I have fewer memories of my father’s parents than I do of my mother’s; however, those I do recall are vivid and important.
My father’s parents, William Homer Douglas, Sr. and Ruby Edith (Cook) Douglas, lived near Rich Hill, in southwestern Missouri. Even though we didn’t stay over at their house often, one summer weekend evening my sister and I did stay to watch the Miss America Pageant broadcast live from Atlantic City. I think this happened when Grandpa Douglas was still living, but I’m not sure. He may have already gone off to bed. He would pass away later when I was in the fourth grade.
Granny, my sister, and I watched the pageant huddled on the couch in the living room. I remember the room being dark, except for the light from the TV glowing with the parades of young women wearing evening gowns, modest one-piece bathing suits, talent competition outfits, and then evening gowns once again for their interview questions from the Master of Ceremonies, Bert Parks.
At a commercial break, it was time for a snack. Granny poured RC Cola for my sister and me into glasses. Then she popped corn in a skillet with hot oil on the stove. After pouring the popcorn into a bowl, she showed us her trick of sprinkling it with sugar instead of the usual salt. Popcorn with sugar was a little bit different and unexpectedly good.
After the pageant concluded, it was time for bed. My sister and I decided who would get the first jump onto the featherbed in the guestroom.The first jump into the deep pile of feathers was always the best. Once your body made contact with the white cotton bedspread, you would continue to sink slowly, compressing the feathers, submerging even deeper into the down. Eventually, Granny entered the bedroom to make sure we were making progress toward sleep. (We weren’t.)
In the morning, our parents picked us up. As we pulled out of the driveway into the gravel road, Granny waved at us from her porch with her standard wave: two hands in the air, fingers on both hands folding down in unison. Looking at her from the back window of our big red Bonneville, we headed back to Fort Scott, which was about thirty miles away.
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To family members: Leave me a note if you think some of the details in this post are wrong and I’ll edit, or if you have a recollection to add, do that, too!
This is a drawing my daughter made on Sept. 11, 2001, when she was six.
My daughter understood the devastation and the loss of that day. As for myself, I have noticed a diminishing sadness when I contemplate September 11. It seems the shock has softened some for me, to be honest. I don’t notice the empty New York City skyline like I used to. When I watch an old movie with the Twin Towers in the skyline, I notice their absence, but it doesn’t catch my breath like it used to, and it bothers me that the event is becoming “historical”… in the distant past.
Of course, for those who lost loved ones on that day, it’s a different story. 2001 may still be as near to them as the last intersection they drove through. I understand that for many, September 11 lingers near.
It’s still frustrating and difficult to explain what we experienced that day to people who are either too young to remember or weren’t even born yet. I’ve been trying to explain it for the past sixteen years, but still can’t convey the sorrow and shock of that day.I suppose it’s similar for those who were alive when President Kennedy was assassinated. I was born two years before that awful event, and I’m sure many had a difficult time trying to explain that to those of my age. For me, it was just relegated to being “historical”… in the distant past.
I do talk about the September 11 attacks with my eighth-grade English Language Arts classes, and discussing it every year does keep the event in the forefront of my mind in the fall.
Every year, we watch “The Center of the World,” the last disc in the eight-DVD series “New York: The Documentary.” It’s directed by Ric Burns of Steeplechase Films. The documentary eloquently conveys the horror of the day, the response of New York City and the nation, and a recognition that, although our collective soul was irrevocably altered in the span of a few hours, the United States of America will prevail. It’s my hope that this excellent film relates better than I can that September 11 is relevant and important, not merely “historical”… in the distant past.
In which I see a connection between these things and mascara
Gender reveal parties. Promposals. Save-the-dates. Bachelorette weekends. Maybe I’m a Debbie Downer, but these are all things I just don’t see a need for. I don’t understand the need for a get-together where we pop a balloon to see whether it’s filled with pink or blue confetti. I don’t understand why a guy can’t just ask a girl to prom. And if save-the-date cards are just a “heads-up” to book flights and lodging ASAP for a wedding, then does that mean the actual invitations are for people you don’t expect to show up anyway? And finally, who decided that bachelorette parties needed to occur three states away and therefore require asking Friday off, and maybe Thursday, too?
