Saturday, April 24, 2010

Football heroes of 1910

I'm pretty sure this is the only record of anyone, on any branch of my family tree, ever having had any kind of athletic prowess.

The guy third from the right on the front row, sitting on the ground and looking off to the side (as if he's gearing up for his next opponent) is my mother's father, Harry Toothman.

This is a picture postcard that was pasted into a scrapbook about his life that my grandmother put together after he died in 1966.

I was less than a year old at the time, so I never knew him, though my older siblings tell me he was the perfect grandfather: he read to them, took them fishing, and famously assured my then-eight-year-old sister "We won't tell your grandmother about this" when the pineapple upside-down cake they were transporting to a church bake sale slid off my sister's lap and onto the floor of the car.

I'll be writing more about him and about the material in this scrapbook in the weeks to come (fair warning to those of you who are sick of these family-history type posts). But I've been amazed at how much stuff from the scrapbook resonates with me, on many levels.

Morris Harvey College later became the University of Charleston (WV).


Pam said...

Yup, perfect grandpa. Took us fishing with a bamboo pole, a bent safety pin and a scratchy portable radio. Took us on some hair raising roads to get to a natural spring or to go swimming in the river. Still have the picture of him reading to Phillip and I in my living room. When Phillip saw it for the first time he lifted it lovingly and murmered "Pop" (his nickname) So sorry you didn't get the chance to know him, Rose. Anyone out there who live in a world of children should never underestimate how the simplest gesture can bring pleasure and a lifetime of memories to them.

Tom said...

I love the hand-written addition to the postcard: "Football Champions of Southern West Virginia." I'm not quite sure who would have challenged for that title, but the Morris Harvey boys were apparently quite proud of their accomplishment!