Monday, October 22, 2012

Butcher, baker, candlestick maker......ship broker?

So last week I found a few really cool things at my work.  Probably not really cool if you're a roadie or a rock star, but pretty cool for me!  It was a box of OLD STUFF.  Old bills and receipts and diaries that belonged to the man who lived in this house, actually his father.

The best thing is this business card.  How totally cool is the occupation? SHIP BROKER. For real. Check out the phone number -- it's just a three digit number.  Manchester123 This was from back in the days when you'd pick up the phone and there would be an operator on the other line, and she would press a cable into a switchboard box and connect you to a home somewhere up or down the road.

I know about Manchester 123 because recently while giving a lecture a woman stopped me at the end of it and told me a little story.  Apparently, back in the 40s the benefactress of my property (Mildred) used to make a phone call every night at 9pm.  The extension Manchester 123. Its been the working title of my novel about Mildred and her 42 year courtship with Locke Allen. This will be a whole separate blog post because the story of Mil & Locke merits many more words than is available now.  

But back to the box of old stuff.  Here's a bill for horseshoeing and blacksmithing.
Dated paid 1916.  Can you imagine having that in your current Bank of America billpay?

Or here's another for fine footwear. Wait, here is the entire bill.  He bought mocassins and oxfords all for 3 dollars!  What a deal.  I just love all this old stuff.  I also have a little diary from 1908 but it's so hard to read the scripty writing!

And I found a bunch of grocery bills from 1915.  You know what people bought in 1915?  Sugar, lard, pork, flour, yeast, spaghetti.....on almost every bill.  I know people spent lots more time in the kitchen back then.  No microwaves, no fast food dinners....but life still seemed simpler.  A business card with two words -- SHIP BROKER.


  1. How cool and how coincidental that we are reading The Showmakers Wife for bookclub. 1904 and forward. Small world still.....

  2. Manchester 123....the treasures and stories you have uncovered...the possibilities on this project are huge!