I’m always impressed and slightly amazed when friends and fellow family historians reveal a collection of treasured heirlooms, photographs and other memorabilia. How do families keep such treasures from being lost, thrown out or sold? How do they find their way into the hands of those who will preserve and treasure them?
I thinking about this because I’m now the custodian of a (very small) collection of photographs and objects given to me by my mother. At the moment, it’s all stored in an archive box, but I know I’ll need to do more not only to preserve these things now, but to keep them from being tossed out after I’m gone. The former task is easy. The latter — persuading my offspring to preserve his heritage no matter how trivial it appears, because one day he will come to appreciate his connection to the past — well, that’s the challenge isn’t it. The boy-child shows absolutely no interest in the past. His father has only recently started to wonder about his own family, and yet, I feel as though I’ve always been connected to my ancestors. Perhaps it helps that my mother is a great story-teller, and that I actually had living great-grandparents as a flesh-and-blood presence in my life.
It probably helps too that I’m a bit of a Borrower. Years ago — when I was a child in fact — I persuaded my father to give me his childhood autograph book. I have no idea why I wanted it, but suspect it has something to do with not wanting my brother to have it. It’s somehow survived my globe-trotting and years of living in rented flats. Although I haven’t consciously treasured it, I have always kept it safe — again, I don’t really know why, but I’m so glad that I did.
My dad was given the book by his mother when he was fourteen. It wasn’t a birthday present — his birthday is in July and the book’s inscription is dated Nov 29th 1946.
My grandmother died just three and a half years after she gave this gift. Although my father doesn’t talk much of his past, I know her death was a sorrow he’s never stopped feeling. He named me after his mother and I like to think that my family history project is, in some small way, honoring her memory.
This page was a mystery to me; I’d never heard of the Gaumont British Junior Club. But is seems that Gaumont was a cinema chain of which the Rialto was part. I guess the Junior Club was probably a Saturday movie-fest for kids. The interesting thing about the page is that the inscription is:
Best wishes Ronnie,
I’m really curious about this entry, and will have to ask my dad which uncle it was, and about his connection to the cinema.
So my dad’s little book is not only a link through him to my grandmother — giving me the only example I have of her hand-writing, but also a clue to the story of a great-uncle I may not know about.
This post was written in response to the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge.
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