What Does the New Year Mean to You?

Usually we write articles about things we are passionate about – vintage, holidays, vintage, friends, vintage home decor, history, vintage, business… But this time, we’re giving YOU the opportunity to write this article!

In the Comment area below, answer this question for us – “what does the new year mean to you?

We look forward to reading YOUR input, and we wish you a Happy (vintage) New Year!

 

Handle with Care: when children were delivered by parcel post

The first parcel service began on January 1, 1913. It’s not surprising that over the years, the United States Postal Service has seen people mail many things – but none more surprising than trying to “mail” people. 

from the New York Times
from the New York Times

The first noted instance was in Ohio in January, 1913, when a 10-3/4 pound baby boy was carried by Rural Free Delivery carrier to its grandmother about a mile away for a fee of 15-cents in stamps and insured him for $50. 

Later that same month, another child in Pennsylvania was carried and delivered by a rural carrier to relatives for a cost of 45-cents. 

The most famous story, with a book written about it, was the story of May Pierstorff. A five year old girl weighing just under the 50 pound limit, was mailed from her home in Idaho to her grandparents for a visit in 1914. It was a 73-mile ride in the mail train car with a Railway Post Office clerk, who was a relative, and cost them 53-cents worth of stamps. 

uspsbaby2
photo courtesy of Smithsonian Institution

All these “child mailings” caused the Postmaster General to issue directions that all human beings were barred from mailings. That, however, did not stop the mailing of children with more reports coming in of children being transported to relatives for just the cost of the stamps. The furthest trip was reported to be a six year old girl who was “shipped” from Florida to Virginia for the cost of 15-cents in parcel post stamps on a railway mail train. 

Finally in 1915, the USPS shipped it’s last human “Special Delivery” package when a story appeared in a local newspaper and came under investigation by postal officials.   

FYI, these photos are not of actual babies being mailed but rather a photographer and mail carrier having fun with the idea.  

Photos and story adapted from the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum “Pushing the Envelope” blog.
 

What to Do With Mom’s Collections

I can’t believe I still have my mom’s collection(s). I have boxes of her treasures that I have moved across country and back again and now to the same town my Mother lived in when she started collecting. So now is the time to let go, and for the purpose of writing this, I will just talk about mom’s thimble collection which spans a period of over 25 years and includes over 300 thimbles.  

thimble5

It probably started with a relative that traveled somewhere and wanted to bring Mom a gift, and thimbles are small and inexpensive. Then maybe Mom went to Oregon and picked one up to remember her trip. Then a friend brought one back from their trip abroad. Well needless to say, we were all contributors to this fast growing collection and I probably the biggest. I just couldn’t resist the way her eyes would light up when I brought her a “special” thimble of turquoise and mother of pearl inlay.  

thimble3

Fast forward to today and my mom has been gone ten years and I still have all those thimbles. I am pretty certain that our kids will not think twice of donating the entire box(s) to a local thrift store so I might as well do it myself and save my children the task. Beside that, they will be busy dealing with my wood spool collection or my mason jar collection or…

My solution is to keep an item or two that makes me smile and think of mom; and let go of the rest so they can make someone else smile.  The hard part will be deciding which one(s) to keep because there are memories attached of when and where I was when I bought them. On second thought, I think I’ll just keep the memories!thimble2

Summer at the Lake Cabin

SummerLake11

Summers spent at the lake cabin are what memories are made of.

The call of Loons on the water at sunrise, the crackling of a campfire, and the crashing of the waves on shore are sounds that get ingrained in your soul and make you long for the lake.

Early morning fishing, followed by a breakfast of fish, eggs, and hashbrown potatoes in an old fashioned cast iron skillet. An afternoon collecting seashells along the beach. Lounging on the dock by the lake, watching the clouds glide by. Sunset glowing off the lake, northern lights dancing across the night sky, and star gazing. Open windows and cool breezes for a perfect night of sleep.

