This is just a funny personal memoir. The picture is not mine, but comes from a wonderful blog post by GreenGiant whose blog "is intended to capture memories and experiences of earlier years and to convey a sense of history and continuity to our offspring and relatives."
I find it interesting that her memories are from Buffalo, New York, just a few hours drive from where I grew up. Let me be quick to say that I do not remember a real ragman. However, I was both terrified of and fascinated by such a person.
Just in case you are reading this, and are younger than sixty-ish, let me just explain that the ragman would drive around and buy used clothing, blankets, etc. from people. When fibers were all natural (wool, cotton, linen, silk), collecting these fibers was profitable. They could be recycled- wool could often be recarded and spun, and the rest were used to make high-quality paper, called... duh... rag paper.
So, what made me think of the ragman today? A Facebook friend reported that her four-year-old grandson said, "you cannot sell me to garbage men and you cannot send me anywhere because I cannot leave the back porch... so grandma you are stuck with me."
I really did laugh out loud, and I'll tell you why. The only goofy threat that was ever used on me as a child to make me mind was, "If you are not good, I will sell you to the ragman." My grandmother used to tell me this. Although she absolutely doted on me (way too much, I should add), I was a constant source of frustration to her, as I simply refused to act like a proper girl. I hated dresses and gloves and hats. I seldom played with dolls, and cared nothing about my clothes. I suspect that I looked like I was ready for the ragpicker's wagon a lot of the time.
It's been years since I have thought about those threats. In fact, if you'd asked me if I was ever treated that way by the adults in my family I would have said "no." There was no boogy-man, or calling the police, or other ridiculous terrors. But, there was the ragman.
I recall, the first few times I was warned of a new life among the rags, being frightened of such a fate. My father and mother just didn't say things they didn't mean. Dad, especially, dealt in facts. So, I assumed Granny meant what she said. I think my mother informed me that it was a strange kind of joke.
As time went on, I became as frustrated with Granny's efforts to transform me into a little lady as she was with me. Life on the road with the ragman began to sound pretty good. Perhaps I've found another cause of my wanderlust.
|See A Game of Tag for a view of what the ragpicker nearly got|
|if you like this blog, click the +1 |