Completed baby book at estate sale

pbjmomOctober 29, 2004

I went to a business/antique store that was conducting an estate sale today. I found a couple things I thought were odd, and just wondered if it's sorta normal to find this stuff.

Thre was a stack of picture frames that I thought were new. The top one had a grad picture, so I thought it was the filler. But digging through, they were definitely the story of someone's high school years from late 80s/early 90s.

Then there was a baby book, complete with entries, locks of baby hair, well-wishing cards, etc. It was interesting, but also gave me the creeps for some reason. This person was born in 1947. I don't know if all these items came from the same house, but the teen in all those photos could be the baby book subject's daughter (if I did my math right).

It would be way cool to find something like this in the attic of your old house....but in a store? Am I just too sentimental?

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No, I get the same feeling.

We have a store here called "the curb", and many of the items I am positive come from the curb and/or cleanouts from estate sales. I bought a wonderful old suitcase, thought it would be nice for weekend trips, five bucks....inside was over 100 vintage postcards, greeting cards, trading cards and letters...also some old photos (probably late 1800's) just "thrown away"...kind of sad to see a family history end up in a fleamarket isn't it???

I have been doing genealogy for over 20 years and would "die" for some old photos of my kin.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2004 at 6:25PM
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Now I've sat here for 2 years trying to find this family on the web. My kids didn't get dinner until after 7, and my house is still a mess. LOL

It's becoming more fascinating than freaky...and if I have any time tomorrow, I might go back to the store and get all the names. Or I might magically get a life overnight...

    Bookmark   October 29, 2004 at 9:12PM
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It's kind of sad to see a baby book lovingly assembled for sale in a store like that, but I guess it's better than just having it thrown away.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2004 at 10:16PM
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I often see old family pictures & bibles with family history recorded in them at thrift stores & antique shops. I always think that it is sad that they get lost from the family they belong to. I once went to an estate sale which had stacks of family photos, postcards, deeds & small trinkets for sale & I asked why they were selling them & was told that nobody in the family knew who most of them were but I wouldn't just toss them away just because I didn't know who the photos were of. I have a lot of old family photos that date back 100 yrs & I am not sure who the names are but they are still family history. Betty

    Bookmark   October 30, 2004 at 12:53AM
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It breaks my heart to see personal sentimental things, especially photos, unclaimed.

I work in a nursing home. Some people outlive all thier family and when they pass there is no one to claim their personal belongings. In that instance, I send the photos to the funeral home for inclusion in the casket.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2004 at 8:32AM
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it's possible that the chlld died. ..maybe the mother couldn't bear to see the book any longer. how very very sad...

    Bookmark   October 31, 2004 at 3:35PM
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vintage albums are collectable, as are hand-work from many eras-

and since I used to work for a guy who collected 'mourning' art (photos of dead babies dressed up as angels, grave rubbings of stillborns, all sorts of things woven from people's hair...)

I find a baby book for sale not at all unusual, but rather sad none the less...I don't know that I wouldn't try to find the person and make sure it's not 'lost' (very few dealers would bother, honestly)

    Bookmark   November 1, 2004 at 10:28AM
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This is why have boxes of photos an unfinished scrap books of my kids. My mom gave me the ones she made for me. Grandma sent us my Dad when Iwas a kid........ never look at any of it. It takes up space. yet ya hate to part with it. I prefer living in this ay I guess.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2004 at 10:52AM
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popmama Zone 5

I've been going to estate sales since i was in high school. I have many photos of people I don't know. I find it sad too that no one in the family wants these photos. In my family, photos are highly valued.
I know from some of the estate sales there were no surviving relatives. In some, there were just no relatives that wanted those things.
I have given all the photos "adopted relative" rights. I treasure them, display them, but make sure that they are clearly marked so that no one ever wonders who they are when i'm not around.
I'm not sure though that I could do the baby book. I think it would just always make me too sad.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2004 at 12:00AM
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I went back to the store today and the baby book was still there, with a $3 price tag. Unfortunately, I didn't have $3 cash with me. (On garage sale day--for shame!)

