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Friday, November 25, 2011

A treasure of days long past and people forgotten

My grandmother's school autograph book from 1928
I was recently granted the privilege of examining an autograph book keepsake from 1928. The book belonged to my now deceased maternal grandmother, Doris Courson, née Foote, and it came into the possession of my mother after her passing. It is a quaint peek into early 20th Century schoolhouse life. I really enjoyed reading page after page of elementary & middle school writings.

The maturity level of some of these writings is very impressive, as is the overall spelling and penmanship. Unless otherwise noted, all entries were written by her schoolmates, children ranging from age 10 through age 12.

I don’t know which of these little witticisms and tributes are original works and which were commonplace elementary schoolboy platitudes of the era, so I’m going to give credit to the author of each just in case there’s an original, genuinely clever idea in here.

There are a few of these that I absolutely adore, but I felt compelled to share them all. Their original formatting has been kept intact as written. I have separated them into categories for my own reasons, which I assume will be obvious as you read them.

We start with some genuine well wishes from what I can only guess were very close friends:

Another friend made
May you ever be so good and pure as you are to-day
I will always remember you
as one of my friends
~Lila Blanche Goodell
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When the golden sun is setting
and your mind from care is free
and o’er a thousand things you’re thinking
Will you sometimes think of me?
~Mary Weff
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When twilight draws its curtain
and pins it with a star
Remember that you have a friend
tho’ you may wander far.
~Verda Clive Dahler
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In this corner I choose a spot
In which I write forget-me-not
Though it be cloudy
Or they be blue
Remember me as I do you.
~Bethol Paul

This moves us into the category of clever quips that make you stop and think:

This old world we’re livin’ in is mighty hard to beat.
We get a thorn with every rose,
But ain’t the roses sweet?
~Lois Miller
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Love everybody but trust few
And always paddle your own canoe
~Your sister, Leone Foote
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May your friends forever be
Numberless as the sands of the sea
~Aunt Rosa

The evolution of romance:

Happy may you live
Single in your station.
Happy be the little man
Who makes the alteration.
~Celia Lois Anderson
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Long may you live
Happy may you be
Sitting in the parlor
On your husband’s knee
~Vera Walker
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When you get married and live upstairs,
Please don’t come down and borrow my chairs.
~Bernadine Pearl McFarland
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Forget the moon,
Forget the stars,
Forget buzzing of the cars.
Forget your husband’s socks to mend,
But don’t forget your old true friend.
~Vera Schoonover
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When you get married
And your old man gets cross
Come over to my house
And eat applesauce
~Dale Roberts
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
When you get married and
your old man gets mad and
hits you with a stove poker
Run away to your old friend.
~Vera Marie Varner
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
May you forever be happy
and never get married.
~Uncle Aschel
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Sure as a grape vine grows
around a rafter
Woodrow Goodell is the
fellow you are after.
~Lorraine Wheeler

Funny stories:

We mortals have to swat and shoo
the flies from dawn ‘til dark—
‘cause Noah didn’t swat the two
that roosted in the ark.
~Irene Thompson
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mary had a little lamb
She sat it on the shelf
And every time it would wag its tail
It spanked its little self.
~Mildred Goodell

Funny bits that are probably NOT original to the writer:

When you see a donkey
tied up to a tree
pull his tail and think
of
me
~Mary Lou Ellen Landon
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When you see a monkey
tied up to a tree
pull his tail and think of me
~Russell W.F.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I pity the baker
I pity the cook
I pity the one
who steals this book
~Gladys Hammond
~Your sister, Ruth Foote
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I pity the river
I pity the brook
I pity the one
that steals this book
~Mary Gebbetti
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Way out yonder upon a stump
Just think of me before you jump.
~Avo Ford
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here I stand upon a stump
Come and kiss me before I jump.
~Emmilou Nelson
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Roses are red, violets are blue
Sugar is sweet and so are you
~Hagel Horr
~Alberta Schoonover

Which leads me to the next one, a perfect segue into the "Say what?" category:

Roses are red
violets are blue
Coal is black
and so are you.
~Frances Young
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Remember me now.
Remember me late.
Remember your friend
Who writes up hill.
~Ruth Miller
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I bet  you a nickel,
I bet you a kiss,
You cannot guess
What little girl wrote this.
~Miss Mary Miller
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I like bedbugs, I like fleas
I like you if you like me.
~Aunt Elma
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When I stand up high, what do I only see?
But when I see it
It breaks my heart in to
Your friend
~Mary Margaret Marie

And the prize winner for biggest WTF moment goes to:

Pull in your neck
When you’re going through a town,
~Francis Roofner

And finally, since I couldn't end on that one, here's the best wish you can give someone:

I wish you health,
I wish you wealth,
I wish you gold in store.
I wish you Heaven when you die.
How could I wish you more?
~Aunt Pearl
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I hope you enjoyed these relics of a bygone day as much as I enjoyed sharing them with you. Happy holidays to you and yours.

Shane