Archive for February 5th, 2010

From the Collection: What’s in YOUR pockets?

by Ashley Houston, Collections Move Assistant

Have you ever pulled out your heavy coat for the first time in the winter season, stuck your hand in your pocket and found a movie stub from a year ago? I love those moments. This tiny object transports your mind back to a memory when you were laughing, crying, or simply just enjoying being with your family or friends. Well, as we have been going through the collection getting ready for the move to the new museum, I have had quite a few moments like that…only they’re not my memories, they’re someone else’s — and they’re over fifty years old.

Out of the pockets of several dresses, jackets, and pants I have found all sorts of objects left behind. Questions going whizzing by: who was this person? What meaning did these objects have to him or her? Where did they come from? The first set of objects I found sent all sorts of scenarios through my head. In the pocket of an old WWII uniform there was a ticket to see an orchestra, an address written on a small piece of paper, a pencil with the words “Camp Funston,” and a cigar band. Perhaps, this man had a blind date that he took to the orchestra and who lived at the address on the paper. Was Camp Funston where he was stationed? Were “Little William Penn” cigars his favorite?

In another WWII uniform I found a typewritten prayer. Did this man ever see battle? What was life like back then when you could be sent to war at any moment?

Some other fun finds from military uniforms were two tiny cloth sacks filled with tobacco and a penny with the wheat design on the back. The cloth sacks were really just a square piece of fabric gathered together and tied with a long piece of fabric. How things have changed over time, huh?

The last things that I found in pockets were crumpled up pieces of paper in a woman’s dress. Doesn’t one look like toilet paper? Yet it feels like normal writing paper. The other one is filled with math problems. So much for those snazzy cell phones with calculators on them!

February 2010

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