Underneath all of that I spotted what appeared to be a ledger half hidden by some red plastic folders. I gave the book a quick tug, hoping it would have some pages with figures on them that I could use for some of my paper projects. Wouldn't that be a nice find?
It appeared empty from the scant peek I got as I was filling my car with my plunder. I figured it must just be an old empty photo album, but those are very cool in and of themselves and definitely worth saving.
When I arrived home to unload all that I unearthed from the pile (you can read that story HERE), I pulled out the dark blue/green book to get a better look at the treasure I had salvaged. It turned out it wasn't a ledger or a photo album; it was a scrapbook, and it said so right on the front. Duh.
I wasn't empty either, not in the least. The very first page met my eyes and tugged at my heart; it turns out I was holding a young woman's precious memory book in my hands from the early 1930's.
Pierina was Italian, so the romantic gondola image makes perfect sense. She expressed her love for Ernesto by including a poem.
Standing by the side of my car carefully peeling back the pages of time, I choked up at the thought of someone allowing this memento to find its fate in a careless heap at the side of the road. Of course that made me wonder who Pierina was. Did she have no children, grandchildren, anyone who would have treasured the scrapbook of her youth?
The memory book is mainly comprised of news clippings and a few programs and such, but it's sweet and 70 plus years old. The age of it alone makes for intrigue.
From what Barbara (my impromptu picking partner) said, the woman had just died. She thought she was in her 90's. I discovered from some other papers that I found in the pile that her husband died back in 1997. Who knows if they had children, and if so, whether or not they are even still around.
Apparently I'm the scrapbook's next of kin now, so I will cherish Pierina's scrapbook, and share with you a little of the sweet memories she locked away in her dream book all those years ago as she met and married her sweetheart, Ernesto.
Her wedding flowers I presume:
I did note that in all the bridal announcement clippings she had of women, at least one of whom was related to her, the floral bouquets they held were more dramatic than today's standard. The bouquets were gorgeous in black and white, I can only imagine their beauty in living color.
Here's the page where she catalogued the cars they purchased together through the years as well as her husband's new accordion: (From the clippings she saved, it's apparent he performed at many functions and shows.)
I only wish she would have listed how much they paid for those cars and the accordion.
A hand written note from Ernie. I love such glimpses into simple moments gone by:
The program from a production of the Sacred Heart Parish, at which Ernie played the accordion.
From the program, according to an article Pierina clipped, this show was billed as a lot of singing and dancing. The program showed lots of tap numbers and great songs of days gone by.
More items from the book. I don't know if these men were friends or family of Pierina and Ernie, but the article says one of them is a baton twirling champion. I don't know who the beautiful woman is either, but I thought she was stunning.
This menu was included in the scrap book.
Wouldn't it be cool if we could pick and choose which parts of different moments in time we liked and bring them with us into now? I'd for sure pick the food prices for starters. Check them out.
Also found was the mail sent to she and her husband by someone in Italy. This mail is from the 90's right before Pierina's husband passed away.
A beautiful Christmas card was inside one of the envelopes.
I wonder if this woman in the article was one of Pierina's friends, or perhaps she just had dreams of a beautiful garden and this young woman was her inspiration. The newspaper was the community's way of keeping in touch and sharing information about fellow residents back then... the blogs of the times. They sure seemed to have a lot of fun attending social events, and it's interesting to read the writing style of the authors of the articles.
This article was in Italian. There were numerous Italian articles in the scrapbook. It seems they had a vibrant Italian community there in Massachusetts in the 30's. This was a contest between several groups. The group that won was regretfully not pictured because they were unable to get a print from the negative of the photograph they took. Check out some of the costumes. The second place winners, I think it was, are the two in the front representing the USA and another country. Not sure, but that looks like Ernie top center (you'll see later that hair style in another photo of him), and perhaps that's Pierina next to him on the right.
Maybe this one of the first movies Pierina and Ernesto saw together. There was no indication, just this ad that she had saved.
Ernie played the accordion with the Dixieland Rubes according to one of the articles. Pierina included many clippings even from before they were married where he was mentioned as the accordion player. Quite the musician he was, and she seemed so proud of him and his musical abilities, saving many stories of the musical venues he played.
Pierina had cut out a number of pictures from the paper of brides of her day. At least one of them appears to be a relative. And get a load of her husband-to-be's stag party ticket! My how times change. The bride on the left seems a bit out of keeping with the time period compared to the others. Reading through all the various stories and such, it was apparent, they took a much more graceful approach to certain things back in the 30's.
Pierina's own bridal announcement shows her to be quite a lovely girl in her own right.
There were also clippings in her scrapbook about a 19th birthday party her fiance's parents had for her where 100 guests were in attendance.
I'll leave you with a photo of Ernest from one of the blurbs about one of his performances.
Ernie and Pierina had a long life together. Ernie died in 1997 and Pierina was left to live alone. (I discovered papers about learning to cope with living alone as well as grief counseling in the mix, including notations she had made.)
I wonder if Pierina ever got that home of her dreams back then: The Wilmore. She lived out much of her latter years down here in South Florida.
I'd say, if you haven't yet, you should make a plan now for your own scrapbooks, photo albums and journals. What will become of them when you're gone? Would you want them found by a prying stranger who picked them from the pile of stuff thrown to the road after you are gone, even if said stranger was intrigued and willing to treasure them?
One of my sisters, Mary, and I, have long since vowed to rush in and snag the other's journals in the event of either of our untimely deaths, as much from the thought of anyone finding and reading our personal thoughts and rambling musings, more so than the thought that they might be trashed. Yet, perish the thought that they could be found by a picker who might plaster them across the internet or whatever is yet to come out there. Maybe it's best we burn them now unless we want the world to know the truth of what we did and felt from day to day. What do you say? Have you any memory books from your youth that you might like to have go with you when your time comes rather than be found and read?
Me, I'm glad this tiny slice of Pierina's story was lying in the heap in front of her former home or I would have missed it. What a joy to see preserved in her scrapbook the history of a day and a love gone by. It's like stepping back in time and capturing moments of joy, fun, grace and family as well as the history of the simple moments that in the end become the stuff one's life is made of.
What will someone find in your scrapbook that tells the true tale of your life and the things and people who mattered most to you?
I'll be sharing this love story at:
Cowgirl Up @ Cedar Hill Ranch
Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage
Be Inspired @ Common Ground
Treasure Hunt Thursday @ FMFPTY
Savvy Southern Style