Posts Tagged ‘john melrose’

I made no headway in de-cluttering. Seriously, I have a hard time parting with things. But I did a heck of a job cleaning & organizing. I just wish it didn’t wear me out so much.



The loft is our library. I have never counted how many books we own and they’re only semi-organized into groups. There are more books downstairs and in my studio, and more in the boxes I packed at my father’s house in 2011 and left in storage.


There are more books in the left-hand corner of the photo (out of sight). I tried to group things so when I do have the time and energy, and that television is gone, I can sit down with a copy of the Dewey Decimal System and organize the books. No, I am not going to number the shelves, nor am I going to try to catalog what we own.


Yes, that is a cauldron full of rocks. No, I don’t know what I am going to do with those rocks. I hate to throw rocks out where the moss and mildew consume their natural beauty, know what I mean?

OK, so you don’t know what I mean. It’s just hard to part with rocks. I’ve pared it down to this bucket.


These are rocks, too, but at some point in time, a human being formed, chiseled, and used these rocks until they wore down to fit the hand that wielded them: grinding stones of different sizes and shapes and one coup stick. I try not to think of the heads the coup stick was used on.


Old pottery and insulators. We have a lot of old insulators. We do not have a lot of old pottery.

That bookcase seeds to be stripped and repainted. I’ve been hauling it around for more than 30 years, it has been painted 3 times and never stripped, and the paint is peeling. I tell you: I hate to part with anything practical, even if it is presently ugly.


Pewter. The pewter lid in the bottom of the photo is actually a can opener for canned milk. On the flip side, there are two sharp points for indenting the can of milk. The ornate lid at the top is an anomaly. I wish I had the entire pewter set. That lid is ornate and beautiful.

The ice bucket has been in my family for years. A legend is attached to the bottom of it: “Jaci, I don’t know how old this ice bucket is. It was around when I was a kid, pre-WW2. Dad.”


Ignore the horse. It’s a project. I need to get some galvanized tine & try to beat out new forelegs for it. I have one of the legs for a pattern. It is *not* an antique, anyway, but a replica. No, the treasure here is the trunk.


The trunk came from Scotland in the early 1880’s when John Melrose immigrated to the United States of America. He had to sign papers that he would not take sides in the American Civil War. The Melroses are hard to trace because Phillip begat John who begat Phillip who begat John who begat Phillip who…

In Scotland, Phillip was born. He married and in 1826, John was born. John came to America. He married and in 1861, Phillip was born. Phillip married and in 1901, John was born. John was my grandfather and he had no sons, only daughters.

This trunk was my mother’s treasure and she passed it on to me, along with all of her genealogy work.


I probably should take this down. It is hard to contemplate taking it down. The day is still raw in my memory. My son enlisted because of this day in history. This day in history is to my generation what December 7, 1941 was. The only difference between those days is that in 1941, the enemy not only declared himself, but took full credit. I’m not certain we will ever know who, exactly, was the enemy on 9/11/2001. But whoever the enemy was, a lot of heroes gave their lives on both dates. Some were soldiers and some were First Responders.

It may be awhile before I can take this down, fold it up, and retire it.


From left to right: Arwen, with newborn Javan. Above: Sylvia Cusick Wilcox with her two children, Mary & Jack, and a beloved family pet. Sylvia died within a year of this photo due to complications from the streptococcal bacteria. My dad believed – and I do, too – that she died of flesh-eating bacteria, the same as my little sister. Necrotizing faciitis. She died in Salt Lake City in 1930 and there are no longer any records.

The dog in the last photo was someone’s beloved pup. I found the photo at a Goodwill store. He looks a little like my childhood pet, Butchey, but I think this dog is purebred Cocker Spaniel. He meant something to someone because they had his photo enlarged and framed, and probably hung it on their wall until they passed away and someone from the younger generation didn’t know who the dog was.

So I bought the picture and I hang it on my wall because it reminds me that every generation has had at least one beloved pet that was worthy of a framed photo on a wall.

