Some songs can zap one back in time. Memories of the fun we had because of Chubby Checker's song, The Twist, in the 1960s are nostalgic.
Collection of Written Memories
Something that I have kept all these many years is an old pink vinyl autograph book where my parents, my two younger brothers, other relatives, and friends signed their names and occasionally inserted a little poem or saying.
I am no longer sure who gave it to me as a gift. I assume it was my paternal grandmother since that is the first date (December 20, 1958) inscribed into the book, along with her little poem. It might have been a slightly early Christmas gift because generally, that set of grandparents headed south for the winter months.
Looking at this collection of signatures and sayings brings a smile to my face this many years later. The pages inside this little six by four and a half-inch book are multicolored with solid pink, white, yellow, green, and blue pages upon which people could choose to write. In the back were a few thick black pages for photos.
I'll share some autograph posts written back during those days of the 1950s and 1960s when the people I knew at that time were putting their pens to paper inside of my little autograph book.
Roses Are Red
My grandmother's little "Roses are red..." poem was trendy back then. While I have not heard it expressed much today, I cannot help but think it is timeless. The reference to my being "a nice little homemaker!" undoubtedly referred to my helping my mother.
I was the eldest child, and as soon as I was able, I helped with chores around the house. Those chores included hanging wash on the lines to dry when I was tall enough to reach the clotheslines, assisting with doing the dishes, and cooking.
I loved being able to help my mother, and while these may have been tedious chores for some people, she always made the projects fun and exciting. She would tell stories that interested me and teach me songs that we could sing while working together. We even did some harmonizing together.
Below is the sweet entry from my mother.
The second entry was from my good girlfriend from my Wisconsin childhood days. We lived in the country with a lot of land surrounding us as well as wooded areas. Gloria was a year ahead of me in age, and we attended different schools. But we had each other outside of school activities and were fast friends.
Art was a common interest, and we were always drawing and playing with different art mediums in addition to our walking, bicycling, and climbing trees. We occasionally got to spend the night at each other's house, which was always a treat. She would have been 12 years old when she inscribed this into my autograph book.
Hey Gloria, if you ever read this, what I want to know is the following. Was this merely an autograph or curse? I am now old and out of shape, but one thing you got wrong. Girdles are no longer $2.98. Haha!
Some of the other entries in the late 1950s from some of my elementary pals at St. Joan of Arc parochial school were the following:
When your days of life are over, And the path of life you trod
May your name in Gold be written in the autograph of God.
Your classmate, Sharon G..."
I hope you sit on the tack of success and rise quickly!
Your friend always, Candy C..."
"Roses are red violets are blue,
Rain on the roof reminds me of you.
Drip, Drip, Drip.
And to think that I liked that guy! Haha!
Move from Wisconsin to Texas
This autograph book of mine accompanied me, along with other belongings, from Wisconsin to McAllen, Texas, in 1960. My maternal grandparents moved with my family as they wanted to retire in McAllen after spending many winters down there, enjoying the beautiful weather and making friends. Our homes were only one block away from one another, which was nice.
There were alleys behind each of our homes where the garbage cans would be stored and picked up on the garbage pick-up days. Since most of the fences were chain link back in those days when people were in their back yards, friendly chats could occur.
One friendly neighbor across our alley wrote the following in the text box below. She knew that I had my sights set on becoming a nurse, which was always my goal after a short time in the 3rd and 4th grades of thinking that I would like to become a nun.
"To Peggy, who I hope will have all the best. Be a good nurse, and by the time I'm old & gray, you can take care of me - Hurry now - I'm not far from it.
My dear grandmother died in 1963, the same year of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. As numbing as the latter experience was for me as a teenager in my sophomore year of high school and as shocking as that was for the entire country, my grandmother's death devastated me. She had always been like a second mother to me, and I loved her dearly.
Our whole family felt bereft, and my grandfather suddenly felt rudderless. After some consideration, my dad built a home wherein my grandpa could live with our family, which worked well for a time. Finally, as many of my grandparent's friends who had also moved from various parts of the country to McAllen began to resettle in an area of smaller homes with many amenities set up just for seniors, my grandpa decided to join them and relocated there.
As long as he was alive, he continued to take his prize rose cuttings and kept fresh flowers in my grandmother's urn in the mausoleum.
