I entertained myself on many hot summer afternoons with the contents of two boxes that were stored in the bottom of the pie safe that my grandmother referred to as a china cabinet. I never tired of looking through the picture postcards, photographs, and a few letters and other keepsakes that they contained.
The noon meal, referred to as dinner, was just as full as the morning and evening meals with meat, vegetables, and some type of bread. Of course, sweet tea was the only beverage ever considered. After the meal was over my grandfather would head back into town and Mamaw and I would wash the dishes. She would wash and I would rinse and then we would both dry and put everything away. She would then busy herself with finishing up any kitchen chores or beginning preparing for any afternoon blanching and freezing of the morning garden pick.
I would be on my own until she was ready to lie down on her bed and rest while we played endless games of Old Maid . During this interval I would often pull out the boxes and immerse myself in their contents. From summer to summer the contents would grow and I would look forward to the new additions as a way of catching up on any news I had missed during the past year.
It was also a way for me to learn about my extended family. Who is this I would ask and Mamaw would begin to tell me names, family relationship, where they lived and share any other story that she thought would entertain me. Many of these people I would never meet, but through their cards and pictures I would know who they were and when their names were mentioned I would immediately be able to place then in the proper relationship category.
I still love to look at postcards and pictures from the past and delight in the handwritten notes and letters from years gone by. Sadly, in our digital age, we have moved away from hand written correspondence and saving pictures and other memorabilia. How will today’s children connect to their family and understand the relationships? It does concern me!
I am undertaking a project to create a book for my family members that features family history and pictures. I may even do two books for my children – one for my side of the family and one of their father’s side. I am not in a hurry with this as I want it to be complete and easy to read and follow. Who knows, I may even share some of the stories here on this blog…