The Wonderful World of Ephemera

A few years ago, I used to have a regular series of posts on ephemera – I even made a little button for it (above).  Select ‘ephemera’ in the category search box on the right hand sidebar – and these posts will all come up, alongside a few more recent ones.

I was mostly finding all these fascinating bits of paper etc. amongst my late Mum’s papers; she was an inveterate clipper of newspapers and magazines. The wonderful thing is that I’m still finding interesting things that she kept or noted. The stream of posts may have dwindled to a trickle these days, but it’s not dried up. Every time I pick up one of her old books in particular, I’m likely to find a cutting, or a post-it note, or marginalia she left behind. They give me a warm glow whenever I encounter one, and this week, I found not one but two items which I must share with you:

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Firstly a clipping of the Russian ballerina Galina Ulanova. My Mum was a huge ballet fan and used to queue overnight to get tickets, Ulanova who danced for the Bolshoi ballet was one of her favourites. This clipping is one of several – all from different years about Ulanova (another is her obituary from The Times in 1998).  This more whimsical one was from the Express and by looking at the articles on the back I can date it from May 1958.

The hilarious thing about this clipping is that a joky label has been stuck on it comparing the photo to the ballet L’Apres-midi d’un Faune made famous by Nijinsky. I recognise the hand-writing too. Norm! I hope you’re reading this! (Norm is a partial anagram of my Dad’s name, and is how he typically comments on my blog).

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Last week when I went to the book sale in the neighbouring village, I snaffled an anthology of Nancy Mitford novels in new Penguin Mod Classics livery. Good I thought, I can dispose of the tatty old copies I’d inherited.

Then, when I opened up her 1947 Reprint Society edition of The Pursuit of Love I found this note in my Mum’s handwriting underneath the dedication…

Can I now bear to part with the book? Well, having documented it, actually yes – I need the shelf-space. It does remind me that I haven’t actually read The Pursuit of Love (although I have read Love in a Cold Climate), and having glimpsed at the first page and giggled at the first lines – I should just get on with it before disposing of this old book. So I’m off to do some reading – I hope this quote from the beginning makes you giggle too…

There is a photograph in existence of Aunt Sadie and her six children sitting round the tea-table at Alconleigh. The table is situated, as it was, is now, and ever shall be, in the hall, in front of a huge open fire of logs. Over the chimney-piece plainly visible in the photograph, hangs an entrenching tool, with which, in 1915, Uncle Matthew had whacked to death eight Germans one by one as they crawled out of a dug-out. It is still covered with blood and hairs, an object of fascination to us as children.

7 thoughts on “The Wonderful World of Ephemera

  1. Col says:

    In a different way but in a similar vein I had an uncle who loved engineering. I inherited his notebooks full of notes about projecs, sketches, designs and even ideas for inventions. I know nothing about engineering so much of it is unintelligible for me – but I love the insight they give me into him! Your mum sounds just as intriguing and fascinating!

  2. heavenali says:

    Oh what a delightful post. Such lovely memories of your mum, I just adore her handwritten note about Gaston Palewski. I adore The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate, hilarious.

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