Excavation 2012 – Day #49 – A Scavenger Hunt Through the Family Tree

So it has been several months since Grandma Luethje passed and I brought home a few pieces of furniture and boxes of momentos, but I haven’t really had a chance to sift through or unpack any of it until now. The rental house was just too cramped to unpack much of anything, and I’m just now uncovering the boxes in the basement.

I gotta say, unpacking tonight was a bit like Christmas. I’d forgotten about a few of Grandma’s things that I saved, so it was a bit of a surprise opening the box to see what was inside. And it’s always a big score when there are books involved…

I remember seeing these old cookbooks in one of the boxes in Grandma’s garage for the estate sale and I couldn’t let them go. If there is anything I’m more addicted to than books, it’s old books. I love the look of them. I love the smell of them. I love imagining how many different hands have held them over the years.

As I began flipping through them, I made a couple of interesting discoveries, such as…

1. At least two of these books belonged to my great-great grandmother Lulu, and she had a really cool stove.

2. Old turn of the century cookbooks have way cooler sections and illustrations than anything you’ll find on the shelves these days. For instance…

Invalid Cookery–with everything from recipes for infants to adults with chronic heartburn.

And whether you’re butchering a pig’s head or the loch ness monster, these books have you covered with detailed instructions and diagrams.

Even more fun than the books themselves were the little treasures I found tucked away in the pages. Here’s a coupon for 10 cents off Butternut Coffee. Too bad it expired in 1928.

I also found this copy of my Grandma and Grandpa Luethje’s wedding announcement hiding away in the Gold Medal Flour Cookbook

And the best yet was little little folded piece of paper that fell out of Grandma Roden’s old American Cookbook…

I’m pretty sure the handwriting is my Grandma Luethje’s, written back when her hands were still steady and precise. I opened it carefully, wondering what was so special about an old page torn from a magazine…

I don’t know why she chose this page from the June 1911 issue of McCall’s Magazine, but folded carefully inside is what I imagine is my Grandma Luethje’s birth announcement, torn from the local newspaper and saved for all these years.

Now that, my friends, is a whole lot of stuff I’m really happy I held onto. 🙂

Excavation 2012 – Day #44 – There’s Something About Mary

So, I’ve had a couple nights where it has been hard getting to sleep this week, and inevitably I have found myself watching reruns of Hoarders. It’s somehow becoming my newest obsession. I can’t help myself. If I’m flipping through channels and see that it’s on, I immediately tune in. And even when I am absolutely mortified by what I see (like the lady named Mary whose hoarding had caused serious structural damage to the house, and who had resorted to sleeping on one small section of her mattress which was covered in cat feces and soaked in urine), I can’t look away. God help me, I can’t look away.

The opening credits of the show say that 3 million people in the US are compulsive hoarders. 3 million. That’s a whooooole lot of hoarding going on people. And even if I am nowhere even close to Mary’s ballpark of hoarding mania, this Excavation project has certainly opened my eyes to some of the more ridiculous things I’ve been holding onto.

Case in point–Cadence’s birth announcements.

For those of you following this blog, you know that Cadence celebrated her 2nd birthday almost 2 weeks ago. Yet, somehow, these announcement postcards have survived two years and two moves, following us from place to place. And honestly, I can’t even tell you what my rationale was to hang onto them this long. Obviously we ordered way too many, but I just couldn’t bring myself to toss them right away.

By the time we were packing to leave Arizona, Cadence was already 10 months old, so it would have been the perfect time to trash them, yet somehow they made it into a box instead of the garbage. I guess maybe I thought I should hang onto them just a little longer, in case we accidentally missed someone when we mailed them out. At this point, that excuse is more than a little moronic.

S0, it’s time to say adios.

I am a birth announcement postcard hoarder no more! Woohoo! I feel so liberated. Onto the next.

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