In 1983, after my grandmother died, all her children and grandchildren got together to divide up her property among themselves.
While everyone was debating who should have the more overtly valuable stuff, I noticed two items just sitting there, unnoticed: Grandma’s walking stick, and some papers she wrote one day, describing her early life.
“What of Grandma’s would you like to have, Josh?” someone finally asked me.
“Those,” I said, pointing to the walking stick and papers.
Everyone else could have everything else. I wanted the stick and the pencil-scrawled notes.
Some of my most valuable possessions are architectural sketches my father drew in pencil on graph paper. Again, their monetary value is nil, but they were drawn with his own hand.
Two of my stories in this week’s Gazette also involve handwritten notes or letters bringing generations together.
Joan Pairitz discovered her biological family after 70 years with the help of a handwritten card left on a gravestone in a rural church.
Dr. Clifford Canku told me there are still hundreds of antique Dakota-language handwritten letters sitting in boxes in museums waiting to be translated.
Several weeks ago I did a Hometown Treasures story about Larson’s Home Furnishings. At one point, Scott Larson decided to loan me an old photo of the firm’s first delivery truck in 1949.
When Scott pulled the picture out of the frame so I could scan it, he discovered a handwritten note his father had penciled on the back 63 years ago.
That grocery list you scribbled on a post-it note yesterday? Someday, it may be one of your children’s or grandchildren’s most valuable possessions.