Artifacts and family history. Family heirlooms. Memories of an object. This is what I was thinking about the other day as I was cleaning and repainting the above antique cast iron scottie dog mud scrapper. I have had this near the front door to my home for several years. Originally it was near the rear kitchen entrance to Mae and Frank Schlick’s St. James Farm home. I still picture and remember seeing this embedded in the ground along the sidewalk entrance to the kitchen door.
When my Grandfather moved from St. James Farm he dug it up and placed it near his back door to his home at 27W356 Beecher Street in Winfield Illinois. When he passed away I swooped in and moved it to my home in Carol Stream Illinois.
I am sure it has some monetary value in the anitque market somewhere. I have no proof as to where it came from and who originally purchased the boot scrapper for my grandparents. It may have been a house warming gift to them from Hope and Brooks McCormick when they moved into the house in the mid nineteen fifties. The dog may have been moved from another location on the farm such as the old milk house converted to a Bassett hound kennel.
Above photo: The old milk house building located at St. James Farm Forest Preserve in Warrenville Illinois was originally used from the early 1920s to the mid-1940s as a Milk House. Marion Deering McCormick converted it to a dog kennel to house her basset hounds. This old dairy and equestrian farm property is part of the DuPage County Forest Preserve District properties.
The McCormicks were my grandparent’s landlords and employer from the 1920s through the mid nineteen eighties. This item in my mind’s eye has a memory attached to it and the many Sundays I spent playing in the back yard of my grandparents home on the Farm. I can still remember running or walking past it as I entered my Grandmother’s kitchen. You cannot place a value on memories.
Do you have any memories attached to an item in your possession from a relative or ancestor? Why not look at that artifact and write down your memory for your children and grandchildren and pass the memory or item along. This become particularly important as one downsizes and reviews what Matt Paxton urges our current “babyboomers” to do in his new book Keep the Memories and Loose the Stuff. I have been reviewing the many items in my own household in my retirement. I do need to create more living space in my home. I need to decide the definite keepers (old family photos, genealogy research materials, local history books) and the items I need to giveaway, sell, recycle to trash.