I used to practice writing my autograph when I first learned cursive writing. I wanted it to be honed to perfection for that bright day in my future when I became famous. Famous for what, exactly, wasn’t as important to me as the embellished and flashy signature I’d be ready to write out for my adoring fans. (It did come in handy for signing cheques and important documents eventually, but hasn’t been useful for much else.)
Three autograph books are part of the little stockpile of interesting things I brought from home this visit. One belonged to my dad and two were my mom’s, all filled with autographs from their schoolmates and friends in the 1930’s and 40’s. This past-time of collecting little bits of wisdom in small books probably evolved into the year book autographs of later years. I remember someone writing to me “Roses are red, Violets are blue, I shot my dog Cuz he looked like you” and thinking the whole custom was highly overrated.
These books do contain a lot of similar silly little poems and sayings, but one of them also contains art work by some people who were more ostentatious, or maybe simply had a bit more ambition than to just scribble a signature.
These little sketches and water colours were of course something you would not want to toss away, and along with the signatures of old OLD friends, made these books significant enough to be cherished mementos for over eighty years (…and counting).