Saturday, November 7, 2015

Family Keepsakes Fun, Part 2

For the first post in this series, click here.

I've been meaning to do another post in this series for a while, so today I cracked open the second box of keepsakes. This box is much larger than the first. It was difficult to limit myself in terms of things to share. I'll have to revisit the box later and post more. For now, here are the items that caught my attention, posted in no particular order.

First, let's start with some postcards. Below is my favorite, a colorful view of Sparks Fountain in Jackson, Michigan. Growing up, Jackson was only known to me as the place with the state prison. Needless to say, we never visited, but those fountains sure look pretty. I'm tempted now. They're still there, called Cascades Falls. They charge for admission.

The below is one of the worst postcards I've ever seen. I completely forgot to write down the information on the back of the card before I put it back in the box. Since it's all taped up and put away now, I'm not going back in. Just know that it's a motel and the back didn't explain what the white thing in the grass is. I think it may be a bird fountain?

I'll never understand why people used to buy postcards of motels. Maybe they didn't - it's entirely possible that motels used to give these away for free as a form of advertising.

Here are a couple of postcards that I sent to my mom. I'm too shy to tell you what I wrote on the back (although it's pretty mundane). The first was sent in 1995. I lived in Hamburg, Germany at the time, but this is from my trip to Berlin. It's the Berliner Dom (capital building). The second was sent in 2008, when my now-husband and I were on vacation on Maui. It's a picture of the Lahaina harbor.

I could resist including a scan of this brochure of Luray Caverns outside of Luray, Virginia. I wanted you to see the stylish couple in the picture. This tourist attraction still exists. It actually sounds pretty cool, with a hedge maze and a historical museum. Also, I was amused to discover that someone coopted the name for the game Diablo.

Below is a picture from my uncle's (mother's brother) wedding. I don't know who any of these ladies are. In fact, I labelled this picture "church ladies." However, I greatly admire that epic cake, so I had to include it.

And this is a picture of my maternal grandfather when he was a police officer. He's the one standing behind the seated guy in the middle. He has such a baby face! Also, it's rather uncanny how much my brothers look like him.

I've talked a little bit before about my maternal grandmother's scrapbooks. They're such a treasure trove of information for me. Since I never got to meet her, they help me get to know her a little bit. It's fascinating, seeing what was important to her, trying to figure out why it was and what all of it says about her. She liked to clip poetry and inspirational articles from the paper. There are also a lot of notices such as deaths, accidents, and illnesses. I presume they're about people she knew, although it's possible that, like me, she was simply interested in death and destruction. She was fascinated with telephone operators long before she became one - I can tell that it was a dream job of hers. Also, from the poetry and articles, I got the sense that she was somewhat ambivalent about love and marriage, a narrative consistent with some of the things my mom told me about her.

She had a lot of articles by this woman, Dorothy Dix (her real name, I wonder, or a pen name intended to invoke Dorothea Dix?). This one (in two parts below) left me equal parts depressed and enraged. The sad thing is, the sentiment is still alive and well today, especially given the backlash toward feminism in the last few years. It's funny/disheartening to think that people still say, "Yes, women are oppressed, but they're not as oppressed as they used to be, so chill!" I bet this author never dreamed that people would look back at the time in which she lived and shake their heads about how bad women used to have it.

I was so shocked when I discovered these articles! My grandma was the young woman in this accident, which I never heard anything about before. I wonder if my mom even knew about it. I don't know who her male companion was - presumably her beau at the time. When I first went through her scrapbooks, I found his wedding announcement (I couldn't find it this time; must be in another box). I sort of wondered if she still carried a flame for him at the time he got married.

And this is my grandma's notary certificate (name redacted for privacy). I think it's so funny that she had this elaborate certificate. I was a notary for a while when I lived in Texas, and believe me, it involved no fancy certificates. Note that it was signed by George Romney, father of former governor and sometime presidential candidate Mitt Romney. I don't actually know why my grandma became a notary. As far as I know, after she married my grandpa, she was a stay-at-home mom for the rest of her life. I wish my mom was around to ask.

That's it for now! I hope you enjoyed this trip through my family's memorabilia. More to come in the future!


Patricia said...

Boy did I enjoy this trip. So many things to say.

I love those Cascade Falls and read on the website about them. I even found a typo and wanted to tell them about it so they could fix it, but I have to create an account to email, and that's not happening. So the typo will stay.

If you were staying in such a pretty motel, wouldn't you want to tell everyone about it? :-) I think most were ad cards, but maybe it was a thing?

Postcards from you! That have made their way back to you! I think you should have told us what was on the card, for the sake of the Historical Record.

I love the couple on the cover of the Caverns of Luray. It makes me want to go visit. But I don't think I want to visit the Diablo version. Sounds kind of creepy and rough.

I like the cake, but I also like to check in with the hairstyles. These are good ones.

Good picture of your grandpa and very nice flag in the background. It was pre-Alaska & Hawaii becoming states.

That article about women wishing they had been born a man! So hard. I guess we can take as progress that now women don't wish they were born as men as much, but instead wish there was better equality? I've never wanted to go back to any period in history because (with a few exceptions) the treatment of women is pretty uniformly horrible. Even early 20th century I couldn't handle it.

I'm glad your grandmother was not injured in the accident. I'm also glad it was written up in two newspapers. Can you imagine the Oregonian of today covering every accident that happens in the Portland area? Also, I wonder when newspapers stopped reporting people's addresses. It's very common back in the day, but I don't remember it being a part of my newspaper reading experience. And why did they stop? Privacy? Lazy reporting?

I love me a good certificate and this is a great one. And it looks like Governor Romney actually signed it. I can just see his secretary (wearing sensible heels and hose) coming in with the file of things to be signed. "And this, Governor, are this month's new notaries. Sign here." And I wonder if the governor paused and wondered who this Esther was.

Why has the box been retaped? Can it not be stored in its untaped state?

Good stuff!

balyien said...

Re: The boxes. They were sent to me by my brother. The two larger ones, so far as I can tell, were cut down from other boxes, and so they don't stay shut very well unless they're taped. Also, they currently serve as the "table" on which the cat's food sits. It's too high for the dog to reach (not only will he steal her food if he gets the chance, he often waits underneath while she's eating, waiting for her to drop some of her food, which she often does because she's a messy eater). We've slowly been replenishing our furniture supply since the last move. A real table for her food is the next thing on the list. Then I'll move the boxes to the closet. I'd like to transfer their contents into a chest eventually.

And I agree with you. The only way I would go back in time was if I was a white man. Otherwise, if someone ever invents a time machine, I'll go forward.

I've always assumed they stopped reporting addresses due to privacy concerns. I know I wouldn't want my address printed in the paper! Of course, I live in a world that includes internet stalkers.

Thanks for taking the time to really read through the post and come up with such a thoughtful response!