N is for Notebooks

Mom loved notebooks. Big binders, small ones and in-between. She was the queen of notebooks, stocking up at yard sales on rejects from students or business men.

Out went their boring business papers and then she filled them with her stories or her family charts. Her son built shelves above her desk to hold them. Bookshelves lined the other two sides of the room. Those overflowed with her books on Kansas history and even more notebooks.

Gail's shelves above her computer.

Gail’s shelves above her computer.

I’m afraid I’ve inherited this obsession. Just yesterday, I spent hours printing out my family stories from a site called Bubblews. They look great in the notebook labeled My Ancestors. On Monday I’m taking it to our genealogy club Ancestor Show-and-Tell.

Mom’s Jackdaw Tendencies

I pull a folder from my mother’s files. What treasures will I discover tucked away inside it?

Frequently it reveals another jackdaw nest of newspaper clippings, old letters and photos that caught her eye. Like that bird, she collected these shiny tidbits and hoarded them away. For ravens, jackdaws and magpies, it is shiny coins or pieces of metal that attract them. Their nests reveal bits of glass, barbed wire or other polished gleanings that the acquisitive bird wanted to keep.

For Mom, it was nuggets of information and memory triggers. I scan through the yellowed newspaper clippings for clues. Did she save this article because it held information about our family history? Was it information that she needed for background for a future article? Perhaps one of her many writing buddies from Prairie Prose or the Kansas Author’s Club had written it. Some memory pieces about the good ol’ days must have reminded her of something she wanted to write.

Here’s a sampling of clippings from some folders:

  • How to behave when pulled over by a policeman (Lou Grizzard)
  • Alligator behavior during mating season
  • Ann Landers column on breast implants
  • Profile of an 89 year old lawyer in the Ozarks
  • Background history on songs about yellow ribbons
  • 60th anniversary of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping
  • Popular entertainment during the years of WWII
  • The fading away of a small Kansas town (Luray)
  • Clara Barton’s role in the Civil War and in starting the American Red Cross patterned on the Swiss