Family History

Almost destroyed…

I love old things.  If something of age needed to be stored, it usually came to our home.  So when Mom said she had an old canning machine and wanted to know if I wanted it, of course I said yes!  So it stayed in the attic of our house at the farm for around 14 years.

When we made the decision to sell the farm (a long and drawn out decision) we realized that some things just needed to go.  We had two tables, so one had to go.  That kind of thing.  Also we figured we should sell things that just hadn’t been used or that wouldn’t be useful or necessary in our next home.  We had an auction.  It was sad to see these “things” go but life goes on.

One of these “things” was my mothers old canning machine.  Now when I think of canning I think of jars, but in her day it was tin cans.  So there was a big box of unused cans which if I had them today I could make the best of, but they went in the auction.  The apparatus that was needed to put these cans together was stored in a wooden crate and this crate was very heavy.

As Ron carried it down from the attic he set it down in our back entry to give himself a rest.  I was about to open the door for him to put it with the rest of the stuff for sale, when something inside me churned and I had this sudden urge to “see” this machine.  I have always been curious about how things work, so I wanted to see it with my own eyes.  It was no easy task. The crate was about 2x2x1 foot in size and the screws that held it together were now rusted.  With Ron’s help we got the outer part of the crate dislodged so that I could see this grey metal machine sitting there.

However, as I removing the sides of the box, I realized it was lined with an old Montreal newspaper from the 1940’s.  I was instantly drawn to read the news of that day.  What fun!  While I was trying to remove the newspaper from the crate I realized that it was much more solid than newspaper would be.  It had the strength of a cardboard maybe.  As I was holding this “cardboard” and trying to not rip the newspaper it magically revealed its wrapped up jewels.  One side held two large portraits around 20×24 inches in size and the other side guarded three. I was completely taken aback.  Who were these people? Why are they in this box? And my other first thoughts were…what if I hadn’t been curious?  Where would these portraits have ended up?

Since it was my mother’s old canning machine, I gave her a call right away to clear the mystery.  After a bit of pondering, Mom explained the puzzle.  She had completely forgotten about it, but about 40 years ago (then) she had placed the pictures of her mother and father’s individual portraits, one of her grandmother & grandfather and also the portraits of my father’s mother and father for safe keeping.
Above are the portraits we saved from destruction. They have hung in our home ever since.