A remarkable part of my home is filled with relics from my family’s past.
The tall white cabinet in my living room filled with my boyfriend’s art supplies, used to house my great grandmother’s jarred and canned goods. My great grandmother had twelve children and a husband (who probably counts as another three children.) To make ends meet she would take in boarders (they had a fairly large house in Endicott, NY.) and sell jars of her pasta sauce and cans of peppers. (I’ve been told this sauce was delicious. No one has been able to recreate it, either. I’m sure she took the secrets with her to the grave.)
My mother’s rocking chair (that she used to rock me to sleep in when I was a baby) takes up real estate in my living room. This piece is a little rickety and more of an obstruction on your way to the bookcase… (no known family history for the bookcase–I think my boyfriend got it off the street when he lived in Brooklyn.)
Other treasures, like a tiny side table, belonged to my grandmother. A few pictures from my grandfather’s childhood… But the pieces I keep closest to my heart are the trinkets, the accessories. The heavy italian gold religious medal that belonged to my grandfather. (I wear this occasionally, it is a perfect rose-gold hue and makes me think of him.) The gold cuff that was probably too small for my grandmother’s wrist, now adorns mine.
I recently rediscovered this leather billfold with my grandfather Felix Julian’s nickname, Tickie, embossed on the exterior. My grandfather had a twin brother named Salvatore…so their nicknames were Tickie and Tore…
It wasn’t just the wallet that made me smile, it was the little treasures inside! They make me feel closer to a grandfather I never met. (He died when my mom was only 17.)
The contents of his bill-fold are a random collection of things. A picture of him with two brothers from the church, a couple penny stamps (and a couple fake ones,) a sweet note–perhaps to remind him to enjoy life…
“We are living in a world of your reality. How fortunate it is for those who can find sanctuary in a world of make believe…”
Tickie was a Merchant Marine. And I heard he fancied himself a bit of an entertainer. Always putting on skits or elaborate pranks. Perhaps in a different town he could have been a famous actor. He certainly seems like a ham!
There are also business cards. The addresses, 246 Fifth Avenue is still there but I think 1400 North Street has been redeveloped and possibly a vacant lot now. Maybe the cards give me a little more information about his business dealings…but I think I’ll have to do a bit more digging to figure this mystery out.