Mom’s Clipping Habit

My mother sat next to a pile of newspapers that teetered and sometimes slid from their stack to spread across the floor around her. I cautioned her not to step on those and go sliding, so she tried to keep the papers in their place.

In the 1940s radio cabinet, she kept her clipping tools; her scissors, tape, stapler, pen and rubber cement. The cabinet served as a lamp stand and a place to set her Pepsi can too. Her brother-in-law Ralph Martin made the cabinet in his high school shop class.

Gail Lee Martin in her favorite spot for TV watching, newspaper clipping and chatting.

Gail Lee Martin in her favorite spot for TV watching, newspaper clipping and chatting.

Hours passed as she watched the Cubs or other baseball game on TV while between plays, she scanned the newspapers for articles to clip.  Soon there was a second stack of papers for recycling and a batch of articles saved for filing.

What merited clipping? There were obits and mentions of people she knew. Some were inspiration for her writing. Here’s a sample of those:

  • The changing style of the Morton Salt girl from 1914 to 1968.
  • Old-fashioned autograph books
  • The discovery of an old trunk filled with family letters in Kanopolis.
  • The 50 year anniversary of Tupperware
  • 1880s jigsaw puzzles
  • 1918 Flu Epidemic
  • Advertising cookbooks distributed by Jello, Quaker Oats, etc. in the early 1900s
  • 90 years of the Fuller Brush company
  • Pre-1960s kitchen tools becoming collectible
  • Vintage butter churns
  • Grandma’s version of TV Dinners
  • Adding coloring to margarine in WWII

These are just from the folder labeled “Around the Home.” Mom had an inquiring mind and liked to learn about the history of everyday objects. These served also as triggers for her memory writing.

I can’t just toss these folders of yellowed clippings. First I have to determine if it was written by anyone in the family or about someone in the family. Then I look at the topic and try to imagine what Mom would have written or why the subject intrigued her.

My librarian genes come from her, I’m sure. Information is precious and knowledge is power, so I hate to fill my recycling bin with these. Since she is no longer here to use these, I have to remind myself that they are just paper and are expendable.

2 thoughts on “Mom’s Clipping Habit

  1. Nice post. My mother used to do the same until she passed away although not as much as your mom did. But I preserve the clips knowing fully well that the yellowed strips will become brittle and disappear someday. Still, I carry on.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would feel the same way. My father-in-law is an avid clipper. He sorts his clippings into envelopes for different family members and friends then passes them on in person or mails them. Wen we were in India for a few months he mailed our clippings to us there!
    You may feel that you can recycle them one you’ve catalogued and written about them as you have begun to do above, taken some photos of them, and perhaps saved some of the more personally meaningful or evocative ones. I think they are precious.

    Liked by 1 person

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