It seems that major life occasions of the twenty-something set are now bigger, better, and more celebrated than ever before. And I’ve noticed this trend not only in major life events, but also in (brace yourself)… mascara.
In fact, while shopping at Target recently, I realized that shopping for mascara isn’t what it used to be. For example, here’s what I used to do when I ran out: enter cosmetics department, find Maybelline Great Lash by looking for hot pink tube with green lid, get brownish black, toss into cart, roll eyes at $4.99 price for a teensy-weensy .34 ounces, and leave. Easy, right?
Here’s what I have to do now: enter cosmetics department, find Maybelline Great Lash by looking for hot pink tube with green lid, get brownish black, see royal blue color and wonder if I would like it (maybe, maybe not… not sure), wonder why I can’t find my classic spiral brush, find it mixed in on a peg containing something called a grabber brush, notice three other brush styles, read packages to figure out which one does what, give up, pick one, toss into cart, roll eyes at the price, leave, and wonder how mascara became so complicated.
Too many decisions. Too many choices. Too many everything. There are now mascara formulas and brushes designed for multiple purposes: lengthening, adding volume, separating, enhancing eye color.
Cover Girl mascaras at Target
In fact, within Target’s cosmetics department, each brand’s makeup section is dominated by a yard-wide patch of real estate sporting glossy cardstock packages that sparkle with blister-packs of mascara shaped like torpedoes, cylinders, and even telescopes. Sometimes at Wal-Mart, the mascara even spins on a pedestal, and a little spotlight illuminates it when you walk by. And mascara gets this kind of attention at every retailer, whether it’s Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreen’s, or the cosmetics big box known as Ulta.
The Maybelline selection alone is impressive. Here one will find a mind-dizzying array of mascaras with names such as The Colossal Bigshot, Lash Sensational, several sub-categories of Great Lash, Pumped Up Colossal, The Falsies Push Up Angel, The Falsies Push Up Drama, Illegal Length Fiber Extensions Mascara, Define-a-Lash Washable, Full ‘N Soft, Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Mascara, plus a range of Volum’ Express versions: The Falsies, The Rocket Volume, The Colossal Spider Effect, The Colossal Chaotic Lash, The Mega Plush, The Falsies Big Eyes, and The Colossal Cat Eyes. I’m not kidding… they’re all there. Just look next time you shop.
Likewise, Cover Girl also boasts a fair share of mascara overload. Here one will discover Full Lash Bloom, The Clump Crusher, The Super Sizer Fibers, Lash Blast Volume, Lash Blast Fusion, Bombshell Volume, So Lashy! BlastPro, and Plumpify BlastPro.
You may be thinking that since Cover Girl and Maybelline are brands that target young women and teenage girls, the same group going gaga over promposals and gender reveals, it makes sense to cater to their “more is more” mentality. True, but I contend it’s infiltrating into other age brackets, including mine. Y’know, women who were married on a Saturday afternoon at a church (of all places!) and not at an exotic resort over a three-day weekend, hence the need for a save-the-date.
Don’t look now, but soon all women will be forced to sift through row upon row of mascara options. It’s already happening with Revlon. This brand may not sport the oomph of rockets and push-ups, but when one has had enough colossal chaos, there are still six choices. Oh, and they have five different mascara brushes, too, and they’re all trademarked.
So there you have it. Promposals. Gender reveals. Save-the-dates. Bachelorette weekends. Mascara. They’re all connected. Simplicity is out. Complexity is in.
And I get it: making memories and having fun is also in. But for a generation that incorporates “simplify” and “live love laugh” wall art into their home decor, promposals, bachelorette weekends and their ilk seem to rub against that notion and complicate occasions already fraught with details.
Maybe I’m just getting old(er!), but if this generation really wants to simplify, it should scale things back. Wait to see if it’s a boy or girl. Ask a girl to prom between classes. Buy the basic mascara. Really keep it simple. Sound less than exciting? Well, Debbie Downer would be proud, so there’s that.
What do you think about promposals, gender reveal parties, etcetera? Click like and leave a comment so I’ll know whether or not I’m a Debbie Downer who just needs to chill out.
I’m a writing teacher who writes. Click here to find my teaching blog.
Here’s a list of books I have read off and on over the past year or so… all of which were excellent distractions from the writing I should have been doing. I have a hard time reading and writing simultaneously. I’m either reading all the time, or writing all the time.
