In the summer of 2016, I helped my mother move some boxes that had been in storage for a long time after she relocated to Nacogdoches. That was when I discovered loads of old photos from her side of the family. There were also a few items from Dad's side. Buried in one of those boxes were two old books, both of which were meant to be mine one day.
The books belonged to my 2nd great aunt Marguerite Nell Maraman (Aunt Reat). I had no recollection of receiving theme from her. My mother surely knew that a young boy would not fully appreciate the value of these relics, and so they were stored away for a few more decades, all but forgotten.
Her Grammar School Speller
Garland's Notebook: In Memory of Her Son
As far as I am aware, Marguerite had only one child. His name was Garland. I know very little about him, not even his father's name. There is one tragic fact, however, which I can confirm. When Garland was a teenager, he was spending time with his friends wandering the countryside after dark. They were moving about the perimeter of some property owned by a neighbor. The owner hired an African-American young man to guard the property. When he saw something suspicious at a distance, he became nervous and aimed his rifle, shooting and killing Garland.
So along with her own spelling book, my aunt shared with me Garland's "Book of Presidents" from when he was in school. The book has a collection of articles about each of the U.S. presidents. They were clipped from a weekly series in the local newspaper and pasted to pages of a lined notebook. The book also contains a good deal of copywork and penmanship practice in Garland's own hand. Dates written throughout the book come from 1932. This would probably put him at about age ten.
There's also another kind note to me from Aunt Reat. She mentions that the book was 63 years old at the time. That would mean that she wrote this note around 1995. However, she passed away in 1988, so it must have been an error. The ending of that note about her love for Andy refers to my brother who was born when I was six years old.
It's a treat to have these two mementos from her lifetime. Just being able to hold them with my own hands puts me just a little closer to times that would otherwise pass from memory.