You may recall the time that the boys found a purse in the lake, and I remarked at how it provided an unusual glimpse into an unknown person's life. Somehow, the objects that a person chooses to carry around with them are strangely intimate and revealing.
I recently got to take an unexpected glimpse into the wallet of someone whom I've never met. Who has been dead for nearly half a century. My paternal grandfather.
I'm not exactly clear on how it came about that my cousin Michael came into possession of a bundle of old papers wrapped in a paper bag and tied up with a rubber band that included the death certificate and wallet contents of our grandfather, but this week he put them on the scanner and sent the images to my sister Becky, who sent them to me.
The death certificate is interesting. It shows that he was born in Iraq in 1898, and died in 1962, an American Citizen. It lists his mother's maiden name as Wadou Cacox, which is a name I have never heard before, possibly a phonetic misspelling, but she would be my great-grandmother.
Even more interesting are the photos that he carried in his wallet.
This one is of my beautiful Aunt Judy, probably from her high school. It is inscribed on the back in her still-familiar handwriting "to my favorite daddy, from his favorite daughter, Judy."
And then there is this lovely lady, oh so fashionable. Who is she? Not my grandma. Possibly a relative. My great aunt? My dad might know. I'll ask him.
And check out these good looking guys drinking beer. I don't know who they are, but they seem like a fun bunch.
Less fun but still a source of fascination is this one, clearly from "The Old Country" but I need to find out the identity of the people. My great grandparents?
And this is just scary:
There are other pictures of people I can't identify, as well as a few that I can, such as a scowling young Uncle Pete, and baby pictures of his three oldest children.
There is also a faded driver's license, made of paper and without a picture. A couple of very old prayer cards (he was Catholic) and his voter's registration, and a card for one year of free service at Golde Clothes Shop on Campus Martius.
But the thing that I like the best is this four-leafed clover, pressed in a piece of plastic. I wonder if he found it himself, or maybe it was given to him by one of his children or grandchildren. I like it that he put it in his wallet, and that it still exists, a once-living thing, to this day. A puff of air could turn it into dust. I remember finding a four-leafed clover when I was a little kid, and putting it in my wallet. I still have it, now in a scrapbook.
Who knows if those clovers ever brought either one of us any luck. All I do know is that it makes me feel like I have something in common with him. Well, that and the genes.