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Mom’s Scrapbook

Scrapbook

Just today, I realized why I shudder at the idea of “Scrapbooking” as a hobby.  My concept of a scrap book comes from my Mother and resembles this picture.

Mom died in 2004, and I’ve been sorting through her things for years now, but I’ve left her scrapbooks and journals until last.

I have a feeling Mom would have loved computers and would have made good use of Bookmarks, as I do, because her scrapbooks are just so jam packed with all of her interests.

She usually would get off to good start with a few pages neatly arranged and pasted and then I can see she must have become busy and started using the scrapbooks as her personal filing system, stuffing them with articles, recipes and pictures she found in magazines and newspapers; calendar pictures, post cards and the random letter until the bindings broke and pages ripped.

Eventually, she would tie the book together with twine and pack it away labeling it, “Important!!!”

I also found a few treasures; several of her high school newspapers, The Penfield, Pennsylvania “Echo” 1929, V. H. Society Editor.

Sadly, I found clippings from the fatal crash that traumatized my mother for the rest of her life. A drunk driver missed the curve going 100 mph in the middle of the night, his car burst into flames as it hit our Maple syrup tree, just a few feet from Mom’s living room, killing two people, including her neighbor.

I thought about my Mom’s warning to “play somewhere else, not the front yard”, because of her fear that a car would crash into it. In fact, during her forty years there, three cars did, one directly into her living room.

As I continued exploring her scrapbook, I was amazed that we shared so many interests in common. I wish we would have talked about those.

I found some Monet Prints, photos of places I have traveled that I wonder if she longed to visit: The Badlands of South Dakota; Bison on the Plains and Colorado Rocky Mountain BigHorn Sheep; Fields of wildflowers and trees; Panning for Gold in Colorado; European Castles and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage in England.

And so, I sat in my arm-chair as she did, beside her kitchen window, through the long winter, watching her birds. Only, I began tossing away these bits of paper that she saved. It seemed too harsh until I made a decision to record one scrapbook’s contents in my Laptop Documents, filing it under: Mom’s Scrapbook: 2011.

I took great pleasure in recording her interests: A photo of a large gorilla smelling a yellow rose; pictures of beagle puppies (I remember mom and I certainly had trouble with our Beagles); Lovely little white lambs; Articles about Norman Rockwell, The First Ladies, The History of Drake’s Well and Pithole, site of the first commercial Oil Well in the USA  (mom was a history buff and loved to take people for picnics in the “Ghost Town”).  My list is a long one.

I’m almost ready to re-cycle all of these scraps of history, but I’ll save the Valentines from my kids, some of the clippings and Mom’s school newspapers for another year or so. These are windows into our family’s past, after all.

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