I read through a bit more and got the most pertinent names.
I looked up what I could on free websites. It looks like the dad died in 1988 and the mom died in 1993.

I wonder if "Lois" is still out there, somewhere.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2004 at 3:11PM
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It might have been the "end of the line" for the family. Some just fade out. I think mine will too that's why I don't create fancy things for the two boys

    Bookmark   November 6, 2004 at 5:08PM
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About 25 years ago, I went to an auction at a storage place...a big one, not the individual units. Bought several
"unopened" boxes. In one was a baby book. Completely filled out. Just like pbjmom said...locks of hair, photographs and even coins and money taped to the pages. It had been a father who was in the service when the son was born. Then he had settled in North Carolina and opened a photography studio.
I wrote to the was out of business. I looked in local phone books...maybe they had moved here....never found them. I still have the book. I hadn't thought about it in years, but I couldn't bring myself to throw it away.
Maybe now....with the internet, I could find the family. This book was for a son born in 1959.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2004 at 11:36AM
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I often see personal things...engraved baby cups, charm bracelets, signed yearbooks for sale. I bought my mom a couple of yearbooks online for 2 of her high school years, 1930 and 1931. She not only knew who they had belonged to, but she knew all the people who had signed, including one of her own autographs! She's gone now, but I enjoy having them, especially as they contain photos of my mom, aunts and family friends, most of the photos not seen before by me! My brother buys any college and fraternity mugs he finds and usually can get in touch with whoever owned them, not hard as the college, year fraternity and nickname are on them. The first response of the person he "finds" is inevitably "I can't believe my mon threw that out!"

    Bookmark   November 21, 2005 at 4:58PM
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The last time I went to that store, the baby book was gone. Now I have been going to more estate sales that are actually in the people's homes. They have what I consider a whole lotta dusty junk sometimes. ;) But the managed ones can be pretty interesting. Pretty much everytime I go to one, my first thought is "where were they keeping all this stuff?!". (And I am by no means a neat and decluttered person.) Most times, the house is at least partially devoid of furniture and all their knick knacks and crystal and whatnot still fills the whole house on portable tables. One I went to last week had 18 life sized decorative roosters in one room. I would truly be interested in finding out how those were laid out in the house when the people actually lived there.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2005 at 5:50PM
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A full baby book - that's unutterably sad.

We have a family joke between my brother and I (he's 8 years older). My parents had pictures of him what seemed like every 15 minutes of his life . . . . .first poo, first wizz, first tooth, etc. . . .

Eight years (and 6 miscarriages later) my mom must have been very, very tired when she had me. I have a small lock of hair, my birth vitals, and my first baby picture in the book - and nothing else.

Wish she was still around to fill in all the gaps. I'd kill for a fully filled out baby book.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2005 at 7:20PM
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It is sad. Last week at an estate sale I saw a small scrapbook about the persons wedding. the kind before the current scrapbook craze. She had the invitation, photos, the napkins from her showers and the gift cards.

Once I bought someones scrapbook with her pasted in recipes from the 40's. I guess they just ran out of people to hang on to these things. That's why I don't do anything really sentimental for the boys.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2005 at 10:35PM
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My boys aren't very sentimental. My son tried to throw out his HS yearbooks, and so I took them. I have their baby books....maybe their wives will be interested someday. Recently I found all the cards I'd received when my youngest was born 30 years ago. When I offered them to him, he didn't want them. I can't throw them out. I EVEN have all their baby teeth, carefully labelled and dated in small envelopes. I can see some of the stuff that I hold dear will be pitched or sold after I go. The valuable stuff I plan to dispose of myself, if I get the chance.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2005 at 11:20AM
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With the hope that "one day" my DD's or DS will want a keepsake from me, I was thinking about taking all the greeting cards I have saved from DH and Children and decoupage something with them.....just a thought!!


