A family heirloom
November 3, 2012
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A little said, and truly said,
Can greater joy impart,
Than hosts of words that reach the head,
But never touch the heart.
Autograph books originated hundreds of years ago among university students in Europe. Fellow students, and later on professional colleagues, would sign each others books, adding well wishes or short poems.
For a period in the early 1950’s, they were a fad among elementary school students. These students were too young to write anything sensible or of lasting value. I believe I had two, both long ago discarded.
One of those autograph books must have been a gift from my father, as he wrote the above poem on the first page. At the time, I found it horribly embarrassing to have others see this when they wrote in my book. Over time that little verse became engraved on my memory, and hopefully my heart. I consider it to be the only thing of value from those autograph books.
I have tried to discover the origin of this verse, with no success. My father learned it from his mother, who wrote it in his autograph book many years earlier. I would appreciate hearing from anyone who might have a clue to it’s origin, or from anyone else who has memories of meaningful things written in autograph books.