Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Even More Treasures of the House

My father's Masters Degree diploma.

I come home daily from cleaning out the drawers and closets of my parents' home, and I'm usually sneezing from all the dust I've inhaled. I don't mind it too much though because I keep finding treasures. Like the diploma above: I found it in an old cardboard box. A lot of people might have framed it and put it up. My father never did. I don't even recall going to the ceremony or going out to dinner to congratulate him. He was lucky though: Governor Ronald Reagan signed his diploma. I'm proud to say the Gipper signed both of my degrees, too.

I found this old newspaper clipping in between a box of old Christmas cards and an empty journal in my mother's linen closet. My sister went to what was called "Stewardess School" back in those days and it was so exciting and glamorous, she made the paper!

Those were the days when flight attendants wore designer uniforms and, as you can see, really cool hats. They even served meals with real silverware up in First Class. My sister didn't do it long. Just long enough to meet her husband, who worked for a rival airline. So all that training paid off in the end.

In another pile of stuff, I found this old sheriff's patch that belonged to my maternal grandfather, Harry Latta. He was born in Montana and didn't have the benefit of a formal education. He knew horses and cattle and told me once he went on one of the last Western cattle drives when he was thirteen years old. But he ended his career days with a pretty good job: serving summons for the Spokane Sheriff's Department. He had to meet up with quite a few nefarious characters and reluctant witnesses who had fierce dogs and, sometimes, weapons, so it was lucky he knew his way around a .45 and was always packing one when on duty.

I think I'll put that patch on my dashboard and see if it will discourage another speeding ticket. I just got my first one in twenty years and maybe, if I'm caught again, they'll extend me some professional courtesy in memory of my Grampa, Deputy Sheriff Harry Latta.

He was apparently quite a fisherman too. This is a photo of him in Spokane with his two brothers, Bud, in the middle, and Walter, on the right. My grandfather Harry and his brother Bud were quiet fellows, but Walter was a wild man. He died in the arms of his third (or was it his fourth?) wife, in a trailer in Tucson, Arizona, with his mule in a nearby corral. Anyway, looks like they all had a good time being guys on this particular day.

And I keep turning up pictures of my mother that she never showed us. This shows her with her father, Grampa Harry, who is wearing a really dashing Stetson. What they are doing on that Montana roof, I don't know. And of course, we can no longer ask them.

And here is my Grandmother Chapman with Grampa Roy. They look like they are courting. The note on the back just says "Roy and Mary by Edgewood Lake."

My sister and I only knew our grandmother Mary Chapman as a plump, elderly lady, who wore a huge corset and funny shoes. But she looks so pretty in this photo. My Dad has her eyebrows and my sister looks a little bit like her I think. Didn't they wear pretty dresses then?

My father had a more privileged childhood than my mother as you can see in this photo of his mother and his Aunt Grace taking him on a pony ride. Sadly, the wheels of the cart remind me of the wheels of the wheelchair he now is forced to use. Ninety years is a long time and in the end it seems we don't really make much progress.

Finally, my Mom saved this little goody from one of my appearances in a college revue. Don't know what I was singing. But many of you might say the pose--mouth open--is strangely familiar.

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Dana said...

The pictures you have been finding, are wonderful. All of them are so dear. I can't wait to see what you find next.

Robin Chapman said...

Well heck, come help me sort a closet and you too can be in on the treasure hunt ... even take home a few!

Devon C. said...

After looking at the picture on the roof, Jeff said it looks more like a bridge. You can see wheel tracks. It's an interesting picture. A cute little girl with her daddy. Oh and black stockings. Grandma told us once that she hated, hated black stockings because she had to wear them all the time as a little girl.

Robin Chapman said...

But why is there a brick chimney on the bridge, I wonder, if it is a bridge?