By Angie Sutton
My great grandma Anna was a trendy gal. She adored scrapbooking. I too like scrapbooking. My tool box includes four different types of glue, six kinds of scissors, archivist-approved markers, punches, stickers, cutouts and a tackle box of assorted embellishments. Anna’s tool box included a sturdy pair of scissors and some flour and water paste. Same idea of documenting a snapshot in time, but in very different times!
Anna was in her late 90’s when she passed. I was a young girl who had a handful of cherished memories of visits to her farm. I love looking through her scrapbooks because it is a window into her life. She clipped, snipped, glued, taped and tucked anything she liked onto the pages of old wallpaper sample books. It was whatever struck her fancy that day. A meaningful poem, a beautiful stamp on a letter from a sister, a recipe or a colorful photo were carefully adhered to open spots. Some pages held news accounts of war and coffee rations, political news of the day or birth, wedding and death announcements.
Her Valentine’s Day cards are one of my favorite things to admire. Most are dated from 1908 to about 1960. The early ones are so intricate and elaborate. It is obvious that the sender put careful thought into selecting just the right card with the right words. Definitely not the mass-produced, boxed cards featuring a yellow sponge character with a package of sugar-laden nugget candies attached. Anna tucked these beauties into her postcard album with obvious care for someone decades, and even a century, later to enjoy.
At the Sutton house, we started a new Valentine’s Day tradition several years ago. We have a family dinner to celebrate Cupid’s visit. We break out the “good china” that is rarely used and the kids look forward to sipping their beverages from the “don’t touch” fancy glasses in the hutch. We even dine by candlelight.
Each person in the family is assigned a dish which forms our potluck meal. Meat, vegetable, potato, bread and dessert are on the menu. We keep it simple but easy and delicious. The person assigned the item must choose a recipe and make the dish. Jeff enjoys using the grill so he is assigned our meat dish. Cade has made a number of yeast breads for our county 4-H Fair so he is our bread guy. The rest are divided amongst the girls in the house. All of the items chosen this year utilize the oven so timing is important. After dessert, we’ll play a few rounds of cards before everyone grabs their electronic gadgets and goes their own way. I’ll clean up, put the fancy dishes away, grab a cup of coffee and savor the moment much the way Anna did in her scrapbooks.