Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Contents of the Collection

The family collection that I stuffed into the Toyota for the ride back from Florida to New Jersey contained much more than the June and Art collection that we’re celebrating on the companion blog (see sidebar).  The June and Art items were mixed through it, but the boxes were also filled with other family collections inherited from my parent’s parents.  Just as Jamie and I had to go through our parents’ belongings, our parents had once salvaged the collections of their parents.
The machete, two mother of pearl shells, and the
shell necklace from the Philippines.

I packed twelve boxes (plus one suitcase) into the car trunk, seven boxes on the backseat, two more squeezed onto the backseat floor, and three more boxes on the passenger seat, held in place by the seat belt.  Unwieldy items, like framed oil paintings, were wrapped in blankets and placed on top of the boxes or wedged into any available open space.

Oil painting still life by Art Price showing the
unsheathed machete and one of the shells.
Included among the contents –

      A machete, two mother of pearl shells, and a shell necklace that Art picked up during his Navy service in the Philippines
      25 oil paintings, mostly by Art
      Art’s charcoal sketchbook from the 1940s
      Approximately 50 life drawings (fast sketches) from June’s Traphagen School of Fashion classes and 30 oversized fashion illustrations.
      A bag of rolled nude sketches from June’s Traphagen classes
      Assorted playbills from Broadway plays of the 1940s and 50s
      The 180-letter correspondence that is the basis for the June and Art blog
      Other letters, postcards, scrapbooks, and newspaper clippings
      Baby albums for Art’s 1926 birth and June’s 1929 birth
      June and Art’s wedding album
      June’s wedding dress stored in a suitcase

The suitcase where June’s wedding dress
is stored.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Inheriting the Collection

Some of my parents' artwork...
I discovered my father’s love letters under his bed.  It was several months following his death in November 2009, and my sister Jamie and I were busy cleaning his house in Florida.   The letters were stored in a small cardboard box, nestled in their original envelopes and gathered into small sets, with the envelopes wrapped together by desiccated rubber bands (the bands crumbled as I removed the letters).

Shortly before my mother died in 2004, she had asked my wife to help organize her old letters – the love letters that she had exchanged with my father when they were dating
from 1949 to 1951.  We thought the
... more artwork and photos (just a
small selection).
other half of the correspondence was somewhere around, but had no idea where to look.  It wasn’t a big surprise to discover them under my father’s bed.  Near the end of his life, he liked to be surrounded by photos and mementos of his long and happy marriage.

I packed the letters and the accumulated records of my parents (and both sets of grandparents) into the car in Florida and drove everything back north to my home in New Jersey.  Except for me in the driver’s seat and one suitcase in the trunk, all remaining space in the Toyota Corolla (passenger seat, rear seat, and trunk) was jammed full of the archival material of my family’s history.  Jamie and I were responsible for preserving our family history now.