Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Treasure hunt

So I've been going through lots of boxes, throwing out and sorting, trying to get organized for our upcoming move to St. Louis. I am a confirmed pack rat. I've been this way ever since I was a kid. My brother Jim is just the neat and tidy and unsentimental that I've often compared his living quarters to a monk's cell. When we were kids, he would be cleaning out his room, tossing things in the trash with abandon...and I would be fishing them right out, saying, "Oh, you can't throw this away! Can I have it?" So I have boxes in closets and the garage, many of which haven't been opened in years. It's not exactly a picnic, but the one rewarding aspect of the job is finding treasures that I haven't seen for the longest time. I have thrown out a lot of things (WHY did I keep THIS?), but, yes, I am very sentimental for some mementos.

I found an old scrapbook, which contained this class picture of my sixth grade class at Meadowbrook Elementary (1963-64), on the east side of Fort Worth. Amazingly, I remembered the names of about 2/3 of the class, and my friends on Facebook provided the rest. This was a time of great stability, and many of these kids were my classmates from 1st through 12th grade.

I found this envelope, with the note on the outside, written in my grandmother's hand, "Found by Nathan S. Adams on the Battlefield in France World War I." Inside were this rosary and the flight wings. Unfortunately, this wasn't the only thing my grandfather brought back from WWI. He came back with a severe case of PTSD, which was known as "shell shock" in those days. After a decade or so of deteriorating mental health, he was committed to a VA psychiatric hospital for the rest of his life. I met him only once, when my parents took me to Shreveport to see him for a brief visit.

I found the box that contained special items related to my kids. For most of my kids, at least the ones who were adopted at younger ages, I kept the outfits that they wore home the day I brought them home. This is the outfit Marcus wore home at age 3. I remember that his social worker almost cried when she saw him in it, saying with great emotion, "Oh, someone bought him new clothes for this day." His foster mom did not come out to the car to see us was too hard to say goodbye to this special little boy, whom she had started on the road to emotional healing after he was so severely injured by his birthmother.

I made this purse during high school or college. I never took art in high school...didn't want to take the risk of ruining my grade point average. But I hung out in the art room sometimes with a friend of mine. Ms. Dorothy Weatherby, the art teacher, said to me one day, "I know something that I bet you would enjoy..." and she proceeded to show me how to macrame. I later bought some instruction leaflets and made this purse. When I found it in a box this week, I was somewhat amazed that I had made it!

This is our venerable copy of "Little House on the Prairie," which was a gift to my brother from my grandmother during WWII.

This is some of Jesse's art work, probably from kindergarten or first grade. As you can see, his calling as a beautician had early roots.

I was SO happy to find my old monkey, JoJo. I'm not sure who sewed JoJo, but it was my brother's before it was mine, so it was probably made around the time of WWII. So this little monkey is somewhere between 60 and 70 years old.

Now this may be the most inexplicable memento (I told you I was a pack rat). This jar once contained a yellow salve, compounded at Morrison's Drug Store on East Lancaster. It was my mother's cure-all when we were growing up. Scraped a knee? Go get some of that yellow medicine. Burned by steam? Go get some of that yellow medicine. Got a blister on your heel? Go get some of that yellow medicine. I have a feeling that it had sat in our bathroom cabinet so many years, that it had long lost its effectiveness, but we kept using it. Morrison's Drug Store had significance to me for other reasons. The store was robbed one evening and Mr. Morrison was murdered. It was the first time that crime had intruded into my world.

We awaited the arrival of Haley's Comet with great anticipation. I bought Jesse this shirt; the back says, "See you again in 2061." We drove out to Lake Benbrook at 4 AM to try to see it. I was expecting a huge fireball blazing across the sky with a flaming tail. I'm not sure we actually saw it, but we convinced ourselves that we did. We bought donuts on the way home. I had the boys draw pictures of the event and we wrote a story about it, which I also found tonight.

These cute little shoes are Korean slippers that were sent with Leslie when she flew to the US when I adopted her. Evidently they are unisex, because Hollis arrived with a pair, too.

Here are some of my political buttons that I've collected over the years. For several years I thought I might never have a winner among my collection, but there have been several now.

These are baptismal stoles from the baptisms of my first 7 children. The three children who came from Russia had been baptized in the Russian Orthodox church.

I'm sure there are more treasures squirreled away...more boxes await!


Kenneth said...

Do U have any idea about the different hemp knots?

Rickie, Domestic Goddess said...

What lovely memories. I, too, remember Morrisons Drug Store on East Lancaster. Your hand-macramed (sp) purse is lovely. You ought to use that today. I loved Mrs. Weatherby. How wonderful that you have adopted so many children. You must have a truly kind heart.

Thom said...

You have some wonderful treasures, there. I am also very sentimental and tend to hold onto things... unfortunately, my mother was not and then I lost a lot in the divorce... so it goes. I was able to hold onto a set of Native American dolls my grandmother gave me when I was five, the caboose from a great (and now valuable) train set my mother gave away (I hid the caboose). And of course... the bunny suit picture!

Galen said...

Kenneth, here's a site that might get you started. After you learn the basics, you can google "advanced hemp knots" or "advanced macrame knots" or "macrame patterns."

Galen said...

Rickie, thank you. I don't know if the purse could be really needs it. I've tried to find the pattern I used for it, but haven't had any luck, and I've found that it's difficult to find the patterns these days. I did find some vintage books online. I hope to get back to the craft one day soon.

Galen said...

Thom, now if you only had the bunny suit itself! Somewhere I have a picture of myself in the clown suit my mother made for me one Halloween, with a matching one for my brother, I believe. I still have the suit and when my kids were little, each of them wore the suit for Halloween at least one year.