20 Jul 2010


You know every homemaker worth her salt these days seems to be constantly decluttering.
A society that has too much, buys too much and then packs it all up, gives it away and goes off to get some more.

In days gone by things were kept in case they came in useful , and often they did.
The deprivations of the Great Depression and World War II meant that whatever things people had they truly valued, they were cared for and when they no longer served their original purpose they were used for something else, taken apart for spare parts, chopped up and remade and given a new life.
People didn't have as many things and things were precious.
This is my parent's generation, children of the Depression, teenagers during the war.


Baby boomers get really bad press you know for being over indulged by post war parents, it supposedly made us selfish and gave us an attitude of privilege.
There are so many generalisations about each generation, so I am going to join in.
Baby boomer children were loved and seen as very precious, as hope for a better brighter future.
Years of social unrest and war had made our parents determined to give us a childhood that was as perfect as they could manage.
We were well fed,
well dressed,
well educated. 
We enjoyed freedoms in our childhood that for today's generation of parents seem more like willful neglect. 
But we did know about respect and good manners and sharing and all those good things. 
Mostly we had parents who let us get on with being children.
That many of these children went on to rebel and perhaps reject their parents social values was in many ways to be expected. 
But not every baby boomer chose the anti social path and many who experimented in other ways of living eventually grew up and came to appreciate what was good about their early years.


The baby boomer child hood years were the start of all this stuff, of mass  advertising coming into our homes and trying to convince us all that  life would be complete with the latest and greatest.
The adult baby boomers and their offspring are forever trying to unload all their stuff.
Thank goodness for the past generation that managed to keep some of our history because I fear the decluttering bug will rid the world of any trace of our children's personal histories as we down size and cast off all those bits and pieces along the way.

When we were children we kept all our birthday cards and during the school holidays we would stick them into scrap books, not fancy scrap albums like today with all the little stickers and bits and pieces.
It was not an activity supervised by an adult. 
We used a cheap scrap book with cheap paper. 
My brother also kept a scrap book with lolly wrappers in it, my cousin had one too, I must look for that at mum's.


So, although my mother has tossed out a lot of stuff she has kept these albums, she has kept so much that was precious to us from our childhood and I am so grateful and mindful of this when I decide to get rid of what seems like clutter in my own home.

Careful sorting is what is needed ,careful buying too so that things have a chance to be precious.
A surplus of anything can lead to it being devalued.

The cards you see here today are my favourites from my 1st, 2nd and 3rd birthdays, 1960, 1961 and 1962. 
My children have similar scrap books for their cards - I guess that makes it a family tradition. 

This over indulged baby boomer is glad she had parents determined to make the world a better place  the only way they knew how, 
by treasuring their children and their children's treaures,
making certain we knew we were loved,
every day,
in every way.


You can see more of my cards here

12 Responses to “Precious”

  1. This post has really made me think Jenny. I'm a bit a hoarder and often feel overwhelmed with all the stuff, so I go on a bit of a rampage and throw stuff out. Already I've gotten rid of many things that I wish I had kept, either because I could use them now or because I would love to be able to show them to my children.
    But I'd never stopped to think about the way saving stuff leaves a record of our time for the future.

    cheers for making me think Kate

  2. lovely cards Jenny. We too use to save all our birthday cards and paste them into cheap scrapbooks. I still have mine and love flicking through them. I keep my childrens birthday cards in a shoe box each.
    When our last baby was born I noticed that a lot of friends sent us emails to congratulate us, not cards. Sadly, I really missed receiving cards in the mail! Gluing a print out of an email in a scrapbook just isn't the same.

  3. A beautifully expressed piece, as ever, and a timely one as I despair over all the bumf that accumulates, especially at the end of term. I worry that if we have to move somewhere smaller, all this has to come too and where will it go? Now with sons on the cusp of leaving home, I am wondering how much I can curate for future records and how much must go. And this takes so much time...

  4. You are so right Jenny, I agree with all you say. A lovely post to read at breakfast time here in England. I watched a TV programme last night about children's birthday parties and 'over indulgence' would be an understatement, the scenes of greed and one upmanship were unbearable. I seriously fear for all our futures when the kids of today are in charge of running things. Your cards are delightful and so like the ones I received back then.....happy days. I can feel a follow up post coming on! Eli.

  5. Your cards are beautiful I have some of my late Fathers cards he got as a child in the early 30's tucked away ~ a beautiful post Marie x

  6. jenny, i envy your childhood treasures. my older sisters were born in 1957 and 59. my mother saved a few of their things. by the time i came along in 1969 she was in full throw away mode. i do have my first doll and my favorite stuffed animal, but that's it.
    I now have lots of little treasures packed away for each of my 4 children:o)

  7. Very thoughtful post. I have felt bad tossing cards. . .now I have a better idea, and my 4 year old will be delighted to manage the glue stick!

  8. As always a joy to read and to look at. I'm a member of what is I think called the silent generation the gen before the boomers and I recently downsized quite dramatically. What I was left with with exactly what I needed it was inded a learning for me and well appreciated by me. I have a baby boomer child and three from the subsequent generations and I think that each generation may be a mystery to both their parents and to others but somehow it all works out in the end I think. I remember my father being quite horrified by things that interested me and I remember the same reaction to things my kids did and wanted. It is after all just a speck in the universe and this too passes. It becomes reinvented time after time in one way or another. I just love your blogs Jenny thanks so much for them.

  9. Yes I can appreciate what you are saying, I am a baby boomer and have kept my son's earlier cards but sadly space won out later when moving house. I am a hoarder and loathe to throw anything away, just in case. Thanks for the reminder.

  10. What sweet cards! I have just found your blog because of the post you left at Elizabeth's blog. Crazy how the circle just keeps growing. Your newest follower, Nan

  11. Dear Jenny, another lovely post with lots of food for thought and pause and as ever a delight to look at also.
    @Sheilah I enjoyed your comment also and found a depp gentle wisdom there too...thanks.

  12. I know with my parents, raising five kids in the fifties and sixties, we certainly didn't have a lot of "stuff" and birthdays and and Christmases were not the materialistic "fests" that they became a few decades later. We played outside for hours and roared around on our hand-me-down bikes. I liked the 80's when newlyweds we hung around with tried to simplify, making soups and homemade bread, sewing and crafting, and nursing their babies (we were bottle fed). That felt good and right to me. I always wish for country life and the simplicity it holds and the focus it encourages. Sigh.


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.