Those are the memories that make me a wealthy soul*

The DH and I have fundamentally different approaches to cleaning house. He likes to do things incrementally, one box at a time, over a period of weeks or months. But when I get the urge to clean, which admittedly isn’t that often, I like to go at it all at once and get it done. After nearly twenty-eight years of marriage, we’ve learned when to do things my way and when to do things his way, which is to say that the incremental method prevails. We are slowly (oh so slowly) excavating our attic, although truth be told, this is one project that requires the DH’s tortoise-steady approach. It’s actually kind of fun to see what’s in boxes that have not been opened in decades. One contained an assortment of favorite baby clothes.

Those little outfits certainly bring back memories. 1990 was a good year in baby fashion, don’t you think?

In another box, I found a little metal box in which I had carefully filed cards for books that I read between 1971 and 1978. Not everything made it on the list, but it was interesting. 1973 included:

  • Jack London, The Call of the Wild (summer)
  • John Buchan, Prester John
  • Lloyd Douglas, The Robe
  • Roger Zelazny, Nine Princes in Amber
  • James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans
  • Mary Chase, “Harvey”
  • Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Robert Graves, I, Claudius
  • Robert Graves, Goodbye to All That
  • Lew Wallace, Ben Hur
  • C. P. Wren, Beau Geste
  • W. Saroyen, The Human Comedy
  • C. S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet
  • John Buchan, Sick Heart River
  • John Buchan, The 39 Steps
  • Kingsley, “Men in White”
  • James Hilton, Lost Horizon
  • Victoria Holt, Bride of Pendorric 
  • Herb Gardner, “A Thousand Clowns”
  • E. M. Forster, A Passage to India 
  • Van Dyke, The Other Wise Man

In 1972, I seem to have read all the available Mary Stewart books and a few other quality romances, but I also managed some literature, including Jane Eyre,  Lord Jim, and The Deerslayer. I had eclectic tastes, and still do. It was fun looking through the card file, which besides the book cards contained this wonderful pencil (!) postcard posted July 13, 1973 by our dear brother.

He and a friend were hitchhiking to Alaska, where they planned to make piles of money working in a fish factory. In practical terms, the plan lacked some essentials, such as funding.

Hi, Faithful family,

Am at present on Rt. 15, almost to the Canadian border. Have had pretty good luck, having spent only $.70/each. Our longest wait was in Neb.(as might be expected) — five hours — on Wed. We were entertained in both K.C. and Casper by Tom’s friends, and on two occasions were fed by the people who had picked us up. We drove right by Teapot Dome in Wyo., and have seen some extraordinary sights in Montana, namely the head waters of the Missouri, and, of course, the Rockies. We figure that when we reach Edmonton, Alberta, we will be halfway to Alaska. If at all possible, we plan to cross the arctic circle. If we feel like it we may detour to see the Klondike in the Yukon. Am doing just fine — had apple pie for our last meal in the U.S.

Love, Your roving boy, Chris

Yes, folks, they each spent 70 cents, not 70 dollars. The postcard is quite clear on that. They were frugal because they were also broke. Alas, their lack of funds prevented them from entering Canada. They were turned back at the border by Mounties concerned that they did not have sufficient funds to see them through the wilderness. The story goes that they attempted to cross surreptitiously on foot, only to be chased back by border patrol. Things were different then, to say the least. Being young and carefree, my brother took the long route home, hitchhiking through the west and southwest on his way. No doubt he could tell us some wild stories.

I wonder what else I’ll find in the attic…

Before I sign off, I’d like to congratulate our nephew, Foster (son of the wild hitchhiker), who just defended his dissertation and earned his Ph.D. in History!! Here he is enjoying a few celebratory glasses of champagne!

Well done, Foster!


*Bob Seger, Travelin’ Man