One of my favorite parts about visiting my Mom in Virginia is exploring the museum that is her house and searching among the archives and exhibits for long lost treasures.

Among the items that I’ve found (and rescued) in the past:

  • My collection of Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars (unfortunately, I couldn’t locate the Hot Wheels Supercharger Sprint Set)
  • My baseball and sports card collection (and it is a very good one if I have to say so myself)
  • My scrapbooks from elementary, junior high and high school which contain old class pictures and portraits, 4-H and church camp ribbons, newspaper clippings containing my super-amazing, jaw-dropping feats on the tennis courts and cross country trails (heh), my acceptance letter to Duke University and goofy letters from an old high school girlfriend which still hold the slightest hint of perfume.
  • My Dad’s Navy dog tags and a picture of his old submarine, the USS Cubera

Items that I found this time around:

  • A copy of that “helluva speech” that I gave at my high school graduation
  • A picture of me giving that speech (mortarboards sure made for bad hair days)
  • My high school diploma
  • A mildew and water-damaged copy of a book of poetry that belonged to my father (copyright 1934)

Among the items that I have my eye on and hope to obtain in the future after Mom, as she often puts it, is “finished using them:”

  • My father’s military and Post Office service certificates “signed” by President Jimmy Carter
  • The circa early 60s red, Coca-Cola ice chest sitting out in the garage gathering dust
  • Portions of my father’s stamp and coin collections
  • The old newpapers that my father saved which were published on red-letter days in history

My father once told me that he was walking down Jefferson Street in Roanoke, Virginia on November 22, 1963 when President Kennedy was assassinated. He ducked into the electronics section of a local department store to watch the story unfolding on TV. By the time he went back outside the special edition of The Roanoke Times had already hit the street: PRESIDENT SHOT. The details were sketchy, but the first line contained the hard truth from the latest AP wire: “Two priests who were with Kennedy say the president is dead.”

The headline for Saturday November 23, 1963 read: KENNEDY ASSASSINATED.

Scattered among the shocked and outraged reactions, background stories and mournful editorials were several items of quotidian value:

  • The UNC-Duke football game had been cancelled due to the assassination
  • The NC State-Wake Forest football game was to be played because, as the NC State athletic director put it, “That’s the way the President would have wanted it”
  • A nice-sized, brand-spanking new family sedan would only set you back about $2000
  • John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara in “McLintock!” and Jerry Lewis in “The Nutty Professor” could be seen at local theaters
  • Short obituaries detailing the deaths of Aldous Huxley and C.S. Lewis
  • A full-page ad by local Churches of Christ on why they’re “not like all the others” and why you should join up immediately

  1. Hal

    Great nostalgia. I want to know why you didn’t post a link to the picture of you giving your speech. I think I speak for all of us when I say that we would like to see evidence of that bad hair day.

  2. Mike the Eyeguy

    I dunno, Hal. Judging from the resounding silence on this post, I’m thinking you’re outvoted! 🙂

  3. mmlace

    No he’s not! That would actually be interesting to see…

  4. Carolinagirl

    At least your mom hung on to your items for you. I remember moving out and coming back later to find favorite dolls etc. gone. Dad had thrown them out. One of my favorite dolls was one that didn’t wet when you fed her, instead, you fed her, pressed her tummy and she sneezed. Yes, you can imagine the water running out of her little nose to be wiped away.


  5. Mike the Eyeguy

    Well, Mom did pretty good. After all, how many baseball card collections have found the bottom of a trash bin over the years?

    There is that matter of my high school letter jacket that she says had moth holes in it. She could have at least taken off the letter before she threw away the jacket without asking…

  6. Carolinagirl

    Yea – I sense threw out my letter jacket years ago. I guess I decided that in the midst of moving every 3-years, it really was just taking up space. I don’t think I ever thought about taking the letter off, but I did take off the little medals that made it jingle when I walked.

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