Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Through The Years

I’ve been looking through old yearbooks lately. Having no-one to pass them to, I may sell my dad’s old yearbooks (’41, ’42, ’43 and ’45). He graduated in ’43, so I don’t know where the ’45 came from. Maybe it was my mother’s; she graduated in ’46. I also have one of my maternal grandfather’s yearbooks from 1924. He was from another county, but we visited there a lot when I was a kid, to see the relatives he left behind, so I know the area.

What surprised me is how many of the names I was familiar with, even from 1924 and in another county. Despite all the building and suburban expansion, I guess this is still a small town at heart. Some names from 1924 were just ones I’ve heard in the conversation of relatives. Others were people that I’d actually met, some of whom lived in other counties by the time I met them. Also, it turns out that many of the kids that I went to school with had parents that were about the same age as my father (understandable). What was a bit of a surprise was that Dad would have known the parents of several of the girls I dated. He never mentioned it, so I don’t know if they were people he didn’t care for, or if he just figured it wasn’t any of his business. Dad got along with just about everyone, so I’d guess the latter.

Another thing I noticed was that things seemed to be taken more seriously then. Maybe that was because so many folks just dropped out to go to work, making those who valued education a greater percentage of the group. Granddad’s yearbook could have passed for a college yearbook, with all the clubs and “societies” and such. I’d never heard of having “Greek” societies in high school before, and that was in what would have been considered a “back county.” The kids looked a little older than some of today’s students; maybe that was just co-incidence. My grandfather WAS 22 at his high school graduation, though, for he’d moved and taken two years of college, then CAME BACK to finish high school. Apparently, such things could be done back then. In the case of Dad’s class being more serious, there was a war going on, so that was to be expected. Three obituaries from the local paper are stuck inside the front cover of one book—all three young men killed at war. They were former classmates of his, no doubt. I’m sure many others succumbed to the same fate. Dad served, but he was one of the lucky ones.

I hate to part with the old yearbooks but as I said, I have no-one to pass them on to that would treasure them. If I can’t sell them, maybe I’ll just give them to some local genealogical group or historical society. I’m getting too old to have all this stuff around that holds meaning only for me. I don't have any of my own yearbooks; they strangely "disappeared" from my home many years ago, though I think I know their fate.© 2013


kymber said...

Mr. Smythe - i told you before that when i would go to yard/garage sales, i would have a very hard time not buying old photos or photo made me so sad to see pics of people from the 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, pics that had been lovingly saved with dates and names written on the back...but obviously no one was left to care for them. i collected hundreds of albums and hundreds of photos and then when we moved to the Manor - i had to leave my precious collections. i gave them to a geneology group and hopefully they have helped some people find and discover and uncover their roots. at least, that's what i hope.

if you can sell the books and make some money to help yourself, then do so. but if you can't - give them to a geneology group. someone will be able to use that information of names, dates, stories and hopefully those someones will be able to re-connect themselves with their ancestors - a very important thing to be able to do, in my mind. but maybe that is because i don't have any family and no way of tracing them.

i really wish you had someone to pass all of your history on to. it makes me sad. your friend,

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

We have lots of old photos, even daguerreotypes, from my grandmother's family so we have been scanning and uploading them to their genealogical society site. There have been thousands of people looking at them and making comments.

Angela said...

You never know, the genealogical society might buy them from you if they don't have them and want them bad enough. Things sure were different back then.

Mamahen said...

I agree with your friend Kymber in all she expressed!

Gorges Smythe said...

I'll try to give the books a good home one way or the other, kymber. As for family, I see more and more that family is made up of the people who love you, blood or not.

That's great, Kathy, I'm glad the information is being put to use.

Thanks, Angela.

Thanks, Mh.

Sixbears said...

People did look older then. At 18 they really were adults. They didn't have this prolonged childhood into their 30s so make people have today.

. . . and there was a big war on, that everyone was involved in one way or the other. No doubt that made everything more serious.

My dad didn't graduate until he was 19, almost 20. My grandmother forgot to sign him up for school.

Gorges Smythe said...

My other grandfather didn't go to high school at all, Sixbears. He went to work after sixth or eighth grade and owned his own business by the time he was 19. It was a different world back then.