Roots

After a year of living in my own house, my mother has finally succeeded in getting me to take the majority of the Melissa archive and storing it in my own house.  There are quite a few things, but I prefer to think of my family as archivists/historians and not as packrats.

Last night, we went through a fair chunk of it: high school and college paraphernalia, books and toys.  Lots of wonderful memories came flooding back, and though I’ve always known where I’ve come from, some things became a bit clearer.

As anyone who has ever come across this blog or me knows, I really like history.  It permeates all kinds of facets of my life.  As a museum educator, I pay attention when people start talking about “these kids today” and how they can’t place the American Revolution or the Civil War in the right century, much less decade.  I chose to be a museum educator for a lot of different reasons–one of them is that I believe that a love of history often seeps into a child’s life before they realize what’s happened.  And getting kids to love history early, whether through books or museums, will one day lead to better funding and more respect for history in general.  And of course, then the world will be a much better place.

But I digress.  As I’ve mentioned, I’ve always loved history.  My grandmother read all of the Little House books to me before I could read myself.  But as I started to go through some of my old doll clothes, I realized, the past has truly always been a part of my life.

I guess now would be a good time to explain a few things about my family.  First, the generations are just a little off.  My grandmother was born in 1907.  Her first two children were born in the early 1930s but mom didn’t come around until 1948 (can we say Surprise!).  Momo was also an incredibly crafty lady.  So my collection of doll clothes ranges from the 1930s to my own childhood in the 1980s. 

Most of the dresses are handmade.  Momo was also the type to make matching dresses for doll and little girl.  As I was going through the two boxes last night, there were more than a few dresses that I would love to have in my size today.  With playthings like this, is it any wonder that I’ve always loved clothes (particularly dresses) or always had a tendency towards vintage?

And then I got to the books.  Again, many things had been passed down, and I have fond memories of reading my aunts’ copies of Heidi and Little Women, but I had almost forgotten about the picture books.  Here are just a few, now resting comfortably in my closet (since I’m almost out of shelf space–wonder how that happened?)

I’ve been surrounded by old-fashioned things almost since the beginning.  And these things were just a natural part of my childhood–I knew they were special and they had to be taken care of, but I don’t remember ever hearing “here, you need to read this old book.”    This love of the past was never forced, it just was.

3 thoughts on “Roots

  1. Keeko was my favorite! And the warm fuzzies that were generated looking at those favorite dresses – brown & blue. Can’t believe what a seamstress Mom was! She was amazing…. and missed daily….

  2. I would love to read an article (or a book!) with ideas for getting kids to love history early, and helping it seep into their lives. I’m sure a lot of us who love history do some of these things unconsciously–I think my own parents did–but there’s bound to be some great ideas.

    The generations are interesting in your mother’s family. You are younger than me, but your grandmother was much older than mine (my grandmothers were born in 1925 and 1928).

  3. Laurie, I just finished a great book about exhibit design for kids in history museums–there’s definitely a trend starting (finally! don’t even get me started on that soap box) for museums to be more kid-friendly. From a general perspective, it did talk a lot about what kids can understand at what ages–and it’s a lot more than what we generally give credit for.

    and to make mom’s family even more interesting, we _think_ my grandfather was born around 1890. My other set of grandparents were born in the early 1920s.

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