Autograph Books With Funny Quotes of Friends and Family From the 1950s and 1960s
Collection of Written Memories
Something that I have kept all these many years is an old pink vinyl autograph book where my parents, my two younger brothers, other relatives, and friends signed their names and occasionally inserted 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 generally, 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 this little six by four and a half-inch book are multicolored with a solid pink, white, yellow, green, and blue pages upon which people could choose to write. In the back were a few thick black pages for photos.
I'll share some autograph posts 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.
Roses Are Red
My grandmother's little "Roses are red..." poem was popular back then. 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. Those chores included hanging wash on the lines to dry when I was tall enough to reach the clotheslines, assisting with doing the dishes, and cooking.
I loved being able to help my mother, and while these may have been tedious chores for some people, she always made the projects fun and exciting. She would tell stories that interested me and teach me songs that we could sing while working together. We even did 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. But we had each other outside of school activities and were fast friends.
Art was a common interest, and we 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 other's house, which was always a treat.
She would have been 12 years old when she inscribed this into my autograph book.
Hey Gloria, if you ever read this, what I want to know is the following: 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. Haha!
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 liked that guy! Haha!
Move from Wisconsin to Texas
This autograph book of mine accompanied me, along with other belongings, from Wisconsin to McAllen, Texas, in 1960. My maternal grandparents moved with my family as they wanted to retire down in McAllen after having spent many winters down there, enjoying the beautiful 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, friendly chats could occur.
One friendly neighbor across our alley wrote the following in the text box below. 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, which was 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, my grandmother's death 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, my dad built a home in which 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 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, and 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.
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 with no dates.
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 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 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. I am still smiling at this trip down memory lane.
Did you have an autograph book when you were a child?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Peggy Woods