Books, History, Inspiration, Photography, TBT, TBTPictureBooks

The Photograph Keeper

Grandpa

This post is about photographs and a dress and book I recently stumbled across.

The Photographs

My Grandma had to clean out her home of more than 50 years to move into a smaller apartment. There were boxes of photographs in the basement and albums on book shelves and photos on the walls. I had a chance to go through some of those photos with her before she moved. My Grandma told me details about the events and the people in the photos and scribbled names in pencil on the backs for me. What a mix of memories –Great great grandmothers and grandfathers, cousins and friends, birthdays and world wars.

I took a box of the photos home with me.

Then it was my mother in-law’s turn. She took on the task of packing up her childhood home and moving her dad from Buffalo to Florida to live with her. She brought back photographs as well. More life, more memories, more family history, all told through little square and rectangular pieces of paper.

The Dress

The dress was my mother in-law’s first communion dress. She gave the dress to my little girl. My daughter loved the dress. She wore it around the house playing dress up whenever she had the chance. It made me happy her dress up play had a bit of family history woven in.

When we took a trip to visit family in Buffalo I knew I had to take the dress. I carefully packed up the dress in the suitcase. When we arrived I asked my husband if he remembered where his mom’s old childhood house was located. He did and I told him my plans.  My daughter put her dress on and we headed out for the adventure. I didn’t think about the people who lived in the house currently and what they might think. A slight overlook in my plans! I started to think of what I would say as I knocked at the door. Thankfully it was the middle of the day on a weekday. The family and most of the neighbors were gone. My daughter hopped out of the car for our mini photo shoot and I grabbed a few quick shots. I knew these little photos of a dress returned to place would be a sweet gift.

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The Book

I came across Girls Standing On Lawns by Maria Kalman and Daniel Handler in Anthropologie. Art by Maria Kalman, words by Daniel Handler and old photographs of girls on lawns. -I fell in love.

I immediately thought of the photos of my daughter standing in her grandmother’s dress on the lawn in Buffalo. I wondered about those photos my mother in-law had brought back from her childhood home…

 

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” One morning we found some photographs.

One morning these girls stood on lawns.

We  looked at the pictures, and we got to work.”

I think this is possibly my favorite compilation from the book-

“My whole life I have not known where to put my hands.”

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This seems like a brilliant solution to me. I think I would very much like to be photographed in exactly the same way.

 

I spent this past week at my mother in-law’s house. I asked my her about her old photos. I wondered if there were any of her in the dress on the lawn. I went through boxes full of photos. She asked if I wanted them. Of course! She said I was the only one who would be interested in those old photos.

I didn’t find one of her in the dress on the lawn, but I did find other photos. Here are a few of my favorites of my beautiful mother in-law, a girl standing on the lawn.

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I have a few old family photographs in frames. I think I would like to arrange the rest of my collection and put them together in a book from Blurb to pass down to my kids. I think this way they would be more easily viewed and enjoyed and not just stashed away in box somewhere.

What do you do with all of your old family photographs?

 

 

Books, Children's Books, Inspiration, Picture Books, TBT, TBTPictureBooks, Thrift Shop

Prayers for Children

Grandpa

 

A Little Golden Book

Prayers for Children

Pictures by Eloise Wilkin

Western Publishing Company 1974, 1952

Little Golden Book Classic published by Random House, Inc.

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It’s been a tough week for me and my family. One that certainly had us in our own time of prayer. It seemed fitting to share one of my favorite vintage children’s books this Thursday.

It turns out I liked this Little Golden Book so much I bought it twice at two different thrift stores. The first one was published in originally in 1952 and reprinted again in 1974. The second one is a Little Golden Book Classic, First Random House Edition 2002. The artwork is done by Eloise Wilkin. The covers are different, but her artwork and the prayers in the book are the same and in the same order. I think the only exception is the colors are more saturated in the newer printing. I’d love to be able to find the 1952 version to go along with these.

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“God, make my life a little staff

Whereon the weak may rest,

And so what health and strength I have

May serve my neighbors best.

God, Make my life a little hymn

of tenderness and praise;

Of faith, that never waxeth dim,

In all His wondrous ways.”

~ A portion from A Child’s Prayer by M. Betham-Edwards

 

These books offer sweet prayers to pray with your child through the day. From Morning Prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, Evening Prayer to Good Night prayer, the book is full of sweet ways to talk to God. The last prayer, Evening Prayer surprised me when I saw it. It’s printed as a hymn, the words adapted by Miriam Drury. I said this one many nights through my childhood with my mom. I never knew it was meant to be sung.

” Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray Thee, Lord, Thy child to keep: Thy love guard me through the night, And wake me with the morning light.”

 

These sweet prayers are a reminder it’s good to spend time on my knees in prayer with my own children each and everyday, no matter what may come.

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I’m so thankful my Grandma passed on this photo of my own mom and her sis saying their prayers at bedtime.

 Do you have a special prayer you say with your children?

