Sunday, November 12, 2017

My last post was three and a half years ago.

My last post was three and a half years ago.

I feel a little guilty about that.  

More later.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ah, The Smell of Mildew

There would have been less guilt if I'd just gone through the box and tossed things.  But, no.  It wasn't handled that straightforwardly.  In one of the more recent iterations of clearing the garage, we found a box of old school things.  It looked at first like is was mostly my Dear Son's things.  

Did I toss it?  No.  I had set it aside, with the idea of going through it to at least see what was there.  It was in a cardboard box.  It got left on the back porch and ignored for weeks.  Minor guilt every time I went out the back door.  Then it got rained on.  I hauled it in to dry.  Shoved it into the front room for "someone" to go through.  I knew it should be me, but was sort of hoping someone else would deal with it.  A few weeks ago it someone shoved it into my bedroom during a "someone's coming over" clear of the front room.  

I shoved it into a corner.  Now I'm tired of it being there.  So there will be tossing.

It's mostly Dear Son's old school reports.  There are reports on:

New York
Homo Sapiens
Walt Disney

There's a quarterly report from his GATE class, report cards (sheets, really), letters to me, and art assignments from elementary school. 

Ah, there are things from Beloved Son as well.  I feel worst about that.

His high school football pictures and letters.  Fortunately, those are in ziplock bags.  No mildew. 

A file full of grade reports, school newsletters, art work, and citations.  Also letters to me

Reports on:

Richard Byrd 
The Solar System
The Beaver

At least one manila folder of Eldest Son's things.  There are letters to me, worksheets from the second and fourth grades, his high school graduation announcement, 

There are also envelopes of my old taxes and the original loan papers for the house.  The taxes are old enough to go. I have a different loan, now, so most of the loan papers can go.  I may want to keep the original inspection report.  I'll read it and see.

About five sixths of the old school things can go.  And I can mail most of the things for Beloved Son to him.  I'll take photos or scans of the school certificates that have their pictures on it.  Pictures are good.  

The box can be recycled with the rest of it.  

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Go Through Those Boxes More Than Once: Abe the Newsboy

I successfully threw out a political pamphlet in the last post to this blog.  Now I'm hesitating over getting rid of a book.  It's full title:  Life Story of Abe the Newsboy, Hero of a Thousand Fights.

This is apparently a vaguely historical book, and you know that I have a weakness for the vaguely historical.  It's an autobiography of a Navy boxer and it has pictures of Presidents in it.  It was also self published, which usually didn't work out that well, back in the day.  Did I hear you ask which day?

Looks like the first edition was in 1930.  That would be the year my Dad was born.  This is my Grandma's copy, which she obviously bought after 1960.  She had a thing for sailors.  She married . . . .  Well, let's just say that Dad's dad was a sailor when they were first married.  So it fits in with family history.

I've looked it up online, and the book is referred to as "important".  It's also called one of the first memoirs, which is a crock, and the exact same wording has spread to many internet sites.

It sells for as little as $2.49, plus shipping, and can be downloaded for free in PDF, ePUB, or mp3 from a place called bookalist.  It downloads as a passworded file, then you have to log onto another site and download the password.  That's where I got cautious.  So I can't tell you if the site is fishy or not.  Can anyone vouch that this is a safe site?

I can't find a review of it online, although it is on the recommended reading list at  Amazon has a bunch of consignment copies for sale, but, again, no review.  The first few sentences were very 1930's sincere.  Part of me wants to read it just to write the review.  The rest of me knows that I have many more important things that I'm behind on.  

Oh, man.  Someone presented a paper on it.  Mangun, Kimberley. “Abe ‘the Newsboy’ Hollandersky: Self-Promotion and the Hero Myth in Newspaper Coverage of the Jewish Boxer.” Paper presented at the American Journalism Historians Association National Conference, New Orleans, September 2013.

Sigh.  It's starting to look like it's going to end up back in the box.  My only excuse is that I can use it as a prop to talk about those relative that have gone before us.  If I actually manage to get it out of the house (or to post a review), I'll post it here.  

