Sunday, December 9, 2007

Pack Ratting/Christmas of 55

I have discussed in the past how my Grandma Houseworth and her 2 daughters, Eva and Cecil lived out their long lives in Scott, Ohio(Population 300) fact they resided(more or less between marriages) in the same house, from the early 1930s until Eva went to a nursing home in 1995 and passed away in 1998 at the age of 87...both Grandma and Cecil lived into their early 90s.....the house, or early pop culture museum, as I call it, was one of the first in Scott, built in 1839.....and came complete with an out house and no running water until the late 1950s.....the summers we spent there in the mid 1950s, on our escapes from south Florida, are some of the most memorable I have ever had.

All 3 of the women were pack rat's....when I got ready to sell the place after Aunt Eva died, it was unbelievable......the stuff, both valuable and junk alike could make a 50 page blog in itself....everything from 50 year old shell collections from the beaches of Florida, to my Great Grandfather's leather Ohio Hunting Licenses from the early 1900s(which the value, staggered even me)....I and my cousins split between the families what we wanted, no way were we going to auction off this stuff......gave away what we could, and tossed the 30 year supply of "Atomic Bomb" shelter style food......took us months to clear the place out....I sold it to another 2nd cousin, and he remodeled it and sold it at a pretty fair profit.

Grandma Houseworth was born Wilda Waldron in 1883 near Scott....she passed away in 1975 at the age of 91....and is buried in the Scott Cemetery. While growing up in Florida, Wilda would come south for the winter and spend them with us....a sort of home sitting/baby sitter security guard, whom you wouldn't cross.....she spent her time, crocheting hot pads, doilies, collecting shells on the beach, and watching the new fad....Soap Operas on Channels 8 and 13 out of Tampa.

Shells____________Grandma collected shells and shell gifts by the thousands....she had been since her first trips to Florida with her sister, back in the 1940s. When I was cleaning out her house and the out buildings...I found thousands and thousands of shells...stored, stacked, and dumped in boxes that sat stacked in attics and closets, as well as the rafters of the out building on her property.....which brings me to the "BOOK"...the book is called simply The Dictionary of "Shells", the first edition in large style paperback was printed in and dad got Wilda a copy so she could identify the shells she was looking for along the beach and in the shops of Venice and Englewood....the book was purchased previous to Christmas 1955 at the Fort Myers Shell Factory gift shop.....the place still exists today, not far from one of my RV drop off dealers in North Ft. Myers:

Anyway as you can see from the attached photos....the Shell book was a gift that Christmas of 55....sitting under the chalkboard that my sister was to get.....I still have that First Edition much is it worth? Priceless...just one of those memories of Christmases past and folks that shaped your life, long gone.

{photos...Christmas of 55 South Venice, Florida, the Shell Book then and as it looks today, and the 3 Houseworth Kids, (another was to be added later) looking Mike and I looking half asleep, while Marty looking ready for the unwrapping}


Anonymous said...

Was the bomb shelter food no good? There must have been a lot of it.

Buck Pennington said...

Looking at your old pics is just SO cool, Pat.

My scanner is supposed to arrive this coming Tuesday and I'll retrieve my photo archives (such as they are, and they aren't nearly as comprehensive as yours!) from SN2 when I go visit for the holidays. Once that's done...Look Out! My blog-tone will probably change forever... LOL!

pat houseworth said...

Buck...fact and real life experience is always more interesting that fiction.

Hermit: I've got my own supply of basement supplies...some of that stuff they had was kept upstairs and probably not fit......dry milk, canned goods etc......other stuff was OK...but we did toss out tons.

Mushy said...

Great stuff man...I love the old photos and the history behind them.

BRUNO said...

Sometimes it really IS kinda interesting, this "getting old(er)"!

Now, if only we could STOP it, right HERE....!

~Fathairybastard~ said...

Great pictures. I thought that was a real baby in the background in the first one. Had to look at the second one to see it wasn't. I have sonme old shots of my cousins from that same time. Hilarious. I'll post them some day.