 

 

 

 

Books, Children's Books, History, Picture Books, TBT, TBTPictureBooks, Thrift Shop

I Can Read

Grandpa

 

Little Chick’s Story

1978

by Mary DeBall Kwitz

illustrated by Cyndy Szekeres

Published by Harper & Row

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I was drawn to Little Chick’s Story by the simple soft blue and brown color palette. I love the pencil lines of Cyndy Szekeres through the wash of pale colors and how in places she uses no color at all, only the pencil. It’s beautiful how well the simplicity of the two colors work in Little Chick’s Story.

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My favorite part of the story itself is that this is An Early I CAN READ Book, but Mary DeBall Kwitz still lets children read and learn from the rich detail in her text.

“She laid one egg in the meadow for the ring-tailed raccoon.

And she hid one egg in the violets for the Easter rabbit.”

I love her word choice, especially violets. She could have called them flowers, but she chose to teach children about a specific flower. Maybe there’s meaning in that for the author.

This book made me think of all the I Can Read books my children have checked out and read from the library and the ones we’ve bought and read together at home. It really is incredible to see your child grow and learn to make sense of letters and the sounds they make and then learn to put it all together and read all by themselves.

I wondered about the series of books and when it possibly started. I found out the first I Can Read book published was Little Bear in 1957, by Else Holmelund and illustrated Maurice Sendak.

You can read the history of how the I Can Read series began HERE.

 

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What’s your favorite I Can Read book?

 

 

 

 

 

Books, Children's Books, Picture Books, TBT, TBTPictureBooks

What Do You Say?

Grandpa

I found a new favorite picture book on this Throwback Thursday. This might be something I say about all of our picture books. Maybe I’ll just say this is my new favorite picture book about manners.

What Do You Say, Dear?

 

1958

By Sesyle Joslin

Illustrated by Maurice Sendak

Published by Scholastic Book Services

3rd printing October 1965

MannersC

MannersIS

“single copy price 35¢”

 

When I found the book, I admit, I picked it up right away because I saw Maurice Sendak’s name on the cover as the illustrator. This made me quite happy. But when I read the book I loved the words also. This really is what a great picture book is all about isn’t it? Great words with great pictures. I love how fun Sesyle Joslin made practicing manners. There is no room left for ordinary. Her words bring full imagination and lots of laughter.

It’s hard to pick out one favorite spread. I think I like them all, but I do want to share one with you so I’ll pick one for now…

 

“You are a dangerous pirate and you have captured a fine lady to take on your ship. Every morning when you untie her so she can eat breakfast, she says, “Good morning. How are you?”

“What do you say, dear?”

 

ManersBC

“This is the funniest book about manners you ever read!”

 

 

 

 

Books, TBT, Thrift Shop

Personal Typing

Grandpa

This Throwback Thursday book is dedicated to my mom.

–Disclaimer: This one isn’t a picture book, but it does have fantastic illustrations and I couldn’t resist the fun of it when I found it at the thrift store.

Personal and Professional Typing

S. J. Wanous

1962

South-Western Publishing Company

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I think I grew up in a strange time of transition, sort of an in an in-between state. Old technology VS. new technology. A bit of time spent in darkrooms developing my own film and making prints, learning to type on a typewriter, and also learning how to use a computer and getting photos burned onto Kodak CDs.

I had the privilege of taking one class learning to type on an electric typewriter. I say it’s a privilege because I learned how to type on a keyboard well and it’s been something I’ve used ever since.

Technology is still changing, and it always will be, but for now  my son still has to sit down to type reports for school on our Mac and he doesn’t know the keyboard. He types essays one little letter at a time, click… click… click… It’s painful to watch sometimes.

I know the time he could save by learning to type. My fingers find the keys on their own, no scanning for the letters, no thinking involved.  I wish he had this skill.

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I wonder if my nostalgic find might be put to some good with my kiddos?

It might be fun to use this manual and see what happens.

Does anyone learn to type like this anymore?

 

 

 

 

Books, Children's Books, Picture Books, TBT, TBTPictureBooks

Chicka Chicka abc

Grandpa

 

Chicka Chicka abc

by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault

Illustrated by Lois Ehlert

1989

Today’s Throwback Thursday Picture Book is one of my favorite little board books. This was the first book I received as a baby gift when my son was born. We read this little ABC rhyme book over and over and it seemed quite the perfect first book for my little Florida baby. We’ve never been in short supply of coconut trees down here in the sunshine state.

This is our book, faded and lovingly worn around the edges, first read with my son and then again with my little girl.

Chicka chicka

 

The best part about celebrating Chicka Chicka abc today is I have Lois Ehlert’s new book, The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life reserved and waiting for me to pick up at Barnes & Noble.

Julie Danielson of the impossibly wonderful blog, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, shares an interview with Lois Ehlert over at Book Page. You may just end up going to get a copy too after you read the interview.

 

What was your baby’s first book?

