Sunday, July 21, 2013

Go little album

Go little album, far and near,
To all my friends I hold so dear,
And ask them each to write a page,
That I may read in my old age.

So begins my mother's autograph book from Robert E. Simon Junior High, New York City, 1939.

My aforementioned project of going through my mom's old photo albums, along with reorganizing my own, found me rediscovering her old autograph book. What a treasure!

I vaguely remember having such a book in grade school, but I think it's safe to say they are now extinct. The annual signing of high school year books took their place in later years. I'm not sure what the custom is now, but I hope it's not Facebook or Twitter.

I sometimes re-read my high school yearbook, with messages from former classmates. Entire pages were reserved for my best friends. But I especially love the messages saying, Never forget me. I'll always remember you." And I actually haven't a single clue who wrote it, although the author signed his or her name.

Back to my mom's autograph book. There were some really amusing rhymes back then. And many of the entries were signed: Your fellow Grad-U-8.

May you dive into the sea of ambition,
And rise with a bump of wisdom on your head.
Down by the river, carved on a tree,
Are three little words:
Don't forget me.
When you grow up and have a house,
Just give a thought of this big louse.
I wish I was the little cup,
From which you drink your tea.
And every time you took a sip,
I'd get a kiss from thee.
Then there's one that's not so nice:
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I have a bull dog that looks like you.
Although it is signed: "Your friend, Dorothy. Yours till you have traffic jam for breakfast."
But this one has to take the prize. My mom went on to have a set of twins!
I wish you luck, I wish you joy.
I wish you first a baby boy,
And when his hair begins to curl,
I wish you then a baby girl.
And when her hair is straight as pins,
I wish you then a set of twins.

Some writers were artistic and either wrote upside down, around the page, or drew musical notes (Never B-flat. Always B-sharp.)
I'm guessing this is actually a caricature of my mom.
Such an innocent time....sigh. 

I'm keeping Mom's autograph book handy. When life seems complicated, the world complex, and everything beyond my understanding,  I'll board a time machine and go back to 1939 for awhile. It makes everything look so much better.