Light a campfire and everyone’s a storyteller. ~John Geddes

Spending a weekend relaxing at the lake makes you feel like you’ve been on vacation for a month! Maybe it’s the change of scenery from the daily grind that makes you feel this way. Maybe it’s the smells, or the sounds of the lake. Maybe it’s the feel of the water on your toes or the comfort of the vintage sheets on your bed. Maybe it’s the flavors of s’mores and cooking over an open fire. Or maybe it’s just the fresh air. Being at the lake tantalizes all of your senses and induces the most calming effect. 

Make plans to spend time at a cabin at a lake before Summer ends. Relax, disconnect, and enjoy all that lake cabin life has to offer. 

 

Take Me Out To The Ball Game…

Baseball is a game that evokes nostalgia like no other sport in modern history. Legend has it that baseball evolved from the British sport of “rounders” and has been played formally in the US since the mid 1800’s. Over those years, thousands of people have played the game and millions more have watched it.

That level of interest in the sport has given rise to generations of collectors, eager to preserve their own memories of their favorite teams, the players they follow and the games they saw. The words “I was there when…” preface baseball stories being shared in ballparks and in front of TV sets all around the country. 

My husband and I are lifelong lovers of the game and count ourselves among those avid collectors. Fortunately for people like us, there’s plenty of baseball memorabilia to collect. Ephemera (e.g. tickets, programs and game day souvenirs) are readily available at most ballparks. Players at all levels interact with fans by signing baseball cards and posing for photos in the hopes of promoting the sport. 

Photographs like this one of my Grandfather’s high school team in 1911 rank high on our personal list of collectible memorabilia. (He’s the dashing fellow, second from the left in the back row.) Part of the fun of this particular photo is that it is evidence of the days when team uniforms weren’t “uniform”.  

Vintage baseball memorabilia

 

We enjoy finding mystery memorabilia like this; a photograph of an unknown player on the Philadelphia Athletics. As collectors, we know based on the uniform style, that  he played sometime between 1910-1920.  As baseball fans the mystery is his personal backstory.  

Vintage baseball memorabilia

 

We also happen to be collectors of advertising ephemera so the fact that many companies made use of baseball figures in their early promotional materials is a bonus for us. This “Safe Hit” produce crate label  is a nice example of baseball related advertising material from the 1930’s. 

Vintage baseball memorabilia

Sadly, not all the baseball endorsed products were as healthy as Texas vegetables, as evidenced by this “Wiltse” chewing tobacco flannel, circa 1910’s.  

Vintage baseball memorabilia

 

Since its inception, baseball has been a game of statistics with records being made and broken on a regular basis.  Thanks to computers, these stats are tracked and published daily for consumption by team personnel, sports writers and the fans.  

The good news for today’s collectors is that changes in statistics mean new waves of memorabilia will follow. This 2004 I Was There souvenir program that commemorates a milestone reached by Houston Astros pitcher Roger Clemens, was a gift from a family member who was at the game. It serves as proof that many new memories were made on that day, not just for Roger Clemens, but for everyone in attendance. 

Vintage baseball memorabilia

 

Baseball equipment has also become highly collectible in recent years. Children’s gloves are the highlight of our collection but vintage leather gloves of any size look good when framed in a shadow box or mounted for display.

Vintage baseball memorabilia

 

The baseballs shown below are a small part of my 91-year-old mother’s collection. She became a baseball fan at the age of five which illustrates another marvelous thing about the sport: the love of baseball lasts a lifetime.  

Vintage baseball memorabilia

 

Each spring, baseball season opens, bringing with it opportunities for the individual players and teams to establish themselves as winners and record makers. This beginning of a new season also brings renewed optimism for baseball fans. The traditional game will be played, just as it has been for 150 years, but brand new memories will result for players and fans.  As the late great Yogi Berra said “It’s like deja-vu all over again.” 

If you are interested in learning more about collecting baseball memorabilia, this “Top Ten Treasure Hunting Tips article published by Forbes in 2013 is a good place to start. In addition, sites like Keyman Collectibles,  Sports Collectibles and Lelands Auctions will give you up-to-date information about pricing and what’s hot in the world of collecting.