A Gift of my Heritage


Wednesday, I was on the phone with my mom as they pulled into their new diggs in Charlotte, North Carolina. It’s been a little strange (and emotional) to see them leave the home they’ve lived in for the last 18 years. It’s been a little emotional for all of us family, neighbors and friends.

Sign Painting Book

Before my parents took off, they parted with many of their old treasures. My dad even emailed out a spreadsheet listing the items they wanted to get rid of. I guess if I can’t live near my parents, I can just live with a few of their really cool things. Right? My mom pulled me aside to ask me if I wanted this sign painting book. I truly couldn’t be more honored to receive such a gift. This mammoth book tutored my great-great grandfather while he was learning calligraphy. He even left notes on a few pages.

Callaway & Hancox Signs

All of the sample signs are intricate and hand made. I can’t imagine the time and precision this must have required. If it weren’t for my scanner and the Adobe creative suite, I would be in trouble.

Lazy Fat Vixen

GO! LAZY FAT VIXEN BE SHREWD: JUMP QUICK! Does this not induce giggles? SO cool.

Calligraphy from the Sign Painting Book

Of course, this is my personal favorite of the 96 fonts featured in the book. What’s interesting, is when my mom gave me the book she said that my great-great grandfather had written family names and dates in the book. That day we couldn’t seem to find them anywhere and thought they were lost. Well, opposite this page is my great-great grandfather’s handwriting with the names of his kids, their ages and the number of grand children (my grandpa being one of the grandchildren). It just sent chills down my spine when I realized that he wrote this just days after my grandpa was born (September of 1924). That was 85 years ago, this month.

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    1. Ashley says:

      Very cool book! I grew up in Charlotte, NC, was married there as well….as did my dad and my grandfather lived in Myers Park forever until he passed away. Hope they like it!


    2. Naomi says:

      That is such an amazing family treasure… and so cool that calligraphy runs through your blood!

    3. abby says:

      what a treasure!!

    4. Jenn says:

      What an amazing treasure. I got chills, too, reading about how long this book has been in your family and also because the typography is so beautiful. I hope you share more pages!

    5. Tiffany says:

      I am so jealous. I would totally LOVE and HUG a book like that.

    6. beautiful. What a thoughtful Mami you have.

    7. Ashley says:

      That’s a beautiful book! My parents moved out of the house we lived in my entire life last year after 20+ years. It was hard… I still really miss it (but I’m pretty sentimental). I miss my old room! But I think where your family is will always be home–at least that’s what I’ve realized.

    8. Meredith says:

      Love your site and your designs, Melissa! Thanks for your comment on my blog – I hope you do try the ruffled pillows and post pictures when you’re done :-) Until then, I’m with Jenn in hoping you show more of your fav pages of that beautiful book!

      • Melissa says:

        Jenn, Meredith,

        I’ll FOR SURE be showing more photos of this book. It’s such a rare treasure, I’m going to have a hard time keeping all of the pages to myself.

    9. Oh wow! I love this!! I know it means so much to have his handwriting in it!

    10. mom says:

      I am so inspired by your excitement about the book. I have treasured it for the past 20 years and I am glad that you will continue that tradition. I remember the goosebumps I had when I saw his handwriting, too. You need to email this posting to gpa newton. He and gma will love to hear about it.

    11. AmberLee says:

      wow, what a masterpiece of a book. i love hearing about all the treasured additions and meaning behind it all. hope your parents are doing well in their new place.

    12. […] IS*LY shares the sign painting book her great-grandfather used to learn calligraphy. I about died from how cool this is. Go read the full story and see all the pics and you will too. […]

    13. donna says:

      that is a amazing book I love it

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