Saturday, March 30, 2013

Review and Random Additions

I just did a quick read through the blog, mostly checking out the pictues.  I was noting which pictures have already been used here.  This caused me to feel a bit virtuous, because I was getting more orgainzed.  But I couldn't help reading entries, here and there, and couldn't help noticing misspellings, repeated words, and sentence structure that could use more than a bit of improvement. 

Eh, dump that.  If I went through and organized the pictues, I can go through later and update the writing.  Feeling better.

So here are some things that I threw away without listing here.

These are cards that came with the gifts at my parent's wedding.  They were in a box along with some photos.

The photos weren't of the wedding.  I only have one photo of the wedding that isn't in a newspaper clipping, and it's a snapshot.

The photos in the newspapers sort of imply that there was a photographer at the wedding, but I've never found those photos anywhere.

When I say photos and newspapers, there were at least three different newspapers and three different poses.  Newspapers didn't send photographers to weddings in the mid-fifties, did they? 

This is a picture that I threw away.  I didn't see it when I went through the blog, but I remember writing about it.

I remember saying that I could identify all of the people in the photo.  The headless woman holding the cake is my Grandmother.  The legs are my Grandfather.

The child in the playpen is not the child that the playpen was set up for.  She's also not on time out.  I could tell you which grandchild the playpen was set up for, too.  But it's not a good picture, so it went.

Wait a minute.  There's a second set of legs there in the corner.  Well, that makes me a liar.  I can't tell you with certainty who they belong to. 

The faux leopard skin compact on the left would have been donated if the mirror inside it hadn't been broken.  It's been in storage and out of powder for decades.

I need to remember to tell the kids the story of Grandma L's leopard skin hat.  The moral of the lesson is that, yes, people do pay furriers to put fur items into a refrigerated area for storage, but, no, the crisper in your refrigerator is not a suitable substitute for that.

The next photos are of things that went into a yard sale.  I'm pretty sure the yard sale got mentioned here as being about to happen.  I refuse to feel guilty about posting the pictures late.

I don't seem to be able to place them side-by-side, no matter how small I make them.  Oh, well.  It's a free blog.

These are from Aunt L. 

Let's see where the words go.

That was odd.  I couldn't forward down to the bottom because interface would forward the second photo in the stack along with the cursor.  But once I put in a sentence there, I could forward to the end, no problem.  I'm sure there's a reason. 

To loop back to the present, I think I'm going to throw away this snapshot.  (Do people still say snapshot?)  It's a dairy calf that we saw when we went to the Los Angeles County Fair in 1961.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Letter from the Illinois Department of Public Health when Dad was born.

I've been holding on to this just because it feels just a little historic and, because of the references to immunization, currently topical as well. 

I assume that Father was born at home, mostly because his youngest sister was.  There's a family story about her birth, but not one about his.

I checked his birth certificate.  There was a space on the form for Street and Number, with a note: "(If birth occurred in hospital or institution, give its name instead of street and number.)"

Unfortunately, in the space for the address, there was a man's name, possibly the doctor's, possibly Dad's.  It was and is a common name.

There are also two other 'birth certificates' for Dad.  One looks like a bought form, to be filled out by whoever bought it.  Both it and the official birth certificate have had my Grandma L's birth date either modified or scratched out.  She never did like anyone knowing how old she was. 

The last certificate was a certificate of registration.  It has much less information and is an official statement of where the birth was registered, so that you can go there for more information if you want to.

Keeping the certificates in a file.  Tossing the letter from the Health Department.  Feeling very little guilt.  Feeling some accomplishment, but that's because I've emptied and sorted another box.  Not feeling total victory because there are more boxes and I only got 2/3 of my desk clear.  I vote to give myself credit for the 2/3, though.  Go, me. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Postcards. Did I Mention That Political Correctness is a Recent Thing?

I saved a few non-craft things from Grandma L's boxes and boxes.  There were dozens of postcards.  I scanned and tossed most of them.  I'd probably have kept more if most of them hadn't been smudged and faded pencil on dark and yellowing paperboard.  I'll be able to read them better on-screen, once I tweak the contrast.

I did keep four of them, not for the writing on the back, but for the pictures on the front.  This one I though seemed a bit historical. 

I think it's a gateway to Yellowstone.  I'd have to unpack it to be sure, though, and I don't think that would be a good idea.

This one I kept to show what ancient photoshopping looked like.

These postcards are all from between 1903 and 1916.  I wouldn't call them antiques, but they're definitely from a different time.  I mentioned in a previous post that it was a time decades before political correctness.

A good many attitudes were different.  Although some folks would still find this one funny, I suspect.

