Sunday, February 24, 2008

Another Errand, or, Selling One's Memories.

As was mentioned in the "Sublimity" post, myself and my wife enjoy visiting antique shops whenever and wherever we can. It gives us a chance to get out of the house on a wintry day and take an enjoyable drive through the countryside. And drive we do.

On the occasion of my birthday, my wife invited me on an antiquing journey that took us about two hours from home. It consisted of a rapid fire tour of no less than eight antique shops. A day out with the woman I love, doing one of the things we like to do best. It doesn't get much better than that.

Antiquing, as I have mentioned before, makes me very happy. I love to look at these remnants of another time, and sometimes these remnants make one wonder about the journey that an item makes between its manufacture and its appearance in an antique shop display case. Some things come from local estates and sources, some things that have a known source make unlikely journeys over hundreds of miles to end up in these shops. I am reminded of a recent sighting of a soda bottle from a local bottler in Florida, for sale some fifty years later in Pennsylvania. One can only imagine its history.

One of the very few thing that disturbs me on these trips, or makes me unhappy, is the sale of items of a somewhat personal family items. I guess it is the genealogist and sentimentalist in me that allows this to bother me. Hundreds of old tin type photographs, framed portraits of people long gone, and personalized items trigger a sadness in me that I can't explain. I guess these pictures belong with the family of the person or persons in the image, I wish I could buy them up and give them to the families that probably don't know that they exist, or wonder what ever happened to them.

At the second stop of the whirlwind tour I came face to face with an item that I may be able to do something about. On the wall, in a gilded frame, was a very ornate marriage license. Not the legally issued type, more like the keepsake type that some thoughtful individual gave to the couple as a memento of this important event.

The marriage occurred on October 22nd, 1891 in New Philadelphia, Ohio. The groom was named William Reinhart and the bride was Callie Pfister. A truly beautiful framed document. I made a promise to myself.

I have tracked generation upon generation of myself and my wife's family over the past twelve years. I know how to follow a paper trail into the past, and then ride these facts into the future.

A descendant of William and Callie Pfister Reinhart will find this document, and if they want it will own it. I am going to try to make it happen.

I will keep you posted.

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