Out of the Ceiling

As usual, we found lots of exciting stuff in the ceiling. The dining room is under the large attic at the back of the second story, which has been used for storing stuff by everybody who lived here. So this ceiling did not disappoint.

For example, we collected a large number of plastic liquor bottle tops. I'm guessing the kids used to go drink in the attic on the sly? Or, as Noel points out, maybe the parents, since the family that lived here had lots of kids.

Liquor bottle tops

I liked this ad for Cream of Wheat. It's from the inside cover of Good Housekeeping.

Cream of Wheat ad

And here's the flip side: Good Housekeeping, February 1906.

Good Housekeeping, February 1906

There were several mangled pages from the same issue in the debris, with this charming ad for a corset (only $1!)

Corset ad

And I should send away for this guy's booklet on the poultry business.

Poultry business ad

We also found some cancelled checks that turned out to belong to the sister of the woman we bought the house from. They were made out to a building supply place that was near the address on the checks. (Noel got really curious and called the previous owners to ask.)

Cancelled checks

Most of the paper stuff was pretty early, though. Like this little cutout fairy from a magazine:

Fairy

And these pieces of paper dolls. I had a Dover reprint of that same paper doll when I was a kid. This one has the text from the magazine on the other side.

Paper dolls

I think we actually found one of the jars from this stuff when we were digging in the garden.

Vanishing cream box

Gene was most impressed by the idea of an ear spoon with blackhead remover as a multifunction tool.

Manicure kit package

Our neighbor told us to look this up to date it: this is a souvenir photograph, and apparently the backs changed often enough to date them fairly precisely.

Photograph back

And here she is. Chances are she was a friend of a member of the household rather than somebody who lived here, because these cards were traded like school photos.

Photograph

Plenty of match boxes, too. I know that people used to give those to their kids to play with, so maybe that's how they came to be in the attic. We found five more of these in varying states of decay.

Match boxes

And lastly, a kind of hokey little piece of popular music. Noel sung it out for me and it is pretty cheeseball. We found a few other sheets with music on them that were less intact.

Sheet music

Another fun little tour through the history of our house. We've peeked into the dropped ceiling in the kitchen and it looks to have its own set of surprises to share, as well.

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posted by ayse on 10/27/09

4 Comments

Just curious, do you save things like this?

We've started an old house archive where we keep stuff that we've found in, around and under our old house (old linoleum, cut nails, 1940's newspapers, shingle remnants). We list where & when we found it and shove it into a couple of boxes in the attic.

Just wondering if/how you & others retain such stuff for posterity. Or maybe we're just nuts...

Wow! I missed seeing some of that stuff on Saturday. Not surprising since I had a hard time seeing what was 2 feet in front of me most of the time I was working, what with all the dust someone was kicking up. Oh wait, that was me! :-)

Neal, we do save some of it. Not everything, because there's a lot, but we have a box we keep the more interesting stuff in.

The real balancing act for me is to find a place between "Oh, that, we threw it out" and "Your house is like a museum to everybody who lived here except you."

Yea, I dig. We tend to save samples of the interesting stuff. Some time ago, we added lights,a plywood floor and Craigslist shelving to our attic & that gave us a bit of space to save stuff like this that we might otherwise just gray-can.

Note: We're getting pummeled with spam comments, so I've turned off the ability to use any HTML or include any links for the time being. Email with any issues.

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