You remember my Great Grandma, Nana, that provided the inspiration behind my recent grape project? I loved visiting Nana for many other reasons as well. Whenever I went to visit her one stop I always made was to the hutch that sat in the corner of the Dining Room, right next to the doorway into the kitchen. The pulldown desktop in the center was always full of all kinds of neat things to look at and admire. But most important was the bottom drawer which held all the toys Nana kept for us to play with when we stopped over to visit. There was a truck or two, a plastic space ship which
came with the container of Tang orange drink
, a checker board, and a plane that was tethered to a cord that you could actually drive around the floor, if the batteries worked. My sister and I would find countless ways to entertain ourselves with collection of simple oddities.
The Bottom Drawer Held the Toys, The Center Desk Held the Treasure
I always loved that hutch. And, as with most family heirlooms they get passed on down from generation to generation. Moved from household to household to be used and enjoyed all over again. It was with great luck that I managed to gain possession of this hutch many years ago and it has been in my Study ever since. We keep it stocked with the usual office supplies and miscellaneous things that people have tendencies to collect.
Such was the case yesterday as I went about paying bills and organizing the mess that is my work space in the Study. While rearranging some things on the shelves I bent over to look at something tucked in the back of one of the top cubbies and an odd object caught my eye. It seems there is actually room above that top cubbie that is otherwise concealed from view if you simply open the pull down work top. And, apparently, nobody has known about it for some time. There, resting on the ledge, was something I know did not belong to me. And what a serendipitous discovery it was! Three items fell into my hands. Each item from a different generation of people who have likely owned this hutch at different points during history.
With Some Luck I Can Still Uncover Who These People Are.
The oldest being this photograph of four men and one women standing before what appears to be a 1930 Ford Model A Town Sedan. There’s no other information on the photo other than the name of Foster Shop Studio of West Lafayette, Ind. rubber stamped onto the back. I’m anxious to show this to my dad in hopes he can identify some of those standing about in the picture.
A Piece of Family History
The second find was a receipt book kept by my Great Grandma and Grandpa regarding the business they conducted. Oddly enough, leafing through the receipt stubs on the left, I discovered documentation noting the rent my father paid to my Great Grandma for the apartment they rented over the old garage downtown. The date on the stub was May 19, 1969. Paid just days before I was born on the 27th of that month. The rent, by the way, was $40.00.
The last item found was a birthday card given to my Grandma Mabel from a friend. Now, this hutch has been moved from place to place to place for decades. From room to room. From house to house. Lifted, tilted, turned, and shifted. Shaken in every way imaginable. Yet, over the course of time these items have been tucked and remained in this tight little hiding place for decades. How lucky for me to stumble across them as I did yesterday by meer accident. The question now is what to do with them? Now that they’ve been recorded for posterity here on a new kind of “shelf” (digitally filed in cyberspace) do I leave them out for others to see and enjoy? Or do I tuck them back where I found them and forget about them, as my ancestors before me have obviously done, for my kids to stumble across? And what do I add to this collection and tuck back into that top shelf to reflect the times we live in today (a flash drive containing a copy of this blog post)?
The other question is, what else is buried in this wonderful old piece of furniture? Photos dating even farther back then what’s already been found? Envelopes of cash concealed for safe keeping during the First American Depression? What a fortunate find that would be in the midst of these tough economic times. Where’s my hammer and crowbar?