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No Scraps

Did you have a scrapbook as a kid? I certainly did and loved it. I had it crammed so full that it would hardly close. So what were these things that were SOOO memorable?

I had samples of hay from the hayride where I first kissed a boy. There were programs from the plays I acted in during my high school years and my ticket stubs from Gone with the Wind. I impaled all my 4-H ribbons for baking yeast rolls and sewing a dress. The book also housed my Girl Scout Sash plus a couple of dried, crumpling flowers from long-ago dance corsages.

I understand these days there’s a popular hobby called “scrapbooking.” I’ve seen lots of fancy supplies for it, with fancy prices. Things like: patterned borders, colored stampers, even little bubbles to attach to pictures so that people look like cartoon characters, saying current witticisms like “Whassup?” In my day, the only expense was the purchase of the album and, of course, the cost of the souvenir’s event. As a matter of fact, maybe those books should be called Souvenir Books or Memory Books, instead of scrapbooks. To me, the contents weren’t scraps.

Those albums weren’t the only memory keepers. Remember autograph books? I had several over the years and one year, I even got an autograph dog for Christmas. He was a dachshund and came with a pen for all my friends to sign his weiner-ish body. After he and I got caught in the rain, the dog and the signatures went south.

My maternal grandmother had an autograph book, too, which I still have. It’s covered in red velvet, with a flowered border and the word “Album” pressed into the fabric. There is a lovely inscription, dated October 9, 1888, from one Joseph W. Robbins, her future first husband. Two others are from Arlington, Indiana, (yes, you read that right,) and are from John P. Downey and Mary R. Downey, dated December 9, 1888. John’s cautions: “Strive not for worldly fame, but prepare for that coming rest which is eternal.” Mary’s is more positive, promising to remember my grandmother, even when they’re apart. The last inscription is dated July 28, 1892, and is addressed to the now married Mr. and Mrs. Robbins. Kittie Riegger wrote: “May your lives be like snowflakes, leave a mark, but not a stain.”

Not such a bad thought, is it? We Old School types love our keepsakes!


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