    Bookmark   November 22, 2005 at 11:39AM
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wow- this is a sad topic.
my mom died when i was 17; my dad was remarried. his wife- she was a witch, hated me-took apart our family album that my mom had kept going for 20 years. now those 2 are divorced & my father says he doesn't know where it is. the only picture i have of my mother is her passport.
i would never throw away anything liek that i got hold of. i can't even toss the extra pics from of the boys you get each year in the photo package from at school.
a collage or decoupaged something is a good thought for cards....

    Bookmark   November 23, 2005 at 9:06PM
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I used to do genealogy, and people were always picking up stuff like that in the trash or at thrift stores or estate sales, and posting them on the genealogy sites with the same last names, or on the regional sites. They'd post and ask if anyone could connect to that family, and they'd usually send them to that person for postage.

Once, one of them found a family bible in the trash by the side of the road. Seems the lady died, and her son was dead, and all that was left was her DIL, who didn't want any of her stuff, since they had had no children to pass it on to. Luckily, a cousin who was doing a family genealogy was thrilled to find the Bible and gladly paid to have it shipped.

We were once looking for a relative for years, and there was no trace of him. The church where he was married and baptised had burned down, there was no gravesite to be found, and no descendants living on his side. Finally, one person on our site got an email from a cousin who had been cleaning out the attic after her great aunt died, and found a family bible with his name and all his family info in it. Even had the place where he was buried! They had to trek through some pretty thick woods looking for the old private graveyard, but they found it, and with it about 20 other people they had been searching for. It was marvelous!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2005 at 4:24PM
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My Mother passed away when I was 7 and my Dad had a drinking problem...he didn't take care of anything in the house. I went to live with a wonderful aunt. But nothing of my mothers came with me since my dad still lived in the house. After he left the house my aunt bought the house. Nothing was left in it...All her pictures gone. The things I can remember, like her singer treadle machine..the old crank up record player were gone..I don't know if Dad sold the stuff for money to drink on or what but it is gone.
So somewhere out there were all the photos my Mother had. I would be so so happy if there was someone out there hunting for me to give me the pictures.

There may be grandchildren who would give anything to have pictures of their grandparents.

I say keep looking...You might make someone year.


    Bookmark   December 1, 2005 at 10:58PM
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My cousin called me one day last August to "come get whatever you want out of your mother's storage building, because the rent's up at the end of the month."

My brothers, their wives, & my cousin had already been through it:
My mother's sister (my cousin's mother) hadn't been up to sifting through stuff at the time:
she was in her mid-seventies, she was recovering from a virus, it was August in Texas, & the storage building was a metal structure on a concrete slab.

So I went down & started going through things.

About an hour into my explorations, I called my cousin & asked him to get his mother to meet me at the building.

The things that were left were *mostly* trash & junk, but I knew there was some reason that some of that stuff had been kept all these years.

I had a box for myself, a box to take to my mother's church for their kitchen, & a box for trash.

When my aunt arrived, I showed her the books I'd started tossing into the trash.
She was aghast: "This is Mama's geometry book!"

Her mother, my grandmother, was a pioneer:
She had graduated from high school in an era when most girls dropped out in about the 8th grade & helped out at home until they married.

Back then, you had to pay for your own schoolbooks.
This book had her name in the front, & her pencilled notes in the margins.

and there were a couple of more of her books in there, too.

So those books had been passed down & passed around for about 70 years, & my brothers, my brothers' wives, & my cousin, not knowing that they were, had left them for me to probably throw in the trash.

Thank goodness I called my aunt!

She kept the schoolbooks.
When she, as she puts it, "can no longer enjoy them", my cousin is to be sure that they go to her brother or to one of us cousins or another descendant.

Since my brother now has a grandson, the books could one day belong to the original owner's great-great-grandchild.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2005 at 6:57PM
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forgot what my point was!

Even if there *is* family, they don't necessarily know what's what.

If those books never had turned up, none of us would have known the difference.

What I find really sad is experiences like Pattico's, where we *know* there's "something", & we know it's gone.

When I realized that my grandmother's Autumn Wheat dishes had "disappeared"...
I bought some Autumn Wheat dishes!

After all, they were *somebody's* grandmother's dishes, & now I have "the same dishes that Granny had".

