The other day Craig brought up a long lost box from the basement filled with my old books, and a forgotten treasure—my grandmother’s high school algebra book, copyright 1929.
My paternal grandmother grew up in a small town in Ontario, Canada. She eventually married an American (her brother’s wife’s brother, got that?), moved to the states and became a U.S. citizen. She had three children, including my father, survived two husbands, and led a very full life until she passed away in 2007 at the age of 89.
This book offers me a rare glimpse of her as a teenager. It is scrawled many times over with her name and address, doodles and poetry. The kind that teenagers write in each others yearbooks.
Miss Pauline Watterworth, Glencoe High School, Box 232, Phone 55, Canada. Her full maiden name was Pauline Lavina Maud Watterworth. Her handwriting is familiar; it stayed much the same.
Inside were tucked some cuttings from a newspaper, although there doesn’t seem to be anything particular of interest on them, not even the whole comic.
They are from the London (Ontario) Free Press, Wednesday, September 20, 1933.
There was also a pressed leaf, on which she wrote her name.
Here’s is a caricature of Esther. I don’t know if Grandma drew it or not, but it looks just like a girl from the 1930s should. Esther may be forgotten, but Grandma stayed in touch with her high school friend May her whole life.
The poetry appears to be written by various classmates, and is quite humorous.
On another page “They say it is a folly to flirt/ A cruelty unto man/ But my advice to you, Miss/ Is go it while you can.”
And this one, which makes use of the hymn Yield Not to Temptation “Yield not to flirtation/ For flirting is sin/ Some sister will help you/ Her brother to win/ Fight lovingly onward/ Blondes ever subdue/ Look to the brown head/ He will carry you thru”. I can’t read it without inserting the tune.
I don’t know why Grandma saved her algebra book, or if she did it intentionally, but I’m glad she did. It’s a treasure indeed!