Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

October 8, 2012

Concerning things historical

By Gelene Simpson
Corsicana Daily Sun

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I don’t know whether it is an inherited trait or a result of childhood environment, but I hate to throw things away, especially anything telling of historical events or people. And since I have entered my 75th year, my memories can possibly be rather historical themselves.

I remember a talk given by Dr. Rose-Mary Rumbley one time about the way her family saved the rubber bands around the newspaper and kept them in a crystal bowl in the front hall. We did the same in our family, and I still do but without the crystal bowl.

Once I read a column by Andy Rooney in which he told about how he couldn’t resist storing up odd pieces of wood not usable in any of his woodworking projects. He said he thought the tendency to “save” was inherited, and I am inclined to agree.

When I was growing up in Corsicana in the 40’s and 50’s, we saved K. Wolens Gold Stamps in little books. Later when I lived in Irving, I became a firm believer in Green Stamps and redeemed them for everything from a tea and coffee service to tableware and a set of china.

In recent times I have cut out and saved just about every article in the Daily Sun related to history of Navarro County. You might think that I would have devised some kind of filing system, but I am more like the mother of Janice Woods Windell. I started out with my savings in boxes under the bed. However, in the last eight or nine years, I have used plastic storage bins and a roomful of tote bags.

Every time I see an usual stamp on a card or an envelope, I whip out the scissors and get that sucker off of there and into a big envelope which I send to veterans from our James Blair Chapter, DAR. Seley Fuller and Christine Williams collaborate with me in this.

Many people can throw away out-of-style dress patterns. I can’t. I think to myself how often I have seen styles reappear years later. And I have greeting cards from friends and relatives who passed away long ago. When I read them over, it’s just as if they had never left this world. And I still have my high school scrapbooks, kind of brittle now.

Do you still have pictures of your grade-school classmates? What about the autograph book in which one of them probably wrote: “As you slide down banister of life, I hope you get a splinter in your career?” If you still have any of this stuff then you should join the club with the rest of us pack rats.

What about recipes? Do you have them overflowing your recipe box, a shoe box, and the long drawer in the table holding the microwave oven which no longer works? If you don’t, you probably did not try to save every recipe that Camille McClanahan put in her columns of the Daily Sun. I sold a bunch of cookbooks one year in a yard sale and have been doing penance ever since.

Do you still have your senior research paper (used to be called “term theme”) you did for Anna Belle Kiber’s English class? What about your trip papers from Miss Frances Broadstreet’s class? Do you still have your Spanish translations from Mrs. Gertrude Russell’s class or Mrs. W. H. Norwood’s class?

I have these and many more. And in addition to these collections, I have papers from college work and graduate school not to mention copies of all my columns from the dawn of creation.

Every once in a while, I rummage through some of these memories and promise myself that I will get rid of some of it, but every time I put it all back. Of course, it is not in the same order or even in the same place. So I won’t be able to tell you right off which room, box, or stack they are in. I am confident, though, that I have them under one or the other of my roofs. And I am pretty sure that, if I searched diligently for about a month, I could probably track them down and enjoy looking at them with the insight of five or six decades and remember some of the excitement we felt and the stunts we pulled in those “good ole days.”

Is that a good enough reason to keep all this clutter? Some people would say, “absolutely not!” But I find that I am like Mr. Hardcastle in the famous comedy titled “She Stoops to Conquer,” by O liver Goldsmith. I, too, “love everything that’s old: Old friends, old times, old manners, old books,” etc.

I have been remembering that this is a reunion year of the Corsicana Graduation Class of 1954. I had hoped to attend the festivities. But the weather turned against me. I would love to hear from anyone who could find time to tell me how it all turned out.

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Gelene Simpson is a Daily Sun columnist. Her column appears on Tuesdays. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com