Saturday, August 24, 2013

Treasures From Another Time

My mother passed away three weeks ago, and I've had the task and honor of sorting through her things. It's been everything you might imagine; heart-wrenching, tedious, a lot of work, and... it's definitely been an adventure.

There was an awful lot of stuff. We lived in a two-bedroom apartment, but somehow she was still able to pack years and years and years of stuff into her two bedroom closets, many drawers, cabinets... anywhere she could fit it.

Most of it I was able to sort through and give away easily; decades of clothes, for instance. But every once in awhile I come across a treasure. Clues to who my mother was before I came around. Tonight I found this beat up old, plaid, zipper coin purse. It was filled with papers from the early 60s (I was born in 1966). I'm sure these were things that really didn't mean much to her - probably just an old purse she never got around to cleaning out. But to me... well these are wondrous things from a time gone by.

There is a Certificate of Vaccination for a dog - Musty - that I don't remember. But I do remember my mom talking about her; Musty was pregnant while mom was pregnant with me. They'd take midnight walks in the summer in New York City after the heat of the day. She said that no one would bother a pregnant woman with a pregnant dog.
Musty, according to the certificate, was vaccinated for distemper, leptospirosis, and infections hepatitis. Huh.

One of my favorite items is my mom's Cabaret and Public Dance Hall Employee's Identification Card (on top of the pile with her picture looking a bit like a mug shot). On the back side of the card it shows that she was a 22 year old waitress, and that her "assumed name" was Marina Milwaukee. How fun is THAT?!

There were some pawn tickets (she got $3 for a toaster), a rent receipt ($82.00!!), a few business cards for bars and restaurants ("Have you been there...your friends have" was one slogan), and a 1967 calendar from White Tower. Very cool stuff. Oh - and there was also some things of my grandfather - some business cards, and it looks like my mother's license to sell real estate at her father's office.

I also found this really cool sketch of two women at a cafe of some sort, looking super cool with their dark glasses (which of course reminds me of Andy Warhol). The sketch is signed "Peter '65".

Who is this Peter? And who are the women? I suspect it could be my mom's friend Iris on the left, and my mom on the right. But who knows?

A mystery to solve...

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