Saturday, July 15, 2017

Things my mother kept

My mom kept about anything that held a memory for her.  Most of her keepsakes were contained on one sort of paper or another, so over the years many of them have deteriorated badly.  For instance, she kept diaries from 1930, perhaps earlier, up to 1932.  All this stuff was kept in boxes and chests, usually in the attic if we had one.  My parents moved often, but her stuff went with her everywhere she lived until she went to the nursing home.  Unfortunately, many items were lost to leaky roofs, nesting mice, or simply from being folded and re-read too many times.  I was looking at some of her keepsakes today and decided I'd better take pictures of some of them and blog about them or they'll be lost.  Probably nobody would miss them but me, but at least I will have some things catalogued.

All that remains of her diaries is one cover and a few random pages.  When I was a child I'd go upstairs, dig out the diaries, and read parts of them.  Sometimes I'd read something that sparked my curiosity and I'd go downstairs and ask her to tell me more because, as I've said before, she was a story-teller and I loved stories.   

This is the cover that remains.  It looks to me like battery acid got to it, the kind of batteries you use in flashlights, probably.  

Here are all the pages that remain, from 1932.  My parents got married in December of that year. 

Sometimes I rummage through these things and wonder why anybody would keep such souvenirs, but when I look back, I've kept some equally hum-drum things because I wanted to remember a time.

So many ration books, and there are more of them somewhere with my name on them.  Mother told me that, on the car they were driving during ration times, the steering wheel kept shedding pieces so that by the end of the war, the round outside of the wheel was totally gone and they were steering with the little sticks that went from the center to the nonexistent wheel. 

Awards she got for books she read during the school year.  Mother loved school, and wanted to continue her education, but her father felt high school was too "worldly" and wouldn't allow her to go; so she took 7th and 8th grades over again before she left grade school.  

A post card she sent to her grandmother as a child.  I imagine it was given to her after her grandmother died.  

This is a letter to Mother from my Uncle Paul that is special to me, because I was "the big girl" he was asking about.  It's dated September 6, 1944; I was born in July of that year.  He was in the thick of things in Germany.

I'll stop with all this for now.  I'm doing these entry chiefly for myself. but perhaps somebody else will find it of interest.  I hope to get some more of my mom's keepsakes in another entry or two later on.


Leilani Lee said...

Somewhere in my collection of books is one "Don't You Know There's a War On." I think a lot of us "younger folks" don't realize that there was rationing during those years. My mom and dad never said a word to us about rationing, yet it had to have affected them. Wonder why they didn't talk about it?

Donna Wood said...

My mom had stories about it.

Margaret said...

Since I've gotten very into genealogy, I LOVE this kind of stuff. The ration books are fascinating. I have never seen one before! This is a great post, Donna.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Those keepsakes are precious. They tell the story of her life and times she lived in. My own mother was not much of a keeper, but I am.

Sheila Y said...

I love memories from the past. Was Alva Allen a relation, from the book awards? Take care, Sheila

Donna Wood said...

Not that I know of.


momentos like these help to fill in the blanks in some ancestory history. you're lucky to still have these.

krueth said...

My grandmother had diaries and after she passed away quite a few years, my aunt took her diaries that were also falling apart and copied them and made books for any of us that wanted one. I LOVE to go and read through the book. I think this was a very interesting post, my mom talked about the rationing books. I wished I would have listened to more about them. Wendy

Leonora said...

These are wonderful treasures and I can understand why you keep them. They're all about everyday life and I find this kind of stuff fascinating.
I once found a box of Women's Day magazines from the late 1930's in the attic of an old house we bought. I still have them and will re-read them every once in a while.