- Family and Parenting
Autograph Books and Funny Quotes of Friends and Family from the 1950s and 1960s
Something that I have kept all these many years...and I mean many... is an old pink vinyl autograph book in which my parents, my two younger brothers, other relatives and friends signed their names and occasionally a little poem or saying.
I am no longer sure who gave it to me as a gift, but I am assuming that it was my paternal grandmother since that is the very first date (December 20, 1958) inscribed into the book along with her little poem. It might have been a slightly early Christmas gift because normally that set of grandparents headed south for the winter months.
Looking at this collection of signatures and sayings brings a smile to my face this many years later. The pages inside of this little six by four and a half inch book are multi-colored, with solid pink, white, yellow, green and blue pages upon which people could choose to write. In the back were a few stiff black pages upon which photos could have been added, but none were put onto those pages.
I'll share some of what was written back during those days of the 1950s and 1960s when the people I knew at that time were putting their pens to paper inside of my little autograph book. To protect the innocent, I'll not share all of the names. Ha-ha!
Starting with my grandmother, her little "Roses are red..." poem was popular back then and while I have not heard it expressed much today, I cannot help but think that it is rather timeless. The reference to my being "a nice little homemaker!" undoubtedly referred to my helping my mother.
Being the eldest child, as soon as I was able, I helped with chores around the house.
This included hanging wash out on the lines to dry (when I was tall enough to reach the clothes lines), assisting with doing the dishes, and quite early on, assisting with some of the cooking. I loved being able to help my mother and while these may have been onerous chores for some people...she always made the projects fun and exciting. She would tell stories that interested me as well as teaching me songs that we could sing and even do some harmonizing together.
Below is the sweet entry from my mother.
The second entry was from my good girlfriend from my Wisconsin childhood days. We lived in the country with a lot of land surrounding us as well as wooded areas.
Gloria was a year ahead of me in age and we attended different schools. She was in public school and my brothers and I attended parochial school.
But we had each other outside of school activities and were fast friends. We had art as a common interest and were always drawing and playing with different art mediums in addition to our walking, bicycling and climbing trees. We occasionally got to spend the night at each others house and that was always a treat.
She would have been 12 years old when she inscribed this into my autograph book.
Hey, Gloria...if you ever come across reading this, what I want to know is this...was this merely an autograph or curse? I am now old and out of shape, but one thing you got wrong...girdles are no longer $2.98! Ha!
Some of the other entries in the late 1950s from some of my elementary pals at St. Joan of Arc parochial school were the following:
When your days of life are over, And the path of life you trod
May your name in Gold be written in the autograph of God.
Your classmate, Sharon G-----
"I hope you sit on the tack of success" and rise quickly!
Your friend always, Candy C-------
Roses are red violets are blue,
Rain on the roof reminds me of you.
Drip, Drip, Drip.
And to think that I really liked that guy! Ha!
This autograph book of mine was moved along with other belongings from Wisconsin to McAllen, Texas in 1960. My maternal grandparents made the move with my family as they wanted to retire down in McAllen, after having spent numerous winters down there enjoying the nice weather and making friends.
Our homes were only one block away from one another which was nice.
There were alleys behind each of our homes where the garbage cans would be stored and picked up on the garbage pick up days. Since most of the fences were chain link back in those days, when people were in their back yards, neighborly chats could take place.
One friendly neighbor across our alley wrote the following in the text box below. Obviously she knew that I had my sights set on becoming a nurse, which was always my goal (after a short time in the 3rd and 4th grades of thinking that I would like to become a nun).
To Peggy, who I hope will have all the best. Be a good nurse and by the time I'm old & gray, you can take care of me - Hurry now - I'm not far from it.
My dear grandmother died in 1963, the same year that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
As numbing as the latter experience was for me as a teenager in my sophomore year of high school, and as shocking as that was for the entire country, the death of my grandmother totally devastated me. She had always been like a second mother to me and I loved her dearly.
Our whole family felt bereft and my grandfather suddenly felt rudderless. After some consideration, a home was built where my grandpa could live with our family which worked well for a time.
Finally, as many of my grandparent's friends who had also moved from various parts of the country to McAllen began to resettle in an area of smaller homes with many amenities set up just for seniors...my grandpa decided to join them and relocated there.
As long as he was alive, he continued to take his prize rose cuttings and kept fresh flowers in my grandmother's urn in the mausoleum.
High School Friends
Those were some fun days!
A large group of us girls would alternate having overnight slumber parties in our parent's homes. Slumber? Little sleeping took place that is for sure! We talked, practiced dancing, listened to music, ate snacks...when I think of it today, our parents must have been saints! Surely they also got little sleep on those overnight parties.
We also went to Padre Island together for fun on the beach; attended our high school football games; competed with one another to see who would get the best grades, and generally had a great time talking about our dreams for the future.
Here are some of those entries:
Good, better, best, never let it rest until your good is better and your better is the best. Best wishes to a real sweet kid, Ella
At this time of morn, I don't know exactly what I am doing. HA HA You are a real nut, have a wonderful sense of humor, and you are an all-around nut. I hope our friendship will continue throughout the years.
Love, Brenda (1964)
Sitting on a tombstone, A ghost came out and said: "Sorry to disturb you, But your sitting on my head!"
Love always, Susan
Dec. 30, 1963
Best of luck in everything you do.
There were several entries from my brothers at different ages...some funny and some sweet. Some people just signed their names...some with dates and others, undated.
Of course the school albums that were sold each year with the pictures of all of our teachers and class members were what most kids of junior high and high school ages were signing and in which they were leaving comments. They became the "autograph book" of choice.
I will leave you with my father's handwritten entry as the last of several samples of what people wrote in my little pink autograph book.
People are still purchasing autograph books, so they have not totally gone out of fashion.
If you are a parent or grandparent with small children, think of giving them this inexpensive fun gift and fill in the first few pages for them. Then encourage them to collect other signatures and sayings from their family and friends.
In later years, this gift might bring unexpected smiles and memories to their faces as it does mine, even if they escape getting "old and out of shape" as my childhood girlfriend penned. This was quite a trip down memory lane for me! I am still smiling.
Did you have an autograph book when you were a child?
Our Move from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin to McAllen, Texas in 1960
© 2012 Peggy Woods