A few days ago my mother decided to begin sorting through the things in her attics. Yes, I said attics as my mother's house has not one but four dormer attics. My family moved into that house the summer of 1968 so much has made its way into those attics over the years.
While going through one of them, my mother came across an old red scrap book. At first she thought it might have been a scrap book full of newsclippings collected by my granmother but when she looked closer, she discovered it was a scrapbook given to me by my dad over 40 years ago.
When she called to tell me about it, my first reaction was shock for I had forgotten all about it. However, I quickly began to remember its history. Though I couldn't tell her exactly when I had received it, I knew it had been a Christmas gift. I also remembered why I had received it. Earlier that year, my mother had found the scrapbook of her youngest sister and being someone who even then expressed a deep interest in history and was a budding genealogist, I was enchanted by it. I poured over it and demanded more family stories. I had my own little "collection" of my history, my "treasures", but alas, I just had an old box.
That Christmas, my dad presented me with a large red book which had Scrap Book written across the cover in elegant gold letters. I was elated and quickly began to assemble my book of memories and I added bits and pieces to it until I graduated from high school in 1978.
I was delighted that my mother had found my scrap book. As she started to tell me about the treasures it contained, I suddenly interrupted her because I remembered something. "There is a keychain with a stone in the shape of a turtle attached to it, right?"
My mother wasn't quite sure, she would look but didn't I want to hear about...
"Yes, I do but Mom, this is important. I need to know if the keychain is still there. It is important because if it is not, I need to come over and look for it!"
She was a bit puzzled by my intensity but she looked and told me that there was. I breathed a sigh of relief and then satisfied her curiosity of why that was so important to me.
In August 1977, my dad presented me with that keychain as well as a set of my own car keys. He then told me that he realized I had never taken him for a drive since I had received my driver's license so how about taking him for a drive now?
At the time, my dad who had been battling colon cancer for two years, was using a wheelchair due to his bones becoming more and more fragile. I loaded up the wheelchair into the trunk of the car and off we went.
One of the places he wanted to go was Minnehaha Falls which was a short distance from our house. I can still see him sitting there with me standing next to him, by the falls. How we both loved that place!
I did not know it then but that would be the last time I would drive him anywhere. He would be admitted to the hospital for the last time just a few days later and except for just a couple of hours on the day before his birthday, he would never come home again.After his death, I suddenly feared that I would lose the keychain so to keep it safe, I clipped it onto the scrap book for safekeeping. Though I had not seen it in probably about 25 years, I am looking at it once again, glad that it is still safe.
There were more treasures in the scrap book to be found. In addition to all the odds and ends, I found some chalk drawings my dad had made for me which I remembered but there I also had two surprises in the form of valentines. In all honesty, though I knew he gave me a valentine every year, I thought they were long gone. You can imagine my delight in discovering two valentines my dad had given me. The picture in this blog is of one of the chalk drawings my dad drew for meand one of the valentines he gave me. This one in particular was precious to me because while he simply signed the other one, he wrote "I love you" in this one. What a precious gift!
I shed a few tears as I poured through the old scrap book but I also smiled and even laughed. The old scrap book tells a story, my story. It contains some of my childish scrawls beginning with a little book I made when I was in second grade. It holds a few short stories and some poems that I wrote when I was a girl. It contains some high school memories, various cards from friends and family, an autobiography I wrote when I was in high school and postcards I picked up when I traveled to Europe in the spring of 1977.
The old scrap book is no longer in my mother's attic. It is back with me which is where it really belongs. I have cleared out a space on my closet shelf for it so hopefully it will not become lost again.I can't turn back the clock and live in the past but I can remember it and indeed while there are some memories I should discard, there are many more things that I should not only remember but treasure even though those memories may at times bring pain.
I agree with Alison! It is "absolutely beautiful!"
I think scrapbooks are one of those "vintage treasures" that can so invitingly re-route our thinking process back into the times of our lives that were cornerstones of the making of whom we've become.
I love this blog!