And some things just had not yet become associated with the things that most people reading this would associate with them now.

Not to mention that there is a larger mental disconnect than there was between postcards and greeting cards. 
(For anyone that isn't aware of the history of the symbol being used to wish the new baby luck and health, wikipedia has a good summary.  The card was sent in 1906, at least 14 years before the Nazi Party started using it and about 25 years before it started to be more strongly associated with them, in most Westerner's minds, that with luck.)
That's the four I kept.  I still haven't gotten through all of the letters.  There were many, many more letters than cards.  The cards were mostly sent by her Father to her Mother, or to her when she was a child.  The letters are mostly to or from her.  
I've thrown away a wastbasketful or two of her letters.  But I won't throw any away without reading them.  Considering the number of pictures that I still need to scan, sort and label, it may be awhile before I get back to them.  
I don't think she'd mind.  She liked her pictures. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Are We Seeing a Pattern?

A couple of posts ago, I posted pictures of handmade toys and guessed that my Grandmother had made them.  I do not have difinitive proof, but I have more evidence.  While digging through the bins with her things in them, hoping that my new, sterner resolve would let me release a few, I found these.

The pale one on the bottom, left, is the dog in the other post and the one on the on the right is the rabbit.  As I say, not complete proof, but suggestive. 

Those were not the only patterns in the bin.

The page in the upper right is an invoice and the yellow envelope has the address of a craft supply company on it.  Several people have mentioned that she earned money doing crafts while her children were small.  I've only seen two or three invoices, though.  And as thourough as she was keeping other things, that may be telling.

She kept the patterns, though.

She kept lots of patterns.  Those little, cup-shaped envelopes each has a pattern.  Sometimes more than one. 

Shamrocks.  Dogs.  Scimitars.

The larger patterns may have been for toys, but the little patterns in the envelopes were for making felt jewelery.

I don't know how big a fad it was, but during the Depression and WWII, it was something that you could make if you couldn't afford real jewelry.  She obviously bought some of the patterns.  And some of the labels say they were her own design or that she had modified the design.

Some of the patterns are on scrap paper.  You can tell this one used to be a paper bag, that one was a cardboard shirt facing. 
Some of the jewelry patterns were a bit flamboyant.  Others were more restrained.  Embroidery, sequins, and beads were used to upgrade the felt to jewelry status.  She also kept samples.
As you can see, political correctness was a concept that was decades in the future.  Sometimes it's good to be reminded.
I've already recycled the paper patterns.  I may be able to sell some of the toys and jewelry at an antique shop where I've seen similar things.  I'm also ready to try to sell the baby blankets and baby clothes.  And if not, maybe the thrift shop.
I don't know why the thrift shop seems a little less respectful than the antique shop.  It does, though.  Maybe it's because it will take more effort.  The thrift shop has a drop off area.  I wouldn't even have to get out of my car.  I will have to talk to the owner of the antique shop.  We will have to look at the pieces together.  It will feel more like saying goodbye, I think. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Definitely Keeping

Just because I mentioned it, and I have pictures -

These are clothespin dolls that Grandma L made.  I don't know if she tried to sell any.  She made sure that all the grandkids had them.  At least, she made sure all the female ones did.  I have one male cousin on that side, and he might have been skipped.

It's also possible that he wasn't.  Back when a new Barbie (tm) meant they had added Ken or Skipper to the line, Grandma L made sure that each of her grandchildren had the new Barbie (tm) as soon as it came out.  My cousin, being a boy, did not play with his.  We had not the first clue that this would be a benefit to him.  It those times and that place, the idea of children's toys being collectable would have seemed looney. 

But when my cousin reached college age, there they were - all those different Barbies (tm) sitting in the closet in their original packaging.  Not a hair out of place, not a plastic pump missing.

He sold them and bought a set of golf clubs.  So if he missed out on getting a clothespin doll, he wasn't entirely bereft. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Not Guilty Yet

I'm of two minds about these things.  They are handmade felt toys.  There's a very good chance that my Grandma L made them.  Or at least some of them. 

I can't imaging any child playing with them.  The felt would fall apart.  On the one hand, keeping them as a kind of tribute wouldn't be a bad thing.  On the other, what kind of a tribute is having a bunch of things stuffed in boxes where no one sees them?

They're cute.  But they're not the only handmade things that she left. 

They were in boxes at her house that I had never seen.  Then they were in boxes at my Aunt's.  Now they're in boxes at mine. 

When I was in a quandary about other items for another relative, my sister suggested making a shadow box.  In that case, I think I'll eventually do that.  In this case, I'm not so sure.

