Friday, February 12, 2010
Oh What You Can Find at Goodwill
The other day while doing my weekly Wednesday night perusal at my favorite store Goodwill (because honestly what else is a Wednesday night good for?) I found a book. It was the red cover that first caught my eye but then it was the title that made it a done deal. There in gold letters was the name Julia Harrington. Now this isn't a name of a celebrity or even a very common name. In the book, it is a fictional 12 year old girl in 1913, but for me, it was the name of my paternal grandmother.
The book describes what life was like in 1913 with pictures of ads for home goods, fashions, houses, cars, groceries and other purchased items. It also details what a typical day would be with school, church or even what movies you might see. All in all, it is a charming little book on its own merit, and even if the name had been different, I still would have purchased it.
Grandmother Benner (Julia Harrington) had died before I was born. I have only seen a few photos of her just as a young bride. I am not sure what she looked like as my father's mother in her later years or what she dreamed or wanted in life. I can tell you the dates of events, birth dates, date of death, how many children had been born and who they had married, and how many children they beget, etc. Back in college, I had researched my family tree as a senior year thesis project. The old fashioned way of research, pre-computer age with its on-line geneaology sites! A moss covered grave stone found amongst other stone markers in a small countryside burial plot could only provide dates and not a story of the person resting beneath.
My grandmother was born in the 1890's and by 1917, had given birth to my dad. So the life of the fictional 12 year old Julia Harrington would have been closer to what my father would have experienced being a child born before World War I, before life irrevocably changed for the world.
You just never know what treasures you are going to find at Goodwill.