We often dole out pieces of our past through household moves, garage sales, spontaneous fits of housecleaning or simple acts of benevolence. Just as often, we later come to regret our actions, wishing we had them back.
On the other hand, we are sometimes reunited with forgotten bits of our past thanks to the foresightedness and generosity of people close to us. That happened to me this week on an all-too-rare visit with my cousin Judy. When I left her house, I was enriched by a cache of photos, clippings and scrapbooks saved by our grandmother.
In addition to sharing a bit of family gossip, I also learned something new about my grandfather – that he was a talented cartoonist. I now have a dozen or so pencil drawings he did of family members and cartoon characters of the period. Let’s just say that his drawing of Grandma puts her in a much more risqué light than I had ever imagined.
I also left with a handful of the peach pits that Grandpa carved into monkeys, baskets and crosses and distributed widely to family members, something I knew about but hadn’t thought about in years. Same with the impish character in the photo. It’s just one of several characters created to “smoke” Adams’ Smokie Cigarettes, the inch-long pieces of rolled up paper that burn like real cigarettes when lit, to the point of blowing smoke rings. Although I know little about the character, I vaguely remember him. You can still buy Smokie Cigarettes, but not nearly as cheaply as you could 50-60 years ago.
I’m grateful for Judy’s gift of some of our shared family history. I’m sure that there’s much more out there somewhere and, if you have any, I’d like it back. Especially my 1957 Chevy.
Writing prompt of the day: What’s one piece of your lost family history that you’d like back?