High School Friends
Those were some fun days! A large group of girls would alternate having overnight slumber parties in our parent's homes. Slumber? Little sleeping took place. That is for sure! We talked, practiced dancing, listened to music, and ate snacks. When I think of it today, our parents must have been saints! They also got little sleep at those overnight parties.
We also went to Padre Island together for fun on the beach, attended our high school football games, competed with one another to see who would get the best grades, and generally had a great time talking about our dreams.
Here are some of those entries:
"Good, better, best, never let it rest until your good is better and your better is the best. Best wishes to a real sweet kid, Ella."
At this time of morn, I don't know exactly what I am doing. HA HA You are a real nut, have a wonderful sense of humor, and you are an all-around nut. I hope our friendship will continue throughout the years.
Love, Brenda (1964)"
Sitting on a tombstone, A ghost came out and said: "Sorry to disturb you, But your sitting on my head!"
"Best of luck in everything you do."
Love always, Susan
Dec. 30, 1963"
There were several entries from my brothers at different ages, some funny and some sweet. Some people just signed their names, some with dates and others with no dates.
Of course, the school albums sold each year with the pictures of our teachers and class members were what most kids of junior high and high school ages were signing and were leaving comments. They became the autograph book of choice.
I will leave you with my father's handwritten entry as the last of several samples of what people wrote in my little pink autograph book.
People are still purchasing autograph books, so they have not gone out of fashion.
If you are a parent or grandparent with small children, think of giving them this inexpensive, fun gift and fill in the first few pages for them. Then encourage them to collect other signatures and sayings from their family and friends.
In later years this gift might bring unexpected smiles and memories to their faces as it does mine even if they escape getting "old and out of shape," as my childhood girlfriend penned. I am still smiling at this trip down memory lane.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Peggy Woods
Comments are appreciated.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 05, 2020:
Yes, those were surely more simple times. I am happy that I got to experience them. Thanks for your comment.
Paula on October 05, 2020:
This is a quaint remembrance of much more simple times. Enjoyed reading.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 17, 2020:
Thanks for taking a journey down memory lane with me.
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 17, 2020:
Peggy sounds like the simple pleasures in life were the best. The old photos are great memories. Thank you for sharing such an interesting story of your life.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 15, 2020:
These were simple pleasures, and ones that can bring many smiles in years to come. It has worked that way for me, and probably many others who kept such autograph books.
Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on September 15, 2020:
I remember autograph books in the 1960s when I was in elementary school. Children today are missing so many simple pleasures. Thanks for the story.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 29, 2020:
This little book does carry many memories for me. Many of the people who wrote in it are now gone. I cherish these autographs more than from any so-called famous people who would not have meant as much to me.
I also have my high school yearbooks full of autographs. Thanks for your comment.
Denise McGill from Fresno CA on August 29, 2020:
I think I must have gotten the wrong idea about autograph book when I was young. I thought you needed to wait to fill it with autographs from famous people and my parents weren't famous. Basically, other than my siblings, my autograph book was empty. My high school yearbooks are full, however. If I had had the revelation to get aunts and uncles, grandparents, and cousins autographs, it would be prized possession being that many of them are no longer with us. Shows what I know. Thanks for the sweet look back. I smiled warmly through the whole thing.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 25, 2020:
Hopefully, you kept your book from the past. I had given my grandmother a book, much like the one you describe, that had questions for her to answer. I still have it with her handwritten answers. That type of book is also lovely to keep.
Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on July 25, 2020:
I love going through your photographs and reading all the entries in their own handwriting. In my time we had slum books. They would ask a lot of things about a person like favorite singer, favorite movie, etc. It's lovelier that people wrote poems that they thought up themselves and wrote such loving dedications. How wonderful that you kept your notebook. It can be a legacy to your daughter and after that, your grandmother. Oh, I do remember the "roses are red" poem.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 26, 2019:
I cherish that little poem from my mother. It is one of the memories I now have of her. It is amazing that this little autograph book was kept through the years considering all the moves, etc. I am glad to have it now.
Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on March 26, 2019:
Hi Peggy -- I like your mom's poem best of all in your autograph book. Glad you were able to keep the book and many pictures.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 26, 2019:
I am sure that your friend's granddaughter will really the gift of an autograph book plus a diary with a key. What fun she will have thanks to you!