These books are listed in no particular order. You can see that my interests are far-reaching. I can read about a TV sitcom one week, and ISIS the next. As a result, I know a little bit about a lot of things. It’s just who I am and I’ve come to accept it.
You Look Like That Girl by Lisa Jakub… memoir by former actress (she played the oldest daughter in Mrs. Doubtfire, among other films); Jakub now gives workshops and blogs about “embracing your weird” from her home base in North Carolina. Totally fun and real.
The Politics of Washing by Polly Coles… an account by a British woman who is married to an Italian, who moves her family to Venice; the book tells of her experiences living an ordinary life in one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Read my review of this book here.
Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS by Joby Warrick… Discusses the roots of ISIS, including its original founders and followers. Especially focuses on the influences made on the group by the Jordanian al-Zarqawi (Al Qaeda of Iraq) and later al-Baghdadi, who founded the Islamic State of Iraq. This book was difficult to read in many ways, but it was a thorough and comprehensive background of radical Islamic terrorism.
Deep Down Dark by Hector Toban (The 33 Chilean Miners)… I read this after seeing the movie, 33. Couldn’t put it down. A truly miraculous story about the miners, their families, and the aftermath of their survival.
The Revenant by Michael Punke… I also read this book after seeing the movie. All I can say is “Wow” when I think about the creative license that was taken with Punke’s original story. It was, however, interesting to consider the story-telling liberties that are apparently made to transform a piece of literature into a motion picture.
While I was surprised to learn that 16.5 million people visit Venice, Italy each year, I was even more surprised to learn that the city claims a mere 55,000 permanent residents, according to this article in The Guardian. That’s 300 tourists for every resident.
With numbers like those, I can see why Polly Coles, British author ofThe Politics of Washing may share the despair of native Venetians when she calls for moderation and sustainable solutions to the problems that unbridled tourism creates in a city many believe to be among the most beautiful in the world. Those sentiments are dispersed throughout Coles’ 206-page tome, an account of her year-long move to Venice with her Italian husband and four children.
Coincidentally, the title of the book refers to the unspoken rules of laundry etiquette in a city where everyone hangs their clothes out to dry. For example, if you’re sharing a line, and it’s full of your neighbor’s dry clothes, do you ask them to empty the line? What clothing items should you dry indoors? What if the skirt you wish to hang blocks your neighbor’s view?
Coles uses the drying of laundry as a symbol for the many rituals of daily Venetian life that, as a foreign-born resident, she was required to discover haphazardly, adapt to, accept, and ultimately appreciate about this unusual city. For example, she recounts enrolling her children in school, meeting with teachers to discuss school work and behavior issues, finding a home, getting lost, learning the social customs and morés, learning Italian, buying groceries, getting lost again, and visiting the hospital.
My daughter purchased Coles’ book on a whim a few days before she left Venice in early May after serving a semester-long internship at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, a modern art museum located on the Grand Canal.
My husband, our son, and I visited Venice for one week in March over spring break. While it was an all too brief vacation, we actually spent more time there than the day-trippers who take a gondola ride, visit St. Mark’s Square, call it good and leave. I feel that we were able to actually get to know the city, at least a little. (Read my lists of ten ordinary things I found in Venice in March here and here.)
We enjoyed winding through Venice’s maze of streets (actually walkways) and crossing its bridges to see cathedrals and numerous campi, those open squares that at one time served as city centers of the assorted islands that compose Venice. We visited the grocery store daily, shopped the pharmacy for an Ibuprofen equivalent, accompanied my daughter to get her hair cut and styled, ventured out at 5:45 a.m. for the train station, bought Clementine oranges at the Rialto Bridge markets, and shopped for Command strips that were never found.
If we had been able to stay a week longer, I would have sought out a library, found the local university, and asked someone what happens if one has a heart attack or other medical emergency. (Seriously, what’s the procedure in a city without cars, motorcycles, or even bicycles?)
So when I found The Politics of Washing on the kitchen table after my daughter had returned home, I grabbed it and read it in just a few sittings to learn about how native residents live in this “movie set” city.
Besides satisfying that curiosity, the book offers glimpses of Venice’s history as a wealthy trading link between East and West that reached its height in the late 1200s. It also recounts the city’s survival in the 1630s of the Black Death that’s still celebrated with an annual pilgrimage to the iconic and beautiful Santa Maria Della Salute.
