Friday, December 30, 2011

Will it last 150 years?

It seems just wrong to be out walking on the 28th of December without a winter coat, but what can you do when temperatures are in the 50s? With a little rain in the forecast, today's predicted high is 48 and Saturday's, 56. Might as well be in Tennessee --- or Texas.

I suppose a guy could argue all that hot air rising from the mouths of Republican presidential candidates is the root cause, but more than likely just it's just plain old global warming --- something Republicans decline to acknowledge.

I've been inventorying the few remaining photographs in two small albums that came to the historical society during 1970 from the Mae Glenn Gasser estate.

This beautiful little album was a New Years gift to Mae's mother, Maria (Cook) Glenn, on Jan. 1, 1864, from Maria's sister, Mary. That means it's more than 150 years old. The binding still is in perfect condition, although the gold clasp is broken and partly missing and the album pages have come loose from the binding and are just floating around inside. But still ...

Mae was one of Chariton's great characters, living until her death in 1969 in the house where she was born a half block east of the southeast corner of the square. Her father, Henry Shannon Glenn, operated a profitable and widely respected wagon factory on the half block just east of the house prior to his death in 1905.

Mae had no children, although she married three times --- first to Harry Yost, a marriage that ended quickly and was never mentioned again; then to Ernest Gasser; and finally, to Frank Patterson. Frank did not survive long enough to allow Mae to transition in various legal documents from "Gasser" to "Patterson," however, so she reclaimed "Gasser" once Frank was gone and stuck with it.

Many of her personal belongings, like these little albums, ended up in the historical society collection because there was really no one to pass them on to. Her three siblings all died as youngsters --- two of scarlet fever and one of accidental poisoning. A child (little Mae, perhaps?), however, has gotten hold of this album at some point --- many of the pages inside are covered with pencil scribbles.

It's the quality of the binding that impressed me. This was not, remember, something manufactured for the especially affluent, just an item that would have been found in a case at one of the general stores in the Pennsylvania town where the Cooks and Glenns lived before 1869, when Henry and Maria came to Chariton.

I got to think about that binding in relation to the new Dollar General Store now under construction at the intersection of Court Avenue and North 17th street, where I turn when headed for the museum. This metal and concrete building will replace the current Dollar General, just north of the square, where I understand yet another "dollar store" of some sort will be located.

It doesn't seem to me that Chariton really needs two "dollar stores," but since I've never been inside the current one and actually have no idea what's for sale there, I could be wrong. I'm willing to bet, however, that nothing on the shelves of either will last 150 years.

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