't asked any al-Qaeda members to send her a card. She said she doubts anyone will send her any more, but just in case, she plans to get a bunch of straight pins so she can hang all the cards from the curtain in the living room.
Born Mazie Marie Mouton on January 26, 1932, on the family farm near a small cluster of homes that was once generously called the "village" of Ebenezer, Louisiana. As would be expected of a young Cajun girl of that era, grew up speaking only French. Worked long hours on the farm growing up. Was apparently considered quite a catch in high school.
Married twice; raised three children and, later, one of her grandchildren. Worked as a bank teller for many years; supported herself in semi-retirement by working as a part-time funeral-home hostess (the woman who makes the coffee, lays out the donuts, etc.). Not a woman to be trifled with: has an enormous capacity for righteous indignation if she feels a loved one has been wronged. Perhaps a tad overprotective, but who's perfect?
Fought several arduous years for the creation of a gifted and talented program in Acadia Parish Schools; was eventually successful, to the benefit of hundreds of kids. Sacrificed much, financially and otherwise, to give others opportunities she never had. Very funny, very kind. Mazie kicks ass.