I keep starting sentences with, "these are cute, and all . . .", but I'm not really sure that they are.  The idea that they're stuffed animal toys is endearing.  And the idea that they were made by our grandmother is nostalgic.  But they're worn and aged.
And with Grandma L, you don't know that the wear came from kids playing with them.  She made crafts to sell at more than one time in her life.  These could have been samples that got worn by knocking around in the box.  I think that if they had belonged to one of her children, they would have had a label.  That was certainly the case with the baby clothes, baby shoes, rattles, and locks of hair. 
Well, they've been memorialized here. If I do toss or sell them, I've kept the images. I may send the pictures to cousins and siblings to see if anyone else remembers or wants to keep them.
I suppose they don't quite qualify as antiques.  My father was born in 1930, so that puts an upper limit on their age.  I'm fairly sure they were made long after that.  But you never know. 

So here they are.  I haven't found any evidence that she made the patterns.  She both developed her own patterns and used purchased ones, for other craft things she did. 
Most of the patterns she developed were flat, or mostly flat.  She had a knack for drawing.  Oh, the background runners came from the other side of the family.  Those may or may not have been done by a different grandma.  I'm going to have to decide about them, too. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Guilt and Grins - or - Sometimes Cleaning is Catching

It's cool when cleaning and organizing seems to be communicable.  I deep cleaned an organized a cupboard on Sunday.  Dear Son started in on another cupboard on Monday. 

He apologized for it being in the explosion stage when I came home from work.

Doesn't look so bad?  Wait.  There's more.

In celebration of someone else getting on it, I think I'm going to tell the boy that anything can go except one of the castle shaped baking pans.  Oh, and I'll want a picture of the brown casserole on the stool.

Yeah, there's a story about that.  If you don't hear it, it's still in my kitchen.  It may stay because it's a convenient shape for stacking and handy for taking to pot lucks, because of the heavy lid.  It travels well.  If it's filled with little enough to allow you to invert the lid, you can even stack a pie on top of it and the pie will be relatively safe for a long car trip.

As a non-guilt related aside, do you see the fake brick on the wall?  There is real brick under the stove.  And the area to the side, with the fake brick on it?  I checked it out.  Under the fake brick is dry wall.  Under the dry wall is an actual brick chimney.  That amuses me. 

There's even an opening, hidden by a metal decorative plate, for a stovepipe.  I could install a wood burning stove there.  Assuming the chimney's still usable.  I've been told that I might want to put a liner in it first, just to be sure. 

Not that I'm planning to install a wood burning stove any time soon.  But in case of a zombie invasion, I know where I could get ahold of one.  Not that I'm in any shape to outrun zombie hoards, even if I wasn't trying to tote a stove. 

There is an antique store in town that specializes in stoves and other kitchen equipment and wares, though.  I've toured through a few times.  They do have one or two stoves that are only half wood burning.  If I won the lottery, I'd consider it.  Of course, for that I'd have to buy tickets. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

OK. I will probably feel guilty about this for awhile.

There are some things you don't like to see on the floor.

Can you tell what they are?  Or what they were before the rain blew under the garage door and dampened the box that they were still stored in because I hadn't gotten to opening and sorting through that box, yet?

They were mortarboard tassles, graduation tassles.  Let's see if I can provide a picture of them from happier days.

I have moved ten times so far in my life.  Eleven if you count going away to school for a couple of semesters. 

My Grandparents, on the other hand, never moved in my lifetime.  Two of the three* went to nursing homes near the end, but their stuff was never removed from the house they had lived in, while they lived.  They also didn't redecorate much.

Scratch that.  They didn't ever redecorate, but sometimes things around the house would change, on a piece by piece basis.  A newfangled 'portable' TV on top of the wooden cabinetted TV, because the big TV stopped working.  A new painting over the TVs, because they had won it in a raffle at the church. Newer TV trays, because they had more grandkids to accommodate. 

They had arranged things the way they wanted them some time ago.  That included the high school graduation portraits on Grandma and Grandpa's wall.  They were there through my entire childhood, with the tassles hanging from the left corner.

You did that to commemorate that kind of success, that kind of milestone.  Grandchildren would occassionally climb up on the back of an overstuffed chair (in the oldest memories there were doilies on the back and arms) to snake a finger through the silkiness of one of them, or to pet them with two or three fingers. 

They would be careful, though because those were obviously prescious things.  Over the years, those grandchildren gave Grandma and Grandpa their own graduation pictures and tassels.  I was the oldest, so mine went up first. 

