Keeping History

Marian ParsonsMiscellaneus61 Comments

I picked the name for my cow. 

Now, before I announce the winner, let me tell you it is a total coincidence that I know the winner.  Ok?  This wasn’t rigged!  An early commenter, Sandy, suggested Blanca and I was totally sold on that name until this afternoon.  Several people had suggested Adele and that kept sticking with me.  I glanced at the painting a few times today and I knew Adele was her name.  It just fit.  So, I ran a search to see who the first person to suggest it was and…

It was Layla!

I know my grain sack is going to a super good home!  Thanks so much to all who participated…850 entries!  I read each one and loved the stories about farms and grandmothers and beloved aunts and sweet dairy cows.  It helped me get to know you a bit more.  We’ll have to do this again some time!


I have loved old things as long as I can remember. 
I love collecting and hunting for old things.

…things that were once functional…

…things that were written or collected by my grandparents and their grandparents.

I sort of have lost dog syndrome for antiques.  I hate the thought of a piece of history rotting away in an attic or being thrown away. And I’m always amazed at what I’ll find at yard sales and thrift stores. 
This Saturday, I hit a great yard sale with tons of antiques at great prices.  I found this military bag and thought it was interesting, so I threw it on the pile.  I just looked at it closely for the first time today and was overwhelmed at what it was…
It’s a record kept by Pfc Albert L. Crombie during World War I.  He served in military hospitals and kept track of the casualties and deaths…

…where and when he traveled…  (It caught my eye that he was on the Mauritania, which he calls the “Murtania.”  I looked it up and it was used as a military hospital during WW I.)

…and when he was finally finished, or “Finsh”, as he wrote. 

Can you believe this was at a yard sale?  A YARD SALE?!?  For $10.00!!!  Really.  Anyway, I don’t know what in the world I’ll do with it, but it’s a really neat piece of history, it’s almost 100 years old and I just couldn’t stand the thought of it going to a thrift store or in the trash.

Maybe I should’ve been a museum curator…
…but then I couldn’t have “name that cow” contests and fun stuff like that.

Just an update, I called the curator at the National WWI Museum to see if they would be interested in this bag.  I’m not sure if they will, but it was worth asking.  Thanks for the suggestion!

Keeping History

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61 Comments on “Keeping History”

  1. I adore stuff like that! Since my husband is in the military (and studied international history in college), I have a REALLY hard time not gobbling all the historical military stuff and stashing them away for who-knows-what! Hold on to stuff like that… those are important events and memories to keep alive!


  2. Hi! I enjoy your blog very much ~ you always have incredible and amazing things going on here!

    Your kitchen came so beautiful. We are installing soft white cabinets in the fall ~ difficult to choose a countertop color – love soapstone, but we have a big peninsula, too much black?
    Yours is such a lovely color; what is it made of?

    Your recent find is indeed such a treasure! The places, names, numbers and dates make one pause.

    Have a wonderful week and thank you for sharing so many great ideas on your blog.

  3. Wow! I love old things too. And this… is such a cool piece. A record. You should write to the Antiques Road Show … I'm sure it's worth way more than $10

    …loved reading all the name choices for Adele. I like that old name as well.


  4. No surprise, your work is inspiring and your personality comes through in each post.

    What a find! Maybe you could display the medical bag in a simple frame (no glass).

    You sure have great yardsales over at the West Side!

  5. Well, I guess Adele is a good name. Almost as good as Pie-Face. I must have been the goofiest kid ever.
    Funny story, we actually bought the cow for the meat, it got sick, my mom nursed it back to health and… she got cooked up anyway. The one and only time we ever had a cow. My parents got talked into it, I think. We are normally a family of bleeding hearts, especially when it comes to animals.
    The way my dad tells the story of that Pie-Face dinner, no one ate. My parents agreed to not mention that it was Pie-Face. But, right after dinner prayer, my mom looked at her plate, teared up and said, "I can't eat Pie-Face!" while dropping her fork. She left and my dad ended up having to give all of the beef away, and explaining to us kids.
    I grew up in Virginia, by the way. Mom's family was Jamestown stock. Brag. Brag. I love your old stuff, and your spare room has inspired me greatly!

  6. I can't help but want to frame it and put it on a wall. It seems a shame to turn it in to something else.

    I'm consistently amazed at the family history things people practically give away, especially military history ones. Maybe it's just the ex mil spouse in me (my husband left the military), but I can't understand it.

  7. I'm choked up. Really. History is precious. Thank you for valuing it. Someone paid a price for my freedom. Someone contributed to my life in history. I am deeply grateful.

