Thursday, September 14, 2006

1963 Revisited

All In The Family... Another Trip Down Memory Lane... History and Old Stuff...


In 1963-1964, I made a scrapbook. On the first page, I recorded the following information:

My Scrapbook
Started in 1963, May 20
Gennie L. Hill
Rose, Nebraska
Age 11-1/2, Grade 7
Duff School

ScrapbookOne of the first things in the scrapbook is a drawing of one end of our living room. The Westinghouse record player has the place of honor on the library table. The piano is the same one that sits in my living room today. I didn't do a good job of drawing the curtain fabric, but I do recognize it.

Looking through the scrapbook, I can see that I was thrilled by romance. Many newspaper clippings about the engagements and weddings of local young people fill the pages. I can hardly believe that these couples are all in their 60's now.

I was particularly interested in the marriage of Jim Saar, a neighbor's son who worked several years for my dad, to his sweetheart, Orpha. I saved Orpha's engagement pictures from two newspapers, the wedding invitation, a wedding napkin, and a thank you note. I also made a list of every person who had any part in the wedding from the bride and groom to the woman who served the cake. It began with these words:
June 16, 1963, brought the day that Jim, Orpha, Charlotte [my younger sister] and I had waited for over a year to come. Jim's Wedding Day! The colors were lilac and white...

ScrapbookI last saw Jim and Orpha Saar at my father's funeral in 1996. Jim went to trade school and became a plumber after he quit working for my dad. He's now retired. Orpha was still just as little and cute as she had been in her newly-wed days.

Some of the folks in my scrapbook aren't around anymore. Helen Swanson, my Sunday School teacher in 1963, passed away recently. She was 93 years old. Her husband, Elmer, also passed away recently; he was 100 years old! My scrapbook holds a birthday card with a penciled note that Helen sent to me over 40 years ago.

In one newspaper photo, Jerry Dearmont, a neighbor boy who was a year older than me, is receiving a soil conservation award. I was in 4-H with him for ten years. Sadly, he died at a young age of a brain tumor.

At that time, the Soil Conservation Department had a slogan contest every year. In my scrapbook, I recorded a winning slogan I wrote: "Conservation saves the nation for the next generation." Winners had their slogan displayed on the Long Pine Drive-in Theater marquee during the winter (while the drive-in was closed,) and winners also received a $1.00 cash prize. That was big money for me.

Several high school graduation announcements from my brother's friends appear in my scrapbook. One of them was from Roger Koelling. Roger was our pastor's son, a year older than my brother, and he worked in the hayfield for us a summer or two. On the envelope flap, I wrote the following about his tragic death:

Roger Koelling, our preacher's son, drowned in June right after he graduated in 1963. He drowned in Hord Lake at Central City, Nebraska. Over 300 attended his funeral.

ScrapbookOn page 24, I included a drawing of Jacqueline Kennedy's face on a sheet of notebook paper. Beneath a notation that I had caught a 32-inch 7-lb. northern pike in our lake, I wrote,
This is Jacqueline Kennedy. I drew it. It looks a lot like her. On November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, President Kennedy was shot. 30 min. later in the hospital, he died. The following Mon. was a day of mourning. The new president was Lyndon Johnson. Assassinator (Killer) of Kennedy was Lee Harvey Oswald. On the following Sunday, he was shot to death by Jack Ruby. Pres. K. funeral was on Mon.
On a later page beside a sample of 1963 Christmas seals, I noted, "Jack Ruby was condemmed (sic) to the electric chair in March." That would have been March of 1964. (As it happened, he died of cancer before his execution.)

Scrapbook pageA newspaper clipping of me as the 1000th patient in the Rock County Hospital is the only photo of myself in the scrapbook. It's a record of one of two times in my life that I've been hospitalized for something unrelated to childbearing.

The hospital auxilliary ladies gave me a bouquet of fresh flowers, a snifter with a plastic rose stuck in the bottom of it and a guest book. My schoolmates and chums, the Horner girls, signed my guest book several times when they came to our house. In the "Comment" column , they wrote things like, "She is a crazy kid," and "Nice bedroom." The covers of the book finally fell off and I threw it away long ago.

I was in the hospital because I had fainted one morning while I was putting on my shoes. My fingernails were cutting painfully into the palm of my hand just before I fell, and the next I knew, my mom was hauling me to the car. Mama was strengthened by adrenaline and mother-instinct because I surely weighed 90 pounds or more. I was running a high fever and had a convulsion, but after a couple of days in the hospital, I was fine.

I tried to get my kids to keep scrapbooks, but neither of them were interested when they were younger. Keely did made an extensive memory book when she was a high school senior. She made the pages from cardstock and she put many of her snapshots and souvenirs in it. She printed a heading for each page, and she had her friends and teachers write in it. It turned out very nicely, and she will enjoy it through the years.

Isaac told me today that he wants to start carrying a camera to school so he can get some photos of his senior year. And even if he never makes a scrapbook, I've filled a filebox with memorabilia for him -- awards and greeting cards he's received, some envelopes with little locks of his hair that I saved, his best stories and drawings from school, notes from his teachers and all his report cards. (I made a similar box for Keely.)

Still, a box of stuff selected and preserved by Mom won't create a time capsule of his personality and interests like a scrapbook that he compiled himself would do.

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Collagemama said...

As kids in the early Sixties we always saved the napkins from birthday parties, showers, Mom's bridge club, and weddings. I only put the napkins from my own birthday party into my scrapbook, though.

None of my sons put items into scrapbooks or photo albums. At least one son has a box holding all the letters from his pen pals and notes from school friends.

Autograph books and autograph hounds were a big deal in grades 3-6. Autograph hounds were ugly stuffed animals that came with a pen. Party guests were supposed to write on the dog, kind of like signing the cast on a broken arm. Did you do those silly autographs like

I auto cry
I auto laugh
I auto sign
My autograph?

Genevieve said...

I think my cousin Gwen had an autograph hound.

My mother had a wonderful autograph book from her childhood. One of these days, I hope to get it from my brother and scan the pages.

Zookeeper said...

My maiden name was Fletcher and I was the flower girl in the Jim and Orpha Saar wedding. It was fun reading your memories. It would be nice to see your pictures/memorabila of the day.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.