That old blue tin box conjures up past
January 27, 2010
That round, blue tin box. Yes, on the farm, when Red and I owned all of it, the tin box's home was in the upstairs front bedroom. I called the room my museum. I had quite a collection of memories. Before that, the contents of the tin box were in a dilapidated box in an old trunk up in the attic. Without paying much attention to the contents, I moved them to the tin box...to some day examine the contents...when I had time. The day finally arrived recently.
I had a brother, Murlin, who died in the Flu Epidemic of 1918-19. I found in the tin box a packet of handwritten letters of sympathy back then. It took three cents to mail a letter. Some letters mentioned tiny baby Carrol Gertrude (the second 'r' in Carrol was removed later). Of course, I don't remember Murlin.
Grandpa and Grandma Miller had just moved to Port Huron. Grandpa addressed an envelope to Honorable Floyd Park, Almont, Mich. It was dated April 4, 1919. Floyd was 15 and Grandpa was trying to 'jolly' him a little in the letter since the loss of Murlin. Grandma's letter was describing their new home and stated that the wiring for electricity was nearly done.
I am carefully taking things out of the box. Here are a couple of cancelled checks from the Banking Office of Chas R. Ferguson. Until 1909, when the Almont Savings Bank was organized, the Ferguson Bank was Almont's only bank. It closed its doors in 1921.
Here is a "Statement of Account" from Frank R. Hamilton, Electrical Contractor. It is for the light fixtures when my parents converted from kerosene to electricity in 1927. I remember those Browntone ceiling fixtures in the living room and parlor. Electric fixtures in the kitchen, dining room, living room, parlor, halls upstairs and down and bedrooms, all for $43.25!
How about taxes on our 125 acres: December 17, 1927: $315.32. Signed Laura Price, Treasurer.
I attended Baker Business University after graduating from dear ol' Almont High. It occupied a top floor of a bank building on the corner of E. Kearsley and Harrison streets in Flint. The tuition was $22.50 every four weeks. Now there are several Baker Colleges. Mr. Baker himself would drop around now and then. His daughter and son-in-law both taught there.
And here is my father's 'Universal Writing Book' dated 1894. He has written a poem by Lord Byron, has diagrammed many verses (do they do that anymore? I remember doing some.) I think they used to memorize a lot of poems and verses. Daddy used to recite quite a few.
And here are some of his math problems. Wow! And he only had an eighth grade education! He spent many an almost midnight hour drilling me, but it didn't take too good. For instance, "Ratio is the relative value of two like numbers expressed by the quotient of the first, divided by the second."
"Guess that's enough for tonight," offers Daddy.
"Thanks. G'night Daddy."
Goodnight to you,
Gertie Brooks is a lifelong Almont area resident. A 'farm girl,' Gertie is the premier historian for the Almont area, and frequently offers her memories and first-hand accounts in her 'Country Cousin' columns.