Are you old enough to remember “autograph books?” An autograph book was a small booklet with a lot of blank pages, leather bound if you could afford that, carried to school for friends and classmates to sign. Some teachers even were asked to sign them. With their signature and date, words of wisdom were often included. Some entries were witticisms passed along, rhymes, or nonsensical ditties. Actually, I don’t recall ever seeing a boy classmate carrying an autograph book so it was girls you would be expected to be asked to sign her book. For my 1949 VHS classmates who never had a yearbook until our senior year, the autograph book kind of took the place of yearbook-signing. Our yearbook didn’t arrive until after the end of the school year so my 1949 VERHISCAN is unsigned. As a result, my brown imitation leather yearbook is filled with memories of school days.
Recently I came across that brown book quite intact but full of scribblings where my 2 younger sisters, Muriel and Gail, had used it for a drawing pad. Or it could have been scribblings from my own children. Whatever, I was on the verge of tossing that little book when I thought, no. This should go to the Historical Museum. It is history. Nonsense mostly, but it represents who we were.
Mine contained the names of our class officers: President J.D. Hasty, one of the 3 of us still living at 92. Vice president, Leon Harmon, Secretary/ Treasurer Ouida Justice and Reporter Letty Worthington. (If you wonder why Hazel wasn’t the reporter, she was Editor and Chief of the student newspaper.)
Here is an example of the wisdom of entries in the autograph book. From Second Period English class, 1947 Jean Spivey wrote: “Dear Hazel, When you see a pig up a tree, pull his tail and think of me.” “When you are married and your husband gets cross, pick up the broom and show him who’s boss” were words of wisdom shared by several friends. “Love is a funny thing shaped like a lizard, first to the heart and then to the gizzard.”
Joyce wrote, “when sliding down the banister of life, don’t get splinters in your career.” Max wrote, ”Don’t worry if the job is small or the rewards are few, remember that the mighty oak was once a nut like you.”
Hazel Tison is a columnist for Holmes County Advertiser.