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on March 26, 2019:
Just stopping by again---this is one of my faves And as a result of being reminded of how I enjoyed the autograph book I purchased one and a diary with a key!!! for my friend's granddaughter Hoping all is good with you Angels once again are headed your way ps
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 19, 2018:
Yes, these old autographs certainly do bring some smiles to my face. Sadly, quite a few people have already passed on to the next life. It is nice to have a sample of their handwriting along with the memories that it brings.
Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on December 18, 2018:
Beautiful memories. Great to have down the road on life to make one smile again.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 29, 2018:
I hope you find your autograph book someday and get to have some fun with it like I did mine. Thanks for the compliments. The bloom of youth left some time ago! Ha!
Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on September 29, 2018:
Fun read. Tyanks for sharing Peggy. I had at least one autograph book but have no idea where it went. You were such a pretty child and young woman. No wonder you still are
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 24, 2018:
Some people do collect autographs from famous people. My little autograph book was rather filled with little poems or messages from my family and friends at the time of my childhood and early teens. School annuals then took the place of where people wrote messages or simply signed their names.
Since that time I think I only collected one or two autographs. The one I best remember was written on a program after a Houston Symphony concert my husband and I attended and the autograph was by Marvin Hamlisch. We had also seen him perform at our last night in Spain on the Island of Mallorca at the time of the Olympics in Barcelona.
Dale Anderson from The High Seas on May 24, 2018:
Autograph books are a bit of a fascination for me. Growing up in Australia I had never even heard of such an idea. When I did learn about them I thought people were having me on. "People go around with a little book and ask famous people to sign it? No way that is true!" Shows what I know.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 23, 2018:
It is amazing that I was able to keep mine all these years. They still do sell autograph books but I don't think that they are as popular as they once were.
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on May 23, 2018:
I love those autograph books. I don'y know when it started not to be fashionable but it was great. Sadly, I lost mine.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 16, 2018:
So nice that you also have your storage of memories recorded in your diaries from years ago. Sending blessings your way.
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on May 16, 2018:
O I love this Peggy. The fond fond memories of yesteryear are so precious. The pictures of you throughout the years are endearing as well. You may not have begun to write at this point but obviously collecting the writing of others had begun for you. The words that were written that you shared were some of the same ones that I find in my very own little diary of years ago...actually I had several as I took one to camp when I went and it was soon filled. Thank you for sharing this walk down memory lane with us. Many many Angels and blessings are headed your way... ps
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 30, 2018:
I totally agree that the South Texas grapefruit is the best. My parents used to own some fruit groves down there at one time. When I worked as an OR nurse in Houston and was living in the nurse's dorm in the middle of the Texas Medical Center I always had sacks of oranges and grapefruit from the Valley in my closet and ate some every day. Yum!
Virginia Allain from Central Florida on January 29, 2018:
I lived not too far from McAllen, but it was in the 1990s. 15 years of living in Alamo while working first in Edinburg and then in Weslaco. Miss the wonderful grapefruit in South TX. Florida grapefruit isn't nearly as good.
Robert Sacchi on January 24, 2018:
Yes, in almost all cases it's out of sight out of mind. There are a few people who continue to stay in touch. I count my blessings by those that stay in touch.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 23, 2018:
That happens to many of us. I only have a few friends from those early days that still keep in touch.
Robert Sacchi on January 23, 2018:
Yes, I'm in touch with 1 person I went to high school with. I haven't seen or heard anything about those I went to grammar school with in decades.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 23, 2018:
So true! I have lost touch with some of those school chums of old and my family members who wrote in that book are now deceased. So it is a time capsule of sorts.
Robert Sacchi on January 22, 2018:
Yes, it makes an interesting read of times past. It also brings back memories of people you haven't seen for decades.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 22, 2018:
Nice that you have your father's as well as your own autograph book. I believe that mine was a gift from my parents. We did not get them from school. I am glad that I kept mine. Brings back memories and smiles.
Robert Sacchi on January 21, 2018:
We got them when we graduated from grammar school. A few years ago I came across my father's when he graduated from junior high. There were some things that were different but most were very close to what was written in mine. Thanks for the memories.