Wednesday, April 24, 2024

U is for Unrelated, Miscellaneous Finds


#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter U

I am in the process of sorting through everything in my parents' home, and in so doing, I have been looking through all my childhood memorabilia, the majority of which I hadn't seen since my parents packed up my belongings and moved them from the home I grew up in to this house some 45 years ago. My 2024 A to Z Challenge theme is based on the treasures I have found in the boxes and the drawers and closets. Join me on my bittersweet journey back to my childhood.

I was quite the little packrat! And as if the collection of items I have shared here so far weren't diverse enough, this post is devoted to some of my more eclectic finds.

First up is my first pair of glasses, which I got while I was in the 7th grade. They are the epitome of 1972 eyeglass fashion, and all my friends with glasses had either this shape or ones with octagonal lenses.

Growing up in Kansas City, we were all about our Hallmark products. Betsy Clark products were a favorite of mine. This is a button, about 3 inches across. I also had a keychain with a Betsy Clark character on it that was a good 4 inches in diameter. All my friends had them, too, with a house key on it that we seldom needed, because our moms were almost always at home.

I took my very first plane ride when I was 13 and I flew from Kansas City to St. Louis. My Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Bradley picked me up there, along with my aunt's niece Judy, who flew in from New Jersey. Judy and I spent a week at their home in southern Illinois and had a grand time! This was the tag from my checked suitcase. RIP Ozark Airlines. 

I had my tonsils removed in 1967, right after Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated. I wrote about it here if you would like to read the story. I have some vivid memories of the hospital experience as a patient and as a child spending the night in a hospital in the inner city when rioting broke out. 

I had completely forgotten about this tiny doll! I don't remember when or where I got her, but someone had crocheted the dress and hat AND teeny, tiny underpants. Quarter for scale. Side note: I was carefully setting up this photo to get as much detail as possible while my cat Nora looked on. The moment I had the doll arranged and lifted up my phone to take the photo, Nora would reach out a paw and swoop the doll towards her. Then I would make a grab for the doll, and she would take the quarter. This went on several times before I was finally quicker than she was.

Crown Center, developed and built by Hallmark near downtown Kansas City, opened in 1973 and included a high rise hotel with upscale restaurants, one of the first food courts in the area, and boutiques and gift shops, as well as office buildings and an outdoor area for festivals in the summer and ice skating in the winter. It was a real treat to get to go there, and a visit on February 15, 1974 garnered me this little prize that I bought at a terrific gift shop called Maudie's. They are sugar cubes, decorated with royal icing flowers. I loved eating sugar cubes when we visited my grandpa's store (don't pretend like YOU never ate sugar cubes if they were available and no grown ups were watching you, and I'd do it again RIGHT NOW if presented with the opportunity), so I HAD to have these! But then, they were so beautiful that I couldn't bring myself to eat them. I kept them in a drawer in my bedside table for years, then they were moved with all my other stuff when my parents moved. I did not eat the 50 year old sugar cubes, only because I figured they'd taste like what I imagine dust mites might taste like, but you have to admit they sure held up!

This is my student ID and activity card from spring semester of my sophomore year in college. If you look really closely, you will see that my tuition for the semester is printed on that activity card. Go ahead and look. I'll wait.... RIGHT?! $180.00, and that was for 12-17 hours. More or less than that was adjusted by the credit hour. Tuition at that same university now is $4,512 a semester based on 14 hours or $279 per credit hour. PER CREDIT HOUR.

And my last entry is something I found in my cedar chest, along with Archie comic books, Tiger Beat magazines, my Missouri notebook from 4th grade, and dozens of scripts from the days in high school theater. It's my Raggedy Ann and Andy paper dolls! These are also the last picture I took tonight in my poorly lit bedroom (poorly lit if you are trying to take photographs, that is; otherwise, it's very pleasant and warm lighting). I took this right after I fought with Nora over the tiny doll and the quarter, and I didn't have any fight left. She won. Notice how she's guarding them with her paw from her brother Finn. If I'd been faster on the draw, you would have gotten an action shot of Nora smacking Finn for getting too close.

Unbelievable that I still have all this!


  1. A good collection that surely evokes a lot of nostalgia. That reminds me. I have my first mobile phone, college admission card, the portable typewriter, etc.

    1. It's been interesting to see what I chose to save over the years!

  2. It's a fine collection of memories. I don't keep things generally. I've moved a lot over the last 10 years so I've worked hard at travelling light. My memories are all in my head...and come out when prompted.

  3. My tuition in 1964 was $96 a quarter for a full schedule. Now it's in the thousands. Insane.
    I remember those little plastic/rubber dolls. We bought them at the dime store and they came with a little blue bathtub and a tiny bottle. Nobody ever crocheted them a teeny tiny outfit though.

  4. It is interesting what things get kept, isn't it? My natural inclination is to hold onto things, but I've weeded out more and more with each move. Living here in a rented furnished one-bedroom place has shown me that I could let go of a lot more, but I could see myself getting rid of practical things and holding on to the sentimental mementos!

  5. Unbelievable and fabulous.

    By the way, sugar, as long as it does not get wet, does not go bad. The cubes themselves would still be edible, although I dare say the royal icing probably used for the decorations would be stale. They're still too pretty to eat.

  6. Your description of the Hallmark location reminded me of our younger daughters as a "Hallmark girl," working in a local mall's Hallmark store. She became a wonderful gift-wrapper. Your sugar cubes survived wonderfully! I have some trinkets from the past. I've been giving some to my daughters, sort of an advanced legacy without the lawyers!