Saturday, September 4, 2010

Do Not Destroy - Sepia Saturday

This is an unconventional  Sepia Saturday post but I've been ruminating on why we save things. Old pictures, postcards, menus -- of course, many of those are aids to memory, helping us to recall some special event or to reinforce our sense of our family.

  But what about the other things some of us (me) save?

I spent most of yesterday cleaning up my desk.  It's an old secretary that belonged to my grandparents and I had allowed mail and odds and ends to accumulate on it till things were hurling themselves to the floor. 

The secretary has all sorts of wonderful pigeonholes and little drawers which have enabled my pack rat tendencies to an alarming extent. But I come by it honestly.

Exhibit A: These two tattered pieces of newspaper from 1935 were in one of the drawers. There, along the left edge in the upper picture is my grandmother's handwriting. 

"Do not destroy," she warns.

Why?  Was it the cheap wool sweaters? The roguish Miss World Series? What made her want to save these unremarkable bits? This is all there was and I've shown both sides, just in case something eluded me.
As I continued to excavate the ephemera stored in my secretary, I found other things equally puzzling -- like this picture of an unknown young girl. On the back it says CAMP YAKEWA, 5-16-64. 

In '64 I was a bride of a year, living on a Marine Corps base with my husband and teaching 6th grade in the base school. Did one of my students give me this? Heaven help me, I haven't a clue.

Why have I saved it? Good question.

Then I found this score card from some long ago game one (or both) of my boys were playing. I know why I saved it.  It cracks me up. Back in the drawer it goes to delight me at some time in the future.
This, though, is the gem of today's collection. Written by a late friend of mine on the occasion of her 70th birthday, it has everything I need to know as I inch toward 70 myself. Do click on the picture to biggify -- it's worth reading, no matter what your age.




For more Sepia Saturday posts. go HERE. 


29 comments:

Marilyn said...

I enjoyed your post and the letter was a great read. Why did your grandmother want the pieces of newspaper kept? What a mystery. I have kept so much myself and I am sure if I went through it all I wouldn't be able to remember why I have.

Joan said...

Oh you are wonderful Vicki Lane. I had a good old chickle as I read all of this. Loved the final letter. Will start to try sleeping on my back!

Martin H. said...

What a great post. My cupboards and drawers are stuffed with things like this.

The letter is wonderful. 'The Simpsons may have destroyed life as we know it', among other memorable observations.

Brian Miller said...

so cool. fun to look back ont hese things and wonder why we kept them...the newspapre with do not destroy is a conundrum...perhaps it is just a warning in an of itself...

Alan Burnett said...

A fascinating collection. These things can only have been saved in order to entertain people from all over the world in years to come. And it worked.

R. Burnett Baker said...

Really enjoyed the letter. How true it all is!

Even now, in my late 50's, I go back to Mom and Dad's house and open drawers, boxes and closets, and pull out such remnants of life. Of theirs, ours, and mine: Blessed is the pack rat! He keeps us alive!

Rick

Vicki Lane said...

So, of course I've put all these things back in the little drawer from which they came. By the next time I clean out my desk, I'll probably have forgotten all about them.

Reader Wil said...

Wonderful nostalgic post. The more past we have the more we like sepia coloured photos. They remind us of happy times.
Thanks for your comment! Have a great Sepia Sunday and a colourful Sunday!

Carol@ Writers Porch/ Book House said...

LOVE that letter!Funny woman. :)

NCmountainwoman said...

I'm thinking it's the wool sweater. How I loved the letter. There are so many rich phrases but one of them really reached out to me. "Enunciate your vowels and eliminate your bowels." Sage advice.

Deanna said...

I biggified it and am glad I did. Everything your mother said is true... Your friend sounds like a real pistol. Loved the letter.

I was amazed at the things I found that my mom and dad saved when I cleaned out there house.

The newspaper your grandma warned "do not destroy" is definitely a puzzle.

Nice Sepia Saturday.

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

Vicki -- Beware, cleaning out or rearranging papers or photos can take days rather than hours. One runs into all the trivia of our life that suddenly takes the spotlight of ones thoughts. We are similar to pack rats we sequester away our minutia and then mull on them when we rediscover them in some pocket of our life.-- barbara

Pat transplanted to MN said...

We are on the same wavelength and I tend to keep snips of this and that too....if you find out why please advise me. I figure it's another harmless addiction and I am Teofil's granddaughter so it comes naturally. Just this week, I sort of, cleared out our secretary desk--the one that we bought for the bedroom, the one that would accumulate mail, bills, etc and liberate the kitchen counter where papers grow. Not so, now paper, things and bits, and pieces accumulate in both places, though I do move it from the counter to the desk. I enjoyed your friend's advice. Very timely post....did you toss much or keep it for later?

daylily (Queenmothermamaw) said...

