I loved visiting my grandparents’ house when I was little. We would walk with my grandmother through each room and listen to her as she told us the history of every family heirloom. She would pull out blackened china creamers from out-of-reach cupboards and we would clean-up these treasures like an archeologist on a dig. We learned about Wedgewood and Lennox and aunts and cousins who grew-up just a few miles from me. In the hallway hung a young girl’s sampler, beautifully written land deeds, photos of old Portland, ships, and my great-grandmother’s beach trips to Gearhart, where I now like to visit with my family. One piece that fascinated me was a framed newspaper page from the New York Herald announcing the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. I read the page over and over with each visit; I was looking at history. But, what always drew my attention were the tiny holes spread like confetti all across the page. I don’t think I asked about them until many years later. My grandfather had grown-up in Montana and I am sure his grandparents saved that paper the way my parents saved the paper about the lunar landing or my sister and I arranged a scrapbook with Mt. St. Helens articles. They knew that it was history and worth saving. My grandfather shared with me that when he was a young boy, he came across the paper and decided that it looked like the perfect place to try-out the family hole punch. It was a newspaper, like many others he had been allowed to cut up and play with after they had been read. He said he got in a lot of trouble for that act and I imagine he did. That’s one of my favorite stories from my grandfather – one I don’t think even my Mom knew. It’s such an innocent thing that a child would do and it gave me a little glimpse into the life of my grandfather as a boy. We’re using our Hannah Bergen Heirloom tag to attach the story to the back of the framed paper and we’ll include the whole story in the Book of Provenance so my children and their cousins can know why there are small tiny holes in a piece of American History.
Happy Story Gathering!