A precious piece of ephemera surfaced at our house today. It's addressed to my dad.
I read it with moderate interest at first. In case you can't decipher it, it reads, "Dear Sir. The deerskin received. Same to be tanned into glove leather. File 4884. Crosby Frisian Fur Company, 752 Lake Avenue, Rochester 13, NY."
So, "What's the big deal?" you ask. It's pre zip codes. Larger cities had zones.
I found a postcard image of the building on line. Their motto was "Let us tan your hide."
Dad had skins tanned fairly regularly, so I was thinking this was nice to have, but not too meaningful. Then I noticed the date. 1952. I would have been four. Suddenly this became a very important piece of personal history. This had to be the request to tan what was my first deerskin. MY deerskin.
I didn't have a Linus blanket as a kid. At least not until Dad received this deerskin from the tanner and asked me if I'd like it. I discovered it was one of the most wonderful things in the whole world. It was cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The outside was soft and smooth and the inside was a fine suede. I loved the smell and texture of it. I slept with that deerskin every night of my life until I went to college. It totally wore out. I still have a piece of it, but it really became brittle and disintegrated. I know where it is, but digging it out for a picture was more work than I wanted to get involved in today.
Dad rather shyly asked me if I wanted a new one. Even though he knew I wasn't your average girl, I was, after all, nearly grown up. He needn't have worried. Of course I wanted a new one.
It's hard to believe that deerskin is now close to 50 years old. It never suffered the abuses of the one I had as a child, but that's a lot of years. It's now stiffening and coming apart too. That said... here it is. I still keep it on the bed. Just call me Linus, I guess. And I'd have to say these were the best gifts (of something material) that Dad ever gave me.
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