Please Marry Me

Posted by Sharon Labels: , ,

 A few pencil scribbles and three Christmas stamps didn't identify the contents of the ragged white envelope pasted to a page of the old scrapbook - my scrapbook. What importance did this envelope have to me that I had saved it? I lifted the flap. I pulled out a small, folded piece of paper. Now I knew. I remembered... This was my first marriage proposal . . . from our neighbour's son, all of 6 years old.

In the last post, I wrote of a trunk, a trunk with enough material for several future posts. That's where I found the scrapbook and, in that scrapbook, the endearing note from little Keith (with the help of his mother, no doubt). Of course that small square of paper was important enough to keep! After all, how many girls get their first proposal of marriage hand written?

Unlike autograph books (the subject of the last post), scrapbooks have remained in vogue, even became an obsession to some… and given a verb form – ‘scrapbooking’. The scrapbook I pulled out of my trunk doesn’t much resemble those works of art we see now. It never did but now it’s tattered, yellowed and falling apart. Some pages are incomplete. Some the items have become 'unstuck'. But it’s mine... And it's priceless.
As near as I can figure, I acquired the items in the scrapbook in my ‘trunk of memories’ from June 1956 to June 1962, the year of my graduation from high school. On the first page is a document certifying that I have “satisfactorily completed the Public School Course in MacLean Method of Writing". Since my report cards attest to the fact that my penmanship was less than satisfactory, I was no doubt very proud of that certificate!

On the last page of the scrapbook are three letters: 1. A letter of recommendation from my principal to the Director at the School of Nursing in Saskatoon with attached summary of my final grade in each of the four years of high school. (I am still proud of that letter!), 2. A letter from the Director of Nursing obviously in reply to my letter applauding me for my decision to switch my choice of career from nursing to physical education and 3. A letter from the Minister of Education , O.A. Turnbull, congratulating me on winning a $500 provincial scholarship. These three letters point out my indecision regarding my career choice. My father said I was going to come home and tell him I wanted to be a lion tamer because I changed my mind so often. (I did go to University, enrolled in Arts C – with the engineers – to give me time to decide, completed that year with plans to go to veterinary college, then got married instead…)

In between these first and last pages of the scrapbook are a wide variety of items – anything that was important to me at the time. I pasted in a lot of cards from my family and friends. (Cards are still important to me – I have bundles of them!)
  • A letter from an 85 year old lady in Ontario in response to a poem of mine (I was 12) that was printed in The Free Press
  • A signed program from a concert by Ester Glazer, a renowned violinist. ( I played violin with a high school orchestra and I believe the music teacher – check out the entry in my autograph book in the previous post - gave me the ticket to this concert.)
  • A souvenir program from the 5th Annual B. C. Schools Band Conference at the University of British Columbia. (What a big event that was for me…)
  • A lock of my hair dated April 15, 1958 (What can I say - it was traumatic - my great uncle, an aclaimed barber from Los Angelos, bobbed my hair when he was supposed to trim it!)
  • An invitation from a girlfriend to some kind of work party. “Be prepared for hard work,” Kate writes.
  • My cue cards from a high school debate. The topic was the DEW line.
  • A campaign speech for another girlfriend, Kathy, running for vice president of the student council.
  • A Christmas card from a violin teacher I took private lessons from in Oliver. My parents could not afford these lessons and he donated his time. “Try to remember what I taught you about the left hand and fingers and the right hand, wrist and arm. A loose wrist is essential to good tone,” he writes.
  • A copy of the high school newspaper, The Scroll.
  • Several get-well cards sent to me after I broke my arm and spent 10 days in the hospital in Saskatoon (it was a complicated break requiring surgery and yes – it was a horse but mostly it was my fault…)
  • My stitches from said surgery -22!! (Who keeps stitches???)
  • A New Year’s hat from my first date – December 31, 1959!
  • Clippings from basketball games in the area. (I played…)
It's funny what's important. What's important to me may not be to someone else and vice-versa. I thought about that as I went through my "scraps in a book". Some things I remembered well; others not at all until I had a visual reminder. I opened every card and remembered people I had not thought of for many years. Many I have lost track of but they were once a part of my life and therefore contributed in some way to who I am today. Any way I look at it, I'm grateful for these momentos of my past . . . and the reminder that a little boy once loved me enough to ask me to marry him. Wherever you are, Keith, I hope that the woman that said "yes" to you is all that you need.

After the last post, I heard from several who are keeping their family memories alive whether it be in a box, an album, a scrapbook or any of several other ways. With digital photography and video so readily available, this generation knows endless possibilities. I hope everyone avails themselves of them.