Friday, June 03, 2011

Still hanging in there

I didn't intend to let my posting here slide so long, but I didn't want this to become a long harangue about breast cancer treatment, and yet there is little I think about except the next step in my treatment.

Last week we went to a local antique mall and I found something neat. There was a wooden box, about twice the size of a cigar box (dating myself again) with an inlaid design on the top and there on the front, the initials of my name (MH). It was only $40 and I never thought twice about getting it. When we got it home, I wiped off the dust and crud (carefully) and when I got to the bottom, I thought I saw some writing. Turns out there was an inscription in ink, barely visible through the scuffing and staining, that said "V. M. Hartley, (a date in April), 1858." Because I do genealogy stuff myself, I looked up the name in the 1850 census records and found a Virgil and Matilda Hartley in a county near ours, just over the line in PA. His occupation is listed as "carpenter". How about that? The inside of the box has a lip for a tray, which is missing, and I would say it most recently has stored hand tools; but probably it was intended as a flatware box. I haven't been able to find any significant event associated with that family, like anniversary or wedding date or birthday, but I'm still looking. Lots of new genealogical data is showing up on the internet all the time. I'd like to find a way to bring up the ink inscription (I tried UV light and it doesn't help) so I can trace it out on paper and keep it with the box. For now it sits in regal splendor on my dresser and holds some jewelry in boxes. A neat find.

Mostly what I collect is fountain pens. I may have written here before about the types of pens, and some of the best ones I have found were at garage sales and flea markets, but I think over the years there are a lot more collectors and fewer pens to go around. I watch Antiques Roadshow all the time, and I have so far never seen a pen there, which is great, because that might encourage new collectors. The best thing about collecting pens is that I can store a lifetime of pens in a shoe box. I pity those who collect bulky stuff, like china or weather vanes and so on, they end up with half their stuff stored in boxes in the basement for lack of room to display all of it. My only problem is to keep writing with a few at a time, so the ink will flow. I can understand why ball points were such an instant hit, back around WW II, blobby and smeary they were, because they wrote right away, no wiping or blotting needed, and no need to find a refill ink bottle. I had my father's fountain pen I used in elementary school, until I dropped it somewhere on the sidewalk one day when I was dashing home to avoid a rainstorm. I went over every inch of ground I passed, but I never found it. I have an identical pen now, but it isn't quite the same, you know?

The washing machine is playing a tune now so I'll leave you with today's bumper sticker: "Any small object when dropped will hide under a larger object."


SkippyMom said...

It is so nice to see you. How are you feeling? Good I hope.

Nice find on the box. Very fascinating that you could trace it's origins. :)

I didn't collect things until my husband started gifting me with these itty bitty glass figurines. I am like you - they take up almost no room and I can look at them all day long. They aren't antiques, mind you, but they make me happy.

Take care and I hope you have a nice weekend.

Dina said...


It's nice to see a post from you. I hope your treatment is going well. Are you still feeling very awful, or has it gotten any better?

I think you have a good point about collecting small things. It's hard to find display room for big things. When I was a child, I collected postcards. That was fun.

I think it's really neat that you found that box, and are doing research on the genealogy information you find. I buy a lot of used books, and I love finding little notes or bookmarks. I don't think I've ever tried hard to do research. Maybe I will in the future!


The box sounds divine!I collect bits and pieces too. I collected bottles for a while till it got out of hand and I sold most of them off.
I trace my family tree,so I know the fascination of names,dates and putting them to actual people.