Cleaning out papers
Here’s a recommendation: Before you die, please get rid of all papers that no one else is interested in. It is not very fun to go through mounds of medical records, old insurance bills, phone and gas bills, and car payment coupons. And try to label the pictures (I’m no good at this one, myself).
Today I went back to my late Aunt Bessie’s house to help go through the file cabinet and take any family history information for my uncle’s side. I’ve come away with a box of stuff, many pictures, and some books. I’ve gone through it all and straightened it up a bit, sorted things into different envelopes where that seemed to be needed. I now have my parents’ original wedding announcement/invitation to their open house, as well as clippings from what I believe is the Fillmore paper announcing the wedding. One gives me a laugh — the headline is “Hyrum Johnson and Idaho Girl Marry.” Ouch! That’s a bit reductionist, isn’t it, Mom?
I also found a little black notebook that stopped my heart for just a second when I opened it and saw the words “Hattie Bennett, Holden, Nov 8, 1908” written inside the front cover. I thought for a moment that I had in my possession my grandmother’s personal journal from her teenage years. Alas, it is instead her copy book from school. However, her little essays and notes are rather interesting, too. I wonder did she select the pieces herself? The poems in the back are so sentimental, but they are not attributed:
A maiden fair with golden hair
Was resting from a dance.
Her lover, bending over her,
Was watching every glance.
He saw her blue eyes wandering
Across the ball-room floor.
Although she said she loved but him,
He knew she loved before.
He took her hand and drew her near;
He loved her more than life.
He could not bear to think of her
As another’s wife.
“Forget the past and tell me true
Your thoughts,” the lover cried.
As in a dream with downcast eyes,
The girl he loved replied,
“It was only a dream of the past, Jack,
Just a vision of days that’s gone by.
It may be a waltz they are playing
Or a face that I see passing by,
But I’ll not waltz again just to please you.
I’m tired the light so bright.
Though it may be a waltz they are playing
Brings tears to my eyes, Jack, tonight.”
They left the throng of dancers gay
And strolled out in the night.
The ground was quite deserted
Save from the pale moonlight.
“Tonight I want your answer, Nell,
You promised long ago.
For heaven’s name be merciful!
You know I love you so.”
Tonight he wants her answer
But her thoughts are far away.
For the one she loved was in heaven above
What answer could she say?
She drew her lover’s lips to hers
And gave him just one kiss
And through the blindness of his life
He thought that kiss meant yes.
My grandmother died a long time ago; I certainly never knew her and my father only remembers her as a child remembers. Sure wish I knew more about her. I’m glad to have this little book to peruse.
She was a schoolteacher. Did you know the difference between the words brothers and brethren? ‘Cause I didn’t, specifically. Can you read it?