I started out with the intention of writing e is for elephant. Among the items I intend to keep is this elephant.
This elephant is made of plaster and is weighted with sand. His tusks were lost but I have two plastic teeth that have previously been used to replace them. I would like to find a better replacement but it’s okay either way. I don’t know the story behind the elephant, only that it has existed as long as I can remember. Probably longer. That makes it really old. Collectible, vintage, antique? Well, it turns out that strictly speaking, antique refers to items at least 100 years old so probably not. I thought it was 75 years, but I was wrong.
At any rate, the elephant is old but probably, even if the tusks hadn’t been broken, doesn’t have much intrinsic value. It’s totally sentimental. Upstairs in boxes and bags headed for donation is a big box of buttons. Most of them are from the 60s and 70s and have even less intrinsic value but they are also sentimental. Like the elephant, I remember them from my childhood. I used to play with the buttons while Mom sewed. However, I am giving them away. Someone can surely use them.
Neither the plaster elephant or the buttons were likely intended to last. I would not be surprised if the elephant was a tourist item or perhaps a dime store knick knack. Broadly, at least, they might fit in the definition of ephemera.
1: something of no lasting significance —usually used in plural
2: ephemera plural: paper items (as posters, broadsides, and tickets) that were originally meant to be discarded after use but have since become collectibles
This Swedish bible and the watch are my paternal grandfather’s. They were intended to last, I assume. I’m keeping them, too, I think. But it’s what inside the bible that has more meaning to me.
My best guess is that this photo is of Grandpa’s family when he was a boy. The tow-headed little fellow in the middle is possibly him. At least it’s labeled Oscar’s family so it’s a reasonable guess. And might help with some of the other photos.
This one, I think looks a little more recent. Hard to believe that the woman could be my grandmother, but I suspect that it is. That would make the infant my Uncle Al. This is more of a guess but it’s the car in the background that makes me think it’s a little later.
This has always been the most interesting to me and true ephemera. It is the discharge document from my great-grandfather Augustus from the Merchant Marines in 1885. It’s how he came to America. Although, now that I look at it again, he was discharged in Liverpool. I wonder how he got from England to here. There are some other old documents I found upstairs, and I swear there should be more tucked into the bible. I’d like to have a couple of them restored as they are so old they can’t even be unrolled. That’s probably really expensive.