My 2X great Aunt Maggie, was both a product of her time and ahead of her time. She had a collection of journals, photo albums and scrapbooks filled to overflowing with everything from the latest craft craze (such as making a bunny from a hanky or a garden trellis from coat hangers) as well as her daily rummy win/lose score against my uncle Dan.
She was ahead of her time.
She “pinterested” her craft ideas before Pinterest was a thing. Each notebook had a theme: crochet projects, home decor, clothing patterns.
I discovered Aunt Maggie’s treasure trove when I was cleaning out my grandparents’ house after they passed away. Finding the notebooks was like striking gold. I was rich! There were newspaper clippings carefully pasted and detailing wedding celebrations (the bride wore a chapel length train with a A-line dress with lace accents) anniversaries and family birthdays.
There were, other articles too, those detailing the lives of relatives I would never know but would come to know from the clippings she saved.
These scrapbooks are a journey to a time…..
Aunt Maggie was born Margaret Sarah Kittridge in January 1898. She married Daniel Smith in August 1918 and they made their home in Lansing Michigan. They had one child who died in infancy. From her journals, I believe that Aunt Maggie was the typical housewife of that era as she did all the home caring tasks: cooking, baking, cleaning, shopping and decorating. I believe her journals were meant to be an account for her day; there was little emotion expressed.
Occasionally, she would mention some national phenomenon such as purchasing movie tickets for Gone with the Wind or the assassination of Martin Luther King jr. But even these entries were sparse, more like an accounting of facts.
I met Aunt Maggie when I was little. I just remember she was kind and talked to me and gave me a straw horse (one of her craft projects, no doubt). I met Uncle Dan too. He had a sparkle to his eye and he was very tall. I liked them instantly. These were adults that liked children.
Aunt Maggie died in 1986 and with her so did the flow of craft ideas and other scrapbooks.
I want to thank Aunt Maggie. Thank you for keeping a journal of your days, thank you for clipping and saving newspaper articles about family members that I would never meet but feel like I have, thank you for your scrapbooks on craft ideas. They have allowed me to look into a time, not my own, and glimpse your daily life.
We need to thank the Aunt Maggies in our lives. We need to appreciate the family historians, the genealogists, the family archivists. So today, give thanks.