Coles balances this history by showing readers Venice’s contemporary citizenry and its “groups and committees promoting local events and activities. There are youth groups, community groups, dance companies, theatre companies, choirs, rowing clubs. There are associations working for residents to change policy on housing, transport, the environment. Events that come from outside are also, of course, part of the real life of the city. The rich influx of the arts is enthusiastically embraced by many of the people who live here; the Biennale exhibitions, visiting speakers, concerts, opera and theatre are all part of the lives of Venetians.”
Coles continues, “But the difference between Venice and any other city, the reason why there is so much sensitivity and debate about what is and is not Venetian, lies in the uniquely critical problem of numbers. The citizens of Venice are so vastly outnumbered by the visitors to Venice that there is no balanced relationship between the city and the world at large. There is no equal exchange in which the city offers up her history, and her beauty in return for the cultural riches brought in from the outside world. Not surprisingly, this leads to a deeply ambivalent, not to say confused, reaction to outsiders.” This is the delight and the quandary that Coles reveals in this captivating tale of her temporary life in Venice.
As rushed tourists ease away from the magical city on their mammoth cruise ships, I hope that they will have spent at least enough time there to cause them to wonder, What’s it like to actually live in Venice? When those tourists read The Politics of Washing, they’ll learn just that, as well as gain an appreciation of the benefits and costs of tourism to this ancient, sparkling city on the Adriatic Sea.
Yeah, it’s just a $10 t-shirt (when you buy two of these charmers), but clothing has power.
Is this shirt supposed to be funny, Kohl’s? Because it’s really just mean.
Did you know that back-to-school should be a time of building students up, not tearing them down? “Nobody cares” has no place in an environment structured for emotional growth and learning.
Do you realize the clothing you sell affects the social climate? Sure, maybe we don’t read and reflect on messages like the one on this shirt, but I think our minds do absorb its spirit.
Do you know this shirt also says “You don’t matter”? It extends the “Whatever!” attitude with an added dose of disdain and egotism.
Do you know how a message like this can harm someone who’s having a bad day? I’m a middle school teacher. Messages like this are the last thing a middle schooler needs to see.
Could you sell this shirt without the wording? Because it appears to have a nice fit and I like the longer length.
You paid a designer to design some new back-to-school fashions, and this is what they came up with? And then you put it on the cover of your catalog?
Do you know that the world doesn’t need this shirt? We’ll all get along better if we don’t cover our bodies in snarky comments.
Do you realize that people actually do care about other people? In fact, I contend there is a greater capacity for compassion among humans than there is for scorn.
Do you really want to associate your brand with such disrespect? I didn’t think so. You’re better than that, Kohl’s.
If this post made you think, regardless of how you feel about rude t-shirts, click the like button, leave a comment, and share on social media. Follow me to read more or check out my teaching blog, www.elabraveandtrue.com. Thanks for reading!
I like the idea of writing about and remembering Warren and Nelson Kerns, two unknown young men who lived real lives a long time ago.
At right is a photo of two tags that would have been attached to projects entered in competition at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia. These projects belonged to Nelson Kerns, my grandmother’s little brother, who was killed in an airplane accident when he was fifteen on July 24, 1930. His brother, Warren, 16, also died in the crash. Read here to learn more.
I’ve written a few posts about the brothers. Those posts included letters written about a month before their deaths to their mother, Caroline (Phillips) Kerns, who was visiting her parents in California at the time of the accident. Here are those posts: click here, here, here, and finally, here.
However, instead of dwelling solely on the boys’ deaths, it seems more productive to commemorate their short lives by posting about their activities beyond farm work.
And that’s why I’ve included the state fair entry tags. The top tag in the photo, I believe, accompanied a model or diorama of a working farm. The bottom tag accompanied some type of toy that Nelson built.
I don’t know whether these projects won any prizes. I’ve searched newspapers.com for a list of winning entries at the 1929 fair, but so far have been unable to find any information or even whether a list was published. It’s my guess that most records from that long ago have been lost or were never published in the first place. However, I did find listings for winning sewing items and livestock in an August 1930 issue, so I’ll have to make a call to the state fair office to find out for sure.