A completed baby book brings possibilities to mind:

The baby's ex tossed it.
The book was in a place where no family members thought to check for meaningful things (like a storage building).
The baby became estranged from parents, siblings, children (maybe this baby is in jail somewhere!)

30-year-old guys aren't interested...
They're still too young: hang in there.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2005 at 7:16PM
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A very dear friend of mine asked me one day, if I would want to see her "other" family. She showed me the prettiest pictures of adults and children. Then she confessed, those were pictures she bought at garage sales. She just could not let them lay there. They are supposed to be loved. :)

She named the people in the pictures.

I bet, someday it will be hard for her kids to identify "real and other" family members.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 10:00PM
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I'm going to make a scrapbook or else frame a few photos I found when my husband's parents died. They're from the 1890s in Europe and unfortunately, they weren't labelled, so we don't have any idea who they are but most are probably relatives. When we cleaned out my inlaw's house, we found a beautifully framed (with domed glass rather than flat) formal photo of my husband's grandparents, taken in the early 20s. It was all dusty and resided behind the furnace! My MIL couldn't stand her MIL. but you'd think out of respect for her husband, she might have displayed it. My FIL's dad died when he was 12. It's hanging in our family room and everyone comments on it.

Thanks for the decoupaged box idea. I think I'll use my boy's cards and cover a box. If he never wants it, at least I'll have it to look at and enjoy. After Xmas, tho!

Sadly, I saw several decades-old filled out baby books for sale on eBay. I just bought someone's diary from my home town. covering about 6 years from when I was a little girl. I have no idea who she was or what she journaled, but I can't wait for it to arrive!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2005 at 11:41AM
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Once at an outdoor antique/craft fair I found a box of cards. The cards started in the 1940's and ended in the 70's. They were cards exchanged between John and Florence dated during WW2, then many cards from John to Florence and Florence to John such as "Merry Christmas to my wife", Very specifically cards exchanged by a couple. It was sad to see them out there in the open. I guessed both were dead and no one in the family cared to keep the collection. The dealer was selling the cards singly for prices like a dollar or two. I wish I had made an offer and bought the whole box. It nearly made me cry. I walked away without buying even one. But I never forgot John and Florence.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 10:27AM
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My great uncle was a professional photographer in small town outside of Minneapolis. I have boxes and boxes of photos that he took, most without names. All are from the late 1800's and early 1900's. The town itself is no longer a town. Two years ago a man that was writting a book about my great uncle found me and I gave him several of the photos, but still have many that I would love to find someone to give them to. Of course there were many of my relatives. The county historical society has so many old unidentified photos that they don't want any more. I like the idea of posting on a genology site. What would be a good site that I could post a notice asking for people with a connection to the town? I couldn't possibly post all of the photos.

Not long ago we found several paintings in my mother in laws effects. She was living in Iowa most of her life so we started looking there. We found the grandson of one of the artists living 2 miles from us in Minneapolis. He was so pleased to get the painting. We are still looking for Ada Cox who painted some as well.

Getting these treasures is so much fun yet many aren't anything we want or have space for, but don't want to sell them in a garage sale or give them to goodwill. The process of trying to find the people to give them to is difficult, but a fun hunt.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2005 at 2:57PM
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That's such a great idea about buying the old family pictures and making a "second family" out of them! Actually, according to the decorating shows, that's very "in" now.

When my sister moved into my grandmother's old house, I went and got the furniture my grandmother had promised me. Inside the sideboard was my grandmother's prayer book, with handwritten notes in the wedding ceremony that were made by my father! It seemed that when my aunt was married, my father gave her away, and my grandmother went through the responses he was supposed to give with him before the wedding, and he made notes.

I also found a letter my great, great aunt wrote to my grandmother, and one my mother wrote to my grandmother.

I also have the prayer book my uncle had when he went to college (back then they had prayer services every morning at colleges...mandatory attendance). It had his initials and last name in it, which just happened to be my initials and last name. My grandmother gave it to me because she said I looked just like him. My son REALLY looks like the only picture we have of him. He died at 21, hit by a train. They said it was suicide.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2005 at 7:48PM
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