My maternal grandparents recently moved out of their house into an assisted living facility
- they have amassed (and now have nowhere to put) a large collection of things.

This blog is an effort to archive, document and display their things, particularly photographs, notes & art.
As the pieces of memorabilia number in the thousands, they do not appear in chronological order.

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maiathebee:

"I don’t say I’m blameless. In fact I never am." - letter from my grandfather to my grandmother dated Aug 8 1950

maiathebee:

"I don’t say I’m blameless. In fact I never am." - letter from my grandfather to my grandmother dated Aug 8 1950

Oshkosh Daily Northwestern Newspaper 23 June 1900

Oshkosh Daily Northwestern Newspaper 23 June 1900

Found your letter today, upon going back to the old address to pick up such mail as has accumulated there. For I’ve moved, two weeks ago, to a black hotel in Latin Quarter, near school, near the Luxembourg, near Alice [B. Toklas]’s, near — in short — the Paris that means something, and has always, and will. And If I occasionally miss the fine books and romantic painting and Louis XV chairs at the place on Rue de Penthievre, I have again new, the old gas lit streets, the small squares, the cafes where students gather, and all the poetic, if less tangible things, so far removed from carved paneling and gilt mirrors.

John Breon, beginning an 8 page letter to my grandfather dated the second of May 1950.

The past week has been an orgy of concerts, exhibitions, theater and ballet, as it’s now time to begin serious work at school. And it was quite a fling, and of course one can fling better in paris. Saw a Fernand Leger show, which was dreadful —- great, cold, dull canvases, terribly démodé (demoded, I guess) and meaningless. I hate Leger, and am only convinced by a retrospect-show, that I ought to hate him.
To counteract it all, went again to the Louvre and saw all the enormous Delacroiz and Courbet canvases, which, even if it’s not very smart, I love.
Poor little artists — the streets are full of them, and they are all dirty and all look colder than anyone else, because of the way they dress probably. At the moment, I’m shaking with cold. It’s called central heating — one is only warm in bed, and even then never too warm.

John Breon, in a letter to my grandfather dated the 31st of November, 1949.

     Well, last Sunday I was feeling so painfully lousy. It didn’t take much to bother me! It just all came to a head. I could hardly believe myself when I said I didn’t want or need a ring yet - I told myself I was bitter. It was a sour grapes attitude. - But it was only the underlying truth that I had felt several months back, bursting out all of a sudden.
     I’ve thought about it so much this week and it’s been like someone has lifted a great weight off my back. I can stand up straight and look around. Down here, away from the emotional situation at home, I know what I want is to finish school, work and then get married - not rush into it, worry about it. I feel better than I’ve felt in months!
     If I felt that you wanted me to have a ring because you were so sure I was what you wanted, wanted everyone to know I belonged to you for always — That you couldn’t wait to give it to me any longer — (as I thought at Christmas) That it was love and not some compelling social custom or trite token that had to be tolerated — Then I would accept a ring. But what I’m trying to say is that it doesn’t matter any more. When a girl is sure what she wants a ring doesn’t make any difference one way or another. A ring is solely the prerogative of a man - his way of announcing his intentions.
     I don’t know if I’ve made myself clear or not - I can re-explain it when I see you. I have to get to class now. I do love you - I guess more than ever - the true way. It’s like that wedding song I liked: “Calm as the night, deep as the sea - Should be my love for thee.” Don’t forget the bag and jacket, Hon. See you soon.

An excerpt of a letter from my grandmother to my grandfather during her final year of college, dated April 4, 1951.
Grandpa and his baby blues.

Grandpa and his baby blues.

Parent-Child Classes, Rockford IL (1975).

Parent-Child Classes, Rockford IL (1975).

Excerpt from Joyce’s account of their 1954 trip to Europe (compiled, in part, to give local lectures encouraging international travel and to show such travel could be done on a budget):

p. 64"…On our walk to the hotel we came upon a movie being filmed of Katharine Hepburn (Summertime).  When they finished shooting the scene we proceeded across the tiny bridge where she had been standing, and I touched her with my coat.  The Venetian people seemed to ignore her, probably not knowing who she was.  I felt like saying, “Hi, Katherine, I’m an American, too.’”

Excerpt from Joyce’s account of their 1954 trip to Europe (compiled, in part, to give local lectures encouraging international travel and to show such travel could be done on a budget):

p. 64
"…On our walk to the hotel we came upon a movie being filmed of Katharine Hepburn (Summertime).  When they finished shooting the scene we proceeded across the tiny bridge where she had been standing, and I touched her with my coat.  The Venetian people seemed to ignore her, probably not knowing who she was.  I felt like saying, “Hi, Katherine, I’m an American, too.’”