  8. That is so interesting that he ended up at Camp Devens. Your father might know it. It is outside Boston. My father was stationed there in 1942 after he went to training in Fort Riley, Kansas. He was one of the last officers commissioned in the Horse Cavalry. A lot of the 101st Cavalry from New York City was sent there. Recently, Camp Devens was decommissioned. The residents in the area tried to make it a town, but the county or the state turned it down. Isn't amazing that so many people just throw their history away. Ann

  9. I understand what you are saying. I bought the cutest little children's story book for $1 at a yard sale. The lady said it had belonged to her grandmother. How could she part with it, it was over 100 years old and in perfect shape. Also picked up a camera owned by the man's grandfather. I could never part with items from relatives. I have been designated the keeper of our families linens, yes lucky me. I am the only one who really cares about these things. My siblings always say, save that, Vikki will know what to do with it. Funny, and I usually do!

  10. I completely understand that feeling… I know it all too well. Now if only my husband new it, too… haha! Just kidding, he keeps me from going crazy and spending all our money, and I love him for it 🙂

    Anyway, awesome find! I love how you can feel so connected to a complete stranger who lived in another time.

  11. My daughter just turned 24, old enough to get the gift given to her grandmother by her grandfather just after WWII. He was in Oklahoma and purchased a turquoise and silver belt..a piece the likes of which you never see! At least 70 years old and just as cool as when he bought it, we love old things too!

  12. Morning Marian,

    Hey …what's wrong with it going to a thrift store….then I could have bought it!


    I get very sad when I find old wedding photos or pictures of children. They must have meant something to someone years ago. I always feel the need to bring them home. My husband loves that about me….NOT!

    janet xox

  13. I was once at an auction that had tons of old photos and art. There were four beautiful pencil portraits of the owner's four children- probably done in the early 1950's. None of the kids had wanted them. I couldn't believe it!!! The woman (mid-late 50's) in front of me looked at her daughter (30's) and said, "If you ever sell any photos after I die, I will absolutely haunt you for the rest of your life!!" I couldn't help but agree with her..

    That bag really should go to a historical society or museum. As cool as it is, it's too cool to be kept in a private collection. PLEASE contact the state historical society and consider donating it. With it being from WWI (and the 100th anniversary coming up in a few years), I am betting that the curators would be very grateful. WWI memorabilia is not as common as WWII.

    Sorry for the long comment!!


  14. Adele is a great name for your cow!

    I have been given very interesting gifts at times because my family knows that I like "weird old stuff." =) That is a really cool piece of history you have there! My grandpa has a bunch of stuff left from WWII in his attic – even his uniform is up there. I hate the thought of it just being tossed. My dad isn't sure what to do with it, so there it sits right now. I love that you rescued one soldier's record of his experience.

  15. What great finds! I love to save old things too, but don't have the time, money or space for them.

    I always wonder what, if anything, of our current throw-away society will be special enough for future generations to feel the need to keep….

  16. We picked up a piece of military memorabilia at an auction this weekend as well. Some how we bought a box with over 50 newspapers in it from the 1940's. There is an article about how Hitler is "dead" in it. It was so interesting going through them. All of them for $10. It is amazing to me what people will get rid of, you have a very great piece of history in your hands!

  17. It almost makes you wonder what people will find of ours someday. Will we leave lovely things for future generations to shop for at garage sales, thrift stores and flea markets? That's why to me, handmade designs are so important in today's culture, we need to leave something for these young'ns to collect and blog about when they're our age 🙂

  18. It would be so cool if you were able to find (somehow?) a member of his family. I can't imagine parting with something like that!!!

    What is that silver mesh looking item?


  19. I agree with other commenters, I think that WW1 piece is looking for it's proper home and you were there to rescue it and find it's place. As a girl that loves those things in museums I bet there would be home (either with the family, a museum, or even a spot in the Smithsonian) where that piece could touch many many people. WHat a gift!
    Love your blog!

  20. First of all Love the name!
    That piece of history is a great find! I always wanted to be an archeologist. Junking is kind of like going on a Dig, for me anyway.

  21. How sad that the family of this soldier didn't want to keep the bag. I just saw a custom made 50th anniversary quilt with personalized squares of what looks like each child and grandchild at Goodwill. I wanted to cry looking at it that the family decided to donate it rather than keeping it in the family.

  22. I have about 200 postcards from the early 1900's from my relatives. They are fascinating. In the midst of them were a few letters from relatives in Europe during WWI, accompanied by pictures (some graphic) of bombed out buildings and troops. They're amazing.
    I've been scanning the post cards and framing them and they look super. I plan on making something for my sister, who is quite nostalgic. I think she will be thrilled.
    Fondly, Tami

  23. I do think you have an eye and gift of just knowing that it is valuable. And I agree with others above that it should go to the military museum. I visited a museum of artifacts from a battle in WW1 in Turkey, Gallipoli war, and I was crying when I left. There were even love letters of soldiers!

