Thursday, January 2, 2014

Blast (as in . . . "from the past")

January 2, 2014

After the bedroom, I tackled the loft office, which has/had lots of potential for thinning and shedding.  You ALL know what I'm talking about.  Did you really think you were going to look something up in a textbook you kept from that beloved class you had as a second-semester sophomore that was so meaningful and made you know that you had FINALLY become an adult and worldly, too?  And does anyone need the warranty and the receipt for the toaster oven you bought in 1987 (and has long since warmed its last tortilla).  

But, the damper on the spirit of "toss it all" is that there could be a treasure tucked in with the crap.  And I didn't need to consult the Antique Road Show to know the value of these finds:

First, from inside the seven-volume Complete Works of William Shakespeare that originally came from my great-grandparents' home (and maybe somewhere before that because that house was built in 1905 and these books were published in 1887) came these three gems:  

Behind Door #1 (alternatively, "Inside Volume Number 1")--A complete stranger (any help from family members reading/viewing this?) standing in party attire next to a Model T decorated as a parade float.  

I think this would be an excellent entry for a "Best Caption Contest."  

How about  "Really dear, I promise I took your car out for a spin every few days while you were gone to keep the battery charged, just like you asked me to."

Behind Door #2--A handwritten note to my great grandmother Mabel Octavine (and you wonder if I am sad that I was named for my Grandfather rather having to explain why I was named "Octavine" or  some other fabulous family name?)

If you can't read this marvelous Palmer penmanship, it says:

    I want to see you before you go home, so please come by after you go to Mrs. Lucas'.  You can tell her for me please that I am awfully sorry not to be able to come, and I am, but the truth is that my front tooth is out & I look like my Grandmother, & I couldn't go &  have the women saying "Don't she look old"-- Kitty

And I can't imagine the story behind that missing front tooth.

Finally, Behind Door #3--the worship bulletin from the Easter Service at the M.E. [Methodist Episcopal] Church, South, April 7, 1912 that features my great-grandmother, Mrs. J.B. Channing, singing alto and my great-great-granmother, Mrs. E.R. Ford singing in the flotilla of sopranos.  Ah to be Mr. Walter Wainwright in the chicken party.

Two other prizes I knew I had, but have to decide about (you know, the pressure to give in and hoard):

My grandmother's mahjong set, which celebrated its 90th birthday last year:

And something I don't have the technical skill (or further time to waste) to show you:  three Kodak, Ektachrome transparency slides of the Astrodome in November 1963.  My grandfather, Fafa (married to my grandmother Momo. . . what kind of warped people choose grandparent names that will be totally ridiculous to say out loud when you turn 14?) was one of the steel estimators for the construction of the Astrodome.  These three slides show the building skeleton, completely constructed with no "skin" or "innards," just like a framed house only much bigger and with an igloo shape instead of a peaked roof.

I also have about seven slides of my grandmother in some sort of community theatre performance but little information beyond that.


  1. That is kinda difficult to understand. I wonder if it's because my brain's not turned on yet or Im 13 and it's something I'll inderstand when Im older. I haven't gone back to school since it closed for Xmas so Im guessing my brain's not active yet. Im sorry but it's one of those things where it is what it is. But... THATS COOL STUUF UR SHOWING THRU PICS.

    1. Maggie,

      You are right. It is hard to put your sad around particularly because you haven't had decades to accumulate things. Something that you keep that is important to you when you decide to keep it, may or may not be important the next week, the next year, or in 20 years. Often it is difficult to figure out what really is important to keep and why. So for me, it was easy to take some of my books to the Friends of the Library book sale and to keep others because I still use them some time. The mahjong set is a hard one because I don't really know how to play mahjong and I haven't actually ever used it, but it is one of the few things of my grandmother's I still have, and it is kind of cool because of that and because it is so old.

      What is really hard is to look at each and everything in my whole house and have to make the decision about keep, throw away, or give away. It seems like it would be obvious, but it really isn't.

      Thanks for giving me a different way to look at things.


  2. You had me at Fafa and Momo!... wow. just Wow :-)

    And these are treasures, for sure... love the note!