(I’ve written these posts to be published while I’m away from the computer – so you won’t have to actually live without me!)
Almost 8 years ago I came across a gold mine of genealogical information which I’ve alluded to before in previous posts. My mom told me I could search everywhere for anything pertinent. It was also another way for her to unload stuff on me. In the very back room of the basement – where she keeps the washer and dryer, inside clothes line, freezer and small appliance items she uses rarely – I opened a large box. Inside were a couple more boxes. One had old photos that I pulled out and went through. Another box held my “artwork” and silly letters I wrote as a young child – items that parents try to keep. Another box had more photo albums and papers. Now most of that is in my possession. I came across my mom’s and grandmother’s report cards, pictures of my dad’s family, pictures of my great-grandparents and my mom’s baby sister at death in their caskets (my family is morbid like that!).
Then I went through every single photo album in my mom’s house (at least I think I did!) and removed “old” pictures or photos she told me I could take. We spent time trying to label photos – especially really old ones of people I didn’t recognize.
In another part of the basement is a big trunk. My parents used it to pack clothes and household items when they moved to and from Japan in the 1950s. Inside were blankets, un-cut material my mom had purchased to make clothes, and then in the very bottom was a box. Written on the box was “Letters from WWI”. My first thought was “no!” There was no way any letters from WWI survived or that my mother would have them. I opened it and sure enough there were letters. One was dated May 1916 – my grandparents were still courting! A hundred letters is an understatement.
Then my mother found two more boxes with more letters – her letters from Japan to her parents; letters from my grandmother’s mom and siblings to my grandmother; later letters from my grandparents to each other when one of them was out of town. Then my mom handed me a big manilla folder that contained letters my grandparents wrote her when they were stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany (I’ve posted some of the letters in a previous post).
Then I opened a filing cabinet that had belonged to my grandfather. Inside were my grandparents’ memorial books, their 50th anniversary book, newspaper clippings, and two rather old looking school notebooks. One was filled with minutes from my grandfather’s family reunions – Johnson-Shively – held almost every year since before 1920 until after 1920. Most of the entries were very short and sweet and included the pertinent business meeting information – how much was in the reunion treasury, who was elected President, Vice-President, and Secretary, where the next reunion would be held and quite often the names of those who had passed away, married or born during the year.
When my husband saw the piles of materials that I was going to bring back home, he just shook his head and declared that we were going to have to add another wing to the house! I feel very fortunate that I ended up with all these materials instead of them being lost to a landfill or to someone who wouldn’t know the importance of these items. Each time I look at this memorabilia, I discover something new.
How has your treasure hunting been?