[ETA:  To make up for my indecision regarding Abe, I've tossed The Salem Frigate by John Jennings.  It's listed as an adventure romance and you can get it for $0.13 on Amazon.]

Go Through Those Boxes More Than Once: Goodbye Mr. Max Rafferty

My Beloved Son and his wife (who are expecting - yay!) go through everything they own twice a year to see what they can throw or give away.  You can see the results of the constant pruning in their house, which is spacious and easy to clean.  This is not a thing that either of them learned from me.  

I am trying, though.  Since I'm not at their level, yet, I sometimes prune in stages.  Recently we did some organizing in the garage and I brought in three boxes to sort through.  From the look of them, it's all family stuff.  When I put the boxes away, I think they were meant to be deep storage.  Today, I'm looking at them as being full of things that I couldn't bring myself to throw away, yet.  And I'm giving myself dispensation to prune in stages.  If it ends up being one box going back in the garage, I'll consider it a big step forward.  And who knows, maybe that's what I intended to happen when I stored them.

What's in the boxes?  Well, I found one thing I can let go.

Not sure where this came from.  I had one uncle who did political networking that was job-related, and my father was more than a little right wing.  

Either one of them would occasionally get involved in political mailings, so this could have been a leftover from one of those.  The lack of address means that it wasn't mailed to Dad, but he could have picked it up when visiting a local campaign headquarters or it could have been passed out in a door to door campaign.  

It wasn't a campaign that Dad was particularly active in, or I'd remember the candidate.  As it is, the name is only vaguely familiar, and I'd have to look him up to see if he won or lost.

I suppose I could make a comment on 'the hoax of "forced housing"' vs 'housing equality', but I'm not feeling the need at the moment.  For now I'll just shrug and say it was the sixties.

I have no clue why this political pamphlet was in my Mother's things.  I only know that I hung onto it because it felt vaguely historical.  I have a weakness for that.

So, if anyone finds any historical value in this little, unmailed piece of paper, you have these images to download.  Take them with my blessing.  Unlike the cooking pamphlet, I didn't hold onto this one to see if anyone else wanted it, though.  The paper version has been recycled.  

Recycling wasn't one of Max's issues, but then it was the sixties.  

I could decide that it's sad that it took all this effort to throw out one piece of paper, but I won't.  I'm enjoying this little effort at memorializing my life and trash.  Goodbye, Mr. Rafferty.  

Monday, June 23, 2014

Climbing Mount Guilt (Books)

Sometimes you can measure guilt.  

This particular stack of guilt is eight point three feet high.

Let's try a different perspective.

This is a stack of all of the books that I've bought that I have not finished.  About a quarter of them haven't been started.  

The books in the shelves have been read, and so have the books in the shelves in my bedroom.  Not to mention many, many books that have been read and donated to the library or the thrift store. 

I tell myself that this is not a horrible thing.  But like any unfinished thing, they sort of nag at me.  "You meant to read me," they say.  "It's not like reading is a hard thing."

They're each one more unfinished thing that implies that I'm the sort of person who doesn't finish things.  Well, I may not have read them, but I've used them, now.  I have the photo to prove it.  They were, for a few hours, an art installation.  For a few hours, they were a homage to my guilt.  True, I had to add four books that I'd actually read to make it high enough to touch the ceiling, which was necessary in order to keep it from falling.  But eight point three feet of it is solid guilt.

(You'd think books would be steadier in a stack, but without the pressure of the ceiling, it wouldn't have stayed up for five seconds.  One of the minions had to steady the stack while I added the cappers.  Even then, the top third came down in the night.  It didn't wake me.)

While they were stacked, and half-stacked, I took advantage of the space and cleared the last of the plaster dust and hunks off of the bedroom shelves.  So that's another success.  (The plaster was from when we replaced my bedroom window, going to double-paned from feel the breeze - another success.  I could feel guilty about clearing the plaster three weeks after the window replacement, but I won't.  We also replaced the siding on that side of the house, and there have been other things I've been doing to clear out the debris from that.  Including buying a trap and trapping a cat that had crawled under the house while the siding was off.)