(That’s a candle holder right above the dog. Goes in a mine, most likely. The long, sharp end is hammered into the wall & the sconce is at the top. I have it hanging sideways to how it would be used.)


Godot approves of my new arrangement upstairs.


Zith is thinking about it. She’s not sure about being relegated to the inside of an antique school desk…


When the TV is moved out, I’ll be able to get better photos of the pump. It’s an old water pump for use with a large dredging system. It sat in the alley behind a girlfriend’s house for decades. When Don & I rented the house, we cleaned up the property. Don converted the pump into a Very Heavy Coffee Table. It takes two men to lift it and move it. That pump is all cast iron.

You wouldn’t believe the offers we’ve had on that monstrosity.


The entry to my studio now looks pretty and clean.


THIS is next weekend’s project: dealing with the clutter in the rest of the loft. I wasn’t up to this mess this weekend. This is going to require storage boxes and serious decluttering. Wish me luck.

(No animals were harmed in the collection of those antlers. They are all shed antlers).

The End. Or: The End until I bring the rest of the books home and I sit down and organize the books. That’s a scary thought.

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I have not been out with my camera. Today it rained. When it quit raining, I was involved in a project of scanning old photos to restore and preserve them. It took me a couple hours to scan all the tiny black-and-white photos I inherited from my mother’s things (and it is going to be a great project when I have finished touching them all up: I am amazed at how beautifully they scanned!

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This photo is so tiny in its physical form – 2×3″ (including the white border where my grandmother penned in her daughter’s name). Mary Lou Melrose, aged 14, posing on a fence in Rock Falls, Wisconsin. I assume she is in Rock Falls – that is where she grew up.

Mary Lou was my mother.

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The sisters: Donna (1930),  Mary Lou (1932), Phyllis (1928). They were probably ready for church.

I was having such a great time copying down everything written on the back of the photos as well.

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Phyllis, Emma and Mary Lou. Emma (Robinson) is my Grandmother Melrose. On the back of this photo my mother penned, “Isn’t Mom’s Lily pretty? (I’m not really that fat but my mouth is that big.)”

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In my Grandmother’s hand: “Our 25th anniversary. March 27, 1952” (My mom is between her parents, Donna is in front of John Melrose & Phyllis is in front of Emma).

Trivia: on March 28, 1952, my mother turned 20. So she is 19 in the photo.

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July 18, 1953. Left to right: Emma & John Melrose, “Fritz” & Thelma Wilcox.

In front: Mary Lou & John T. “Jack” Wilcox, being the occasion of their wedding.

I only have three photos of my parents’ wedding. But this one is my favorite of them:

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I love the way she is looking at him.

The cookbook on the far right of the photo (a wedding gift) is one that I still have: Betty Crocker). I “borrowed” the dress for my wedding (but not the gloves & hat). I still have the dress, but it is faded. And my dad is smoking a cigarette.

That is an interesting point because in later years, he often quit smoking for long periods of time, eventually giving up the habit for good in 1995. 1995 is the year my mom died of emphysema. She quit smoking the last two weeks of her life simply because she was hospitalized and on oxygen.

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This is how I remember my mom. (Christmas 1952)

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I just want you to know that I come by it very naturally. (Christmas 1952)

Can I bore you with one more?

Too bad, I am going to, anyway.

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Can you pick out my mom? She’s the little girl right in the middle, laughing uproariously. She looks uncannily like Chrystal at age 12 (or Chrystal looked very much like her at the same age).

And, yes, this photo is labeled, too: 5th & 6th Grades. Gordy Hintermeyer, Larnaine Stone, Elaine Koenig, Ruth Ritland, Mary Lou Melrose, Darlene Norrish, Elmer Simenson, Jimmy Koenig, Leon Wehrenberg. 1944.

Rock Falls, Wisconsin. Darlene showed up at our last family reunion (last year, in Durand, WI).

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