Oh how true. If nothing but for you to use to entertain us on SS. The letter was very interesting. I have found things of my mom's where my sister and I have practiced our writing skills when first learning. What wonderful memories. LOL
QMM

Elora said...

This is precisely why one doesn't want to set a time limit on cleaning out old contents of drawers and (what I call) junk deposits! Too fascinating to cut things short!

Elora

Meri said...

Hmm..... the hat is rather fetching, but otherwise, I don't know what could have prompted the "do not destroy" imperative. And the letter is priceless!

Barbara and Nancy said...

I would have loved to have known your friend.
Who was "cool guy" and who was "other guy"?

Vicki Lane said...

I, too, love that letter. So many of the phrases should be on t-shirts or bumper stickers or framed and hanging on the wall.

Betty was a very witty woman. She was one of two cofounders of the Independent Day School in Tampa where John and I taught before moving to the mountains. Betty came to visit,fell in live with the place, and bought some adjoining acreage where some of her family live today. She died earlier this year at 84.

My project took pretty much of the day -- and I did manage to throw out a good bit of stuff -- mainly outdated notices of this and that and empty envelopes.

A lot of the oh-I-must-save-this stuff is in a box now on the stairs to my workroom, awaiting further classification. Some good material there for future Sepia Saturday posts.

Judging from the printing, I think that Cool Guy was my younger son. It sounds like him back then. Other Guy might have any of a number of people -- my older son, a cousin, a friend. I'll have to ask.

Vicki Lane said...

I, too, love that letter. So many of the phrases should be on t-shirts or bumper stickers or framed and hanging on the wall.

Betty was a very witty woman. She was one of two cofounders of the Independent Day School in Tampa where John and I taught before moving to the mountains. Betty came to visit,fell in live with the place, and bought some adjoining acreage where some of her family live today. She died earlier this year at 84.

My project took pretty much of the day -- and I did manage to throw out a good bit of stuff -- mainly outdated notices of this and that and empty envelopes.

A lot of the oh-I-must-save-this stuff is in a box now on the stairs to my workroom, awaiting further classification. Some good material there for future Sepia Saturday posts.

Judging from the printing, I think that Cool Guy was my younger son. It sounds like him back then. Other Guy might have any of a number of people -- my older son, a cousin, a friend. I'll have to ask.

Star said...

I enjoyed looking through your old bits and pieces of newsy keepsakes. I cannot say why your grandmother kept those cuts from the newspaper but what I noticed was the lovely hat pin! Perhaps she liked it too and didn't want to forget it in case she got the chance to get one for herself one day?
Blessings, Star

PattyF said...

That letter is definitely a keeper, Vicki! Such wonderful words of wisdom! As for the newspaper ... perhaps your grandmother had something wrapped in the newspaper and all that remains are these two pieces. It's a rather emphatic warning. Quite mysterious. (Right up your alley!) You'll have to let us know if you ever figure it out.

Nancy said...

Your friend was right about so many things. I appreciated the sleeping on your back part, not because of numbness, but as a recipient of prosthetic hips, it was a requirement for about 6 weeks. I have so many bits and pieces of paper (among other things). I keep putting off cleaning them out, though, and just keep working on my family history, thereby accumulating more paper.... Great post.

Michele said...

I love the letter, and would have loved to have known her. Is it Betty's dog that you took in when she went into a home?
Thank you for sharing that with us. I have been trying to sleep on my back, and now I shall try harder.

Vicki Lane said...

Maybe it WAS the hatpin, Star! Or perhaps Patty has the right idea.

No, Michele, Molly came from another neighbor -- an even MORE elderly lady.

Barbara and Nancy said...

Boy, you sure get a lot of comments. I think it's because you're such a good writer and your posts are always so interesting.
I added more to my post since the last time you were there. Thanks for that comment on the cartoon.

Caroline (Frogmum) said...

Great letter by your friend ~ and the mystery newspapers... curious! :)

Tattered and Lost said...

I'm with Patty. My first thought was the paper was used to wrap something of importance which makes it an even bigger mystery because now I want to know what THAT was.

And what you did my friend and I call sorting. We never say we are cleaning anything, just sorting. With sorting we know we will eventually end up just sitting and looking at the details we intended to move elsewhere. Eventually we end up with piles which all get put back where we started. Sorting is leisurely with no worry about a goal. Cleaning implies a doable goal. Sorting just means moving things around and getting lost in what we find.

Vicki Lane said...

Sorting -- so THAT's what I was doing! Though I did throw a way a whole bunch of boring/redundant/outdated stuff.

Southwest Arkie said...

I guess I don't see it either- but maybe it is the hat! The letter made me laugh out loud- I sleep on my side and cannot for the life of me nod off lying flat on my back. Guess I best learn.