Philip Sheridan / Sheridan Philip
Last night I started to sift through the old Rubbermaid tub of family papers that my dad lent me some time ago. There were all sorts of letters, old photos, even some old glass negatives. Many of the old photos, unfortunately, have no names on them. I recognized some people outright, recognized the family resemblence in other photos, and have some memories of my Grandma Mary identifying some of the people in the photos. And I seem to recall that young lady my dad took to the prom was named Zelda.
Several of those photos was of my great grandfather, Sheridan Philip. Or Philip Sheridan, as he sometimes went by -- he flipped the order of his names when he became an adult. One photo in particular is striking. I'll have to scan it. He looked to be in his early 20s, probably just before or after college. His hair, his face, his build, the suit -- damn if he doesn't look like me.
Philip Sheridan went to Penn State, was a Delta Tau Delta, class of 1913. He played football and he majored in civil engineering.
While he died in 1936, his wife, my great grandmother Mildred lived another 48 years -- long enough for me to have personal memories of her.
Also in the box: Kat's baby book. Kat would want to know that. Hey Kat -- I have an envelope with the clippings from your first haircut in it. Its sealed, but I could feel the hair through the paper. If you think that's weird, I assure you, there is some weirder stuff in that box -- including a pony tail from Mildred's "last haircut." She may be dead and buried over 20 years now -- but I have a box of her locks.
There were lots of photos of houses out in Conneautville, PA, military records, a whole treasure trove of family memorabilia. There is a photo of my great great grandmother Rosetta and her sisters -- the kind of photo so old it is developed on a piece of thin metal instead of paper.
And I found my own birth announcement. The pic of me as a newborn, St. Vincent's, Erie -- I look like a little demon. Damien-baby, I was, it seems.