But let's look at the books again.  You'd think that stacking them up like that would make them more intimidating, but it doesn't.  When they were salted through the rest of the books, they nagged at me a lot.  Now I've seen them in their entirety.  I've seen the actual magnitude.  And you know what?  I can deal with them.

They now have a seven foot long shelf in my bedroom all to themselves.  A few of them are in the shelves you see by the desk.  And the rest are, um, still in a stack.  But it's tucked beside the desk shelves, where it isn't in the way.

Why are they stacked on the floor?  Because they're part of an art installation, for one.  I like having one.  For another, I like having usable space in the second set of shelves by my desk.  It helps me keep my desk clear.  It looks airier when it's not filled with books, and I can use the look of open space.  

The remainder stack is maybe three feet tall.  I can deal with that.  And with everything in order, I've started reading - - a new book that my daughter-in-law sent me.  It's Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded by John Scalzi, and I'm loving it.  Hey, I am not going to be controlled by an art installation.  

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Do You Know What This Thing Is?

This is the story of an inherited piece and the joy of Google.  When I first unpacked this, I thought it was an incense burner.  Then I noticed that there were no vents to allow smoke to escape.

So if it wasn't an incense burner, what is it?  The loop on the handle looked like it's meant to hold the lid, but the lid loop didn't fit into it. (I later learned that this was due to corrosion.)

There were two bird's heads on the lip of the main body.  They looked like they're meant as hooks or supports.  I thought that maybe they would hold the lid tipped up, to let smoke out, but I wasn't able to make that work.

There was a grate, which would work for an incense burner.  And maybe the lid was supposed to be used to smother it, saving incense for later.

There was a mark on the bottom.  Meriden Silver Plate - Quadruple Plate 1339 1/2 - with a lion holding a rose. 

OK.  That's googlable.  Aaaand, it's a butter dish!  The grate is called a pierced liner "which served to keep the butter above melting ice."  And the lid IS supposed to hang from the handle. The bird's head supports are meant to hold a butter knife.  Cool beans!  I never knew that butter used to be sold in "one pound circular cakes, which measured roughly four inches in diameter."

Now I have to decide whether to keep it or not. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

If It Feels Like History, It's Harder For Me To Toss

I don't know which relative I inherited this catalog from, but the fact that it feels a little historic has made it more difficult for me to just toss it away.

New Illustrated Catalog of Fine Linen Drawn Work
A.B. Culver Jr.
Aguascalientes, Mexico
So I scanned it and I'm posting it here.  If it has any historical value, it has been memorialized.  I couldn't find a date on it, but other booklets in the box were from the late thirties or early forties.  Not that my relatives sorted things by date. 

I won't blame you if you don't want to look through all of these doilies and handkerchiefs.

I'm trying to remember the last time I saw a doily.  A real doily - paper doilies under brownies or cupcakes don't count.

Ah, look.  They claim to have made the "very first fine linen handkerchief ever made of Drawn Work. . ."  Definitely history!  Well, if you believe it.

Centerpieces, Tea Cloths, Lunch Cloths, and Table Cloths . . . I'm assuming that these are prestige items.

My Grandma D had a few doilies.  She had many more antimacassars.  I think that was because she had more comfy chairs for people to sit in than she had horizontal surfaces with nothing being stored on them.

I think my mother had one or two doilies.  She used them under decorative candy dishes.  Usually the candy dishes were empty.

Although I have vague memories from when I was very young of candy dishes with hard candies that had been sitting in the dish long enough to have sealed together into one, dish-sized hard candy.  That could have been at some half-remembered great aunt's house, though, rather than at home.

Oh, hey!  Collars and cuffs and shirt waists!  I've seen lace lady's collars, but not men's collars.

I don't have any personal experience with lady's lace collars, but I was aware that they existed.  They could be moved from one dress to another.  From the ad copy above: "Wheel Collars are now all the rage and we make the latest and most popular styles." 

Ending with lady's collars and cuffs and a baby cap.  I'm going to assume that you have to send for the price list because the catalog was expected to be used for years. 

And now that the whole catalog has been posted, I can throw the catalog out.  Even if the company were still in business, "North Side of Plaza" probably isn't a good enough address any more.  So I wouldn't be able to send for the price list.  I will have to face my future doily free.