Below is another keepsake, some handwritten notes for the design of a biplane. Both brothers possessed a keen interest in flying. I have five more note sheets like this one, but this is the only one that’s signed. The brothers may have planned on building one of these airplanes since they were known to design projects together.
I don’t know anything about flying other than how to book a ticket online and I’m not even very good at that, but flying was apparently a fascinating subject for the brothers, and they weren’t the only ones with this affinity.
The author writes, “A typical barnstormer (or a group of barnstormers) would travel across to a village, borrow a field from a farmer for the day and advertise their presence in the town by flying several low passes over it – roaring over the main street at full throttle. The appearance of the barnstormers was akin to a national holiday. Entire towns were shut down and people would flock to the fields purchasing tickets for the show and plane rides. Locals, most of them never having seen planes before, would be thrilled by the experience.”
On that late summer day in 1930, it was likely a similar scene at the boys’ hometown of Hume, Mo., which was celebrating the anniversary of its founding fifty years earlier. The accident was an abrupt end to what had been a celebratory day.
News of the accident traveled fast and far. Many local and area newspapers covered the accident and the funeral services for the boys. Here are some of those: Jefferson City, Springfield, and Chillicothe in Missouri, and Iola, Kansas. Two of the headlines read “Accident Mars Celebration of State Town’s 50th Anniversary” and “Crash Mars Festivities – Two Home Town Boys Die on Hume, Mo. Fiftieth Anniversary.”
The news traveled much further, however, thanks to The Associated Press, which distributed the story and caused it to be picked up in Lincoln, Neb.; Miami, Okla.; Corsicana and Denton, Tex.; and Ogden, Utah. Even the Los Angeles Times ran a short paragraph about the crash on page one of the July 27, 1930 issue; however, it doesn’t mention the brothers’ names, but instead only the pilot’s. Here is the clip from the July 26, 1930 Ogden Standard-Examiner:
Most of the other newspaper clips about the accident and funeral services are much more detailed, and the longest clips from the closest surrounding towns are very, very sad. I may post those, but I’m not sure. I prefer to focus instead on the lives of Warren and Nelson, to envision the boys as they lived.
I will, however, post the last three paragraphs from one longer newspaper story headlined “Many Attend Funeral of the Kerns Brothers.” This clip reveals how much the boys were admired locally. Here it is:
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I’ve seen Ed Sheeran twice in concert and neither time was he wearing a plaid flannel shirt. What’s going on, universe?! Two years ago, at his Multiply concert in St. Louis, he wore a red t-shirt sporting the logo of his opening act, Hanson. Read about that experience here. On June 29, at his Divide concert at Sprint Center in Kansas City, he wore a black t-shirt sporting the logo of Hoax, a British surf and skateboard maker. (Ed, you’re such a marketer.) The black was definitely a better choice, since it didn’t clash with his ginger coif, but I’m still a little annoyed that I haven’t seen Ed in his quintessential attire. Oh well, I’m being shallow, and Ed, the king of acoustic sounds, and lovely romantic ballads, would not be pleased with that.
But maybe he’s just branching out with his clothing choices. Kind of like he’s done musically with his Divide album released last March. When compared with his two previous albums, Divide contains a bewilderingly diverse array of musical styles, and exhibits a long leap from when he quietly made his mark with Plus and then followed that with Multiply, where he solidified his status on the world stage as arguably today’s most popular male solo artist.
Divide was such a diversion from his normal fare that I was confused at first. I mean, don’t tell anyone, especially Ed, but I didn’t really care for his song, “Castle on the Hill,” until I saw it performed in concert. The song sounded like something by U2. And even though I’m a big U2 fan, I like my Ed Sheeran to sound like Ed Sheeran.
However, seeing him stride purposefully onstage while strumming the introductory frenetic chords, approaching his loop pedal, then layering the various instrumental parts, sealed the deal for me and I thought to myself: Enjoy this moment. Take it all in. You’re at another Ed Sheeran concert and this is gonna be so great.
And it was. The opening number began after show-opener James Blunt left the stage at 8:30 p.m. It was an enthusiastic audience that contained more men and couples in attendance than I remember two years ago on Mother’s Day when it was clearly a girls-night-out crowd. As he began his second number, Ed even mentioned that he could tell he was now in the States because “everyone smiles here.”
