There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark



Wednesday, June 06, 2007

What should I do mother dear?

Who are these women? Are they sisters, twins, or from outer space as their hats would indicate? I don't have a clue. The penciled date on the back says 1942, Baltimore in my mother's writing.


Since my daughter left I have been trying to keep up with sorting through my parent's mementos. Of 4 large totes full of "stuff" I have managed to get through 1/2 of one. Almost all of the items I have looked at so far are foreign to me...pictures, cards and letters from unknowns.


Here is my problem...my mother saved all of this stuff for decades. She has been gone a long time. Obviously each and every item was important to her...they are not to me in a personal way and none of my children even find them interesting. Do I just put the stuff back in the tote and leave the tossing to my kids after I am gone? Do I kiss each item for my mom and then toss it myself so at least there is some sort of respectful tossing? What do I do with all of the things that made up the heart of my mother's life?


I found her certificate of passing a corded and cordless PBX class, her air raid monitor certificate from WW ll, her air raid arm band...those items I will keep. But what about the cards from Francie, Abe and hundreds of other people? Should I send the thousands of letters from her brothers with clippings from Portsmouth, Baltimore and Norfolk back to their widows and children? There are old postcards...I'll keep them....tin-types of my dad's ancestors...I'll keep them...pictures of my children that I will send on to them...but.....what about all of the rest of the "stuff" like the picture above?


I don't want to sell them and have a picture of Fricka and Fracka end up in some one's living room as a joke....I simply don't know what to do. I have found a treasure of pictures of me from birth until 1952. Once my brother was born I became background material...such was life in my Italian family. I will post some of them...but help me please make a decision.

PS...what size shoe do you think those women are wearing? A minus 1?

17 comments:

Rhea said...

Those hats ARE really weird.

jp said...

If you keep only one thing, you must keep the picture of Fricka, Fracka, and their hats. LOVE. IT.

Auld Hat said...

I will happily purchase any and all ephemera wot bears a hat. Any hat. All hats. Seriously, it's what I do. e-mail me (:
Oh and Rhea - "weird" is entirely subjective.

Jennie said...

Oh my. The hats, the feet. I think you could buy a big pretty binder (or three) with a bunch of plastic sleeves or picture sleeves and just make a few "scrapbook" type things. They don't have to be beautiful, they could just be a place to sort of catalog the items of interest, even the mysterious ones, and put up on a shelf so as not to be too obtrusive. You could get rid of a few books, Rosemary, to make the room. ;)

kenju said...

I thought my mom had some funny hats in the 40's, but those take the cake!!

Rosemary, there are many people who collect ephemera, and even if you don't want to see the photos, old certificates and related papers are always collectible by someone. You have to talk to or email a person who deals in such stuff.

Lorraine said...

Your inclinations about what to keep sound spot on to me. The rest of it, not so much. Although the whole "important to mom" thing has resonance. Maybe you could select a few of the things and make a collage or shadowbox or something as an homage. And then divest of the rest whether by way of ephemera dealers, hat fanciers and the recycling bin.

You can be respectful of their meaning to your mom without keeping it all. And lord knows if it hasn't significance for you it will have even less for your kids.

CRAIG & DIANE said...

I have to agree with most everyone else. The true essence of your Mother will always be with you within your heart. You don't need "stuff" as you put it to remind you, just quiet time to remember. Sell what you don't want and let others take joy in it.

gina said...

I suggest perhaps the historical society, genealogical society, or museum in your mother's hometown. I was just listening to an author on the radio the other day talking about a book he has written with letters from soldiers from every war for the last couple hundred years. Some were letters people were going to toss, some are copies of letters people cherish, but listening to them - well, they are amazing and will be interesting and valuable to SOMEONE. Maybe not financially valuable, but historically so. I'm not big on tossing stuff. Someone somewhere is interested in it for its historical value. Letter from brothers and clippings would probably be welcomed by the local library or historical society.

gina said...

By the way, wouldn't PETA have a field day with them and those coats? :)

utenzi said...

That's a tough choice, Rosemary. I'd throw some of it out but it's so hard to know where to draw the line.

Violet said...

hmm... i have a hard time getting rid of things. that picture is so unique and it would be hard to get rid of it and things like it. you know there is a story behind all of it, but somewhere, it is lost, probably never to be found. hard decisions. perhaps your children will learn to appreciate the more unique items in the collection as they get older.

Lilli & Nevada said...

Rosemary, i had the same problem when my mom died, having to go thru photos was awful as i didn't know who was who and why. so i only kept things related to who i new and then i scanned those photos for a album for my grandchildren, along with the photos of myself. And told about it as i remembered it, or what i remember what mom told me, so i made a copy for all the grandkids which at that time i only had 4, now i have 7 oh well won't be able to redue it but at least there is some there.

Sling said...

I don't know who those two women are,but they are absolutely stylin'!!
You have got to make sure they make their way into some kind of library,or museum.(like gina said).
P.S. I think the hats were an early form of radar,but I could be wrong..

Dan said...

If you ever, one day, decide to write a family history, you may regret throwing this stuff out. So if you do decide to dispose of stuff, scan it into a JPG or GIF first (like you did with this photo). You can store a boatload of photos on one CD-ROM and even more on one DVD.

Chandler said...

Speaking from potentially overly practical manner I think that it would be okay to toss it if you went about it in a good way. In my opinion this is better than passing it on to someone who does not necessarily feel very close to it.
Better remembered and let go than kept and forgotten :) I'm sure whatever you choose to do with it will suit you fine :) (that is if you haven't already I'm catching up)
Chandler

more cowbell said...

Oh, I will be in your shoes one day -- hopefully not for a long long time. My folks have a big 4bdm house with full basement, and my mom, though ultra organized, has boxes upon boxes of stuff. She does have loads of old pictures, much like Fricka and Fracka. Very cool!

I'm thinking keep the pics you can identify in an album, so you can see them easily, but doesn't take up much space. The other pics, and maybe even pieces of cards/letters, what about shellacing/varnishing (sp?) the pics all around the box. You'd end up with a vintage looking artsy box to store some of the more special things inside.

more cowbell said...

oops, I didn't proofread. I meant to say, get a big wood box with a hinged lid, THEN cut/varnish the pics on ...

need coffee.