Those Old Autograph Books

“Lest old acquaintance be forgot…”

Writing my Nanowrimo story in November, the main character being a girl turning twelve and the setting being the summer of 1957, I was researching various interests and hobbies of the late 50s. One of these was autograph books, so I gave my main character one for her birthday.

I wonder how many of you readers remember the autograph books we passed around among our family and friends so we’d have a memory of them for our old age? I’m afraid this bit of social fun has been forgotten in this texting generation — though I’d be delighted to know I’m wrong and some children still have one.

I had one myself, and so did my husband, and I signed many a friend’s autograph book. The idea was to write some sort of good wish, verse, quote, bit of song, and then sign it.

Flowers poem

This poem was written by one of Mom’s siblings:
“How nice it is to have a friend
who always plays the game,
knows all the faults that you possess
and loves you just the same.”

This bit of wisdom, maybe a forerunner of the “How to eat an elephant” line, has often encouraged me when I feel overwhelmed by many To-Dos:
“Little and often makes a heap in time.”

This advice was given to Bob by his Dad:
“A little said, and truly said,
can deeper joys impart
than hosts of words that touch the head,
but never reach the heart.”

Here’s another encouragement my third-grade teacher wrote for me:
“May your life be like a snowflake;
leave a mark, but not a stain.”

Verses could be silly, like these written by two of my friends:
“I saw you in the ocean; I saw you in the sea;
I saw you in the bath-tub. Oops, pardon me!

“Two in a hammock waiting to kiss
all of a sudden they went like…”
The writer turned the book upside down to write “this…
She drew a little illustration to go with this, a hammock between two trees.

And someone was sure to turn to the last page and scribble these lines:
“By hook or by crook,
I’ll be the last one
to sign in this book.”

To write this article I went scrounging through my box of ancient papers, thinking I could find my or my husband’s autograph books — and didn’t. What I did come across was two sheets of notebook paper on which Bob’s mom copied all the writings in her autograph book, which she’d kept for years. Mom was born in 1908, so autograph books have been around a long time indeed!

Here are a few more from her book:
“There is a pale blow flower that grows
around the shepherd’s cot,
and in the silence of the night
it softly breathes ‘forget me not’.”

“May your life be like arithmetic—
friends added, joys multiplied,
sorrows subtracted, enemies divided.”

“When the golden sun is setting
and your mind from care is free,
when of others you are thinking
will you sometimes think of me?”

If you think of some autograph that’s stuck with you through the years, please share it in a comment.

Meadowlark + quote

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8 thoughts on “Those Old Autograph Books

  1. 2 good
    2 be
    _______
    4 gotten

    Remember that one? Or, Judy and Johnny, up in a tree, K I S S I N G.

    I believe I still have some of my old autograph books in that dread box out in the garage I’ve been meaning to open for 16 years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The first I remember, the second not.
      there was the one where they took your latest crush’s name and wrote:
      Dear Judy,
      I wish I was the teacup, from which you drank your tea
      then every time you’d take a sip you’d give a kiss to me
      Love, Johnny
      (As witnessed by — and your friend would sign her name.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed your posting about the autographs. Wish I still had mine. Here are a few I remember:
    ”There are big ships
    There are small ships
    But the best ship is Friendship”

    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    Sugar is sweet but not
    As sweet as You.

    Oranges grow in Florida
    So do bananas too
    But it takes a place like Whitemouth
    To grow a nut like You!

    Like

  3. Hi Sandra! Thanks for your comment.
    I remember the first two of those. Your second one is pretty true to the early 60s song; before that came out we wrote the last line as:
    “Sugar is sweet and so are you.”
    And there’s the spinoff non-poem:
    Some poems rhyme — this one doesn’t.

    That last one is something someone local must have invented. 🙂

    Like

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