Sunday, March 28, 2010

Every Soul Has A Story

I’m sure I have probably mentioned to y’all before how I like to rummage around in antique store and flea markets. Whenever I come across something personal, an item with a name of the person that owned it, I can’t help but think about that person and let my mind wander. The majority of the time I will buy the item simply to honor that person’s memory and legacy. I don’t know why I do it, I just don’t like the fact that someone’s personal items are just sitting around collecting dust for a bunch of strangers to walk past and never notice. To me, it was someone's life, and no life should ever go unnoticed.

Maybe another reason it bugs me for these personal items to go unnoticed is because I don’t have children. It’s probably something kind of silly to fret about, but I don't like to think about all my beloved things getting loaded up on a truck someday for strangers to rummage through to sell, buy, or consider worthless and chunk. I realize at the end of the day it’s all just stuff, but I like my stuff. And I suppose, children or no children, everyone's stuff at some point in time gets rummaged through. But MY stuff means something to me. If you see something on my shelf or hanging on my wall it most likely has a story. I can tell you why I bought it, when, and where, or who gave it to me, why, and when. I guess I'm saying my stuff has meaning to me.

That saying about junk should be just the opposite to me: "One man's treasure, another man's junk."

So that's just me…. I don’t have a problem in the world with those that have their homes all color coordinated or theme/style coordinated; those who buy stuff because it coordinates with that for which they are trying accomplish. It’s just not for me. That’s all. But I do love all different types of style and I LOVE reading design books/blogs for great ideas on how decorate with my meaningful stuff.

So – why am I talking about all of this? Okay – here’s the story (sorry it took me so long to get to the point of this post):

Remember when I posted about these old magazine covers that I framed? I was intrigued when I found them because of the beauty of them. They were actual paintings, not photographs. I also liked them because they were from the 1930’s, a very rough time for our country, AND they had the name of the subscriber and their address stamped on the cover. If interested, you can read more about this post HERE.

This is a snippet on what I wrote about the person who received the magazine above (her name and address is on the top right hand corner of the magazine cover).

My mind can't help but wonder about these two ladies. What kind of women were they? What did they farm? What kind of homes did they keep? I can't help but feel that they must have been from farms of affluence, being that they could afford a magazine subscription during the depths of The Great Depression. Both my family and Jack's family were living on farms during the depression. However - from the stories I've been told, having a magazine subscription would have been quite an extravagance.

What's also interesting to me is that Katie Huelsebusch didn't have a title before her name. That was very unusual for the time. So - was she still single and reading 'The Farmer's Wife' in preparation of becoming the perfect farmer's wife? And then of course my mind REALLY wandered about Ms. Katie from La Grange and I thought, hey! Maybe she was Katie without a title before her name because she lived at the Chicken Ranch..... Don't tell me y'all haven't heard of the Chicken Ranch in La Grange, Texas!!?? Dolly Pardon and Burt Reynolds know all about it.....

So I wrote this post a few months ago. Being forever amazed with connections made on the world wide web, you can now slap me silly because last week I received this email from Katie Huelsebusch’s great-great niece!

hi, you don't know me but I was on the Internet and saw the comment about Katie Huelsebusch. She was actually my great-grandfathers older sister. She was born in 1892 or 93 and died in 1973. She lived in La Grange as did most of her 11 other brothers and sisters. She never got married, but she didn't work at the chicken ranch. She lived with her brother Adolf I believe. If you ever drive through La Grange Texas you will see a road on Hwy 71 called huelsebusch rd, which used to be rt. 1 if I remember correctly. Anyway, I hope this helps

Okay – so maybe Miss Katie didn’t work at the Chicken Ranch, but I did peg it that she never married. See what I mean? I love finding old things that are personalized so I can fantasize about that person’s life. I think it’s important to honor ALL life and not let their legacy die.

After all, EVERY person on this earth is someone’s daughter, someone’s son, someone’s brother, someone’s sister, someone’s mother, someone’s father, someone’s friend, someone’s lover.

And one last thing about Miss Katie. Had she worked at the Chicken Ranch, I wouldn't have judged her at all; not now or then. It's her life, her story.

Now I want to honor Harold Pape. I came across this old autograph book at the antique mall in Fredericksburg. As soon as I saw it I couldn’t put it down and had to bring it home with me:

After reading the signed pages in the book, it is obvious that these are schoolmates of Harold’s from probably junior high. Because the pages are dated 1938 or 1939, I assume if Harold is still alive today he is probably around 85 years old.

Each signed page is dated 1938 or 1939, with the exception of when his Aunt Lillie signed his book on December 25th, 1937. My inquiring mind tells me that Harold’s dear old Aunt Lillie bought him this book for Christmas, being that she was the first to sign. It also sounds like Harold and his Aunt Lillie had a fun and wonderful relationship. That, of course, warms my heart because I like to think that my nieces and nephews think of me as that fun-loving aunt that makes them laugh.