  24. Naming the cow contest was fun and it was fun to see all the interesting names that were suggested. I love coming here to find all kinds of inspiration and even be a little educated on objects that I didn't even know existed.

    I do like the suggestion posted earlier about donating it to a museum. I believe it's that special.

  25. Maybe you should donate it to a museum. It is quite a piece of history. I would hate to see it become a pillow or a chair seat~ something extra special about this piece.

  26. What an awesome piece of history you have!

    AND my daughter's name is Adelle Marie,
    So I love the name you chose!
    Adelle is french meaning "honor"
    🙂 enjoy your beautiful painting!

  27. I agree with some of the other comments. It belongs in a museum, or maybe a non profit organization that helps military vets would like to display it (my husband used to work for such an organization, they helped homeless veterans, provided a shelter and services for them as long as they stayed clean from drugs and alcohol, they didn't have NEAR enough bedsm the veterans were VERY proud of their service to the country even though the country didn't treat them so well in many cases upon their return from war) anyway, I am digressing . . I just think it should be displayed somewhere appropriate where LOTS of people can see it.

  28. I am putting my tick on the wall for contacting a museum. I'm our family's historian and can't bear to see you make that into anything other than what it is. To think that soldier carried it around with him and documented the lives of his brethren. I'm speechless.

  29. I can't believe they were selling those treasures at a yard sale and I am thrilled someone like you that loves old stuff bought it. I am really happy you called the museum and I hope they take it! On another note, I love the letter addressed to Petersburg, Va. My Mom met my Dad there in 1946. He was a pilot and she was a telephone operator at the time. I was born just down the road in another small town where they settled…about 5 miles away and lived there until I married. Thanks for the memories. 🙂

  30. It really is a gift God placed in you to have a heart like that. You value the past and you turn it into treasure. I know I could not throw that cloth away either and if I showed my husband he would get teared up.

    If you get the chance could you tell the story of how you got the name from your brother "Miss Mustard Seed" – it must have something to do with "faith"….

    Thank you for making my day brighter,


  31. HOLY COW!!! 😀 (no pun intended)
    Thanks for hosting such a FUN contest!
    There's nothing like a bunch of e-friends getting together to name a pretty, painted cow! LOL!


  32. You are one lucky girl scoring big-time on the WWI find!!! It always amazes me when I see things like that in a junk/antique store, yard sale, etc….who would get rid of treasures like that????? I could sit for hours and look at something like that, imaging the story behind the names….

  33. I have been away for a few days & missed out on your "name the cow" but wanted to share this with you. I always told my grandma that my great grandma named her & my aunt's after cows. What can I say out of the mouth of babes, lol. My grandma's name was Lilly Bell & my aunt's names were Bertha & Bessie. Layla submitted a great name for your cow.

    The military bag was a great find…..what a shame it may have ended up in the trash.


  34. You read all 850 entries…bless you.

    As for the wonderful bag, your purchasing it to save it from a questionable future and your thoughtfulness and concern about it's true importance and relevance are why you have so many loyal followers, Marian. You are so special and one in a million!

  35. Adele is a very sweet name!!!

    Thank you for putting into words what I feel around old things!! Next time I'm trying to explain (once again!) to my dear husband why I _need_ to buy _that_ I think I will get my point across much more understandably!! 🙂

    You have done a great public service!!!!

  36. We just went to the WWI Museum a few weeks back. It would fit right in to so many of their displays. It was an amazing place. What a treasure to find. I'm showing this post to my hubby. Thanks for sharing!

  37. The fact that that man wrote all of that down, journaled it,in his own handwriting as the world was turning…just gives me the chills. it is truly a remarkable piece. I'm glad you found it. Keep it safe; it's a personal record of great tragedy and depair. Andrea @ townandprairie

  38. I'm very late to the party about the cow name…but I had to post! When my son was little, he had a fisher price toy cow that he took everywhere with him. He LOVED it! Her name was annamoomoo…I thought it was such a cute name – one day I asked him how he came up with the name – and he said "you know mommy…the song – annamoomoo here annamoomoo there" – I had almost forgotten this until I read your cow post – so thank you!

  39. wow. that has to be THE COOLEST THING ever. My dad, my mom, both grandfathers and my great grandfather were military. as well as my husband. this really touches my heart. wow.

  40. I am also behind on my reading but had to take a moment to cast my vote-this treasure belongs in a WWI memorial. These men sacrificed everything for me & my freedom and deserve my thanks. I feel I would be considered ungrateful if I didn't speak up on their behalf. I agree with the others; you got this amazing document for a reason. Thank you for preserving it.

  41. You may want to contact your local American Legion to see whether they have a museum. Our Legion in Greenville SC has a war museum and would love a piece like yours!

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