Hidden Treasure-Lost History

I have the honor of having in my possession a scrapbook from the 1930’s. My Father-in-law picked it up at an estate sale. He is thoughtful, he said he saw it and thought of me.

I know nothing about the creator. I think it is a woman named Joan. There is an orange slip of paper on the first page with that name on it. Written in pencil beside it is “200 in Jr High”. What that means I have no idea. If I were to assume, I would say that perhaps this started out as a school project.

At first I was profoundly saddened that this woman’s family would sell this priceless heirloom. It was obviously important to her. It was part of her life, her history. I love how she carefully cutout this picture of the toddler laying its head on the chair. And, how she colored in the picture of the woman against the railing with colored pencil. There are only two pictures in the whole album colored in, and only with red and green pencil. Was that the only colors she had? Or did she just really like those two colors?

When I first opened it I had no idea what to expect. If I had expected pictures pasted onto pretty papers, like modern scrapbooks, I would have been severely disappointed. This scrapbook was much more simple. The papers, though brittle and worn from time, are nice and thick, and resemble a brown paper bag in color and texture. There are no fancy papers with glitter and bright colors. There are no embellishments with rhinestones and flowers. It is very plain according to modern scrapbooking standards. I do have to remember though, that this was during the great depression. luxurious papers would probably have been not so important then.  I did notice she had a curious way of using tiny pieces of cutout magazine as a sort of photo corner.

The content surprised me, too. There are no personal pictures. There are lots of cut outs from magazines, books and newspapers, more like a Smash book.The oldest date I found was 1936. There is one in particular that stands out to me. It is a newspaper clipping of a picture of five young women from Drury college. Is one of these young women the creator of the scrapbook? I did find a few places where it looks like something has been removed. The scarred paper and the blank spots are such a mystery. Did the family of this woman remove the “important” parts? Or did the woman herself remove them? If she did, why?

While examining the scrapbook, marveling at it’s simplicity, I started to get a glimpse of what this young woman was like. She liked photography. She like art. She like poetry. She was an artist at heart. She was a very deep soul. But, she also had a sense of humor.

Then, I started thinking about my scrapbooks. If I died and someone came to possess them (Hopefully, my family wouldn’t sell them!!), what would they learn about me? If I included more current history as it unfolds, would that give the reader a better sense of who I am? What would I include? The state of the economy? The events going on in Syria? The Olympics? Mini posters of my favorite movies? Lyrics to my favorite songs? Or the current drought?

All this made me think of new and unique things to include in my scrapbooking. It’s not just about embellishing an already pretty picture. It’s about a slice of life. I piece of me. It’s about answering, “Who am I? What do I want? What and who make me happy? How do I want to be remembered?”

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