Sunday, January 22, 2006

Up In The Attic ...

We started off the new year involved in a much needed project. After settling in our home for nearly 17 years it was time to go through the “treasures” we have stored in the attic. The boxes are falling apart and it’s time to decide what to keep and what to part with.
Today I’m going through a box containing things we brought home from my dad’s “estate” after he passed away in 1988. He died at age 54 of a massive heart attack at work … there were no opportunities for a “last visit” or “goodbyes.”
It looks as if the box includes things from his parents so it was filled with many yellowed books, old newspapers and car magazines, a stack of old 78’s and an old box camera – the only possessions I have that remind me of my dad and grandparents.
I started by going through the old 78’s. I tend to think most of them may have belonged to his parents … music I don’t remember my dad listening to when I was young … artists I’ve near heard of. Some include a few familiar names … Gene Autry, Mitch Miller, Fat’s Domino, Dorothy Lamour. A few have his name written on them … some are priced at 29 cents … most are worn and scratched showing their age. We no longer have a turntable to play them but for some reason it’s hard to part with them.
It’s fun to go through some of the old “Hop Up,” Your Car,” and “Hop Up and Motor Life” magazines from 1953. One magazine featured a column titled, New Products and featured the new Saf-Tee Belt. Barbara Hale from Perry Mason is modeling the latest in automotive safety. One incentive to invest in this product …. “even the strongest man can’t brace himself well enough to escape sometimes fatal injury.” Today’s generation would find it hard to imagine any car without this safety feature!
There were several old hymnbooks from the 1930’s. As I flipped through the yellowed pages I recognized some of the old hymns … Love Lifted Me … When the Roll is Called Up Yonder … Near the Cross … Since Jesus Came Into My Heart … In My Heart There Rings a Melody … songs we haven’t heard in quite awhile … songs my kids have never heard or don’t remember. One thing that came to mind as I scanned through the books – many songs are about Heaven and going “Home.” It made we wonder if that generation thought about it more then than we do today.
One thing that brought back special memories from my childhood – a red bowtie from the Oregon Centennial in 1959. Our family attended this event on the grounds that are now the Portland Expo Center. I remember meeting someone famous there … the star of the TV program, Romper Room. (see picture above) It first aired in Portland on KGW (8) on May 26, 1958, with Miss Patty as teacher. It ran for an hour and featured six children in the classroom. Miss Dorothy starred in the show in the fall of’59. I’m not sure which of these women I met but it left an impression on me. I remember at the end of each show she would look through a magic mirror and say she could see Johnny, Suzie, Linda etc. You would wait in anticipation to see if she would mention your name thinking she could actually see you! Television was quite a magical thing to a preschooler in the 50’s.
There are very few things stored in this box and I doubt that it contains anything of monetary value but I do know it’s a connection to past generations of those I loved and looked up to.
I will continue to share “attic stories” …. each box holds some treasure or memory!


Anonymous said...

I remember Romper Room too, but not very vividly. I think you have a better memory than me! Don't know if it was the same cast in Kansas City as it was here.

I agree with you about the hymns. We've commented more than once how few there are that focus on Heaven and eternity as opposed to many years ago. Not sure why that is....


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. We also went to the Centennial. I have a tattered scarf in my cedar chest that I got :) Romper Room....although we did not watch much TV, I remember listening carefully for MY name.I love the old hymns. Fortunately my kids got at least a taste of some of the old ones. When I hear them they evoke many memories of people and places too.
I don't have an attic, but I do have the memories. Thank you for bringing them to the front of my mind again.


Beverly said...

I was on Romper Room in July 1958. My dad worked for Blue Bell Potato Chip Company and I believe they were one of the sponsors. I remember going to the studio KGW each day. Such an exciting time. I have the diploma I received. I wonder what ever happened to Miss Patty?