Monday, November 30, 2009

Calendars from the past

This morning the oil man came, and I found between the doors not only the bill, but also a 2010 calendar. It got me thinking about my childhood when our house was full of calendars given out by local businesses. I don't ever remember my mother buying one. I'm so happy to still have two of these old calendars with her well-remembered handwriting.

This one came from the drycleaners, in the days when the dry-cleaner man stopped by the house to pick up and deliver the week's cleaning. It had just one little picture glued in at the top with these words beside it. As the months rolled on, there were informational pages for each one.



Here's a closeup of the February 1963 page. You may see a faint circle around my 15th birthday, and that I noted an upcoming haircut. It's hard to believe that's my handwriting since I have printed for so many decades now.


And then there were the mostly one-function calendars, like this one which came from the milkman. Those are my mother's words on the side: August 1 - Apron to guild sale.


On these pages were written the deliveries for each day. In this leap year, on the 29th, my mother bought '3 qt m and 1 pt c' - 3 quarts milk and 1 pint cream. And she had just bought 4 quarts of milk and 1 pint of cream two days before. Ah, the days of milk drinking! Well, we still do drink this much but most people don't. Each month had a page of recipes, of course all calling for milk products, along with milk information.

about two thirds of our butter is made from milk produced in months when the cow's feed is largely green grass. This summer butter is extremely rich in Vitamin A value. Its full flavor and food value are retained in refrigerated storage for winter use in every delicious way.


And here's the one which arrived today. Though the photography is modern, it is still quite typical. If you live in New England, you often get a calendar with photographs from each state. This is one thing which hasn't changed much over the years.


Nowadays, this is the only calendar that arrives at our house. For a long, long time I've thrown it out in favor of calendars of English gardens or Irish scenes or dogs or Susan Branch, but this year I'm feeling a little wistful and nostalgic and I think I'll keep it. I'll still put up my Susan Branch calendar by my desk but I think I'll put this one up in the kitchen as a reminder of the days when my kitchen was the heartbeat of my childhood home. The calendar, the wall phone, the memo pad were all together keeping track of milk deliveries, and haircuts, and dropping that apron off at the guild sale.

After I wrote this, I found myself thinking of a post which Beth did. Although it isn't about old calendars, it is about remembrance and family keepsakes. If you haven't already read it, you may find it here. It is really very special.

20 comments:

  1. A lovely post, Nan. My own calendar for the past 13 years has been given out by one of the banks in our village. It has gorgeous scenic paintings by a well-known local artist for each month.

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  2. Thank you so much, Aisling. Yours sounds wonderful. Maybe you could do an entry on it?!

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  3. This is a wonderful post. I've thought about saving calendars for the pictures, but never for the "notes." Now I think I'll nab one of my mother's before she pitches 2009 into the trash. Thanks!

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  4. I wish I had kept calendars from the past. The stories they could tell.

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  5. A really enjoyable nostalgic post. We had an uncle (honorary sort) who was 'in business' and brought us lots of calendars he was given by other businesses. So little of this sort of ephemera now remains.

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  6. I loved going back in time with you on this post!! Having something with your mom's handwriting is a treasure indeed. I have several address books of my late grandmother's and I love looking at her gorgeous handwriting and remembering the "old days."

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  7. Here where I live it seems that the only ones giving out calendars anymore are funeral homes. They do usually have beautiful photographs, and inspirational quotes, mostly from the Bible, but there is something a bit depressing about having a funeral parlor calendar up in the kitchen!

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  8. I'll echo Aisling and say that this was such a lovely post to read, Nan. I clicked on the photos and noticed that your mom wrote "Tel Mother." Did she keep track of her phone calls or was it a reminder to call on a particular occasion?

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  9. Nan, I have been buying the same desk calendar for over 30 years.
    It is on my desk and everything is jotted on it. It is like a diary.
    Now in the kitchen I have one that usually comes from a friend's real estate business and it has lovely images on it. Wonder sometimes why I have two calendars with almost identical notations on them.

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  10. A very nice post, Nan! I too love anything I come across with my parents' handwriting. I've been meaning to pick up the new Susan Branch calendar - I hope it's not sold out - otherwise I'll be using the free calendar from our propane delivery man!

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  11. I love this! How neat to still have these old calendars.

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  12. I love those early calendars. Thank you so much for taking me back to the kitchen of my childhood, where we always had a calendar supplied by Terrys The Butchers (butchers, remember them?). I'd forgotten all about it!

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  13. I am so touched by each of your comments. I can't thank you enough for taking the time to tell me of your calendars. I'm not much of a 'keeper' of things, but I do treasure these.

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  14. It's so touching to have things which have a parents handwriting, I have old postcards written by my Mum for my children when they were small.
    It's tradition here to buy calendars from the local fire fighters, who come selling them to the door.Also our postmen sells his calendars every year too, it's a festive time "perk" for them!

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  15. Kcoustou, what treasures you have. Where is 'here' - I've never heard of selling calendars like that.

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  16. "Here" is in South East France.

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  17. K, I wondered if 'kcoustou' was you!

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  18. What a lovely idea, to write about old calendars!
    I used to keep a Laura Ashley pocket diary for years (a new one each year, of course) and wrote things like today's weather, where I'd been, who I'd met and so on, in it.
    Then, about 6 years ago when my husband and I bought this apartment, before we moved out from the old place, we threw a lot out - including those diaries.
    And there is, I'm afraid, nothing left from the time I was little.
    Although I could ask my mum... Will do that on Sunday!

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  19. Librarian, thank you. I hope your mother has some things you will be thrilled to see again. I'll be interested to hear what you find.

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