Grandma Mellie's Scrapbook
Copyright © 2001, Michael S. Cole, M.D.

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Memory Treasures

    Being in reminiscent mood, I am sitting beside the old chest, nobody knows how old, looking over my treasures of golden memories.
    I take out Pilgrim's Progress, turning the pages, reading about Christian, Christiana, and Faith, and others. It was the first book I ever read except my blue-back speller. The book still thrills me, and how true to life of a Christian today.
    Next I pick up Cowper's poems, written in the late 1700's. The book was presented to my mother from her mother in 1898. Cowper dated some of his poems in 1784. He wrote "Pirocinium" or a review of schools, recommending private tuition in preference to an education in school. He wrote:
    In early days the Conscience has in most
    A quickness which in later life is lost,
    Or, guilty, soon relenting into tears.
    Too careless often, as our years proceed,
    What friends we sort with, or what books we read,
    Our parents yet exert a prudent care,
    To feed our infant mind with proper fare.

    This book is precious to me also, because my mother wrote a diary over a period of years on its pages.
    I am looking at a scrapbook now, started in 1890 by my mother, finished 20 years later, cards of those days, paper dolls, valentines, covers from needle-books, a front page from Park's Floral Magazine of January 1900 with the editor's photograph, a large picture of roses from an old seed catalog--one rose named "Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt"; pen pictures we drew as a child, crude, but scenes typical of that day.
    Today we can recite from memory poems that we used at our school gatherings, memorial and patriotic picnics; poems from the scrapbooks.
    Here is an old official guide and album of the Cunard Steamship lines, published in 1874. The advertisements are very interesting. One has letters from ordering wines for the royal household.
    On this book's pages in 1905, I pasted recipes, pictures cut from fashion magazines, columns of "manners and looks" from Comfort magazine, stressing proper chaperones and instructions on how to attain the better things of life, pictures of old style cabinets, flour barrels, stoves, and the first automobiles. I enjoy reading the recipes of 40 years ago.
    Next, we see Lucy, the china-headed doll, 60 years old, belonging to our mother. Lucy's dress is a piece of an old coverlet woven by great-grandmother. The dress is trimmed with knitted lace. All of us children played with Lucy, but we were to be careful with her. We liked our rag dolls much better.
    Our sugar bowl is nearing 100 years old. It was our grandmother's. She always kept lumps of maple sugar for us in it.
    The mug, which was my grandfather's, was made in Germany. Some buttons are in it from a charm string I had years ago. Photographs of early days bring tender memories. Days in the old home. School days and those when we attended Sunday school and church are the happiest times of our lives. But too often we fail to realize how lasting this happiness can be, if we keep all these memories alive.
    But I have to come down to earth and bake some bread from the everlasting yeast sent me by a reader of the "Waste Basket." Thank you very much.

Mellie Cole
September 27, 1950

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