I love history, no surprise since I write historical westerns. But it’s weird to think I am a part of history, too. Let me explain. A few years ago, I helped clean out my mom’s old house when she moved into a retirement apartment. I came across virtual treasures–my great-great-grandfather’s discharge papers from the Union Army as part of Sherman’s Atlanta campaign. Pictures of my great-uncle who had been killed in European combat during the First World War. Ration coupons from the Second. Athletic awards from too many ancestors to count. (I did not inherit the athlete gene, sadly.) Every scrap, every knick-knack, every tintype told some sort of story.
Then I came across a tiny box full of teeny cards. From my baby shower and birth in the days dinosaurs roamed the earth. These precious little bits of my history are too adorable not to share. One card came in a wee envelope wearing a THREE-cent stamp. In those days, a woman signed “Mrs. George Jones”, not Mrs. Ann Jones. Or apparently, not even Ann Jones. Since the size of these cards is so preposterously miniature, I took photos with a quarter so you could visualize better the sizes.
But what impressed me most was the simplicity of the gifts. My mother had painstakingly written on each mini-card what the giver had bestowed on me. (She was the daughter of a minister. I’m thinking all the ladies in the congregation gave me something…there are dozens of cards.)
In these days of strollers the size of Noah’s ark, and gift registries every which way and then some, it’s kind of endearing to know what treasures I’d received on my natal day. Things like these gifts from three separate givers: White nylon dress with pink slip; Three safety lock pins and two yellow terry washcloths; White wool bonnet (handmade.
For the cards depicted below, I’ll list the gift underneath the photo. Thanks for hobbling with me down Memory Lane.
2 cup pyrex measuring cup; metal funnel, silver dollar, diaper bag.
White wool soakers, white nylon wet-proof panties, pink wool robe and hood.
Knee-high pink wool booties, pink plastic crib and doll, rooster rattle, tiny blue celluloid doll
And I couldn’t leave out my dad. Here’s the front and back of a card wishing him well.
And last but not least is a mini-card from a man! Daddy’s co-worker Don. (This one came with a “stork” feather.) Guess what, I ended up working at Daddy’s office during my college summers, and yup, Don was still there!
Okay, so what’s your favorite baby gift to give? What do you think is meant by “white wool soakers”?
With my niece newly-pregnant with a girl, I’m open to gift ideas!
Coming print and e-book July 2013