That made Sprint Center erupt in an ear-splitting roar as it settled in for the concert it had waited two long years for. Two long years, people, including one when Ed disappeared from social media and high-publicity events. One long, cold year that would be marked on world history timelines as the dark age devoid of life’s most basic need: cute pictures of Ed’s cats. Sheerios (and mom-fans like me) were ready for this show.
Photo: Ed Sheeran Updates on Twitter
The set list then included the following in this order:
Castle on the Hill (perfect show-starter, love it now)
Eraser (lots of rap, sweeping chorus)
The A Team (the song, crumbling pastries and other sadness)
Don’t (keep hands and feet in the car at all times)
New Man (those lyrics!)
Dive (soulful, bluesy, awesome)
Bloodstream (drug reference, dang it)
Happier (how-can-I-go-on-living reference),
Galway Girl (Ireland reference)
Feeling Good (yes, we are)
I See Fire (from The Hobbit— I can play this on my guitar, kind of)
Supermarket Flowers (ode to his grandmother, beautiful)
Photograph (again, and of course)
Perfect (someone proposed– Ed advised “Say yes!”)
Thinking Out Loud (required on setlist for duration of career)
Nancy Mulligan (Sheeran genealogy lesson)
Sing! (okay, if we must)
Around 9:50, he said something along the lines of “Kansas City, you’ve been great!” My daughter and I looked at each other, and then at our phones to catch the time. What?! It’s over already??
We couldn’t take him too seriously, of course, because we knew he still hadn’t performed one certain song. So, toying with our emotions, he strode off the stage, and the whole place yelled in a panic. And then in true Ed style, he sheepishly returned and finished the show with:
18. Shape of You (something like a billion streams and counting) and
19. You Need Me, I Don’t Need You (a reference to “the industry,” not his fans)
As usual, the stage contained one person: Ed. He performed below a mammoth video projection apparatus that resembled the shape of a carousel. It combined giant, crystal-clear live images of Ed interwoven with colorful animations and photography for each song in the concert. So even though our seats were in the upper reaches of the venue, we watched Ed perform in close-up. Totally cool.
It was even cooler when he noticed a child about ten rows back crying apparently over the noise level. He then located a set of headphones for the boy or girl and even ventured down into the audience and adjusted them for the child. The five-minute act of kindness earned a lot of “Awwws!” and Ed likely did it because he knew what was coming: an especially raucous, loud, and long version of “Bloodstream.” That Ed. What a guy. As thoughtful as ever… even if he’s moved on from his flannel-wearing days. It’s okay, I’m over it. T-shirts work, too.
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Here’s another letter I’ve transcribed from my grandmother’s brother, Warren Kerns. Warren was killed in an airplane accident with his brother, Nelson, 15, on July 24, 1930, one week after this letter was written. You can read about the accident here.
He wrote this letter to his mother, Caroline (called Callie) who was visiting her parents in California at the time. Some of the handwriting is indecipherable and there are some errors but I left them there because I wanted to transcribe them exactly. To read the other letters I’ve posted, click here,here, and here.
The Charlie that Warren mentions in the letter was the husband of his older sister Rhoda, who was my maternal grandmother. The Nevada is a town about twenty miles away in Missouri.
This is the last of the surviving letters from the boys to their mother. These handwritten letters are priceless to me. I think about how their hands passed over these pages and how the letters show their thoughts, activities… the things they wanted their mother to know. In the picture below, I wonder what Warren had first written but then erased beneath the words “Write soon.”
July 17, 1930
How are you? I am fine. It sure has been hot here the last two weeks. I am home now. I came last Friday to help with the hay. We got through the day before yesterday. I helped Charlie thrash last week. It sure was hot. Nearly all of the corn is laid by. Everything needs a rain. The early corn will not stand it much longer. The grass is almost dried up. I suppose things are much different where you are. How is Grandma.
I had a good time the forth. We went to Nevada in the after noon. I was in the lake about four hours. We got home after midnight. I know you had a good time. This is about all I have to say. Write soon.
I have a number of items from the two brothers that I will continue to share. Follow my blog to see old grade cards, Sunday school reports, Valentines, monoplane and biplane mechanical drawings, 4H awards, and more. Click like if you enjoyed this post and would like to recommend it.
Also feel free to comment about any of your own family history, artifacts or ephemera. Thanks for reading.