Dear Harold - When you get old and ugly as some folks sometimes do, remember that you have an aunt that is old and ugly too.
Your Aunt Lillie

From the pages in the book, it appears Harold had some great friends. Here are some snapshots I was able to take of the pages in the book. There were many pages, but here are a few:

Dear Harold - When the golden sun is setting and your mind of care is free, When of others you are thinking, will you sometimes think of me?
Your friend, Maurine Wahrmund

Hi Harold - First you love Viola, then you love Oline, next you love Dara Lee, and the next, don't ask me.
Good-bye, June

Uh oh - Do you think June had a bone to pick with Harold?

Dear Harold - Remember the red bird, remember the dove, remember the day you fell in love.
Your sister, Annabel

You know what else I loved about those that signed Harold's book? Their names. Good old classic names: Ruby, Lillie, Pauline, William, Annie Mae, Annabel, Walter, Mary, June and Charles.
So here’s to Harold and all his friends. I hope he continued those friendships throughout his life. And as his friend, Annie Mae, wished him on January 4th, 1938:

“May every blessing God can give bring peace around you while you live.”


~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I love imagining peoples lives when I see stuff at the Thrift store. I even imagine it when we are traveling and I see the homes along the way...what are they doing inside, what does it look like...etc! Love the old book. I have an old photo album that I should photograph and share. Very interesting! Thanks for sharing! Love that we can reconnect through the internet some, too!

Hill Country House Girl said...

I LOVE this post!! There are still some Papes around town, you know! I am guessing the dealer from the antique mall bought this at an estate sale, of, sad to say, Harold's stuff. I love reading those notes and getting a feel for the relationships. Fun post - every time I read your blog, I like you more!!

Sir Nottaguy-Imadad said...

The autographs tell of a bygone generation. The prose & poetry is wonderful. Today, if anyone had an autograph book, mostly all it would say would be "Yo dog!" or "Sup?"

Justine said...

Oh Deb, this was such a fascinating and touching post! I do remember well your post about the magazine covers. You put them over your morning room table, didn't you?

I love love love that you're honoring these people of the past, people you have absolutely no connection to, but you respect their stories. Wow.

I can't believe that great grand-niece got in touch with you! How amazing!!!!

Have you googled Harold Pope?

Justine :o )

Greyeyes said...

Oh Deb, you've done it again! As you know i too share a great appreciation and wonder of people. One of the reasons i go to the waffle house is to just listen to the stories people tell each other. The Great Granddaughter contacting you must have been like Christmas morning. I can only imagine. I found myself recalling an incident i read in one of Nathaniel Hawthorne's journals about how happy he and Sophia were together. Sophia etched into the glass on their back door the following: Man's accidents are God's purposes. Sophia A. Hawthorne 1843
Nath Hawthorne This is his study
The smallest twig leans clear against the sky
Composed by my wife and written with her diamond
Inscribed by my husband at sunset, April 3, 1843. In the Gold light.
Again, let me thank you for having a blog and allowing me to read it. Let us know if you find anything about Harold Pape. D

LivingTheLife said...

OH! Deb...I love this post! What a DELIGHT it had to have been to hear from Ms. Katie's great niece!! I too, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to collect things like books and such that were loved long before I found them. I find myself "saddened" by the fact that these items were most likely boxed up and sold at Estate Sales or antique booths. I started collecting small bibles and dictionaries since moving to Cali. I had a few before-hand, but have had the opportunity to attend many estate sales here...and whenever I find a treasure like these...I snap them up!! I find myself thinking about the people that used to cherish these items! A lot of the bibles I have found have inscriptions on the inside covers and usually are a gift from a family friend or relative. I love not only the thought of where these bibles have traveled, but also who carried them and what the person was like. I LOVE the beautiful penmanship of days gone by ( a lost art)'s as though everyone not only knew how to write...but how beautifully they chose to insribe these items!!

Love the thought of continuing to "care" and "love" things from the matter who cared and loved them first...they are a shared treasure, now!!


carla said...

Such an interesting post!

I didn't know that there were other people who bought antique/vintage things because they can't stand the thought of those personal belongings being unwanted.

Some of my favorite things to buy are old scrapbooks and yearbooks from the 1960s back.

Once I was able to buy a homemade wedding book from the 1930s. They must not have had money to buy an album, so the bride made her own out of construction paper. So interesting!

That's amazing that the relative of that lady wrote you! I just love stories like that.

Alltek Bee Removal said...

This is a great post. I enjoy reading personal messages written so long ago. There is always a story behind them.