When my paternal grandfather died in 1965, my parents went out to his home in Port Alberni for the funeral and to help clear out his possessions. Knowing I was interested in family history they paid attention to bringing back many mementos and keepsakes that had belonged to my grandparents. My grandmother had died six years earlier so everything had to be packed up and given or taken away.
I have my grandfather’s, and his father’s pocket watches that came over with them from England in the early 1900s. I’ll write more about them later. I have photos of grandparents, great-grandparents and even a great-great grandmother that came down to me. I’ve published a few of them in past blogs. And I now have a coffee table that had been in the centre of their living room for many years.
My father’s brother and sister also shared in the family memorabilia. My aunt (who I was just reminded that I owe a letter or email) kept a collection of cards and letters that had been written to my grandparents. Among them were a number that had been sent by my parents – mainly my mother – for birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and other special occasions. My Aunt Ethel packed them up and sent them to me in 2010. Some of these go back to the late 1940s. They are now in a binder of their own along with the letter my aunt sent accompanying them.
My mother was great at writing letters and notes to keep relatives up-to-date. I have several that came back to me from various recipients. And a few that came to me personally. They are very special reminders of her.
Some of the special days for which these cards were sent have past or not yet been reached this year (Easter, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, anniversary) but I thought I would write about one of them anyway that was sent close to this day of the year.
This is a get well card send to my grandfather on May 26th, 1955 after he had had surgery. Wow, 61 years ago! Inside the card was a note written by my mother wishing him well and giving him the most recent news about us – and their new 1952 Desoto. “…at least it’s new to us” she said. We had taken it “down to Butte, Montana for the weekend & gave it a good work out” she went on.
Mom rarely missed an opportunity to send cards and wish others well and tell them about what was new. She would probably have been right at home with Facebook.
We still shop for cards to send at special times but our kids mostly use Skype. And no one will likely be surprised that I have kept every card ever given to either my wife or me or both since we got married.
I am especially grateful to my aunt for saving the cards and passing them on to me.
Wayne Shepheard is a volunteer with the Online Parish Clerk program in England, handling four parishes in Devon, England. He has published a number of articles about various aspects of genealogy and is the Editor of Relatively Speaking, the quarterly journal of the Alberta Genealogical Society. Wayne also provides genealogical consulting services through his business, Family History Facilitated.