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Time And Time Again

February 2024
1min read

“In 1976 my daughters and I put together a bicentennial box,” writes Judy Ivery, from St. Louis. “We asked family members to add to our collection, we sealed it up, and we vowed not to touch it until the year 2000. The years went by, and in February 2000 we held a big party and opened the box [above]. Although it had been sealed for 24 years, it had weathered well. One by one we went through the items; we didn’t keep a list of what we had packed.

 
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“In 1976 my daughters and I put together a bicentennial box,” writes Judy Ivery, from St. Louis. “We asked family members to add to our collection, we sealed it up, and we vowed not to touch it until the year 2000. The years went by, and in February 2000 we held a big party and opened the box [above]. Although it had been sealed for 24 years, it had weathered well. One by one we went through the items; we didn’t keep a list of what we had packed. The girls found their lunchboxes filled with childhood treasures. We also uncovered their Girl Scout uniforms, baseball cards, personal letters, and much more. We cried a lot and were surprised a lot.

 
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“My grandmother Ella Hicks was 90 years old in 1976. We found a wonderful letter she had written to all of us, knowing she wouldn’t be with us when we saw the photos. This one shows a butcher shop in 1894 in downtown St. Louis, where she lived and where her father worked. The picture was taken when she was eight, and she wrote, ‘The man on the right is my father. Every evening I would go downstairs and help him clean up. I would sweep the sawdust on the floor, wash the counter and the oilcloth in the two windows, and sweep the sidewalk. I earned 50 cents a week. My sister and I would take the money and go to the store. We would buy quite a bit—maybe a pair of stockings, a hair ribbon, shoestrings, candy, and some change to give to Mama.’ She mentioned that a large pork shoulder cost 35 cents, six pork chops 10 cents, and they would give away the liver. She remembered the lamplighter and paying 5 cents to ride a streetcar. There were many things in our Bicentennial box. None was dearer than my grandmother’s letter.”

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