Back in June I shared my maternal grandmother's childhood quote book filled with short poems and Victorian scraps. Today it's time to take a look at my paternal grandmother's war-time quote book. Compared to the fancy little 20´s book this black notebook from 1941-1942 is plain and unembellished. My paternal grandmother worked at an army canteen during the war, and this book was signed by the people she met there. It's full of song lyrics, poems, and small notes, written in such different hands, with different pens and pencils. A few talented guys also drew pictures for my grandmother. The sheer variety is just wonderful!
The majority of the pages are filled with song lyrics - some of them are now classic tunes, but there are masses of propaganda songs in there, too. I'm not a fan of those, so I'm sharing only the less grim bits here today. The Star-dust foxtrot below is unexpectedly written in English, and less surprisingly there are also some Swedish and German lyrics in there. The majority is of course in Finnish.
A very clever corporal wrote a sexist note about the different stages of woman's life. At fifteen they're innocent like Hawaii, but at sixty they're automatically as distant as Australia. The other note by the same guy is a play with a traditional rhyme that literally translates as three words to you: be my friend - this chap wrote "three words to you: buy me coffee".
After Christmas 1942 my grandmother received congratulations for her engagement to my grandfather.
Among the song lyrics and poems there was this lone note for the measurements of an ice cellar. Somehow this is quite endearing to me. I never succeed in keeping a notebook dedicated to just one kind of notes either, some shopping list or the measurements for a book always sneaks in!
I never got the chance to know my paternal grandmother as an adult, or even as a teenager. Reading this notebook gives me a new kind of window into her life, even though there are very few truly personal notes written to her in there. I also appreciate how this notebook was saved for all these years, and how all the numerous, now forgotten, brief encounters are still kept safe on its pages.