In that sodden pile, up above, are the tassels from my uncles, aunt, mother, self (high school and college), and my own kids.  Sigh.  I have no idea what I would have done with them, but I feel guilty that they got damaged rather than decided on properly. 

The only tassel unscathed was my ex-husband's.  I'd forgotten I had that.  It got tossed along with the rest.  Less guilt there.  If he'd been interested in it at all, he'd have asked for it. 

For the rest of them, it's a pity.  But if anyone is interested, we still have pictures.  From before and after the soaking. 

* No incest involved.  One had died before I was born and therefore does not figure in my childhood memories, except in bitter stories that my father would tell. 

Monday, March 18, 2013


What do you see below?

They might not look like much to you.  And the title includes the word "Stuff," which is not a word implying great worth.

It's even hard to read the covers unless you get in close.  But Dad saved and treasured these, and after he was dead, Mom treasured them as well.

You could say that they treasured them the way that dragons are said to treasure gold.  That is, they collected them and piled them with other treasured things (although in boxes in closets, rather than in a heap to lie on). 

I am unsure if dragons are supposed to hoard gold for it's symbolic load, rather than their utility.  Dragons don't exist and therefore writers are free to spin reasons that the gold might be useful. 

In my parent's case, the books definitely represented Knowledge, Skill, and Industry.  I don't think they've ever been read.  They were saved so that they could be useful to the children one day, perhaps.  Or the grandchildren. 

They worried about basic building and making skills being lost.  I can sort of see the point.  They bought an empty lot and built their first house, with the help of relatives.  Sometimes, looking back, it feels a bit borderline Urban Amish.  From the Disney movies that they preferred, I'm sure they saw it as maintaining the American Pioneering Spirit. 

I feel guilty tossing the American Pioneering Spirit in the trash.  Even if the covers are all falling off and even intacts sets are going for about five bucks on ebay.  There was no ebay back when these became treasure.

Back then, books were expensive.  Working people didn't finish high school.  If you inherited books, especially useful ones like these, you kept and treasured them. 

I suspect that these had come from Ralph, which would have given them added symbolic weight.  Dad didn't get along with many of the people he worked with.  (Or his relatives or neighbors, but that's a different story.)  Ralph was an older man when he was a younger one, and he respected him.

Ralph had an electrical workshop at home and tinkered with electrical things.  He didn't just put in his time at work, he read up on things and talked about things and figured things out.  He also gave my Dad rides to work for the year that he couldn't drive, himself, for medical reasons. It seemed that gratitude added to respect yields admiration.  Dad admired Ralph.

When Ralph died, his wife asked Dad to take anything he wanted from Ralph's workshop.  She said Ralph would want it that way.  I'm pretty sure that the set of 1923 Hawkin's Electrical Guides came from Ralph.  So did two oscilloscopes, some meters, and various bits and pieces. 

I'd tell you what the bits and pieces were, but, hey - I was a kid when they were collected and stored out in the shed.  I know about the oscilloscopes because I was able to use them, later, to get some extra credit for a high school physics class.  The rest of the things just stayed in jars and boxes and drawers.  I knew that some of the things out in the shed, in the upper garage, in the room off the garage, in the garage . . . (this represents moving to different houses, with different areas that Dad kept toolish things) . . . were Ralph things.  But Dad had collected and bought other things, so I'd have been guessing if I tried to identify which things had been Ralph's.

Except I'm pretty sure that these were.  And I'm throwing out Dad's gratitude and hopes for the future, America the way America used to be, and Knowledge, Skill, and Industry. 

It's going to be a heavy trash bin this week.

To lighten things up, the reason I'm tossing things (including the set of all that is treasured and worthy) is that I got up the energy to do some deep cleaning and organizing.  And you can't do that without tossing things.  Not really.

I have two big boxes for Goodwill.  I threw away other things that didn't twang my guilt strings. 

And I did this:

This is a completly cleaned and organized cupboard.  There was also much other kitchening, but it is not complete and you will therefore see no photos. 

This has room for other things.  There are blanks spaces.  Look at them.

Oh, and this isn't complete . . .

 . . . but it had been bugging the b'geebers out of me, so you can see it, too. 

Some of the things on it will be gone tonight.  It had been covered with assorted things, assorted things with a heavy dust and grime buildup, in the case of the things on the bottom shelves . . . and the very top shelf.  Now you can see horizontal wood.

That didn't sound right.  Let's try again.  You can see usable work space.  Better.

The tubs don't go there, but as I said, the organizing is not complete, yet.  But it's clean and there's space and I threw out a lot of other things, and donated a lot more.  I'm letting that balance out my callous dismissal of Treasured Dreams. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Good Weekend

Had a good weekend.  More later.