My folks inherited my Grandma Patrick’s china cabinet and throughout the years objects came and went from the cabinet. I found a box full of things that I remembered having been in the china cabinet over the years.
Some of the things were old photos. One photo in an ornate oval frame was in the china cabinet for the past several years. The photo was of a young girl holding dried flowers and wearing a lace cap over ringlets. I don’t know if I ever asked Mom who it was, but I assumed it was either her mother or Dad’s mother when they were very young.
When I brought it back to Bethesda I began to get suspicious because it looked like neither of my grandmothers’ other childhood photos. I took the photo out of the frame and was not terribly surprised to see that it was not printed on photo paper, but plain, shiny paper — the kind that comes with frames.
I don’t know how long that photo with the stock photo of the long-ago young girl sat in Mom’s china cabinet, but it did give me a laugh.
For the past few decades I’ve been in the market for an affordable record player that was capable of playing 78s because I had a pile of Little Golden Records from my childhood that I wanted to hear again. I remembered playing some of these records over and over again and even wrote about them in a memoir essay for a college class. I felt sure that I was going to be suddenly transported back to that pink room on Mountain Street.
A few months ago I pulled out the records and looked at the titles. I figured I probably didn’t need to play them again because I assumed I could find them on the Internet. While I did find some, I could not find all of the recordings. But it didn’t matter because I realized that my memories of the records were somewhat false. For instance, I was sure that Walt Disney himself was singing “Bibbity Boppity Boop!” on one of the records but it turned out to be Mitch Miller and the Sandpipers.
Not long after I’d decided I should just toss the Little Golden Records in the trash, I found a great deal on a small portable record player capable of playing 78s. It was about the size of my childhood record player. I bought it and when it arrived I immediately plugged it in and played one of the records. No feeling of nostalgia. I tried another. Same thing. Nothing. Looking at the titles, I don’t think that any of these records will give me that warm, slightly bittersweet feeling of longing for the simpler days of being a kid that I was hoping for, expecting.
I sit here wondering why these circles of yellow plastic don’t bring back fond memories. Is it that I am so old that I’ve forgotten actually playing them? Is it because I don’t need to feel nostalgic about these songs? Is it because I’ve got lots of better memories than being 5 years old listening to records in my bedroom? I don’t know, and I think I should stop wasting my time on wondering.
These, warped and scratched up as they are and worthless, will go in the trash today. Also, they smell bad.
Here’s a video that someone with an unscratched record posted on YouTube. It’s the only record with a singer other than Mitch Miller and his orchestra plus the Sandpipers.
I don’t know why Frances gave me the partial set of lithographs from the Old South, but she did. I expect they were something she’d gotten after writing about home design in The Washington Evening Star. I don’t know what happened to the other prints in the set, perhaps they adorned her walls.
These prints have sat in the attic for years, first in the knee wall where generations of silverfish feasted on the outside cover of the prints, then in my electronics/stuff-to-blog-about/junk closet. I pulled it out the other day and was reminded how lovely the prints were — for some reason the silverfish left the prints inside the set alone.
The cover describes the contents:
“A series of six colorful subjects, reproduced in full color lithography, inspired by a way of living — of ease and slow-paced leisure — which has become an integral part of the American tradition. Their joyous composition and gayety of color make these bright watercolors ideal for any decorating scheme.”
The prints are all signed “Sikat” and were published and copyrighted in 1953 by J. B. Fischer and Co. in NY City.
I am not sure what I am going to do with the prints. I’d like to have them framed and hang them, but I don’t think Dean really likes them. I don’t want to sell them or give them away unless the person I am giving them to knew Frances.
I will ask my kids if they want them, but I suspect the answer is no so they will likely go (protected this time) back into the knee wall.