 

 

1000 Gifts, Books, Children's Books, Picture Books, TBT, TBTPictureBooks, Thrift Shop

A Cure For Complaining

Grandpa

 

The Tale of Meshka the Kvetch

copyright 1980 by Carol Chapman

illustrations by Arnold Lobel

published by E.P. Dutton New York

Meshka

This little tale makes me quite happy. I love the soft color palate and texture in the illustrations and I love the language in this tale -words and phrases like,

 Meshka, Yiddish, Kvetch, kosher pickles, oy vey, and Wall of Jericho

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This is a picture book, but it’s a good read for anyone of any age. My daughter and I read it together, I read it aloud to my son, and then again to my husband. Just maybe, I needed this tale of Meshka when I found this little treasure at the thrift store.

“…Meshka, who was considered by all to be the village kvetch. Now kvetch is a Yiddish word for complainer, and that’s just what Meshka did. Complain.”

She complains to everyone she can. She complains about her tiny house, her life, and her children until all her complaints start to come true. The rabbi comes by and sees her in her troubles and quickly diagnoses her problem,

“I’m afraid you have the Kvetch’s Itch.

…it causes everything the kvetch complains about to come true.”

Meshka is a complete mess. How can she be cured? The rabbi helps her, but I love that he tells her she can’t be cured.

Isn’t that really the case for all of us? Can we ever be cured of complaining?

I’ve read so many negative things online that I’ve made a promise to myself never to post complaints on social media. I try to share what inspires me, stories I find fascinating, simple encouragement, or  the beauty I see in nature. Even with my best intentions I fail.

So what does the rabbi recommend?

“if you praise the good in your life, these problems you mention will cease.”

Since Meshka has never praised anything in her life, her first attempts at praising good things are hilarious. The rabbi gives her a few pointers and eventually she gets the hang of it.

“And from that day on, whenever Meshka would start to complain and say, “Oy vey”– she quickly said instead, “Things are good and I am happy.”

Meshka’s tale reminds me of one of my favorite books, One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. Life is messy and hard at times, but Ann reminds the reader joy is found when we look for the blessings in our lives and give thanks. Ann, like the rabbi, offers up a remedy for life. She calls it a Joy Dare. It’s a dare to count and list three blessings a day for a year. 1,000 gifts.

“Joy is a function of gratitude — and gratitude is a function of perspective. So take these prompts to help you see and change perspective — give thanks — and live all His joy!” -Ann Voskamp’s Joy Dare

I’ll praise the good with you today, even in the midst of difficult circumstances. Our problems may not cease, but our perspective will.

 

 

Books, Children's Books, History, Picture Books, TBT, TBTPictureBooks, Thrift Shop, Writing

To Think I Found It In Goodwill

Grandpa

My latest thrift store stop has to be one of my favorites. I spent the afternoon with a friend at Goodwill. We looked at pants and shirts and skirts and talked up and down the aisles. I found an amazing Christmas sweater vest with candy canes and sequins. I managed to leave it behind for a happy ugly-sweater-loving person.

I wandered to the back of the store to check out the children’s books. I found two little treasures amidst the stacks.

Can you spot one of them on my bookshelf?

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I didn’t even realize it when I first purchased the book, but the spine has no title information. This leads me to other questions about book publishing and earrly cover design–

When did publishers start paying attention to designing book spines? How were books displayed in stores in 1937? Were children’s books designed or displayed differently than other genres? I think this will have to be anothe post for another time.

On to the book and… Dr. Seuss!

And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street

My favorite find for the day! I realized it was an early edition when I read the back cover jacket flap.

Dr. Seuss cover

dedication

This author bio in the back is my favorite part of the whole book. Why? Because it tells the tale of the very beginning of the career of a man with a dream to draw and publish children’s books.

cover flap

Dr. Seuss hadn’t become a household name yet. This is the space where Mr. Geisel and The Vanguard Press are selling us Dr. Seuss:

“Dr. Seuss, whose pictures of strange humans and stranger animals have startled and delighted the American public on billboards and car cards, in magazines and books, is not, as has often been rumored, an armless artist who draws with his toes. He is a healthy and sane young man whose real name is Theodor Seuss Geisel, who grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts, was graduated from Dartmouth College in 1925 and decided to become a professor of English Literature…”

He didn’t become a professor after all. It was drawing pictures that had his heart.

“…he had been warned by experts that he could never learn to be an artist. Mr Geisel still believes that these warnings may have been correct, not withstanding Dr. Seuss’s success in drawing pictures, a success so great that it caused him to abandon all thoughts of an academic career.”

It’s hard to pick out my favorite part from Dr. Seuss’s author bio. It all tells a tale. I especially love the last paragraph listing his author credits. Did Mr. Geisel imagine at the time the success in front of him?

“Although Mr. Geisel has written numerous magazine articles, AND TO THINK THAT I SAW IT ON MULBERRY STREET was his first book. His second, THE 500 HATS OF BARTHOLOMEW CUBBINS, has proved as popular as it’s predecessor.”

LISTEN

Here’s a fun audio clip (3 minutes or you can read the story) from NPR when they celebrated the 75th anniversary of And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street in 2012.

I’m so happy to have found this little piece of children’s book history.

What’s your favorite Dr. Seuss book?

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