Things I found at my grandparents’ house

Today, I'm wearing Mom-mom's shoes.

Brrr! This week has been very cold, with bright skies and a bit of snowfall. Unfortunately, this means I haven’t been taking any outfit photos. I’ve tried setting up my camera in the apartment, but so far, nothing has worked. In the meantime, let me share with you some of the cool finds from my grandparents’ house!

The shoes above were my grandmother’s. She seemed to be very fond of this style, as there were three other pair in her closet, including another black (too damaged and thrown away), a brown, and a maroon. I’ve snagged them all for myself, and my mother took home two pair of exact-same style sandals (white, black) and plain black pumps.

One thing I learned about my grandmother, just by peeking into her closet: if she liked something, she bought multiples of it. With everything other thing I pulled out, I yelled “Here’s another…!” across the room to my mother, who was sitting on the floor going through jewelry, both fine and costume.

Mary Louise and Charles Wayne Charles and Mary Louise

All the way in the back of the closet were my grandmother’s formal dresses! Sadly, they were not stored very well and have aged considerably. Her wedding dress, a gorgeous lilac dress with ivory lace and tulle overlay, is remarkably in good condition, with no stains or rips. Once I find someone who can properly restore vintage gowns, it will be just a beautiful again. I did take her pink gown from my parents’ wedding to my local cleaners, who was quite hopeful he could get some of the years’ dust removed from the chiffon sleeves.

Also dropped at the cleaners this week were several awesome dresses and skirts, dating, by the looks of them, from the 1970s or 1980s. Made from sturdy polyester (or perhaps nylon blends?), they have stood the test of time, and will be proudly worn by me in the coming weeks.

Grants department store charge cards

As we discovered wallets strewn all over the upstairs bedrooms, we checked them thoroughly before throwing them in the thrift store piles. My mother found $50 in one! These charge cards for Grants department stores looked as fresh as if they came in last week’s mail. (Grants went out of business in 1976.)

Pop's video camera

We found my grandfather’s video camera, stowed away in its genuine leather carrying case, complete with original owner’s manual and instruction booklet. My dad held it up, asking “Goodwill?” and I lunged across the room, slow-shouting “Noooooo!”

Pop's laptop

Pop was also quite pleased with his laptop. The portable case is a little worse for wear, but it did its job like a champ, keeping the typewriter carefully intact. The ribbon was barely used, and I’ll need to find some paper and test its performance.

The Beatles currently on the record player. These old albums still sound pretty good! No skips so far.

A stack of records sat in the back bedroom, which used to be my mother’s, before she married my dad and moved out. The collection was a mix of everything, from my mom’s Chicago to my grandfather’s Hank Williams. So far, I’ve played through the two above Beatles’ albums, their first U.S. releases, and nothing skipped a beat. Amazing.

George Carlin got my mother in trouble when she was in junior high.

This George Carlin album includes his monologue “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television”, which got my mother in a lot of trouble. All her girlfriends came over for a birthday slumber party, and one of them gave her this album as a gift. They stayed up late, listening to it, acting simultaneously scandalized and impressed. When my mother returned from walking her friends home after breakfast in the morning, she came face-to-face with mortified parents who’d listened to the album in her absence. “It was a gift!” she cried, telling her parents they shouldn’t have been going through her things. The argument didn’t fly.

Golly gee whiz! What a beat! #batman

My brother and I asked why she got in trouble for Carlin, but not for all the Cheech & Chong records. Simple: Mom-mom and Pop never listened to those. They must have been too busy with this Batman album. “Golly gee whiz! What a beat!”

Beep! Beep! My childhood sit-n-drive.

Beep! Beep! It’s my old sit-n-drive! I haven’t played with this since I was just a wee little one, but here it is, thirty years later. I got so excited when my brother handed this to me, I may have squeed just a bit. I spent some time driving around the living room, honking and waving at family, before finally putting it into the box for the thrift store. I hope some baby is going to have a lot of fun driving around today’s modern living room, even if this car doesn’t come with a mobile phone.

Do you have any awesome finds from your family history?


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