Wednesday, July 11, 2012

"Showered" with Ephemera!

You may be tired of hearing it by now, but I can't help it - I have to shout it from the rooftop.  In fact, I'll do that now - I HAVE AWESOME FRIENDS! :D

This past Sunday was a fun day - my friend Lea, who is due any day now, had her baby shower.  I hadn't seen her in a while, as she's super busy preparing for the baby Lily's arrival plus was on doctor-ordered bed rest for the last 6 weeks or so.  She looked wonderful!  Pregnancy definitely agrees with her.  :)

I also got to see my friend Michelle, who I also don't get to see very often anymore (though she did come to our super-duper Garage Sale back in May).  You see, I worked with both of these great ladies at The Reporter and now, none of us work there anymore.  Ah, such is life, but it was just really great to get caught up.

I hadn't been to a baby shower in four years - I'm at that age where friends my age are done having kids and my younger friends are on their second or third (typically in the US, showers aren't given after the first child). It was a very well thought out party - events were spaced perfectly and the food was AMAZING (oh yeah - in Wisconsin, you'd better have a large buffet at your party or people will wonder what's wrong with you).

Here's the thing - while it may have been Lea's party, somehow I  was the one that was showered with amazing stuff!  Check out these wonderful letters:



Fantastic, right?  They're all addressed to the same person, Miss Cecil Bartleson/Mrs. Jack (Cecil) Pittles.  They range in date from 1930 to 1958.  Lea had gotten these for me when she went to the Princeton Flea Market last year and had been keeping them for me. Some are hilarious, and one is heartbreaking (see right).  When Lea's mom Julie handed these to me, Michelle and I both dug in right away and started reading them.  We agreed that the gossip hasn't changed in the last 80 years, only the method by which it's delivered.  It's amazing to me how many letters people wrote back then, but I think these people were farmers and even in the Thirties, it's questionable as to whether they had a phone or not.  Even if they did have a phone, I'm sure it was a party line!  It was probably easier (and cheaper!) to just write a quick letter.

Then, after the party was over, Michelle says, "Hey, I have some old newspapers for you if you want them, plus some stuff we found in our house while we were remodeling."  IF I want them?  Yes, please!  And again, "some" is an understatement!

There are some from the Fifties and Sixties, my favorite.  And most are The Reporter (or earlier, the Fond du Lac Commonwealth Reporter!), where we all used to work.  I love this one from when Kennedy was elected - every time I see something like this I can't help but think that these people in this time had no idea what was coming down the pike in three years, a paper that I also now own from the same pile.  I feel that way every time I see a prominent figure in an old magazine before he or she was assassinated or died suddenly.


Okay, sorry to get maudlin for a second - back to the good stuff!  These items were all found in cupboards of Michelle's home, which is an old farm house in the "Holy Land" (what we Fondyites call the area northeast of the city - the towns are mainly named after churches/saints or holy sites.  St. Anna, Mount Calvary, Johnsburg, Charlesburg, St. Cloud - these are some of the town names).  Isn't it incredible to think that these items have been sitting in this cupboard for the last 56 years?!?  It's a very Catholic area (St. Lawrence Seminary, which trains priests all over the world, is located in Mount Calvary), so it's no surprise to see the Jesus calendar.  And I LOVE this little Co-operative Service Oil Co. clipboard, which is also 56 years old!  Even better is the 1951 receipt that Michelle found in the same cupboard from back when you ran a tab at the grocery store!  :D

I am happy that I could return the favor in the form of baby gifts for Lea and a mound of handmade papers for Michelle, but I still feel like I won the lottery for the day.  Thank you, ladies!  SO nice to see you again!  :D








10 comments:

  1. Love it!!! move great stuff for you to work with!! I have letters sent to my dad after WW2. great stuff. I just need to figure out what to do with them.......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OOH, those letters sound wonderful, Ann - maybe frame a couple of them with some other memorabilia? :D

      Delete
    2. They are great to read! from them you can tell these men just wanted to come home and start a family and forget the war. and it's interesting to see when the children's names start appearing! I know what I'm doing this weekend. Going through my stuff!! do you have a post on your site about organizing???? cause I need all the help I can get!!

      Delete
  2. Cool! I just love the old letters!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are super cool, Kristi! Almost all are in their original envies, too, with the stamps and everything! :D

      Delete
  3. So Mel, are you going to post the letters and share the gossip with us?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Leslie Ann! There are too many letters to post, but here's a snippet of one: "Is there any infantile paralysis down there? There is one case in Waupaca. Marion Olson's little boy has it. Did you hear about old Fred Lea shooting himself? He was in the back yard of his home when he did the shooting - about 6:15 Tuesday nite, but didn't die until midnite. We heard there is a letter that is to be published for the public - some think it is a confession. I doubt it will ever get in the paper tho." (Yes, that was actually one paragraph from a letter!)

      Pretty wild, huh? It reads like a paperback novel!

      Delete
  4. In case you are interested, here is a bit of info about "old Fred Lea" => http://www.mainstreet-marketplace.com/pages/Buildings_businesses/campbell%20store01.htm

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LESLIE ANN!!! OMG! That is absolutely AMAZING. Thanks so much for digging that up - it's almost surreal to read about something that actually happened from a letter I'm holding in my hand! Awesome! :D

      Delete