1. A life told in Post-it® Notes

A life told in Post-it® Notes

How one family remembers a beloved grandmother


  • We’re always looking for stories of how Post-it® Notes have been part of people’s lives. When we heard about how Linda was making a book of all the Post-it® Notes her mom, Shirley, used to chronicle her life and communicate with her family, we knew we had to find out more. Here, in Linda’s own words, is the story of Shirley’s wonderful Post-it® Notes.

  • If my mom, Shirley, were writing this article, she would definitely have used a flow chart of Post-it® Notes for the outline, but I’m just going to wing it.

  • Shirley De Simone was our family’s “Queen of the Sticky Notes!” I can’t remember a day when she didn’t leave a Post-it® Note for my family with a funny remark or a quizzically random thought. Even before Post-it® Notes were invented, there were always notes taped all over my childhood home, whether they were quick warnings like, “Pipes are narrow, take short showers,” “No boys in house!” or secrets written in stenography, which were the day’s end report to Dad, usually about my bad behavior or that of my siblings.

  • For the past 20 years, my mom lived with my family and helped care for my three children, who are all now adults. Shirley was the only grandparent my children ever knew and as they grew, we all laughed and talked together about the daily notes. Post-it® Notes were a way that our shy and funny Shirley kept close to us. We secretly started saving them years ago with loving intentions of making a keepsake book for her.

  • Picking out my favorites has been surprisingly difficult for me. I love them all and they stir up such wonderful memories. The note that started our collection, The Attic is Warm, is so simple and such a characteristically random example of the notes that were part of our everyday lives; it makes us laugh and remember Shirley with love.

    The note that started our collection, The Attic is Warm, is so simple and such a characteristically random example of the notes that were part of our everyday lives

  • My second favorite was her humorous attempt at using teen lingo in a birthday note to my son, Douglas. After reading an AARP article on how to communicate with your grandchildren, Shirley wrote this beauty:

    My second favorite was her humorous attempt at using teen lingo in a birthday note to my son

  • Even something as simple as her Christmas list is full of characteristic charm:

    Even something as simple as her Christmas list is full of characteristic charm

  • My mom passed away this year and, regretfully, our book has yet to be finished. For her memorial tribute, which was held at our favorite Irish pub PJ Finnegans in Westwood, NJ, we gave everyone a copy of a short prototype of the book, their own pad of Post-it® Notes, and a pen to jot down their favorite memories. Visitors left behind many loving tributes, both funny and serious, after reading about her life’s journey, told in Post-it® Notes. It was a window into her world for those who didn’t know her well, and it was a cathartic creation for me. Someday, I’ll finish the book we shared that day and that inspired so much love, and it will be a legacy that my family will cherish.

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