Finding treasures


Lou Ann head shotMy mother use to apologize for leaving me with the task of clearing out her basement.  I would quickly suggest that she help me by bearing witness as I pulled each box down from the shelves, opened it and began the arduous journey determining what was to stay and what was to be thrown away.  Mother would just as quickly back away from my suggestion, obviously preferring that I take that journey alone after she was gone.

And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since she passed over four years ago.  Box by box, whenever I felt strong enough, I’ve been going through the many shelves and piles of things left behind from lives well lived.

Sometimes I find things that I know must have been important, and may still be, but I have no idea about the story behind the items.  But every once in awhile I come across something that is pure treasure. That was the case when, in a box of hankies, photographs and unopened bottles of Avon cologne I found an old autograph book.  As I carefully opened the worn orange cloth cover with the white plastic flowers on the front I was treated to my Great Aunt Pauline’s carefully scribed name, followed by the year, 1895.

I never knew Pauline.  I may have met her, but she died in 1955, three years after I was born, so I have no recollection of her beyond the photographs I’ve seen.  To hold something that she once held was humbling, but to read the carefully written friendship poems inside touched me deeply.  I felt connected to something much greater than I, much longer lasting than my fleeting lifetime.  I can tell by the carefully worn pages that Pauline must have looked through this book of wishes from her cherished friends many times.  Inside were “forget me not’s” and lovely rhymes, such as:

“Live for those that love you,

For those whose hearts are true,

9/22/2012 11:06:08 PM

Lou Ann, what a treasure you have found. I wish I had asked many questions of my great grand father while he was still alive. Being the oldest of the grand children I was about 12 years old when he died. He actually was in the Oklahoma land rush. It didn't work out for him and the family so they came back to Nebraska. He wasn't in the first wave but went in at a later time. Maybe that was why it didn't work out for him but it would have been a fascinating story to listen to him tell. Have a great treasure hunting day.

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